This was my fiancé's birthday gift to me shortly after we got together, a gorgeous resonant instrument of wood with lovely inlaid areas. I'd wanted to learn the mandolin and I think that was what he intended to get me, but once the owner of Hobgoblin in Manchester played some nifty Irish jigs on this, nothing else would do but that he bring it back for me. This is a tenor mandola, which takes its place in the mandolin family where the viola sits in the violin family; it should thus be tuned C G D A but I tune it to the normal G D A E of a mandolin, except an octave lower. Its not technically an octave mandola, however. I much prefer the deeper tones and wider frets of this to the true mandolin I picked up later, and it only took me about a year to really get the hang of playing, which is encouraging. Its also very useful for practicing the fingerings to folk tunes on, which I can then pass across to the fiddle.