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Profile of the Mandolin


Profile of the Mandolin


Photo Courtesy of Brett Sherman

Name of Instrument:




How to Play:

In its early form, the mandolin was played by plucking the strings using a plectrum or a solid object. Today, the mandolin is played similarly and somewhat like the guitar, by using a pick to strum or pluck the strings. The mandolin is mainly used in folk and bluegrass music. Musicians pluck the strings in a rapid up and down motion, a technique which is known as tremolo


Mandolins may be characterized in various types, either based on size, shape or tone. Generally, mandolins have 3 common types:
  • Italian mandolin - The traditional form of the mandolin and is used primarily to play the melody.
  • A-Style Flat Back - It is bigger than the traditional mandolin and has a richer sound. The Gibson mandolin invented by Orville Gibson is a perfect example of this type.
  • F-Style Flat Back - Derived from the A-style, this mandolin has f-holes much like the ones on a violin.

First Known Mandolins:

The mandolin is a plucked string instrument believed to have evolved from the lute and emerged during the 18th century. The mandolin has a pear-shaped body and 4 pairs of strings.

Mandolin Players:

There are many well-known mandolin players, among them are: Samuel Siegel, Willian Place, Jr., Silvio Ranieri;, Hugo D'Alton, Dave Appollon and David "Dawg" Grisman. Bill Monroe is known as the "Father of Bluegrass", Tiny Moore popularized the use of mandolin in jazz and swing music and Jethro Burns is also one of the most famous jazz mandolin players.

Additional Mandolin Resource:

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