Get help learning to play the Mandolin with useful Apple apps.

By Marlon Votta - Sep 2, 2011

The mandolin (Italian: mandolino) is a musical instrument in the lute family (plucked, or strummed). It descends from the mandore, a soprano member of the lute family. The mandolin soundboard (the top) comes in many shapes, but generally round, teardrop-shaped, sometimes with scrolls, or other projections. A mandolin may have f-holes, or a single round or oval sound hole. A round or oval sound hole may be bordered with decorative rosettes or purfling, but usually doesn’t feature an intricately carved grille like a Baroque era mandolin.

Early mandolins had six double courses of gut strings, tuned similarly to lutes, and plucked with the fingertips. Modern mandolins, which originated in Naples, Italy in the late 18th century generally, have four double courses (four pairs) of metal strings, which are plucked with a plectrum. Many variants of the mandolin have existed. These include Milanese, Lombard, Brescian and other 6-course types, as well as four-string (one string per course), twelve-string (three strings per course), and sixteen-string (four strings per course). Mandolins come in several forms and we thought it would be a good idea to show you some apps on Mandolins compatible with the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

ChordFinder For Mandolin by Terence Palmer is an extensive chord library with various voicings on the fretboard. With finger suggestions and played notes being shown users will have all the help they need playing chords. This application is available to download for £0.69 at the App Store.

Fret Surfer Mandolin Trainer by Jason Neufeld has two main game modes, fret by note and note by fret. With quizzes on your knowledge of the fret board, you will have your statistics recorded to assist you with learning. Customize which frets and strings you feel you need more tests on allowing you to master certain areas at a time. This is the ideal app to help users learn notes and improve their playing. This application is £1.99/$2.99 over at the App Store.

Mandolin Tuner Simple by Solutions SW is meant for a standard mandolin, in GDAE tuning. This app can assist users with the difficulty of tuning their mandolin. Apparently, the more you do it the better you become. Make your mandolin sound how it should and get the best out of your notes and general playing. Just touch the note for the string you want to tune and then turn the tuning pegs on your mandolin and match it up with the tone that is being played. Remember each string in a pair is exactly the same note. This is how it creates a chorus-like effect. With extensive information, this application is ideal for tuning and getting to grips with the sound of your Mandolin. For more information on this, head over to the App Store and download for £0.69/$0.99.

Mandolin by Yonac Inc. is a great way to turn your iPhone into a Mandolin. Although it does not have the personality of a luthier-crafted instrument, this could be ideal for people learning the real thing and not having to carry an instrument everywhere they go. With three different sounds, or “instruments”, Mandolin also offers a new zero-latency picking/plucking algorithm combined with a choice of three different plucking modes, you can execute different playing techniques with ease and speed. Tune your own stings to personalize your own sound and change fret board orientation, left-handed mode and pluck-only-modes picking sensitivity. For £1.49/$1.99, this is a great application especially if you cannot get hold of a mandolin. For more information on this, visit the App Store.

Whether you are learning to tune your instrument, need help with chords or just having fun, these easy to use apps all have something to offer. Do you own a mandolin? These instruments can be quite hard to get hold off and are sometimes quite expensive. The sound created by a mandolin is beautiful and unique. I have been practicing on one recently and they are not that easy to play.

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