Video: Sierra Hull on Split-Tuning a Mandolin

The mandolin, like a 12-string guitar, has pairs of strings for each note instead of just one. Normally, these pairs (also known as courses) are tuned in unison. But Sierra Hull is back at the Reverb studio today to show you a slightly different way of tuning that can bring new possibilities to your playing.

In standard mandolin tuning, from low to high, your strings would be GG-DD-AA-EE. By simply changing the tuning on just a few of the individual strings—known as split-tuning—you'll be able to find new chords and voicings. Sierra twists one A and one E a whole step down in order to get GG-DD-GA-ED. Feel free to experiment however you see fit.

The split tuning will require some more precise picking on your part, but once you're comfortable, "It just gives you a different voice than what you might typically get." Feeling adventurous? Go ahead and try split-tuning on a 12-string guitar too.

If you'd like to see more Sierra Hull, check out our previous videos: "Sierra Hull on Her Signature Mandolin Style," "... Teaches 3 Mandolin Warm-Up Exercises," and "... on the Differences Between Acoustic, Electric, and Octave Mandolins."

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