Category Archives: Mandolin

Eagle music blog articles relating to the mandolin.

Gift Vouchers from Eagle Music

Start shopping nice and early for Christmas 2018 folks!

Take the strain out of choosing a gift for your friends and loved ones and give an ‘Eagle Music Gift Voucher’ …Buy the value that you want at the time of your order.
• From £10.00
The Eagle Music Shop gift voucher is a brilliant gift to give to your musical friends and loved ones for Christmas, Birthday or that special occasion. The gift voucher can be used at any time at Eagle Music in the shop, by post or over the telephone. This gift idea takes out the problem of buying the ‘wrong’ musical gift! The value can be added to by the user at the time of ‘spending’ the voucher. Please use the drop-down options to buy your gift voucher. We write in the value and sign your gift voucher before sending it to you by FIRST CLASS UK FREE POST


Deering 11 Years Award to Eagle Music …

A big sincere hearty ‘Thank You’ to Greg, Janet and Jamie Deering for travelling all the way from San Diego, California, USA to be with us at our ‘Banjo 11’ Anniversary event to celebrate Eagle Music’s amazing eleven consecutive years as the #1 world dealership for Deering Banjos.

Deering present eagle Mussic with plaque at banjo 11

We were delighted to receive the beautiful carved maple plaque that was presented to Eagle Music at the interval of the Kruger Brothers evening concert …Also the four string ‘Irish Tuned’ Goodtime ‘Mandoline’ Banjo that was presented to our founder Steve Noon.

Deering present Steve Noon with uke banjo at Banjo 11


‘Thank You’ Greg, Janet and Jamie …for the continued supply of the finest quality world class banjos, which makes it possible for Eagle Music to make magic daily with our delighted customers! …Here’s to many more years working together for the magic of the banjo.

Weber mandolins at Eagle Music

Weber Mandolins at Eagle Music

We are delighted and very proud to announce that we are now a Prestige Dealership for Weber Hand Crafted mandolins, built in Oregon, USA. The range comprises of ‘A’ style and ‘F’ style instruments with choices of round or ‘F’ hole body construction.

Weber A14-F mandolin at Eagle Music

The Weber Bitterroot A14-F ‘A’ style ‘F’ hole Mandolin with Deluxe Case included

Here is a link to the models that have recently been built and are now in stock at Eagle Music
Bruce Weber, the leading master craftsman at Weber Mandolins, worked with his team at the Gibson Flatiron mandolin company in Montana, Bruce was in charge of production.

When Gibson moved their mandolin production to Nashville, Bruce and his team decided jointly to remain in Montana and set up Weber Mandolins. Following setting up the Weber mandolin company Bruce then moved his production team to then Bend, Oregon. The Weber mandolin and mandocello range of instruments are hand-crafted by a dedicated team of luthiers headed by Bruce to the highest specification, Bruce has faithfully taken into account classic model designs and new innovations giving exceptional quality instruments with exceptional tone and playability.

A decade of Dedication at Eagle Music with Deering Banjos

A Decade of Dedication… Eagle Music 2016

On Saturday October 22nd 2016, over two hundred banjo and bluegrass music enthusiasts from all over the world took part in our 10th anniversary celebration for Eagle Music  as the #1 world dealership for Deering Banjos USA.

The event took place in the tiny village of Armitage Bridge, Huddersfield, Yorkshire  to celebrate Eagle Music Shop’s remarkable achievement of maintaining the number one world dealership status for the California based Deering Banjo Company for the past ten consecutive years. Yes folks, ten years! We are proud as a UK family business to gain this accolade from America’s largest banjo maker! Steve Noon and daughter Rachel Price manage the business along with Steve’s son James and a team of dedicated musical staff, we still have to pinch ourselves about this achievement!

Eagle Music Celebrating Ten Years as the Number One world dealership for Deering Banjos

The one-day festival complete with workshops and performances showcased Eagle Music’s success with a glittering array of world class musical talent including the only UK performance of the North Carolina super band Kruger Brothers. JigJam (Ireland) flew in from their recent tour of the USA to support the Kruger Brothers in an evening showcase concert. Eagle Music’s MC for the event Matt Chaffer got the day rolling by announcing free refreshments to get the day rolling at 10.30am!

Throughout the day, workshops were held covering different styles of banjo playing a beginners/improvers workshop was held by Eagle Music’s Graham Holt. Bill Forster who is well known to UK festival goers is now living on the west coast of Ireland. Bill came over especially for the celebration and ran an advanced 5-string workshop. Gavin Strappe from County Tipperary, Ireland is a member of JigJam. Gavin ran an Irish tenor banjo workshop and later performed with JigJam on mandolin and tenor banjo supporting the Kruger Brothers in the evening concert.

Eagle Music Celebrating Ten Years as the Number One world dealership for Deering Banjos

Joe Mac and Bob McLean of the Uk’s own bluegrass band The Old Grey Dogs joined in with the celebrations and ran the picking sessions throughout the day.

The daytime on stage performances commenced with some fast banjo picking from the Uk’s new banjo whizz kid on the block, 19 year old James Allan. James played a brilliant set of bluegrass banjo standards that got the audience buzzing, James was accompanied on guitar by Eagle’s in-house banjo teacher Graham Holt. James recently clocked up over two and a half million views on Facebook for one of his banjo picking videos!

Eagle Music with Deering Banjos at the 10th Anniversary event

Greg, Janet and Jamie Deering took to the stage and gave an enlightening talk on the development of the banjo and its place in the modern world of popular, bluegrass, American old time, folk, roots and traditional music.

Eagle Music Celebrating Ten Years as the Number One world dealership for Deering Banjos

Kruger Brothers gave a spellbinding on-stage afternoon workshop of music and songs and captivated the audience with their on stage magic and explanation of how they work together and build their musical arrangements …The Kruger Brothers then invited everyone on stage with their own instruments to play and perform the classic song Buffalo Gals which was filmed for YouTube.

Eagle Music Celebrating Ten Years as the Number One world dealership for Deering Banjos

All the way from Dripsey in County Cork Ireland, we were uplifted with a great set of tunes and songs from long neck banjo virtuoso Pat Kelleher who was joined by his son Ricky on guitar and vocals.

Eagle Music Celebrating Ten Years as the Number One world dealership for Deering Banjos

Closing the afternoon on-stage sets, and another one of the highlights was the stunning banjo and vocal performance from Dan Walsh. Just back from a recent tour of India, Dan is without question the finest clawhammer banjo player that the UK has ever produce, playing in his own unique style. At the age of 29, Dan has only been playing the banjo for around 15 years! Now with a firm foot on the world stage playing with his own band called the Urban Folk Quartet. In the past Dan has played as far away as New Zealand and Canada as well as the USA, Denmark and Germany.

Eagle Music with Deering Banjos at the 10th Anniversary event

A DVD will be available soon as a momento of the 10th Anniversary afternoon at Eagle Music 2016.

Kruger Brother Showcase Evening Concert

The evening concert commenced with presentations from Steve and Rachel to Eagle Music staff for their extra work input towards this amazing event. Steve announced the newly introduced ‘Outstanding Eagle Customer of  The Year Award’ which was awarded to Tom Jenkins for un-waving customer loyalty over the past ten years.

Eagle Music banjo 10 Celebratipn with Deeerings and Kruger Brothers

Fresh from their storming USA summer tour JigJam, all the way from Tullamore in Ireland, took to the stage in support of Kruger Brothers. The four piece band consisting of Jamie McKeogh on guitar, lead vocals and tenor banjo, Daithi Melia on 5-String banjo and vocals, Cathal Guinan on double bass, fiddle, guitar and vocals, and Gavin Strappe on mandolin  tenor banjo and vocals won everyone over with their amazing musical ability, energy and stunning fusion of bluegrass music fused with Irish traditional music. They launched their second CD ‘Hello World’ online on the day …we’re going to hear a lot more from this multi-talented band, they are really saying hello to the world!

Eagle Music Celebrating Ten Years as the Number One world dealership for Deering Banjos

JigJam’s brilliant set was followed by the interval where a musical instrument raffle was drawn with over £1,000.00 worth of instrument prizes, all were claimed on the night!

Eagle Music banjo 10 Celebratipn with Deeerings and Kruger Brothers

A special surprise draw took place to celebrate Eagles 10th anniversary. All the names of the  persons that had bought tickets for the event were put into a hat, the lucky winner was presented with a Deering banjo from Greg, Janet and Jamie Deering!

Eagle Music banjo 10 Celebratipn with Deeerings and Kruger Brothers

Greg Deering called on Steve and Rachel presented Eagle Music with a tenth anniversary carved maple plaque in recognition of ten amazing years as the #1 world dealership.

Eagle Music Celebrating Ten Years as the Number One world dealership for Deering Banjos

Greg went on to present Steve with the latest Deering banjo model a beautiful maple six string banjo, serial number one! This banjo will join a collection of other priceless serial number one Deering banjos that have been presented to Steve and Eagle Music throughout the past ten years.

Eagle Music Celebrating Ten Years as the Number One world dealership for Deering Banjos

The showcase of the event followed with the world renown Kruger Brothers in concert. Jens Kruger is recognised by the world’s banjo community as probably the greatest 5-string banjo player of all time, along with brother Uwe Kruger on vocals and guitar and Joel Landsberg on bass. The show was spell binding with maestro banjo playing from Jens, heartfelt songs and guitar wizardry from Uwe coupled with the masterly bass playing of Joel.

Eagle Music Celebrating Ten Years as the Number One world dealership for Deering Banjos

Following their world performance with full orchestras and the Kontras Quarte, we were treated to musical bliss listening to the Spirit of the Rockies, their Roan Mountain Suite and Kruger classics form many of their past two dozen CD recordings! A standing ovation closed the evening after a much loved Kruger Brothers encore.

Eagle Music Celebrating Ten Years as the Number One world dealership for Deering Banjos

The amazing world renown Bernie Velutti, Kruger Brothers sound engineer mastered the sound throughout the day for all the on-stage artists.

What has become an annual event, is now set in the hearts so many of the UK’s popular, bluegrass, American old time, folk, roots and traditional music lovers. Eagle Music has built up its friendship over the past ten years with many of the notable UK musicians through dedication and service.

Some of the UK musicians and bands that have attended and played at the event throughout the past decade include Howard ‘Shep’ Shepherd and Mike Dexter, Down County Boys, Kentucky Cow Tippers, House Devils, Jonny Hulme, Jon Strong, Paul Bienek, Tom Napper, Nic Mann and Joe McIlvenny and the Old Grey Dogs,

Eagle Music specialises in banjos, mandolins and traditional musical instruments. We have a very busy shop that has show rooms and a workshop that specialised in set-ups and repairs…Pay Eagle Music Shop a call, you won’t be disappointed!

Eastman hand Crafted guitars and mandolins

Eastman Flat Top Guitars in Stock at Eagle

Eastman flat-top guitars now in stock at Eagle Music

Hand-crafted from the finest tone-woods, Eastman guitars are at the top of the picking order if you are looking for excellent build quality, tone and playability at a fraction of the cost of their ‘big name’
counterparts. Prices start at £575.00 for a guitar that is hand crated from solid tone-woods! Complete with case. Eastman guitars are the choice and are actually played and gigged by Eagle Music staff!

Check out the amazing all solid timber Eastman Orchestra model ACOM-1 by following this link:-




Deerings, Kruger Brothers, JJigJam, Dan Walsh and more

Update for Banjo 10 Anniversary Event With Deerings, Kruger Brothers and so much more

Banjo 10 Latest Artist News
Hi Folks, it’s only eight weeks to go before the Uk’s premier banjo event! Our special ‘Banjo 10’ Anniversary Event will take place at The North Light Gallery, Brooke’s Mill, Armitage Bridge, Huddersfield, HD4 7NR on Saturday, October 22nd 2016. We’re still fine tuning the timetable for the day, but here’s the latest update on some of the brilliant artists and on-stage performances. This year we are proudly celebrating an amazing ten consecutive years! as the number one world dealership for the Deering Banjo Company. USA.

We’re looking forward to seeing you all on the day, and also looking forward to the amazing concerts, on-stage afternoon performances, workshops and picking session. We’re also looking forward to seeing Greg, Janet and Jamie Deering The Kruger Brothers, JigJam, Dan Walsh, Bill Forster, Pat Kelleher, Gavin Strappe, James Allan, Graham Holt,  jamming and picking sessions led by the Uk’s own Joe McIlvenny.

The final running order of the day is to be announced, but below you can read about some of the highlights of this special banjo day.

Have you booked your ticket? …please click here for availability

* Your ticket will be on the door when you arrive …Just give your name at the door.

Steve, Rachel and the Eagle Team.

Eagle Music Team Photo
The Eagle Music Team will be here to serve and look after you on our special 10th anniversary day.

Morning and afternoon
•    10.30 am  –   Doors Open at the North Light Gallery
•    All Day   –   You will be able to browse the Eagle Music Instrument & Musical Accessory Stand with very special discounts and prices to celebrate our Tenth Anniversary as the #1 World Dealership for the Deering Banjo Company, USA.
•    10.30 – 11.30    –    Complimentary Tea and Coffee – ‘Meet the banjo Makers’ and mill around with some of the artists that will be here with us on the day.
•    12.00   –  All the way from San Diego, California, USA and flying in specially from a trip to India to be with us at Banjo 10 …The World’s premier award winning banjo makers Greg, Janet and Jamie Deering  will welcome everyone to the Banjo 10 Eagle Anniversary Day. Throughout the day, Greg Deering will be active in giving advice and you may be one of the players to get a personal set up on your banjo.

The Banjo Makers: Greg, Janet and Jamie Deering

Greg Janet and Jamie Deering at the Eagle Music Shop event 2016

James Allan
– at nineteen years of age, James is an inspiration to all budding banjo players and will kick start the day telling his own personal story of his exciting journey into the world of banjos. James’ on-stage banjo performance will be accompanied by Graham Holt on guitar.

James alll at Banjo 10 Eagle Music event with Deerings, kruger Brothers and Jig Jam

Graham Holt accompanying James Allan on Gutiar at eagle Music Banjo 10


Graham Holt – 5-String banjo Workshop – Graham has been a member of the Eagle Music team for the past seven years. Graham is an exceptional musician and runs the in house banjo teaching classes at Eagle Music.  Following his on-stage afternoon guitar backing performance accompanying the amazing James Allan. Graham passes on here his 5-string banjo skills for beginners to improvers. Duration of the workshop will be one hour. To book your place for this FREE WORKSHOP, please ring Eagle Music on 01484 661460

Grahm Holt BW

Pat KelleherLong Neck Banjo Virtuoso – From Dripsey, County Cork, Ireland, Pat is one of Ireland’s most respected Long Neck Banjo players. Over the years Pat has consistently been in demand as a session and recording musician. Pat returns this year to give us an afternoon on-stage performance of songs and tunes played on the long neck banjo.
Pat Kelleher at the Banjo 10 event with the Deerings, Kruger Brothers and JigJam


Bill Forster – 5-String Banjo Techniques, licks and improvisation
Bill Forster
is held in high esteem in all walks of the banjo world, we welcome the return of Bill this year to hold a players workout / question and answer class. Bill will be demonstrating techniques, licks and improvisation on the 5-string banjo and with us throughout the day to join Joe Mac with the picking session. please call us on 01484 661460 to put your name down for this FREE WORKSHOP class.
Bill Forster at eagle Music banjo 10 2016 with the


Gavin Strappe – Irish Tenor Banjo Workshop – Gavin is a member of the ace Irish band JigJam who are with us to support the Kruger Brothers at the evening concert. Gavin plays Irish tenor banjo and mandolin to a very high standard. You’re in for a treat here to pick up all those hidden banjos ornaments and techniques if you attend the afternoon  workshop of this world touring Irish performer. The workshop duration will be one hour. To book your place for this workshop (Entry Cost £6.00)  Please ring us on 01484 661460
Gavin Strappe at eagle Music Banjo 10 with Kruger Brothers, Deerings and JigJam

Dan Walsh – Clawhammer Banjo Virtuoso –
At the modest age of twenty seven, Dan has toured the world and played in many exotic locations. Just back from India, Dan will treat us in the afternoon with an on-stage set of songs and tunes played in his own style of clawhammer banjo. Dan plays naturally to an extremely high standard.
Dan Walsh at eagle Music Banjo 10 with Deerings, Kruger Brothers and JigJam

Joe McIlvenny – Picking & Jamming Sessions
throughout the day.
Joe is a member of the UK’s own ‘The Old Grey Dogs’ and is a very respected musician, he plays banjo with a passion. Joe’s enthusiasm, friendly approach and humour will make all welcome to join in on the jam sessions with whatever instrument you play. We welcome Joe back each year. Don’t forget to bring your instrument, it doesn’t have to be a banjo!

Joe mac at the banjo Eagle Music event with the Deerings Kruger Brothers, Jig Jam, Pat Kelleher


The Kruger Brothers – Afternoon on Stage ‘Performance Workshop’
The spellbinding Kruger Brothers …Banjo maestro Jens Kruger, guitar and vocal master Uwe Kruger and bass virtuoso Joel Landsberg will treat us to another on -stage workshop demonstrating to us how their brilliant individual musical talent knits it all together. The Kruger Brothers are World class musicians with a wealth of  high prestige world concerts behind them, This will only be a warm up prelude to their in-concert showcase performance that will follow later in the evening of the day. Don’t go home without a bunch of their brilliant CDs that they have recorded over the years!
The Kruger brothers will be at Eagle Music Banjo 10

Group Performance
– Afternoon on-Stage Group Performance with The Kruger Brothers of ‘Buffalo Gals (in the key of ‘G’ the tune can be found on page 94 in the Janet Davis tutor book ‘You Can Teach Yourself Banjo’ ) Learn the tune and bring along your banjo or other instrument to join in the fun! (This part of the event will be filmed and posted on YouTube)
Buffalo Gals Group performance with the Kruger Brothers at

•    6.00 pm     Doors to main event Room Close


•    6.00 pm – 7.00 pm   Joe Mac and Friends – Jam session in the café area
Picking sessions at Banjo 10 eagle Music with Joe Mac

Evening Concert

•    7.00 pm       Doors re-open for the evening event
•    7.30 pm        JigJam – On Stage Performance

JigJam – Evening Concert Performance
After their amazing performance at our Banjo 9 event, we welcome back by popular demand JigJam to support the Kruger Brothers at the evening concert
With two USA tours behind them in 2016, JigJam are the hottest new act on the Celtgrass music scene. They have developed a new, exciting, energy-fuelled live sound blending the best of bluegrass and Irish folk music. The band comprises Jamie McKeogh (Guitar, tenor banjo and lead vocals), Daithi Melia (5 String Banjo and vocals) Cathal Guinan (Double Bass, fiddle and vocals) and Gavin Strappe (Mandolin, tenor banjo & vocals)

Jigjam at eagle Music Banjo 10 with the Deerings and the Kruger Brothers

•    8.30 pm        Interval and Raffle Draw with fantastic Eagle  Tenth Anniversary prizes
•    9.00 pm        The Kruger Brothers in Concert
The grand finale to an amazing day of music, here we will see and hear the world’s most brilliant banjo, guitar and bass musical trio in concert. The spellbinding Banjo maestro Jens Kruger, guitar and vocal master Uwe Kruger and bass virtuoso Joel Landsberg. The Kruger Brothers are returning here to Eagle Music for their eighth consecutive year to present to us their breath taking show as part of their 2016 European tour.
The Kruger Brothers in concert at Eagle Music Banjo 10 event 2016

•    10.30 ish    Finish
•    11.00 pm        Doors Close

Event taking place at:-
The North Light Gallery (Located behind Eagle Music Shop)
Brooke’s Mill
Armitage Bridge

The Stage Awaits Saturday, October 22nd for the Banjo 10 Anniversary Event 2016 …
The Stage awaits for the Kruger Brothers, Greg, Janet and jamie Deering, JigJam, Dan Walsh, Pat Kelleher, James Allan, Graham Holt, Mjoe Mac at the Eagle Music banjo 10 event 2016

Mandolin Care & Maintenance – A guide to looking after your instrument

We are often asked how do I look after my mandolin?  and how do I clean it?
Here Eagle Music answers in simple terms the important do’s and don’ts regarding general care of your mandolin, storing, cleaning and transporting your mandolin safely.

Eagle Music Shop has a fully equipped on-site workshop facility and offers a full set-up and repair service for stringed instruments.


In general musical instruments like the same environment as their player, conditions where it is not too hot or hot and certainly not wet or damp! Keep your mandolin clean and free from dust,dirt and moisture. In your home, its OK to leave your instrument on a stand between playing sessions, in fact we encourage this as it makes you pick up the instrument more frequently to play and practise. Buy a decent quality stand to keep your instrument out of the way in a corner of the room. Never leave it near a radiator or in a window where direct sunlight can fall upon the instrument and bake it! Also, never leave your instrument stored in a cold or damp place eg. cellar, loft or out in the garage. If you have no choice but to store your instrument in conditions susceptible to damp we highly recommend purchasing a dehumidifer.


Each time you have played your mandolin give it a wipe over with a lint free cloth to remove finger marks. the strings can be cleaned with Fast Fret, martin or Dr Kyser string cleaning lubricant, all these products can be bought off-the-shelf from Eagle Music. From time to time you may want to polish your instrument, always check that this is suitable for the finish on your instrument eg. On a modern gloss finish, always choose a non-smear wax free polish. Always remove finger and body marks from Nickel plated or gold plated hardware and use the special impregnated cleaning cloths that are available for this purpose. Never use abrasive cleaners as this can remove the plating! Chrome hardware is much easier to keep clean and is much harder wearing.


Care of your mandolin during transportation really depends on where it is being transported to, and how it is being transported. Hard-shell cases and Gig bags have their pros and cons. It can be said that a padded gig bag is sufficient to take your instrument out to the pub or a jam session. But please note, when using a gig bag, you must always remember that your instrument can still be damaged if you don’t take extreme care of how you handle it, how you put it down and where you leave it, other persons can sit on your gig bag! Also, If you are a gigging musician, It wouldn’t be a good idea to put your gig bag/instrument in the back of a van or in the boot of a car with PA gear and other hard objects! We recommend a hard-shell case always for gigging musicians. If you’re travelling by by airplane we recommend a hard-shell or even better a flight case. Also, for added protection  ‘bubble wrap’ your hard-shell case before letting it go in the hold of an airplane, the handling of baggage at airports can be very rough as we all know too well! Our Hiscox range of lite-flight cases is excellent or you could have a more expensive flight case made by Keith Calton.

Check out our Black-Ice and Extreme Protection range of well thought out quality gig bags. For hard-shell cases check out our Leader, Hiscox, Deering, Kinsman etc. range of top quality brands.

Mandolin family buyers guide – choosing an instrument from the different mandolin types

We are often asked what’s a mandolin, tenor mandolin, mandola, octave mandola, tenor mandola, bouzouki, short scale bouzouki, long scale bouzouki, cittern, or mando-cello? Eagle Music demystify and explain all the different mandolin types.

The text below provides simple explanations of all the popular mandolin types. In many cases you get the sound that you want with the strings that you fit, and how you tune them, relative to the scale length. We have many books, cds and dvds to take you from beginner to advanced player.

There are three critical but simple decisions that you our valued customer should make when buying a Mandolin:-

Buy from a Specialist Company… that will set up the instrument correctly
Eagle Music is one of Europes leading mandolin specialist shops

Buy the Best Quality instrument… that is within your budget
Eagle Music carry a large selection of world class mandolin brands

Choose the Correct mandolin… for the kind of music that you want to play
Eagle Music’s specialist musician sales team  will ensure this for you

The notes below will help you choose the instrument from the mandolin family that is the right model for you.


Types of mandolin and the kind of Music that is Played on them


THE MANDOLIN… You may fancy playing mandolin but think “oh no, eight strings!” But It’s easier than that. The strings are tuned in unison pairs as follows: ‘G’ 4th pair, ‘D’ 3rd pair, ‘A’ 2nd pair, and ‘E’ 1st pair. Exactly the same tuning and fingering as the violin. When fiddle players choose to play a mandolin they just have to master the use of a plectrum. You can start by learning half a dozen simple chords (these can be played using two fingers) and progress from there with simple scales and polka type tunes. If you have already played guitar or any other stringed instrument, it’s even easier.
The mandolin is mainly chosen for playing tunes, and is picked with a plectrum. The most popular types are the ‘flat-back’ models to which the Gibson ‘A’ style is the most popular. The Gibson ‘F’ style is the one with ‘scroll’ type shoulders: you see many bluegrass mandolin players using this style. The round back ‘Neapolitan’ mandolins, however nice sounding, are more difficult to hold (They slide away from your body). They are less popular today.

Octave Mandola – Octave Mandolin

THE OCTAVE MANDOLA… This instrument is a larger version of the standard mandolin. The most popular way to tune it is in unison pairs. ‘G’ 4th pair, ‘D’ 3rd pair, ‘A’ 2nd pair, and ‘E’ 1st pair (This is the same tuning as the mandolin above, but an octave below. We fit heavier strings to allow for the fact that it is an octave below the mandolin and has a longer scale length). The octave mandola is a good compromise between mandolin and bouzouki. The scale length is easy enough to master when playing tunes, but equally it’s a great sound for chord backing. There are many other ‘modal’ ways that you can tune a mandola. Selection of correct gauge strings is paramount for intonation and instrument stability. Some players ‘octave string’ the 4th and 3rd pairs (see bouzouki write up for explanation of ‘octave stringing’).


THE BOUZOUKI… The string length of the bouzouki is even longer than the octave mandola. It’s much harder to play tunes on this instrument so the most popular use is for chord work and accompaniment. The long string length produces a ‘zingy’ sound, and to make it even more ‘zingy’ many players ‘octave string’ these instruments as follows. 4th pair of strings tuned to high ‘G’ and low ‘G’, 3rd pair of strings tuned to high ‘D’ and low ‘D’, 2nd pair tuned in unison (two ‘A’s), 1st pair tuned in unison (two ‘E’s). Note:- A thinner plain string replaces one of the wound strings on the 4th and 3rd pairs, these thinner plain strings are tuned an octave higher. The above tuning is the normal standard tuning. Many bouzouki players tune as above but drop the first unison pair of strings down to ‘D’. Some players choose ‘modal’ tunings eg. D, A, D, A.


THE CITTERN… Has a scale similar in length to the octave mandola but usually with ten strings, not eight, and tuned modally (to a chord or drone). Strictly speaking, modern citterns are a remake of a medieval predecessor of the guitar, but musically, they really belong in this group of instruments here. It’s usually tuned to some kind of open chord either GCGCG (C chord) or GDGDG (G chord). It’s used mostly to play an accompaniment of melodic runs along with a bagpipe-type drone. Its ten strings make it very versatile for chord work or for melody playing. The strings are usually tuned in pairs, but sometimes each pair will comprise of two strings an octave apart, like the bottom four strings of a twelve-string guitar. We sell a lot of citterns to guitar players who have maybe enjoyed experimenting with open tunings

Tenor Mandolin

THE TENOR MANDOLIN… This instrument has a scale length longer than the mandolin but shorter than the octave mandola. It is normally tuned in unison pairs as follows…. ‘C’ 4th pair, ‘G 3rd pair, ‘D’ 2nd pair, and ‘A’ 1st pair.

Changing the strings on your Banjo, Mandolin, Guitar, Ukulele etc – advice from Eagle Music

Eagle Music explains here all the do’s and don’ts when fitting a new set of strings to your instrument. It is important that you understand that the weight, size and tension of your strings affects the set-up and action of your instrument.

First, I offer you this simple advice, invest in a string winder. A string winder will take all the work out of string changing and as an added bonus it will speed up the process! I insist that string winders are used at all times in our workshop, this ensures that our customers get a lower priced bill when it comes to the cost of paying for workshop time!

In the following notes, I shall assume that you are a right handed person, and that you are going to change the strings and then tune your instrument to standard tuning. The string set that we are using in the example is our most popular standard Eagle-Puretone set as follows, 1st also referred to as the ‘top’ -string is the furthest away from your chin when holding your instrument in the playing position. (If your instrument is part of the mandolin family, you will have a pair of 1st strings) The ‘bottom string’ is the string that is nearest your chin.

The string numbers eg.’9’ or ‘12’ refer to the diameter of the strings and they are measured in imperial measurement, which is used by the USA manufacturers (Not Metric) a ‘9’ for example measures .009” (which is nine thousandth’s of an inch in diameter)

Also take note before changing your strings what gauge of string set is already on your instrument, if your instrument is correctly set-up, the nut will have been cut to suit the gauge of strings that are already on your instrument. Changing up to heavier strings, without having your top nut cut to suit, can cause the thicker strings to bind in the nut. Slight binding can be cured by rubbing a little graphite into the slot (an HB graphite pencil or softer is fine)

Remove your Old strings

Please Note: Your instrument is ‘SET UP’ under tension, so it is a good idea when string changing, not to take all your strings off at the same time. Change one at a time. Slacken off your 1st string and unwind it from the capstan/pillar on your tuning peg, then remove the string from the tailpiece or bridge saddle.

Attach the new string to the tailpiece or bridge saddle, note from the remaining old strings that are still on your instrument, how the strings fit to your tailpiece or bridge. For example: Tailpieces on banjos come in many designs and on some tailpieces the string lays across the top/front of the tailpiece.

Hold some tension on the string to keep it attached to the tailpiece/bridge, as you lay it along your fingerboard and feed it through the hole in the pillar on your tuning peg, pull the string through the pillar with your left hand until there is no ‘slack’ on the string. Keep tension on the string with your left hand. Some of this excess that is now pulled through your pillar will be ‘cut off’ when you have tuned the string to its correct pitch.

At this stage you need to give yourself some ‘slack’ on the string, this ‘slack’ will allow you to put at last three turns around the pillar/capstan on your tuning peg. To do this, keep hold of the string with your left hand pull tension on the string. Then place your right hand index, middle and ring fingers behind the string near the pillar with the back of your fingers touching the instrument and ‘clamp’ the string against your fingers with your right hand thumb. Still holding tension on the string with your left hand, transfer your grip to hold the tension of the string now with your right hand.

Turn your right hand approximately ninety degrees with your index finger remaining in contact with your instrument, this action will pull some ‘slack’ back through the pillar. At this point ‘kink’ the string to ‘dog-leg’ the string as it enters and leaves the hole in the pillar, now in the same motion wind the string around the pillar to take up some of the ‘slack’ that you are holding in your right hand. Note the direction that the string winds around the pillar. It will be wound in the same direction as the old SECOND string that is still attached to your instrument. (Anti clockwise, assuming that the old string was fitted correctly!)

Tuning the 1st String

Carrying on from iii. above and still holding tension on the string with your right hand to keep it attached to the tailpiece, move you left hand to the tuning peg button and start to wind tension onto the string. At this point note that the string is located in its groove in the nut of your instrument, also that you are turning the tuning peg in the correct direction …you can see the pillar rotating as you wind the tuner peg. Carry on turning the tuner button until you take up all the ‘slack’ from your right hand. Then continue to ‘tune’ the 1st string to pitch. A clip-on electronic tuner is very useful for this operation, also to speed up the operation, use of a ‘string winder’ which is very helpful. At this stage you can ‘cut off’ the excess from the string …always tune your string BEFORE cutting off the excess. A small pair of wire cutters is a handy tool to have in your instrument bag, or you may want to invest in a state-of-the-art ‘string speed winder’ that has a pair of clippers on the end of the winder. For neatness, clip the string close to the pillar leaving approximately 6mm (¼”) Angle the remaining part of the string towards the neck face to avoid spiking yourself, but ensure that it does not touch the face of the neck which can scratch the finish when it is being wound.

Fitting and Tuning the 2nd, 3rd 4th etc. Strings

Fit the 2nd string using the same method as the first string and tune it to pitch. Fit the 3rd string in a similar way and tune it to pitch. Note that it winds around the pillar in the correct direction. Then fit the wound 4th string and tune it to pitch. Note also that the fourth string winds around the pillar in the correct direction. Carry on with the remainder of your strings with the same method. NOTE: NEVER cut the excess off a wound string before it is tuned to pitch, doing so can cause the string to unwind and loosen it’s winding along the length of the string.

5-string Banjos Only:-

Fitting and tuning the 5th or Octave String

The fifth or ‘octave’ string is attached to the tailpiece in the same manner as your other four strings, but it will have a guide on the neck of your banjo, it may also have a plastic ‘sleeve’ that fits onto the string to protect the side of your banjo neck. Take note of such things when you remove your old 5th string. Again ensure that you give it enough ‘slack’ when fitting to allow at least three turns around the pillar of the tuner button. The fifth string is tuned to high ‘G’ which is an octave above your 3rd ‘G’ string.

I have written these notes as simply as I could to help the beginner. I have tried my best to write down and explain the way that I change my own instrument strings! String changing is very much a ‘knack’ and I am certain that you will develop your own ‘knack’ of changing your strings based on the above notes.