Suggestions for solo songs


Hey folks! I’m a grad student and don’t often get to play with other people (the tragedy of not being able to attend music festivals anymore!). Anyway, I’ve been playing guitar for quite some time but recently branched into mandolin. I’m looking for songs that I can play solo on the mandolin, possibly with a nice solo spot in the middle somewhere, to keep my chops up. I’ve learned Sam Bush’s rendition of Girl of the North Country, which is a beautiful song, but I’m getting tired of playing it over and over!!! Any suggestions would be great. Thank you!


I am not sure if you are looking for “solo accompaniment” ie playing and singing or just the “solo/break” part of Girl of the North Country, where he does that Allman Bros thing. Anyway, for just struming and singing Joe Walsh’s (not the Eagle, the Gibson Brother guy) Mole in the Ground works well as a solo Mando piece.

As for just keeping the “chops” for solo breaks, fiddle tunes work great for me. Either Bens stuff here or basic tunes (I use the fiddlers fake book).

For someting to aspire to/drool over/pull your hair out to - solo mandolin - a fiddle tune “wildwood flower” into “going steady”


I like when Sam medleys Van Morrison’s, Hungry For Your Love, with Girl From The North Country, and he does them both with a solo mandolin. Starts about 1:04:45



Yowza! That Thile double header is killer, never saw that before! Definitely something to tear my hair out while aspiring toward, lol. That is exactly the kind of thing I’m looking for though, songs that are a bit more contemporary sounding on the solo mandolin. The Sam Bush set is also fantastic. I picked up his rhythm mandolin dvd, which is a great buy, and learned Girl from the North Country from there. He largely plays the solo the same in both versions, he doesn’t teach the Jessica outro, although that’s easy enough to figure out. I’ll have to look up Mole in the Ground, as I’ve never heard the song.