Our Instruments

Our mandolin orchestra is composed of sections of Mandolins, Octave Mandolas, Classical Guitars and Bass.

The mandolin family of instruments consists of the Mandolin, Tenor Mandola, Octave Mandola (sometimes called the Octave Mandolin), Mandocello and Mandobass. The mandolin is tuned the same as the violin – G D A E – and therefore makes an excellent crossover instrument for violinists.

The Tenor Mandola is tuned the same as a viola – C G D A – while the Octave Mandola is tuned the same as the mandolin (G D A E) but an octave lower. As music for the Octave Mandola is written in treble clef, it is generally considered to be easier to play and therefore is more popular in mandolin orchestras than the Tenor Mandola, whose music is written in alto clef unless it is otherwise transposed.

The Mandocello is tuned the same as a cello – C G D A – and is an octave lower then the Tenor Mandola. Music for the Mandocello is written in the bass clef.

The more rare and very large Mandobass is the deepest sounding instrument, and is tuned in fourths E A D G. The Mandobass is held upright and takes quite a lot of finger strength to play.

The Mandocello and Mandobass are generally referred to as the Bass section, and this can also include the Acoustic Bass Guitar or upright Double Bass.

All of the mandolin family instruments apart from the Mandobass have four pairs of strings, with both strings in a pair tuned to the same note and pitch – for example a mandolin has two Gs, two Ds, two As and two Es. They are all fretted and, apart from the Mandobass, are plucked with a plectrum, rather than bowed like a violin. The Mandobass has single strings which are plucked directly with the fingers.

We have a number of instruments available for use on loan to orchestra members. These include Mandolins, Octave Mandolas, Mandocellos and even Mandobass. Please feel free to contact us if you are interested in trying any of these instruments, with a view to joining the orchestra.