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Mandola The original instrument of the mandolin family. Mandola (Mandorla) being almond - the shape. It is tuned CGDA the same as a viola and is therefore an Alto instrument. The subject of a heated debate when it appears in its GDAE tuned form. Americans call it the Octave Mandolin because it's tuned an octave lower than a mandolin. Europeans tend to call it an Octave Mandola, it being nearer in size to the mandola.

It has 4 double string courses, each Course is usually unison strung (both strings the same weight). The scale length is typically around 16 - 17 inches (400 - 425mm) for the Mandola and 20 - 22 inches (550 - 600mm) for the octave. There are examples with shorter and longer scale lengths.