Table of Contents
- BASICS, CHORDS, AND CHORD PROGRESSIONS
- INSTALLING STRINGS
- SETTING THE BRIDGE AND INTONATION
- TUNING THE MANDOLIN
- CHORD CHART INFORMATION
- CARE AND CLEANING
Thank you for your purchase of the mandolin. I know you have many choices
and I appreciate your purchase with our store.
This guide provides useful information about the mandolin. I hope this is
helpful and if you have more questions, please give me a call at
For great deals on music instruments, please see our website at
Please tune into www.bluegrasscountry.org for some of the best bluegrass
free on the internet!
RECOMMENDED - FOR BEST RESULTS, TAKE OFF THE FACTORY STOCK STRINGS AND PUT ON A GOOD SET OF MARTIN MANDOLIN STRINGS. Mandolin strings do not carry any implied warranty. Strings are available at most music store for about $11, or you can order two sets of Alice brand strings from our store for $10 + postage. If we ship the strings with your mandolin, there is no postage charge for strings.
Personally, I have enjoyed playing mandolin far above that of fiddle,
although fiddling is a really fun thing too - especially when you can
participate in a bluegrass jam. Hopefully, you will be seeking out a local
jam group. I visit two different groups. It's loads of fun.
CHORDS AND CHORD PROGRESSIONS
Key to getting started: Learn the easy chords AND chord progressions, such
Key of C
C, F, G, and often C7 or G7 (very common in bluegrass songs)
Minor chords in the key of C: Dm, Em, Am
Key of G
G, C, D, D7 or G7
Minor Chords: Am, Bm, Fm
Key of D
D, G, A, A7 or D7
Minor Chords: Em, Fm, Bm
Key of A
A, D, E, E7 or A7
Minor chords: Bm, Cm, Fm
Strings - Replacement Process
See photo illustrations at bottom of this page!!
Tip: String winders are a hand-crank-type tool that is very useful for
rotating the tuning pegs, and it is much easier to wind up strings (while
installing strings) rather than wear out your wrist.
DIAGRAM ASSUMES YOU ARE LOOKING STRAIGHT DOWN AT THE MANDOLIN WITH HEADSTOCK
POINTING TO YOUR LEFT HAND
E +----------||--------------------------------------------------|| 0.010 Inch - String Gage
A +----------||--------------------------------------------------|| 0.014 Inch - String Gage
D +----------||--------------------------------------------------|| 0.024 Inch - String Gage
G +----------||--------------------------------------------------|| 0.034 Inch - String Gage
To install strings, start with the largest '' G '' String. Set strings to
minimum tightness. Put
on both G strings first.
Next, put on the D strings -- set at minimum tightness
Next, put on the A strings -- set at minimum tightness
Last, put on the E strings -- set at minimum tightness
After strings are in place, set the bridge about 1.25 - 1.75 inches away from the edge
of the soundhole. That is a good starting distance to get the intonation
correct on the instrument.
THE INSTRUMENT CANNOT BE PROPERLY TUNED UNLESS THE BRIDGE IS IN CORRECT SPOT
After strings are set in place, then play the midi music file and bring up
the strings '' close '' to the correct pitch. Don't take them all the way up
the first time around.
Repeat the process and each time, bring the eight strings closer to correct
Fine tuning -- Last steps (turn off the midi music tuning file)
Set one of the G-strings to correct pitch.
Set one of the D-strings to correct pitch
Set one of the A strings to correct pitch
Set one of the E strings to correct pitch
Make the ''second'' G string match the pitch of the first G string. Do this
by strumming JUST the two strings with your thumb, and tighten the tuning
peg until the pair of strings -- the '' sound '' is the same pitch. Your ear
will tell you when both strings are matched.
Repeat process for the D, A, and E strings.
Repay the midi tuning file again just as a final check.
Note: New strings will tend to stretch for the first hour or so. Less so
over the next few days. After that, they should stay fairly close to being
in tune. However, before playing a session with other musicians, you will
want to retune your instrument anyway. Everyone needs to tune up before a
BRIDGE -- You WILL need to set the bridge, and this is a fairly easy process.
HOW TO SET THE BRIDGE
Photo shows approximate location of bridge relative to sound hole
(NOTE: The mandolin you will receive may have a different type of bridge than what is show in the example below).
SETTING THE BRIDGE AND
GETTING ACQUAINTED WITH MANDOLIN NAMES
INTONATION - SETTING THE BRIDGE
For best results, you must place the bridge in the correct spot. See steps below to set the bridge and check the intonation.
Intonation -- for this discussion, intonation means that the instrument should produce a correct octave higher pitch at the 12th fret. If the bridge is in the wrong place, the intonation will be wrong and the instrument will probably sound somewhat ''out of tune'' as you play various chords. If the intonation is wrong, the instrument will sound more and more out of tune as you play chords at the middle or higher positions up the neck.
STEPS TO SET THE
1. Bridge can slide up or down (forward/backward) over the face of the soundbox.
2. To start, set bridge at about ONE INCH from the edge of the soundhole (or if there are f-holes, set bridge between notches at f-holes)
3. Bring the strings up to about 1/2 pitch. Press down on the 12th fret (see
double set of dots on side of fingerboard) and listen to see if the pitch of
the string is one octave ABOVE open string
4. Slide the bridge forward (toward sound hole) to raise the pitch at one octave OR slide the opposite direction to lower the pitch at one octave.
5. If you do not set the bridge intonation
6. Proceed to tuning the mandolin.
7. Repeat the process to set the bridge and then repeat the process to tune
Note: The photo above shows the basic bridge. Other models will have the
compensated bridge that includes gears that can lift or lower the bridge. You
can adjust height to
improve fret clarity at 12th fret, 13th, 14th, etc., and above. Note that
most musicians like lower action and usually do not want to raise the strings
higher. The mandolin in the photo above does not have a compensated bridge.
**Attached, here is the mandolin tuning file. (File attachment)**
TUNE THE MANDOLIN
(Click here to listen the mandolin tuning file)
BEFORE YOU START TO TUNE THE INSTRUMENT, MAKE CERTAIN THAT YOU HAVE THE BRIDGE SET CORRECTLY AND CHECK THE INTONATION FOR OPEN STRINGS AND AT 12TH FRET.
1. When you start to tune the mandolin, start (first) by listening to the
attached music file so that you can get your ear acquainted with the pitch
of each of the strings.
RECOMMENDED: LISTEN TO THE ATTACHED MUSIC FILE, SO THAT YOU LESSEN THE RISK
OF BREAKING STRINGS DUE TO OVER-TIGHTENING THE STRINGS.
SAFETY WARNING: If you are holding the mandolin facing toward you, wear
glasses to protect your eyes in the event that a string breaks. Protect your
BACKGROUND: The notes in the mandolin include "G" as the lowest, "D" as the
second lowest, "A" and "E" (highest, or first string).
2. NOTE: To fully tune the mandolin, you will need to repeat this process a
3. For a few days, the strings will stretch a bit and you will need to
re-tune it as needed.
4. When I tune the mandolin, I will tune just one string from each pair and
not be concerned with the second string in the pair (not yet).
5. After you have one string on each pair tuned, then stum both for that
pair of strings and bring the second string into tune.
6. Repeat the process at least one more time.
Also, note that the seventh fret of the "G" string (when tuned) is the same
pitch as the open "D" string. So, if you have it tuned up, then if you
press down on the seventh fret on the G string, the G and D strings should
have the same pitch. If one is off, then you will need to tune one stirng
up, or the other lower.
The same goes for the D string and the A string. If you press down on the
seventh fret on the D string, it should produce the same pitch as the open
Note: the term 'open' means that you are not pressing down on the string
If you press down on the A string at the seventh fret, then it should
produce the same pitch as an open E string.
Mandolin Chord Chart
Mandolin Music (and bluegrass music) -- see www.bluegrasscountry.org
More mandolin and bluegrass music on video - see
If you have difficulty tuning the mandolin, call me. I will be happy to
It is recommended that you change the strings and put on Martin Light
No one offers a warranty on strings.
CARE AND CLEANING
1. Soft Cloth or Diaper
2. Furniture polish
3. String oil
Take care of your mandolin and you will enjoy it for many years to come!
Guitar cleaning solution can be used on mandolins also, and is available
from your local music store.
1. New mandolin strings are typically dry. It helps to wipe the strings with
a bit of oil so that it is easier to slide up or down the strings. A music
store will carry oil for strings, but even a very light coat of furniture
polish will work.
2. Cleaning -- use a soft cloth such as a diaper and furniture polish.
3. Storage -- never store the instrument in an automobile, especially during
extreme hot or cold periods. Extreme heat during the summer will damage your
mandolin. Also, it is advised that you do not store the instrument near a
front door or open window. The temperature changes will cause the instrument
to go out of tune.
4. Do not drop the instrument as this could damage the finish or cause a
crack in the body. Also, do not leave the instrument unattended in the
presence of unsupervised young children or toddlers unless you have adult
supervision present at all times.
5. Do not immerse the instrument in water as this will result in severe
damage to the instrument.
I hope this information is helpful.
//Steve's Gift Shoppe
1365 Crafton, Suite 1062
PS: You can also use the telephone dial tone tune your mandolin. The dial
tone is the same pitch as your ''A'' string (dial tone is one ocatve lower).
Also, at the 2nd fret on the lowest string '' G '' , this should be the same
pitch as the dial tone.
STRING COVER PLATE
COVER PLATE - TO REMOVE LIFT OFF AS SHOWN
ATTACHING NEW STRINGS
CORRECT INSTALLATION OF STRINGS ON THE TUNERS
Thank you for Visiting Steve's Gift Shoppe (www.stevesgifts.com).
All sales subject to
availability. Send mail to us with your questions or
comments about this web site. Prices subject to change without notice.
Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010,2011, 2012, 2013,
2014 CompanyLongName - Last modified:
August 14, 2014.