Standard mandolin tuning is the same as the violin – G, D, A, E from low to high.
Of course, the mandolin has eight strings arranged in four sets of two and tuned to the same pitch - so in full, your mandolin is tuned G, G, D, D, A, A, E, E.
Having to tune eight strings in sets of two can be a little confusing at first – especially for guitarists and violin players who are used to tuning individual strings. However, you’ll find this confusion is short-lived and you will be tuning your mandolin like it's second nature in no time.
It’s worth considering if you’re a guitarist wanting to discover the delights of the mandolin that the mandolin is tuned the opposite way to a guitar with the second lowest strings on a mandolin corresponding to the second highest on a guitar, and so on. This means that many mandolin chords are the same as guitar chords, only in reverse. You'll be pleasantly surprised how easy this concept is to grasp once you start playing your mandolin.
As with any string instrument, the mandolin can be tuned in several different ways. These include:
G, G, D, D, A, A, D, D
A, A, D, D, A, A, E, E
G, G, D, D, G, G, D, D
G, G, D, D, G, G, B, B
Why not try these alternate mandolin tunings out? You’ll be amazed how fun they are and how they get your creative juices flowing, thus improving your overall playing.
Like all string instruments, mandolins require frequent tuning. It is always good practice to tune your mandolin before playing, and an electronic chromatic tuner is the quickest and easiest way to achieve this.