Don't forget to look in on our Mandolin Accessories.
Mandolin means 'small mandola' and is the soprano of the lute family. The typical mandolin has a hollow wooden body with a tailpiece to support metal strings and appropriate tuning devices The mandolin is plucked (or picked) with a plectrum and most versions have 4 courses of two strings tuned in unison (total 8 strings), although five and six versions do exist. The most popular tuning combination is GDAE, the same as a violin and, like any plucked instrument, mandolin notes decay to silence rather than sound out continuously as is the case with bowed instruments (e.g. cello), or a guitar when strummed.
There are many types and styles of mandolin, but the three main types are; the round-backed mandolin, the carved-top mandolin and the flat-backed mandolin. Gibson (famous for their guitars) introduced the two "f" sound holes in the early part of the 20th century which has been adopted by many manufacturers since.
In the UK and Ireland flat back mandolins are the most common.