Mandolin typically has a hollow wooden body with a tailpiece that holds one end of the strings, a floating bridge, a neck with a flat (or slight radius) fretted fingerboard, a nut, and mechanical tuning machines to accommodate metal strings.
Like any plucked instrument, mandolin notes decay to silence rather than sound out continuously as with a bowed note on a violin. Its small size and higher pitch make mandolin notes decay faster than larger stringed instruments like guitar, which encourages the use of tremolo (rapid picking of one or more pairs of strings) to create sustained notes or chords. The mandolin's paired strings facilitate this technique: the plectrum (pick) strikes each of a pair of strings alternately, providing a more full and continuous sound than a single string would.
Various design variations and amplification techniques have been used to make mandolins compatible in volume with louder instruments and orchestras.
Mandolin Shrinivas plays an electric mandolin and has collaborated with John McLaughlin, Michael Nyman, and Michael Brook. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1998 and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2010.
Shrinivas has performed with Western artists such as John McLaughlin, Michael Brook, Trey Gunn, Nigel Kennedy, Nana Vasconcelos, and Michael Nyman, as well as with Hindustani music artists such as Hariprasad Chaurasia and Zakir Hussain.
He has recorded a CD of Carnatic compositions by Ilaiyaraaja called Ilaiyaraaja's Classics in Mandolin. Recently, U Shrinivas also released Samjanitha featuring Debashish Bhattacharya (Lap Steel Guitar), John McLaughlin, Zakir Hussain, Sivamani, Vikku Vinaykram, Dominique Piazza George Brook, U Rajesh, Anil Srinivasan and others.