How to use finger patterns on a mandolin

By | April 4, 2021


Set your mandolin. The finger pattern musicians have written for mandolin melodies and chords do not sound right unless you are in standard mandolin tuning. The four strings of a mandolin, from bottom to top, should be adapted to these four notes: G, D, A and E.


Identify the harmonious scale of your mandolin. These are the collection notes that you should use to create finger patterns. Find your mandolin scale and scale notes online at Mandolin Caf (see Resources below), a comprehensive resource for the instrument.

Compile chord recipes. Take the first, third and fifth scale anodes for a given key and identify these on the fretboard, repeating one on the fourth string. This gives you the finger pattern for a large chord.


Use finger patterns for chord structures. Once you have found your chord recipe, put all your fingers on the fretboard and tune the strings to get the great chord sound.


Play chord variations by changing larger chord finger patterns. You will use note changes to get smaller and reduced chords and other chord structures.


Play through scalpel finger patterns to get good melodic sit sequences or solos on the mandolin.

As one of a variety of string instruments used by musicians for traditional melodies, the mandolin has its own tuning and fretboard note structure that you need to know if you want to play it. Here’s how to use ‘finger pattern’ on fretboard to produce tunes on the mandolin.