Ukulele vs Mandolin – Which to go for? Find Out!

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What is Ukelele?

If you have been looking for a fun way to pass the time, have a little musical competition with friends, or just want to learn how to play a new instrument without committing too much time, then this is the blog post for you! Ukuleles are small and easy to carry around with you.

This article contains a list of some of the best websites and apps out there to learn how to play the ukulele. It also tells you where to get a ukulele, what kinds exist, and even explains some of their features.

The ukulele is an instrument that has been played for over a century, yet it’s still one of the most popular choices for both beginners and experienced musicians. This post will explore the history, purposes, and construction of this plucked string instrument with four strings.

Originally from Hawaii in 1879, this instrument has made its way into the hands of people around the world to become a multicultural gem.

Types of Ukelele

The ukulele belongs to the lute family of instruments and is most closely related to the banjo. The ukulele derives its name from the Hawaiian word “ukulele” which means “the gift that came here”. Early versions were made with bodies made of wood, usually jackwood, and necks fashioned from gut strings with a bridge at either end.

These parts are then all strung on nylon strings. The first ukulele had a body that was roughly a third of the size of a modern soprano ukulele. Early models were made with a single neck and up to seven strings.

The first ukuleles were strung with gut strings and tuned like the lute-like it tuned up an octave (that is, the four lowest strings are D-G-D-G). This tuning gives them their characteristic sound.


The ukulele is a stringed instrument, usually, from Hawaii where it was invented, that can be plucked with fingers or strummed with a guitar pick. It is small and relatively easy to play, making it a great instrument for beginners or children.

Its neck is usually made of either Hawaiian Koa or Queensland kauila wood, which are both extremely hardwoods.

  • The bridges are generally made of plastic, but in some cases wood.
  • It has six nylon strings tuned in unison.
  • The ukulele was originally designed for playing in Hawaiian music, but it is now used in many other musical forms.
  • There is often a small action button at the bottom of the ukulele which you can press to tune it more easily.

What is Mandolin?

Mandolin is a musical instrument that has been played since the times of ancient Greeks. It is created out of a rather large piece of wood or a composite, encasing strings that are made of metal, horsehair, and skin. In general, the instrument is held with two hands on either side and used to produce sounds by plucking. The instrument produces an upbeat whirring sound when being played properly.

The actual name of the instrument is a mandolin, but the term mandolin is also used to refer to different sizes of instruments that play the same way. In many parts of Europe, for instance, they have a variety of mandolin-like instruments which are not exactly the same as a real-mandolin, but they have design elements in common with each other.

When referring to a specific type of instrument then it may be called a mandolin or a fiddle. When referring to the string instrument in general, the word mandolin should be used. The main purpose of the instrument was to create music that could be heard by people even if it was too soft for them to see the musician playing.

Without mandolins present, there would definitely be silence at times when watching someone perform on stage. It is one of those instruments which are good at taking away only the sounds needed to make something pretty, but also loud enough for others to hear it as well.

Types of Mandolin

Mandolin is the name given to the plucked musical instrument which has a soundboard with an eight-to-twelve course triangular pegbox. This type of mandolin originated in 18th century Northern Italy.


The bridge is glued or screwed on, while some instruments feature adjustable bridges or none at all. The soundboard is made of spruce or cedarwood, with a teardrop-shaped, semi-circular soundhole. This shape is usually emblazoned with a decorative rosette. The back and ribs are usually made from maple wood, while the neck is made from either maple or walnut wood.

The pegboxes of the mandolin can be straight (classical) or curved (today’s more popular). The pegbox runs the full length of the instrument, with the exception of some curved-box instruments which have a smaller box on the bottom portion. The form of this mandolin is also different from that of the lute. The endpin on this mandolin is located behind the soundboard at the point where the neck meets the body, not at or near its base.


  • Acoustic, electric, and classical
  • Classical mandolin tunes in tabs
  • Online lessons with accompanying video tutorials
  • A comprehensive collection of beginner Celtic Folk songs in tablature and standard notation
  • Over 800 songs in the song library!


To be able to play either of these instruments, you’ll need to first learn the basics of how to read the music. If you are interested in learning both, they are similar enough that you can invest in a single instrument for practice or simply use one as your main instrument. They both have their own unique sound and many songs have been written using only ukulele or mandolin so there is plenty of material available.


Which is easier ukulele or mandolin?

In general, the ukulele is going to be an easier instrument for most players to get a grasp on. The mandolin has a much more intuitive tuning. As far as memorizing the notes, the mandolin has the advantage here. … The styles of music that the mandolin is used for requiring higher degrees of skill.

Is playing a mandolin-like ukulele?

While they generally resemble one another, they’re very different. A mandolin is tuned in perfect fifths (like a violin), while a ukulele is more similar to the guitar. A mandolin has four pairs of steel strings and each pair is (usually) tuned in unison, while a ukulele usually has nylon strings.

Is the mandolin a good first instrument?

For beginners to playing an instrument, the mandolin is a great option for starting your musical journey. … It also has less strings than many other instruments, like the guitar, which makes reading tablature much easier.

Is the ukulele hard to play?

Overall, learning the ukulele is not very hard for most people, which is why it’s one of the most popular instruments in the world. The learning curve is short – even a beginner can pick up some basic chords and play!


Q: What mandolin should I buy?

A: Price Range. On today’s market,you can find excellent mandolin options starting as low as a couple of hundred dollars. A-style vs. F-style,F-holes vs. … Bowlback Options. … Acoustic vs. … Solid Wood vs. … New vs. …

Q: What is the best beginner mandolin?

A: The Best Beginner Mandolin: Final Thoughts There are good qualities in each of these choices, but it is evident that there is just one clear winner of the four mandolins being reviewed. The GWMA-2 Mandolin is the best of the featured instruments based on quality, performance, and the fact that the mandolin features a truss rod, which prevents …

Q: What is the difference between a lute and a mandolin?

A: – In the middle east there is an emphasis on melody, so it’s played with a pick; the lute is played with fingers, and to accomodate accurate harmonies it has frets. – Middle eastern scales have many quarter tones, so the oud is fretless. – Ouds have double strings except for the lowest bass string

Q: Is ukulele too similar to guitar?

A: Yes, it’s similar. The principle is the same: you have strings that you strum or pluck, frets to put your fingers on, etc. The main differences are of course the size and the amount of strings: a ukulele is a lot smaller than a guitar and only has four strings instead of six, which are tuned differently to the ones on the guitar.