Best Mandolin Songs: 10 Rock Songs With Mandolin You Can Play Right Now

Learning the mandolin is a great way to kick-start your musical journey. For beginners, the mandolin is the ideal instrument to play. You can practice anywhere you like because it is portable, lightweight, and has a compact body, plus the simpler tablature reading because of the fewer strings it has than other instruments.

When you are just getting started with playing mandolin, it is very exciting to find the list of perfect songs that you can learn to play. Ultimately, the time and effort given in practicing are definitely rewarding when you finally play along with your favorite mandolin songs.

mandolin songs

Mandolins are undeniably versatile instruments that give the song its texture, mystery, and melodic interest in almost any musical style. Let’s take a look at 10 songs you can surely enjoy playing on a mandolin:

“Ho Hey” by The Lumineers

If you’re looking for a simple and tender song to play, you can go try “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers. The song expresses an unrequited kind of love, an unfortunate event where the guy lost his love and tries to win her back.

Emotions will surely overflow once played on your mandolin.

“Crazy” by Patsy Cline

Fan of ballad songs? “Crazy” is one of your choices!

The song’s wistful tone is perfect for mandolin players who are into a yearning ballad for a lost lover. Besides, playing the mandolin is the perfect instrument to set the mood.

“Shady Grove” by Doc Watson

Here is lively, bubbly, upbeat music played with only two chords. The song has been recorded and widely played with a variety of lyrics or as instrumental in a folk or bluegrass style.

It has been a mystery until now whether Shady Grove is a person, a lover, a daughter, a stalker, or even a place.

Who knows, maybe you can find the answer once you start playing it?

“Limehouse Blues” by Django Reinhardt

When playing in front of friends or family, this song is ultimately the audience’s favorite! You will enjoy jamming and dancing with that jazzy and cheeky music with its fast tempo and refreshing tune! You can definitely try it in whichever vibe you like!

Buffalo Gals

As an old-time string band tune, a folk song like Buffalo Gals is difficult not to love. The tune is very danceable, making it an all-time winner among Mandolin songs.

Even though there are lyrics in the song, it is more often played as instrumental in bluegrass circles. When played as a  fiddle tune, the keys of G and A are commonly chosen.

“Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley

Three Little Birds is a simple yet joyful song that is enjoyed in a fun jamming session. It is a well-known tune and a perfect song if you are in love with reggae. Take note of the strumming! It should be an intentional and passionate one that radiates tropical feels!

“Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver

Maybe you’re more into old country songs, so I bet you’ve heard this already. “Take Me Home, Country Roads” is on the top list of the most beloved country songs of all time.

It is a song easily learned on the guitar and other stringed instruments like the mandolin, due to the same three basic chords for many songs in this list, C, D, and G. The irresistible aura of the song will keep you up at night, with your mandolin on your hands!

“Battle of Evermore” by Led Zeppelin

Mandolin on a rock song? Yay, it would be the perfect choice of stringed instrument for this rock tune! Because of its uniqueness, The Battle of Evermore is also widely known as “Led Zeppelin song with a mandolin.”

The song proves how your mandolin can simultaneously turn music cinematic. It is believed to be based on the events of The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings’ Final Volume.

“Done” by The Band Perry

The Band Perry performed this song in 2013 in an episode of American Idol with an octave mandolin. You will never forget it the first time you listen to it, the heartbreaking lines, the fiddle solo, and you’re good to go!

“Losing My Religion” by R.E.M.

In the song, Peter Buck played the mandolin which he recently learned. Its most distinctive musical feature is the mandolin’s opening riff and the upper end which just came to him during a practice session he was recording.

Who knows? Maybe it will come to you too on your practice time!

Can’t get enough with these songs? We’re not done yet! Here are some more songs we came across that you can play on your mandolin:

  • “Amazing Grace” (Gospel Song)
  • “Iris” by Goo Goo Dolls
  • “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show
  • “Mandolin Wind” by Rod Stewart
  • “In the Jailhouse Now” by Jimmie Rodgers
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About Maggie Holding

Hello! My name is Maggie and I am a proud Editor/Author for PlayTheTunes. Coming From South Carolina, USA, my whole life I've sang and played the guitar and flute! I love music with a passion, and am ecstatic to help others in their own music journey!