Mandolin Vs Guitar: What’s The Difference?

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When it comes to stringed instruments, mandolins and guitars are two of the most popular. Though they may look similar, these instruments have several distinct features that set them apart. So, mandolin vs guitar, what’s the difference? Read on to find out.

What Is a Mandolin?

The mandolin is a stringed musical instrument that belongs to the same family as the lute and other stringed instruments. Its standard arrangement consists of four divisions of double metal strings, for a total of eight strings that are all tuned to the same pitch.

While there are various mandolin types, the two most common are the Classical and Bluegrass mandolins. Classical mandolins have a pear-shaped body and produce a mellower sound, while Bluegrass mandolins are more oblong in shape and have a brighter sound.

What Is a Guitar?

The guitar is another stringed musical instrument that is popular around the world. Its standard arrangement includes six steel or nylon strings that are all tuned to the same pitch. The guitar can be played with a pick or with fingers.

There are various types of guitars, including acoustic guitars, electric guitars, and classical guitars. Acoustic guitars are the most popular type and are played unplugged, while electric guitars are plugged into an amplifier to create a louder sound.

Mandolin vs Guitar: What’s the Difference?

The following are some key differences between the Mandolin and the Guitar:

  • There are only 6 or 12 strings on a guitar, and the mandolin has only eight strings
  • A guitar will be tuned in fourths, whereas a mandolin will be tuned in fifths.
  • The pitch of a mandolin is higher than a guitar.


If you don’t like the sound that a guitar makes, you could find the sound that a mandolin makes to be more to your liking because of the significant differences between the two.

Since the sound that mandolins generate is able to readily cut through the sound of a band, it is an excellent instrument to have in your arsenal if you are interested in doing a significant amount of solo work.

If you have played the guitar before, you will find that your strumming or picking hand would have an easier time adjusting to the new position. Thanks to this, it will be much simpler for you to direct your complete attention to your other hand, which will result in you learning new note placements and chord structures.


The guitar’s body is one of the most defining characteristics that set the instrument apart from other stringed instruments.

Different neck widths are used in the construction of guitars by the vast majority of guitar makers. There are a variety of neck sizes available to accommodate various playing techniques, including fingerpicking.

When it comes to determining the neck width of your instrument, you will need to consider both your own personal tastes and the types of music you want to play on your guitar in order to make the best choice. When it comes to buying a guitar, this decision will fall to you.

Can You Use The Mandolin Like A Guitar?

Standard guitars contain six individual strings, with the exception of the bass guitar. A mandolin, on the other hand, has eight strings that are coupled to four courses. The mandolin’s two strings tend to intimidate beginning musicians since it might be difficult to play a note on them.

One advantage of playing mandolin is that its strings are much thinner than those of a guitar; in addition, because they are so close to one another, they provide the impression of being a single string.

When compared to guitar strings, the tension on mandolin strings is significantly higher as they are locked in place under greater stress. This causes beginning players to experience some discomfort in their fingers until they get used to playing.

To make matters worse, the strings are very thin, so you can imagine the amount of pressure that is placed on the fingertips. Therefore, the mandolin cannot be played like a guitar


When it comes to mandolin vs guitar, there are a few key differences that you need to be aware of. These include the number of strings, how they are tuned, and the overall sound that each instrument produces.

If you are looking for an instrument that is able to cut through the sound of a band, then the mandolin is a great option. However, if you are looking for an instrument that you can use to play a variety of styles of music, then the guitar might be a better option for you.

Jim Henneberry

Jim Henneberry

I love playing my guitar, and my kids got hooked along with me.
This is a family thing now - why don't you join the family fun? :)