Mandolin tuning for guitar players can be an issue, as mandolin tuning is different from guitar tuning: mandolin strings come in pairs and they have different tuning than that of the guitar open strings.

Fortunately mandolin tuning for guitar players is not difficult and here are step-by-step instructions.

The Mandolin Open Strings

Mandolin Open Strings

As you already know, the mandolin has four pairs of strings. Each pair is tuned to the same note.

When you hold your mandolin on your lap in playing position, then the 1st string i.e. the one closest to the floor, is an E. All the strings are as following:

  •  1st string pair is E
  • 2nd string pair is A
  • 3rd string pair is D
  • 4th string pair is G

Mandolin Tuning for Guitar Players – Instructions

Mandolin tuning for guitar players
  • Mandolin 1st string pair (E or Mi) :When holding a guitar in playing position, then the 1st open string i.e. the one closest to the floor, is an E. This is common with the mandolin.
  • Mandolin 2nd string pair (A or La): The guitar’s 2nd fret of the third string is an A (or La), at the same octave as the mandolin’s 2nd string pair.
  • Mandolin 3rd string pair (D or Re): The guitar’s 4th open string is a D, and this is the same tuning with the mandolin’s 3rd open string pair.
  • Mandolin 4th string pair (G or Sol): The guitar’s 3rd fret of the sixth string is a G (or Sol), at the same octave as the mandolin’s 4th string pair.

Mandolin Tuning for Guitar Players – Reference Table

So, here is a table that matches mandolin open strings with guitar open and fretted strings:

Mandolin Note How to play with Guitar
1st string pair E (or Mi) 1st string, open (un-fretted)
2st string pair A (or La) 3rd string, 2nd fret
3rd string pair D (or Re) 4th string, open (un-fretted)
4th string pair G (or Sol) 6th string, 3rd fret

So, now that you read that, are you ready to perform mandolin tuning with a guitar? Well, that depends! You need a trained ear to be successful. But this is another story… (check related posts to understand).