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5 Easy Mandolin Songs


There’s no better feeling than learning a new song on mandolin, especially as a beginner. Afterall, the time and effort put into each practice session pays off tenfold when you gain the ability to not just listen to, but also play along with your favorite mandolin song. 

On the hunt for your next tune to master? Here are five easy mandolin songs to try out:

Darius Rucker, “Wagon Wheel”

Whether you prefer Darius Rucker’s version or the original by Old Crow Medicine Show, we can all agree that “Wagon Wheel” is a modern day classic. This tune features a simple strum pattern that beginners should be able to master fairly quickly. Next time this song comes on at a social gathering, feel confident knowing that you can break out your trusty instrument and join in because you learned to play the mandolin part.


“It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More” (Traditional)

Up next is a quirky traditional bluegrass song that only uses two chords. Junior Samples’ rendition of “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More” on Hee Haw is a perfect example of accomplishing more by doing less; while the mandolin playing isn’t all that technical, it still makes itself known. This one should be a breeze to play along with, granted you’re not too busy laughing at the lyrics.


Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, “Wildwood Flower”

Speaking of traditional songs, why not try learning “Wildwood Flower”? The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s rendition incorporates four chords, but less experienced players can find versions of this song that use only two. You’ll have an absolute blast strumming along to this iconic folk song.


Grateful Dead, “Ripple”

You don’t have to be a deadhead to appreciate David Grisman’s wonderful mandolin performance on this Grateful Dead staple. Featuring five chords, “Ripple” provides just enough of a challenge for beginner mandolin players to overcome. However, the reward of learning a classic Dead song in your next mandolin lesson is well worth it. 


Rod Stewart, “Maggie May”

While starting players might need to take a few mandolin lessons before attempting to conquer the ending solo, the rest of “Maggie May” is mandolin 101. Rod Stewart’s smash hit helped introduce the instrument to a mainstream audience, and with its relatively easy chord progression, newbies should have no issues taking on this singalong classic.

Curious to learn how to play mandolin? ArtistWorks is here to help. Whether you want to dive into bluegrass or master classical mandolin, our instructors (Mike Marshall and Caterina Lichtenberg, respectively) teach as masterfully as they play. 

Or, if you’d prefer to try before you buy, here are some free sample lessons to get you started.




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