The Mandolin is an often misunderstood instrument. Though it seems relegated to limited musical genres, it is a versatile, tonally beautiful instrument. It has four pair of strings, tuned to the same notes as a violin (E-A-D-G) and played with a thick, tortoise-shell plectrum (pick).

Though the mandolin was made more widely known in America by Bill Monroe, the Granddaddy of Bluegrass music, the history of the mandolin goes back much farther than that. It is more widely used than you might think, and is an integral part of man cultures.

See the following article for an expansive discussion of the instrument and its history.

The Mandolin on Wikipedia