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Seven Easy Bluegrass Songs for Mandolin Players

The mandolin is an excellent instrument for musicians to use to learn chords and techniques.

Since it's smaller than a guitar, players of all ages can reach the struts and hold the mandolin easily. To play the bluegrass mandolin, you will need to learn scales, chords, and work on getting calluses on the tips of your fingers. A few calluses are unquestionably worth it because the rich treble of this instrument is captivating to listeners and will be just as enjoyable to the player, as well. Fortunately, finding a teacher is easier than ever thanks to online lessons. Here are a few easy mandolin songs to learn.

The Seven Best Bluegrass Songs for Beginning Mandolin Players:

When you begin practicing the elements you are being taught, you will undoubtedly want to find a few bluegrass songs that you can learn quickly. Being able to play a complete song makes practicing much more enjoyable and, of course, you will have the first song you can play in your portfolio.

I'll Fly Away - This gospel hymn has only four chords. But the impact of the song will make it a favorite for most bluegrass enthusiasts. The song is lighthearted, nostalgic, and encouraging, making it a winner all the way around. Written in 1929 by Albert Brumley, it has become one of the most covered songs of all time. Some say the best rendition of this tune is the version sung by Alison Krauss.

Shady Grove - Here is a frisky, upbeat, yet somewhat sad song played with only two chords. The banjo, when added, skips and frolics with fast and stirring picking. Doc Watson has a great take on this song which can be found online.

Simple Gifts - Performed by Yo-Yo Ma and Allison Krauss, Simple Gifts is another two-chord song. It is sweet and gentle and memorable. This piece was sung by Shakers, an American religious group, and was written by Joseph Brackett in 1848. The Shakers called this tune a "Dancing Song."

Buffalo Gals - A folk song like this one is difficult not to like. The beat is fast, the chords are simple, and the result is a good time for all. The Pete Seeger version will make you want to dance a jig.

Limehouse Blues - A little fast, a little jazzy, a little sassy, Limehouse Blues is fun to play and an audience favorite. Although it may sound complicated, you can learn the bluegrass mandolin chords reasonably fast. 

Cherokee Shuffle - This is a snappy, swinging tune and seems a bit difficult when you hear the picking. But the chords are straightforward, and even beginners can get into the act, with practice.

Salt Creek - Easy chords and great banjo riffs make Salt Creek one of the best of the bluegrass favorites. The tune is danceable and knee-slappable, making it an all-time winner.

At ArtistWorks, we teach the world music. You sign up for the course you want to take, and we instruct you in what you want to learn. Other instruments in the bluegrass realm that we can help you master include:

What sets these online instructions apart from the rest is the fact that ArtistWorks accepts videos from students to give them personal feedback on their progress. We call this the ArtistWorks Video Exchange®. Mike Marshall, our bluegrass specialist, offers hundreds of mandolin lessons for you at a pace that is customized for you. Whether you're a beginner or a long-time player, Mike will welcome you as a pupil.

Along with all this, you will be able to connect with other students around the world and learn from other learners' Video Exchanges. Explore lessons at ArtistWorks today and find out more.

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