How To String A Mandolin [A Comprehensive Guide]

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If you have a mandolin and don’t know how to string a mandolin in the right way, I am here today to tell you about this. You’ll get so many benefits by changing the strings of your mandolin and keeping it fresh. But, when it comes to changing the strings on your own, it may seem quite challenging to you.

As the mandolin is a much smaller instrument and you need to change a total of eight strings in the entire process, you may think you can’t do it yourself. 

Trust me, and if you know the basics and necessary steps to do it, you will love to do it. Stay with me throughout this comprehensive step by step guide so that you know everything about stringing a mandolin.

Therefore, without delaying anymore, let’s begin.

Why You Should Change the Mandolin Strings

Restringing a mandolin is a pretty much common phenomenon. If any of the String of your mandolin breaks, you need to change your mandolin strings. So, you can notice that most of the strings are quite brittle. That is why changing strings often is a good practice as it will protect you from any kind of injuries that can happen from string breaking.

However, when you should change the strings of your mandolin is a judgmental thing. So, you have to know when you should restring it. Another critical point is the sound of the String will become dull and inefficient. Over time, strings may become discolored, especially in some particular spot of the strings where you touch them with your finger so often.

The remarkable thing is that the changes in the strings happen gradually, so you have to notice carefully to sense the string changes. Sound from a new string is pretty much improved from the sound from the old string. With new strings installed, the mandolin will tune so correctly, and you can experience a whole new level of musical experience.

Restringing a mandolin will make it perfect, and it will produce quality tone and sound. Moreover, changing strings will improve the playability of the instrument. If you set up the mandolin in a professional music shop, the strings are already correctly set up.

However, if you buy a new mandolin, it is wise to restrain it immediately because it is highly possible that the manufacturer made it a long time ago, which is why you should change it properly. And of course, always find the best mandolin strings for you so that you can use them for a long time and tune string properly.

Required Accessories:

To complete the stringing process correctly, you will need the following accessories.

  • New strings
  • Wire Cutters
  • A tuner
  • Peg winder

Besides, you may need a pencil or marker to mark the exact spot of the bridge. You may also need an eraser, mandolin string gauges and tape measure to complete the process.

How to string a mandolin

How to String a Mandolin: (Steps You Should Follow)

As you already know, stringing a mandolin is not rocket science at all. But, there are some technical things which you should know to complete the task. In this section, I am showing you all the necessary steps you should follow to string a mandolin.

Step 1: Select a Proper Working Space

First of all, you have to find out the right space for working with your mandolin. You must clear out the spot properly so that you can find all of your necessary kinds of stuff quickly. To protect the back of the mandolin, you can place it on your lap, or you can place the mandolin on a towel so that the back of the instrument remains safe. 

Step 2: Start loosening your first String

At this step, turn the tuning peg on the head of the mandolin. You have to turn it carefully to loosening the String. While turning, you have to remember the direction in which you are doing this because, while wrapping up the new String, you must follow the same direction.

At this point, you just need to loosen the String so that you can remove it easily whenever you want. It is unnecessary to loosen the String entirely at this moment.

Step 3: Remove the Cover of the Tailpiece

At this moment, you need to remove the tailpiece cover of your mandolin. Knowing how to remove mandolin tailpiece cover will surely boost your confidence here. Tailpiece cover differs from model to model. So, you have to find out how you can remove it quickly in case of your mandolin.

However, in most cases, you can remove them by lifting, or it could be a simple sliding up procedure. Whatever the method is, you just need to uncover the tailpiece for the next step.

Step 4: Remove the first String

Now, you have to remove the first String that you had already loosened in step 2. In a general sense, strings of the mandolin are attached to some kind of hooks.

The tailpiece usually covers these hooks for giving your arms protection from it. You just have to remove the loop of the String from the hook, and you can easily remove the entire String from the mandolin.

Step 5: Remove Rest of the Strings

Now, you have to remove the rest of the strings from the mandolin by following the same method. You may get suggestions to remove one String and attach a new single string at first. I don’t like this method because you’ll benefit from removing all old String at a time, which I will discuss in a while.

Step 6: Remove the Bridge and Mark its Position

If you have already removed all of the mandolin strings, the bridge has already been loosening. In this case, you may want to mark the bridge’s position properly so that you can reattach it in the same spot.

However, in most cases, you don’t need to mark the bridge’s spot because you’ll see a little bit discoloration in that spot. Therefore, you can easily find it out.

Step 7: Clean the Mandolin Properly

In this step, you have to clean the mandolin thoroughly. I talked about this excellent benefit, which you will get only if you remove all the strings at the same time. You should clean the bridge carefully as well.

Step 8: Begin attaching the new String

Now, it’s time to start attaching the new String to the mandolin. First of all, you have to attach the loop of the strings onto the hook in the mandolin’s tailpiece. You should never bend the String, otherwise, it will decrease its efficiency. However, you have to make sure that you attach the right String to the right hook of the tailpiece.

Step 9: Pull the String across the Mandolin

In this step, you have to pull the String along with the mandolin. In this case, you have to maintain the tension properly so that it remains hooked. You must align it with the right slot on the bridge, which is the closest one to the tailpiece and, of course, with the nut. 

This alignment should be done correctly. You must reattach the bridge at the right spot you have marked before. Otherwise, it may affect the relative tuning of the mandolin.

Step 10: Attach the String to the Tuning Peg Correctly

This is the most crucial part of attaching the String to the mandolin. You have to insert the String to the hole of the tuning peg in a proper way. Leaving a little slack, in this case, will make your day shiner. However, you have to make sure that you pulled the String properly. 

The wise decision will be here to keep enough slack so that the String attached correctly, and you don’t need to face any kind of hassle while pulling it up. In most of the cases, mandolin strings come lengthy than your requirement. You don’t need to worry a bit about that. You can always cut the excess String whenever you want.

Step 11: Tighten the String Correctly

It is another crucial step in stringing a mandolin. In this step, you need to tighten the String properly. You have to use the tuning peg for this purpose. Firstly, bend the String’s free end carefully. It will prevent the String from slipping through the hole when you turn the tuning peg. 

You need to turn the tuning peg accurately so that it wraps around the post in the correct direction. Can you remember in step 2 I told you to notice the direction? You have to tighten the String according to the same direction.

You also have to remember that you should keep enough space for all of the strings so that they all can wrap around the post properly. When you tighten the String, it should wrap for at least two to three times. You have to make sure that the String is in the right place of the bridge and the nut. You have to tighten the String carefully so that you can tune it again effortlessly.

Step 12: Attach Rest of the Strings

At this point, you need to attach the rest of the strings to the mandolin. You have to follow the same method while attaching the rest of the strings. However, make sure that all strings are in the correct spot in the bridge and the nut.

Step 13: Cut Off the Excess Strings

It is another critical step for the entire stringing process. Generally, strings are sharp enough to injure anyone. That is why you must cut off the excess strings so that everybody, especially you, remains safe while playing it. You can use a wire cutter for cutting off the excess strings.

Given that it is made of metal, wire cutters are good enough to get the job done. However, you have to make sure that you only cut the excess part of the strings, not the necessary part.

Step 14: Stretch Out the New Strings

Generally, strings may go out of tune so often. In this case, it may ruin your day. In this case, you can save your day by stretching out the strings manually. While tuning for the first time, you can stretch them just by slightly over-tightening the strings. Or, in case of changing the String, you can also stretch them out manually to get them back in the tuning.

To start the stretching task, you just need to pull strings away from the mandolin’s neck. Each time you pull them out, you will see the pitch will fall flat. However, you should never pull strings too tightly. You should also keep your eyes safe while doing the stretching process.

Step 15: Replace the Tailpiece Cover

If you have completed everything as per the guideline, you will probably be almost at the end of the stringing process. At this point, you have to replace the tailpiece cover carefully. If you can attach a new cover that will be good for you as new tailpiece cover may come with high durability.

Step 16: Tune the Mandolin

As you are at step 16 right now, I am assuming that you have completed the stringing process. Here is the last but not the least step in this entire process. In this stage, you need to tune the mandolin.

You may get unstable tuning at first. But, you will get a stable tuning within some days. During this period, you should retune the mandolin more frequently. However, the mandolin will be in proper tuning at the right time.

How to String Mandolin

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Final Words

Changing the strings of a mandolin is necessary to improve the sound quality of it. It may seem challenging to change the strings for the first time. But, if you follow the instructions correctly, you can change the strings conveniently.

In this comprehensive guide, I tried to gather all the necessary information you need to know about the string process. I believe after reading the whole article, now you know how to restring mandolin in the right way.  So, Buy the best mandolin and tune them perfectly.

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