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10 Awesome Mandolin Songs

(Image credit: Getty/MoMo Productions)

Mandolins are extremely versatile instruments that can add texture, mystery, drive, melodic interest, or rippin' pickin' to songs in almost any musical style.

I think we've proven that here with these ten selections that run the gamut from country to bluegrass to rock to alternative and beyond.

So spin through these ten mando gems and get hip to what a mandolin might do to punch up YOUR songs...


"Nao me Toques," Caterina Lichtenberg and Mike Marshall

Partnering classical performer Lichtenberg with multi-stylist Marshall produces duo pieces of inspired virtuosity.


"Friend of the Devil," Grateful Dead

The original rock jam band utilizes mandolin to a laid-back, yet joyful effect.


"Man of Constant Sorrow," Soggy Bottom Boys

T-Bone Burnett's revival of this song for the 2000 film, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, triggered a roots-bluegrass explosion.


"Done," The Band Perry

Neil Perry played an octave mandolin when The Band Perry performed this song on the May 16, 2013 episode of American Idol.

The Band Perry performed the hit song "Done" on American Idol on May 16th, 2013. Neil Perry played his Weber Octave Mandolin. - See more at:

Neil Perry played his Weber Octave Mandolin.

"Done" on American Idol on May 16th, 2013. Neil Perry played his Weber Octave Mandoli - See more at:


"Blackout," Muse

Multi-instrumentalist Matthew Bellamy sneaks an undulating mandolin brilliantly under the orchestral textures of this melancholy track.


"Tarnation," Chris Thile and Edgar Meyer

Chops and genre-bending go hand-in-hand when Thile teams up with fellow MacArthur Fellow Meyer on bass.


"Going to My Hometown," Rory Gallagher

Leave it to Irish blues legend Gallagher to deploy mandolin on a foot-stompin' rave up.


"Losing My Religion," R.E.M.

R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck comes up with a memorable mandolin riff and helps his band score its highest-charting hit.


"Maggie May," Rod Stewart

 Ray Jackson of the British folk-rock group Lindisfarne developed and performed the stunning mandolin parts for Stewart's solo classic.


"Battle of Evermore," Led Zep

Jimmy Page's delay-effected counterpoint lines show how a mandolin can simultaneously drive a song and be mystical and cinematic.