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Mandolin Lesson: An Introduction to Mandocello with Mike Marshall


Believe it or not, the mandolin is actually part of a family of instruments that all feature four sets of paired strings. The instruments that make up the mandolin family come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and tunings. As such, they offer a diverse palette of tones, covering registers ranging from soprano to bass and everything in between. Among these instruments are the mandolin, mandola, mandocello, octave mandolin, and more.


As part of his collection of online mandolin lessons here at ArtistWorks, world-renowned mandolinist, Grammy-nominated musician, and bluegrass mandolin instructor, Mike Marshall offers an entire section within his course specifically teaching the mandocello. In this introductory lesson, Mike teaches the basics of the instrument, explaining the differences between the mandocello and its smaller familial counterparts, how the mandocello is uniquely tuned, as well as techniques and simple mandolin chords that translate on the mandocello.


LEARN MORE: Want to learn how to play bluegrass mandolin from a master musician like Mike Marshall? Try some free online mandolin lessons now!


“The mandocello is tuned exactly like a cello, hence the name,” Mike explains. “Its top three strings are A, D, and G, much like the lower three strings of a mandolin. However, all of the strings on the mandocello are tuned an octave below a traditional mandolin and a lower C string is added to the mix.”


While the tuning of a mandocello is very similar to a mandolin, and thus many of the same fingerings and chord shapes apply well on both instruments, it’s important to keep the immensely differing tonal registers in mind when approaching the manner in which you play both instruments. This is something that mandolinists of all levels should keep in mind as they begin learning how to play the mandocello.


“The low C string on the mandocello is even lower than the lowest string on a guitar,” Mike explains. “So, you’re really heading into the bass register when you play this instrument. As such, the mandocello functions totally differently in a band context compared to a mandolin.”


To learn more about the tone, construction, tuning, and performance methods used on the mandocello, dive into this online mandocello lesson from Mike Marshall:


An Introduction to Mandocello with Mike Marshall:




Have you always wanted to learn how to play the bluegrass mandolin? Through our comprehensive mandolin lessons online and Video Exchange Learning platform here at ArtistWorks, you can learn from internationally renowned players, like Mike Marshall, and get personal feedback on your playing.


Mike’s course starts with the basics and teaches everything from beginner mandolin to advanced performance techniques, classic bluegrass tunes, improvisation methods, and beyond. So, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player, all levels are welcome and all students will grow and improve their skills as mandolinists and musicians.


Try out some free sample music lessons here and see what makes ArtistWorks courses some of the best online music lessons around!



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