Small, yet powerful, the mandolin finds its roots in the lute family. It's usually plucked with a pick or plectrum. Most mandolins feature eight metal strings, which are tuned in pairs. The tuning of two each makes four sets of strings in total. Some mandolin models have 10 or 12 strings. The closest acoustic relatives to the mandolin include the mandola, octave mandolin and mandocello.
History of Mandolin
The history of the mandolin can be traced back to 13,000 BC. A cave painting in France depicts a beautiful musical bowl which is now known as the mandolin. Many believe the musical bowl was the oldest version and very first development in the family of the stringed instruments. Obviously, many improvements and developments have been created and implemented over the years and today’s mandolin is quite advanced from its earlier predecessor. In essence, the mandolins evolved from the basic lute. The lute was very famous in the cities of Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. In the 19th century, the deep bowled mandolin produced in Naples also rose to great fame.
Differences Between Mandolin Body Shapes
The most common shapes are A-Style and F-Style. Reflecting the history of the Florentine mandolins, the hand carved scrolls and stunning lines of our F-Style mandolins epitomize the beauty of an acoustic instrument. The A-Style reflects a tear-drop or pear shape and can vary from builder to builder. While not as traditional as the F-Style mandolins, the depth of tone and simple lines in our A-Style add to the life of every music genre out there. Sonically they are similar – but the A-Style can be less expensive due to its easier build process.
At Weber, our standard mandolins are offered in F-Style and A-Style body shapes. Reflecting the history of the Florentine mandolins, the hand carved scrolls and stunning lines of our F-Style mandolins epitomize the beauty of an acoustic instrument. Soundboards are graduated and tuned by hand for maximum tone and volume. While not as traditional as the F-Style mandolins, the depth of tone and simple lines in our A series add to the life of every music genre out there.
Popular Methods for Learning the Mandolin
Perhaps the most effective method for learning to play the mandolin is to take lessons from an accomplished mandolin teacher. Traditionally, this would involve a student meeting with, and receiving lessons from, a reputable music teacher. However, in today’s technological world it’s possible for mandolin students to take a variety of lessons online. Here’s a selection of online resources for players looking for online courses or instructors.
1) Peghead Nation – www.pegheadnation.com
This site offers online tutorials in beginning mandolin as well as various styles of learning. They have learning opportunities for Irish style, Monroe style, and more.
2) Mando Lessons - www.mandolessons.com
This is a great site with a tremendous amount of information on getting started and online video lessons. Lessons cover everything from fundamentals, basic technique – to advanced technique and lessons based on various music genres.
3) Mandolin Compass - www.mandolincompass.com
Mandolin Compass is an online website dedicated to learning the mandolin. It focuses on teaching mandolin to people from different backgrounds and musical styles. The lessons available are for beginners, intermediate and even advanced stages. They also offer to teach mandolin songs and solo music. A range of premium courses is also available for in-depth study and learning of the mandolin.
4) Mandozine - www.mandozine.com
This website is dedicated to learning the mandolin fretboard, scales and chords. It offers a variety of videos, practice tunes, techniques and resources.
These are just four examples of online resources available to folks looking for online methods for learning to play the mandolin. A simple google search will also yield a tremendous amount of websites and online resources to get you started playing the mandolin.
Weber offers a variety of standard and custom mandolins. We suggest visiting a local Weber dealer and playing a few different models to identify which instrument feels, sounds and looks like your perfect instrument. You should consider the following factors:
1) Playability: you’ll want to play a few instruments and select an instrument that just feels right in your hands. Find the one that speaks to you and your playing style. All of our mandolins are crafted with the utmost attention to detail and we pride ourselves on the ultimate playability of Weber mandolins.
2) Sound and Tone: the wood combinations used in the build, body shape, even the age of an instrument – can contribute to its unique sound and tone. Find an instrument that fits with your playing style goals and needs. We recommend at least 40 hours of playing time on our instruments before the sound and tone really open up.
3) Aesthetics: while the look of an instrument will rarely influence the sound, tone and overall playability – selecting an instrument that fits with your personal tastes is important. If you love the look of your new instrument, you’ll have a harder time putting it down!