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Thread: Seeking "mournful" mandolin - like Levon Helm with The Band

  1. #1

    Default Seeking "mournful" mandolin - like Levon Helm with The Band

    Hello,

    I am seeking songs with a "mournful" mandolin sound, like in the attached 30-second sample of Levon Helm with The Band. Can you lead me to anyone who has songs with solos that have this type of mandolin sound?

    Thank you!

    Richard
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by richard111; Sep-24-2021 at 6:12pm.

  2. #2
    Registered User Eric F.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking "mournful" mandolin - like Levon Helm with The Band

    I'm not sure if you're looking for tunes with tremolo or just sad songs, but in any case, Lonesome Moonlight Waltz might be up your alley.

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  4. #3
    Teacher, luthier
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    Default Re: Seeking "mournful" mandolin - like Levon Helm with The Band

    Actually, to me it sounds like what we are hearing on the "Unfaithful Servant" sound clip is a guitar imitating a mandolin.

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  6. #4
    Registered User Eric F.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking "mournful" mandolin - like Levon Helm with The Band

    I think you're right. Robbie Robertson had a way of doing that on an acoustic guitar.

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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking "mournful" mandolin - like Levon Helm with The Band

    Actually, what we're hearing there is Robbie Robertson in one of his finest moments, getting his guitar to sound just like a guitar. Yes, there's some tremolo, but that's not exclusive to mandolin. But that is a very evocative, moving solo, in its quiet way saying more than a great many more ostentatious efforts.

    Which is not to say that one couldn't play that very nicely on a mandolin. I'd suggest starting right there, bent notes and all.

    Also, the subject has come up here before:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...mandolin-songs
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...haunting-music
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...ke-Shady-Grove

    I just googled sad slow mandolin and these and other threads popped up. A quick glance showed a lot of good suggestions.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Registered User Jeroen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking "mournful" mandolin - like Levon Helm with The Band

    I hear a guitar doing a great job in emulating a vocal or saxophone line using tremolo. In the mandolin world David Grisman sometimes plays that way. Paul Buskirk comes to mind too. I have trouble thinking of other or better examples. Usually the mandolin sticks to its licks, tricks and scales.

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  10. #7
    Pittsburgh Bill
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    Default Re: Seeking "mournful" mandolin - like Levon Helm with The Band

    Hank Williams “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” will provide you with endless possibilities to experiment with on a mandolin.
    Stiver A style (A DREAMED FOR KEEPER)
    Mid-Missouri EM8 solid body (Mike Dulak's final EM8 build)
    Kentucky KM-950
    Weber Gallatin A Mandola "D hole"
    Rogue 100A (current campfire tool)

  11. #8
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking "mournful" mandolin - like Levon Helm with The Band

    I'm pretty sure Robbie was playing it on a different guitar in the OP's clip but listen close at the break in this version. It's there just not as pronounced.

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  12. #9
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking "mournful" mandolin - like Levon Helm with The Band

    The clip doesn't open on my computer, but I can say that I was doing trem on guitar long before I tried playing mandolin. It's easier on a guitar simply because there's more space between strings.

    The Levon sound you're talking about really comes out on the Band's cover of Springsteen's "Atlantic City." I agree, it's great. I think he usually played f-holes and electric no-holes, but I'll let the pros here sort that out.

    Personally, I find that round and oval holes sound the most mournful. They can get real bluesy, too. F-holes are loud enough but too chilly for my taste. A resonator instrument can get a real sad sound, too — they can range from maudlin to raucus.

    The main thing is that mournful is more about style and choice of tunes than type of instrument. A kazoo can sound mournful if you want it to.

    But you're looking for songs, right? I love Rick DelGrosso's oh-so-bluesy and way-tres mournful playing:

    Last edited by Charlie Bernstein; Sep-25-2021 at 8:49am.
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  13. #10

    Default Re: Seeking "mournful" mandolin - like Levon Helm with The Band

    Hey Everyone!

    Your replies and links are SO GOOD! I will be compiling a list with links and will post for everyone.

    Thank you!

    Richard

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking "mournful" mandolin - like Levon Helm with The Band

    Bill Monroe's My Last Days on Earth.

    Live 1985 performance:

    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  16. #12

    Default Re: Seeking "mournful" mandolin - like Levon Helm with The Band

    Hi Everyone!

    Thank you for all of your great replies and suggestions. From this, I have put together the attached list of 21 songs that I call "Sweet and Sad Mandolin." All have hyperlinks to their YouTube.

    Thank you again! My life is even richer now with this music.

    Richard
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Sad and Sweet Mandolin.pdf  

  17. #13
    bass player gone mando
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    Default Re: Seeking "mournful" mandolin - like Levon Helm with The Band

    Some great choices on there. I also like 'Azalea Waltz' in this genre. Sierra's playing it on an octave here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caB5g_Kaxfk
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  18. #14

    Default Re: Seeking "mournful" mandolin - like Levon Helm with The Band

    If any of you have additional suggestions of songs, I will expand the list (in my reply two posts before this) and then post the new list.

    Thanks!

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