How Hard Is It To Learn Mandolin? – Great Beginners Guide!

Learn: How Hard Is It To Learn Mandolin

Playing the mandolin takes dedication, just like playing other stringed instruments. When playing the mandolin, beginners often have difficulty finding the right tempo for a variety of reasons and they often ask themselves “How hard is it to learn Mandolin”.

Beginners tend to ignore the age factor when playing the mandolin. As people age, their concentration tends to go down, making it more difficult for them to learn new skills.

In addition to your experience with stringed instruments, the amount of time and practice you are willing to dedicate to learning the mandolin will determine how difficult or straightforward it is for you to learn it.

It is very easy for a guitar player to learn the mandolin, whereas a violinist might have difficulty learning it. Depending on the individual, mastering an instrument may take decades or even a lifetime.

a man playing on his mandolin - how hard is it to learn Mandolin

Despite the similarity between the mandolin tablature and other stringed instruments, the fact that one mandolin note is made by pressing down two strings complicates things.

There is one note per string on other stringed instruments.

There are some other factors that will answer your questions on “How hard is it to learn a Mandolin”. Let’s take a closer look:

Does it take long to learn the Mandolin?

Many beginners wonder how long it takes to learn to play the mandolin. There are several factors that affect this.

Mandolin lessons will be easier for students who already know how to play violins, fiddles, and guitars.

Practicing regularly, learning lessons quickly, and your commitment level all impact the answer to this question. In order to learn a new musical instrument, you must be dedicated, patient, consistent, and skilled.

It would take approximately three months for a student to gain confidence and consistency in playing the instrument by practicing every day for 30-60 minutes. Students will become more proficient as they practice more, and playing will come naturally.

Is there a way to learn quickly?

Take your time and be patient

The process of learning an instrument cannot be rushed. The early stages of the process require a great deal of patience. It would help if you take your time when learning a new instrument.

Be patient

It is very important to learn how to hold the instrument properly as the first step. In order to play each note without shifting or struggling, the mandolin should be balanced.

After you learn how to hold the mandolin comfortably, the next step is to learn how to place your hands correctly. In order to achieve balance, three points need to be considered.

Your left hand’s thumb is the first. The purpose of this is to guide the neck of the instrument. The diaphragm stabilizes the instrument and is the next balance point. Finally, you should pay attention to the inside of your right elbow.

In addition to stabilizing the instrument, this enables you to play notes and chords without excessive movement.

Make sure you know how to play each note correctly

A mandolin’s notes are G, D, A, and E. In contrast to the violin, the mandolin has four sets of strings instead of four individual strings. As a result, tuning a mandolin can be more challenging.

Developing a holding technique for your pick is the first piece of advice. In most cases, you will hold the pick with your index finger curled. When strumming chords, it is recommended to have a somewhat loose grip.

You should use a firmer grip when playing individual notes. Mandolin double strings require a firmer grip.

Strumming mandolin

You will learn simple songs more quickly if you play each note accurately. If you hold the pick confidently and comfortably, you will be able to play with ease.

It is common for some players to not spend enough time familiarizing themselves with all aspects of their instruments. Eventually, this leads to errors and bad habits. Correcting improper handling early on reduces the likelihood of developing bad habits later on.

Skills Development

Tone plays a crucial role in developing your skills. It’s time to move on to fretted notes and simple tunes once you feel comfortable playing the instrument. It is very important to practice strumming through chords.

Mastering your technique by playing through the major scales is a great idea. Practicing ascending and descending scales is also a great way to improve your playing. Practicing your skills every day will have you playing within no time.

Having fun with other people

The best way to speed up your process is to play with others who are more advanced. As a result, they will encourage you to strive for success. You may find it very helpful to learn from others who have mastered the same skills you are struggling with. Peer groups are very effective for learning because of this.

guys playing mandolin in group

A great way to expand your knowledge of the mandolin is to speak with other players. Keep in mind: Learning more about the instrument and how it works will help you develop a natural rhythm faster. Playing with others requires being open-minded and accepting suggestions. Your progress will be accelerated if you set up a weekly support group.

When you are excited about your instrument, you are more likely to practice it throughout the week. By the time you meet back with your group the following week, you will have improved a lot.

The following strategies will help you master the mandolin with confidence, ease, and longevity.

Easier & Faster Way To Learn The Mandolin

It would be advisable to take lessons either online or in person privately to make learning easier and faster.

Seeing results more quickly makes you more committed to learning and increases your chances of sticking to it.

YouTube videos are also available, which are not as good, but still a good option.

1. The Size of the Instrument

Mandolins are relatively smaller than guitars, which may not be a problem for everyone, but for people with big bodies and hands, it becomes a challenge.

few mandolins

A smaller fretboard can make it quite challenging to get the right notes.

2. Techniques for playing

Mandolin techniques are a bit hectic. In order to play this instrument effectively, both hands must be used.

The instrument is difficult to master for people who have never played another stringed instrument before. A significant challenge is also getting your fingers used to holding double strings.

Due to the narrow frets of the mandolin, it is difficult for people with large fingers to play comfortably. Mandolin players with too small fingers, however, will also be limited in their ability to play the instrument.

Two strings cannot be held simultaneously by fingers that are too small.

3. Design of the mandolin

String tension is increased by the short neck of the mandolin. You may feel some pain in your fingers due to tension. You may lose motivation and struggle to play the instrument due to the pain.

Knowing the limitations that can hinder your dreams of being a mandolin expert, you should know how to overcome these obstacles. 

Become an expert on the mandolin by improving your learning skills based on the following factors.

4. Embrace the fact that learning is difficult

Before you begin learning the mandolin, be prepared for a difficult task. Talent contributes only ten percent to a person’s success, while hard work contributes to the rest.

playing mandolin

You brace yourself for a difficult task when you know it’s coming. This mindset allows you to be patient when making mistakes or learning at a slower pace than others, and you rarely lose hope when making mistakes or learning at a slower pace.

In the beginning, you may progress well, but later in the process, you may stall. Don’t forget that you have undertaken a difficult task that will require more effort on your part.

5. Identify your learning style

The most effective way to learn the mandolin is to know what tactics work for you. By contrast, you won’t be able to learn effectively if you use methods that don’t work. 

If you can learn more by listening, you should use audio in such cases. Those who are visual learners should hire an instructor. 

The majority of people prefer to read written material before they learn an instrument. When you don’t know where you fit exactly, learning becomes a hellish experience.

6. Be careful not to overload yourself

It takes a combination of skills to play the mandolin. Make sure you memorize the fretboard positions one by one. Slowly learn the skills and gradually increase your speed.

It is impossible to learn everything at once. Make realistic goals that you can accomplish. It is important to remember that even the best mandolin players once played like you.

7. Maintaining discipline 

Time management is determined by discipline. Having precise control over your practice schedule makes it easy to stay on top of it. The discipline of practicing the mandolin involves avoiding procrastination.

If you want to achieve faster, you will have to make some sacrifices. Missing your favorite television show to attend mandolin practice is one example of such a sacrifice. Having a low discipline level will only make learning the mandolin more frustrating.

This is a video by ‘MandoLessons’ where you can learn more about the mandolin, they have nice videos for beginners.

Wrapping Up

In the beginning, determining how hard it is to learn to play the mandolin is important, but once you get started, you just need to start playing and practicing constantly.

You will be able to play the mandolin easily if you love it, but you will need to put in some time and effort.

Playing the mandolin takes dedication and practice, but if you do, you will be well rewarded for years to come.

Practicing more than just a few minutes a day will increase your skills faster. Additionally, it will become easier. If you put in more effort, you will see results.

Happy Strumming!

Felix Sanchez

Felix Sanchez

Felix Sanchez specializes in string instruments and their use in contemporary music. Felix is passionate about music and has studied and played a variety of string instruments including guitars, ukuleles, and cellos.

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Strings Kings