Friday, February 5, 2010

Part 2: Mandolin Tuning - Tutorial and Advice from Imre

Alright, time to finish the supplemental post to my video on tuning a mandolin.

First of all I'll start with saying that the method I use to tune my mandolin is the way I like to do it. I'm pretty certain there is nothing really wrong with starting at the G strings and working my way through to the E's using an electronic chromatic tuner, and then going through again by fretting the strings at the seventh fret and tuning the next pair (since a mandolin is tuned in fifths, fretting a pair of strings at the seventh fret will have the same note as the next higher pitched pair of strings; e.g. fret a G at the seventh fret and you get an D, which is the same note as the next set of strings played open). But I've read about other tactics such as tuning your A string first using either an electronic tuner or another instrument (usually a piano) and then tuning the rest of the strings to that nicely tuned A string. My ultimate recommendation is as usual, do a little research and pick the one that you're the most pleased with.

And remember that "wawawa" sound I talked about in the video in regard to when two strings are almost in tune with each other? Technically that phenomenon is called a "beat" or "beats" and the last two links in my resources section are on that topic. Mind you, those sites get quite specific and for some musicians it may be too much information. If you're not that interested in the physics of sound (instead of being inspired you start drooling), then at the least it's worthwhile knowing that if you want two strings to be tuned exactly the same, then you should hear no beats. Remember, the further off tune two strings are, the faster that beating sound... wawawa...  is.

I'll end by saying that my book from Amazon arrived today - Mel Bay's Complete Mandolin Method. Kudos to Amazon for a super speedy delivery; got the book in two days with 3-5 day shipping. Sweet! First impressions of this book are quite good. I especially like the DVD too; no hype or ton of talk. Instead you see a fellow playing through almost each example in the book. Very good if you're new to reading music or have issues with timing.

Have fun playing your mandolin if you got one and if you don't, then whatcha waiting for? :) Also remember to subscribe and check me out on Facebook (become a Fan!).

Web Resources
http://www.mandolincafe.com/
http://www.squidoo.com/playmandolin
http://www.drpsychotic.com/mandolin/index.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beat_%28acoustics%29
http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/Sound/U11l3a.cfm

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