Who are your favorite artists to listen to on the mandolin?


Hey all,

I’m curious what artists people listen to on the mandolin and what drew your interest to them…

Would love to be introduced to some new music.

Banjo and Mandolin

I think I’d have to put Ricky Scaggs at the top of my list, but you’re probably already very familiar with him. I love this tune he’s playing in this video. He makes playing the mandolin look cool. :blush: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dVhWx36GFpI


Bill Monroe, Ricky Skaggs and Banjo Ben spring to mind


Great video!


In addition to those named above, Sam Bush and Chris Thile are players that keep me interested.


Check out Wayne Benson of IIIrd Tyme Out, perhaps my favorite mandolin picker: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6golw3Lqt9E

I LOVE his version of East Tennessee Blues on the Back to the Mac album, which you should buy!


That’s some amazing speed and range. Love it! Wow


Adam Steffey, Sierra Hull and Joe Walsh come to mind.


Doyle Lawson, Adam Steffey, Jeff Tolbert


I’m a newcomer to bluegrass. All my life I’ve listed to rock, country, contemporary Christian, and a little bit of southern gospel and smooth jazz.

So, I really would like some insight on this. When listening to mandolin, how do you evaluate the quality of a mandolin picker? Is it speed, cleanness, a nice melody, something else?

I’m completely serious. I really don’t know yet what to listen for yet.



There are thousands who are fast and clean…for me it’s who moves me and how tasty their licks are. I’m also not drawn to the most technically difficult players as they get too far outside the box many times. This is a completely subjective issue! Ha!


Thanks Ben. Really good thoughts on that.

I saw Bela Fleck and the Flectones last year. They were briefly back together for a tour. Though I couldn’t name a single one of their songs at that time, everything they did was so complex, we couldn’t even put a label on what type of music it was.

Still, as super talented as they all were, a good old 1,4,5 progression can stir you just as much. Something to ponder. :thinking:


It’s sacrilege I’m sure, but I’ve never warmed up to Chris Thile. He’s just too over the top. It’s like he’s bored playing any of the canon straight. Seems like an awesome guy so I hate to go there, but musically there it is. I think some of it is that when I listen I imagine playing it myself and Thile is from Mars.

My own favorites include Joe Walsh and Tim O’Brien. Joe’s tone and taste blow me away. And whoever is playing mandolin on the Lonesome River Band’s “I’m still Learning” record. I’m not a huge BG fan so my exposure is limited. I know enough to know LRB is a revolving door of musicians.


I’m with you in many ways, Jim. Some of my favorite mando playing ever was Dan Tyminski with the LRB.

His breaks in B are about the tastiest ever to me: https://youtu.be/oSZZPdKMUCU?t=53s


Big Dan! Two things I learned… he plays great mando and he was almost rocking a cool mullet!


Sam Bush is my favorite mandolin player bar none it is his style that keeps me interested. His getting into it also, it is like he is in a different world when he plays . Makes one wonder where that is, his world? and we will never know but we can live in our own world and do good . enjoy the music Grisam would be the next one .


Perople are drawn to simple melodies remember the hit “Achy breaky heart” super hit instantly .


I love Dan’s picking but I didn’t recognize him in that video. I only know him post Oh Brother. I do have his solo cd. I think I need to go listen to it again.

On related note I met Mike Compton at a music camp 4 years ago. Wouldn’t recognize him either based on Oh Brother . A little intimidating. Very sharp wit. But an awesome player. I especially loved his affinity for the blues.

While I’m name dropping (lol) also met John Paul Jones at a different camp. Very quiet dude but his wife was a hoot.


Thanks Ben. I liked Dan Tyminski in that video, didn’t realize he was in Union Station as well until I googled him. I liked that he played a little slower for the start of the song and not the rapid fire mandolin solo’s that I see often. Being older, 60, and just starting out with mandolin I don’t think my fingers will ever move so fast, so I was encouraged by that.


I honestly don’t know how in the world I forgot Paul Buskirk. His mandolin stuff is hard to find online, but it’s out there. Here he is playing a 4 string dobro tuned like a mandola (which I think is also the tuning for a tenor banjo.)

Here he is playing a Harvey double neck. The top neck was tuned like a 5 string mandola. Interesting note, I’ve actually held this double neck when it was in a state of complete disrepair. It was given to Deke Dickerson a few years ago who had it restored to like new condition.

And I just found this home movie on Youtube. This was shortly before he died.

Paul’s speed was matched only by his finesse and tasteful runs.