Is Mandolin A Violin?

Is Mandolin A Violin


Mandolin is considered to be one of the most beautiful instruments. Its elegance and grace are matched by just a few others. Lovingly carved and handcrafted, these instruments are equally expensive as they are beautiful. But it does look like a violin, doesn’t it? So the question is, is mandolin a violin?

Is Mandolin A Violin?

Well, no, otherwise, it would also be named violin. However, it will not be wrong to say that the mandolin is basically a violin, but without a bow. Where the violin is played with the help of a bow (a stick with a horsehair ribbon tied to it), the mandolin is played with the help of a puck or pick.

What Do the Violin and Mandolin Have in Common?

There are many similarities between both instruments, some of which are listed below.

Similar Build:

Yes, there are glaring differences between the build of both instruments, but there are some similarities too. For example, classical violins have F-style holes, just like F-style mandolins. The Neapolitan violins have oval or semicircular holes, just like A-style holes. Additionally, the bridge with strings is placed on both types of instruments, which is similar to both instruments.


A violin has only 4 strings, but mandolins have 8 strings in total, 4 strings repeated twice. But both instruments have the same tessitura: G, D, A, E. It’s just that in the mandolin, there is a pair of strings placed in the position, compared to the violin where a single string is enough for its own place.

Music Style:

Both types of instruments perform equally beautifully in the folk music and bluegrass genre. The thing here is that the violin is suitable for many genres, and both instruments can be combined for most genres of music seamlessly.


But even with all these similarities, you should not forget the fact that the violin is a bowed string instrument, whereas the mandolin is a plucked string instrument.

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Is Mandolin Easy If You Play Violin?

Yes, technically it is. The main difference comes between bowing and plucking techniques. In fact, for a mandolin player, playing the violin is very easy as bowing techniques are much easier than plucked ones. However, it can be a bit difficult when transitioning from violin to mandolin. But still, compared to many other instruments, if you are capable of playing one of these 2 instruments, chances are that you can play the other one too with a little bit of practice.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Can violinists play mandolin?

Ans: Yes, they can. For the detailed answer, scroll above to the question: Is Mandolin Easy If You Play Violin?

Q: Is mandolin fingering the same as a violin?

Ans: Both instruments are tuned in the same way. Additionally, both have their strings in cases G D A E, thus, the finger pattern is mostly the same.

Q: Can you play the mandolin with an A bow?

Ans: Well, you can, but not only the music produced will not sound good, but your bow will also get damaged. It’s just like playing the guitar with a bow. In other words, you are murdering a cat, figuratively and literally. The bow is the literal cat, and your music the figurative one, because let’s be honest, no matter how skilled you are, there will still be some out-of-sync notes interrupting your music.

Q: What are the best mandolins under $1k?

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