Mandolins are a famous stringed musical instrument from the European Renaissance era. It is a simple plucked stringed instrument of the lute class and is usually plucked using a plectrum held flatly against the fingers. It is one of the earliest designs of string instruments and was created around the mid-1400s. It most often has two courses of double thin metal strings tuned simultaneously, thus providing a total of eight strings, but sometimes only five and six-string models do exist.
The most famous mandolin variant in use today is the Amazon, a version of which can be seen in popular, early music. A variety of other popular designs such as the Solfeggio, the Sonora, and the Vibrato are also available. Prices vary according to the brand, and complexity of design, as well as the number of courses in the instrument. Amazon mandolins can be found for as little as $30 and can be purchased directly from an Amazon seller, or through online music shops.
Another popular alternative in the modern world is the Fretless mandolin. Like its Amazon counterpart it uses double courses of strings tuned simultaneously but produces a completely different sound. As the name suggests, it produces no noise, allowing for folk or blues based music styles to be played. While the Amazon provides a more classical alternative to this style of mandolin, the Fretless has a purely acoustic sound that works perfectly with any music style.
Another popular alternative to the electric mandolins is the acoustic/electric hybrid. These are hybrid instruments that combine the functionality of a normal mandolin with the ability to play lead when desired. They employ the function of regular mandolins with the additional function of an electric pickup attached to the end of each of the strings. An additional pickup gives them their electric sound.
Many acoustic/electric guitars have the ability to be used as mandolins as well. Acoustic guitars are those that produce sound through the body of the instrument rather than the pickup integrated into the body of the instrument. Many acoustic guitars have the ability to produce a melody when plucked. Electric guitars use pickups mounted to the guitar's body, enabling it to produce an electric tone when the string is plucked. The majority of modern electric guitars now have the ability to play mandolins through the bridge, which is incorporated into the body of the guitar as a straightened section.
It should be noted that there is currently a limit to the number of tones that these instruments can produce. They cannot produce more than sixteen notes at a time, limiting the variety of genres that can be played with them. Although, in recent years many musicians have been using mandolin orchestration in their music. These instruments have now become a part of many chamber music as well as concert music. Many cellists, concert violinists, and other string instruments utilize the mandolin to create beautiful music.
Some mandolin players also use their instrument as a means of worship. While most traditional, worshipful instruments have an octave note, the flat pick which is found on a mandolin can play one octave lower. Some of these instruments have slides which enable one to slide up one octave at a time. This is done by plucking one or more strings and then sliding the pick up or down the string to create the desired note. Some mandolins can even be completely self-producing, as they have internal electronic tuners, which enable the player to match the pitch to their own.
Due to their popularity in Asia, Japan, and Europe, these instruments are often imported into these regions where the local tradition is quite different. Some stores in these regions carry the instrument for tourists to try out, but most mandolins are imported from China. The good thing about purchasing a mandolin from China is that the factory there will directly ship the instrument to whatever location you may need it to go to. In fact, there is one store in Hong Kong that actually has an actual factory that builds these instruments. One factory in China actually builds all four styles of the F-model mandolins that can be found on the internet.