0dbkelley 8 years ago ReplyUpvotethere are 8 strings on a mandolin (not 5) and they are tuned the same as a violin. GDAE, G is the lowest pitch, thickest string, highest up when looking at a mandolin being played by someone. the strings are doubled, so two identical g, d a and e strings. it's GG DD AA EE. they are not octave strings as on a 12 string guitar, just doubled strings. there are perfect 5ths between each of the note names on open mandolin strings, unlike a guitar which is in perfect 4ths, (GDAE is the inverse in musical math from EADG), so you can't play guitar lines on a mandolin unless you stick to only playing on one string. So like with learning banjo or ukulele, if you already play guitar you will not be able to translate your chording and soloing skills to the mandolin. Chording on the mando needs to be relearned unless you are coming from a violin background (a mandolin is basically a fretted violin with doubled strings that you pluck with a pick instead of bowing or finger picking as with a violin).