Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: Mandolin In Elvis Songs?

  1. #1
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    12,604
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Mandolin In Elvis Songs?

    This came up in a discussion. Someone said there's mandolin on "Now Or Never." I say no, it's guitar trilled like a mandolin. Which fits, because the song (BTW, his biggest-selling single, I learned) was copped from an Italian song. Then another song was offered, "Indescribably Blue," which I'd never heard before. Same approach, I say, though this time it sounds like a nylon string guitar.

    But I wonder whether anyone knows if indeed there is such a song?

    I'd be very surprised if there were mandolin on any Elvis song. Delighted, but surprised. Not sure any of those rockabilly cats even knew what a mandolin was - and Elvis covered Bill Monroe's "Blue Moon Of Kentucky." And if they did, they probably would have thought it too square to use - too old-school for them.



    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    The big blowhard in his conch shell blowing championship form

  2. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to journeybear For This Useful Post:


  3. #2
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Outer Spiral Arm, of Galaxy, NW Oregon.
    Posts
    16,417

    Default Re: Mandolin In Elvis Songs?

    Wasn't there a Famous Studio Musician, who tuned a Mandolin like DGBE,
    so he got the Job done when the recording session required a Mandolin?

    (My name dropping memory is old grey cells )


    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  4. #3
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    12,604
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Mandolin In Elvis Songs?

    News to me. I know there's such a thing as a short neck 12-string guitar - and I do mean half the length, so it's an octave up. So a guitarist can have the mandolin sound without learning to play mandolin. I first saw it during Lucinda Williams' tour in support of "Car Wheels On A Gravel Road" back in 1998. It's used on the title song. Sounds like a mandolin, and I thought it was, so I was thrilled - and then disappointed, when I learned the truth. It's still cool, though, that sound.

    But these songs don't have that sound, to my ears. Sounds like a single string instrument, despite being played in mandolinesque fashion.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    The big blowhard in his conch shell blowing championship form

  5. #4
    Registered User jefflester's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    California
    Posts
    2,334

    Default Re: Mandolin In Elvis Songs?

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    Wasn't there a Famous Studio Musician, who tuned a Mandolin like DGBE,
    so he got the Job done when the recording session required a Mandolin?

    (My name dropping memory is old grey cells )


    Tommy Tedesco

  6. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to jefflester For This Useful Post:


  7. #5
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    12,604
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Mandolin In Elvis Songs?

    Member of the Wrecking Crew. Funny - his wiki bio says "he also played mandolin, ukulele, sitar and over twenty other stringed instruments." Wonder why he'd need to use that approach.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    The big blowhard in his conch shell blowing championship form

  8. #6
    Registered User Bruce Clausen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Vancouver Island
    Posts
    1,351

    Default Re: Mandolin In Elvis Songs?

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    Wasn't there a Famous Studio Musician, who tuned a Mandolin like DGBE,
    so he got the Job done when the recording session required a Mandolin?
    In fact until recently practically every guitar player playing in an orchestra where doubling on mandolin or tenor banjo was required used that solution.

  9. #7
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    12,604
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Mandolin In Elvis Songs?

    Hey friends - I know this isn't the most fascinating subject, and most people won't have any input on it. But it would help me with my doubts about my tired ears and their accuracy if you could indicate agreement with my assertion that these songs do NOT contain mandolin by registering "Thanks" on the OP. That'll save you the hassle of composing a comment but still convey approval. I'd appreciate it. Thanks!
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    The big blowhard in his conch shell blowing championship form

  10. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Aberdeen, Scotland
    Posts
    618

    Default Re: Mandolin In Elvis Songs?

    Scotty Moore plays a mandolin like tremolo on electric guitar on "Surrender" which is also taken from a Neapolitan song, "Torna a Surriento" in this case.

    You'll find some mandolin versions of that tune on the "Song-a-Week" forum.
    Bren

  11. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Grants Pass, OR
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: Mandolin In Elvis Songs?

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    Member of the Wrecking Crew. Funny - his wiki bio says "he also played mandolin, ukulele, sitar and over twenty other stringed instruments." Wonder why he'd need to use that approach.

    I went to one of his workshops once. I don't remember anything about tuning that he might use but I remember he said that he would have the mandolin strings slightly out of tune so it would sound like there were 2 instruments.

  12. #10
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    12,604
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Mandolin In Elvis Songs?

    I'm SO gonna use that. Whenever someone says something about my tuning, or lack there of, I'll say i's on purpose, and here's why. Especially if it's a band mate.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    The big blowhard in his conch shell blowing championship form

  13. #11

    Default Re: Mandolin In Elvis Songs?

    Quote Originally Posted by rick frank View Post
    I went to one of his workshops once. I don't remember anything about tuning that he might use but I remember he said that he would have the mandolin strings slightly out of tune so it would sound like there were 2 instruments.
    From what I can recall, he said putting the mandolin strings slightly out of tune made it sound more "Italian" ( It did!)
    At a workshop he gave here in England, he demonstrated five string banjo and mandolin both tuned as guitars. He used a plectrum on the banjo (as, indeed, he used on the nylon strung guitar)

    The thing was, that he could produce a more than reasonable sounding version of more "authentic" technique, in a wide variety of styles, using that tuning and a plectrum.
    He also told of getting a call to provide bouzouki music for a film. He turned up with a battered old Greek bouzouki and a twelve string guitar. He played the piece on the bouzouki then said to the producer that it would sound better if he used the twelve string , as it was a much better quality instrument. The producer insisted that it had to be bouzouki as it was Greek music(!) but eventually Tommy persuaded him and the guitar was used to great effect. Tommy made it sound more Greek than his beat up bouzouki, but as he said, without that bouzouki he would not have got the job.

    A very entertaining man in every way. RIP.

  14. #12
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    16,599

    Default Re: Mandolin In Elvis Songs?

    Used to read his column in Guitar Player every month. Concur with the "entertaining" description.

    I thought I might find out that he'd played mandolin on one of Elvis's recordings -- no luck. Here's a list of all the Elvis recordings on which Tedesco played, but it was invariably as a guitarist.
    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

  15. #13
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    12,358

    Default Re: Mandolin In Elvis Songs?

    James Morrow played electric mandolin in Roy Orbison's high school band the Wink Westerners, later renamed the Teen Kings. If I have the chronology right, he appears on the band's recording of "Ooby Dooby" made at Norman Petty's studio in Clovis, N.M., but he might not have made the trip to Memphis to re-record the song with Orbison at Sun Studios.

    Never heard of mandolin on any Elvis recording (or Beatles, for that matter, although they appear to have used virtually every other instrument in existence).
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

    Notorious: My Celtic CD--listen & buy!

    Lyon & Healy Wood Thormahlen Andersen Bacorn Yanuziello Fender National Gibson Franke Fuchs Aceto Three Hungry Pit Bulls

  16. #14
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    12,604
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Mandolin In Elvis Songs?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmando View Post
    Never heard of mandolin on any Elvis recording (or Beatles, for that matter, although they appear to have used virtually every other instrument in existence).
    Except ukulele. Though George did use both in hs solo career, particularly on the "Gone Troppo." album. And as we all know, Paul used it on "Dance Tonight." This is one way The Rolling Stones were better than The Beatles. In fact, I'm pretty sure the first time I heard mandolin on a record was on their "Love In Vain," masterfully played by Ry Cooder.

    Yeah, I'm quite sure Elvis never went there, and the examples cited were guitar played that way. I'm satisfied. And the other contributor to the conversation that started this question has ... left the building.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    The big blowhard in his conch shell blowing championship form

  17. #15
    Registered User Lucas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Location
    Irvine, California
    Posts
    97

    Default Re: Mandolin In Elvis Songs?

    JB:

    It appears you called it right. I obtained a library book titled "Reconsider Baby - the Definitive Elvis Sessionography". The book credits Scotty Moore, Hank Garland, and Elvis as guitar players during the recording session for the song and does not list any mando players. Here is a page from the book.Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2995.jpg 
Views:	10 
Size:	685.0 KB 
ID:	192577

  18. The following members say thank you to Lucas for this post:


  19. #16
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    12,604
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Mandolin In Elvis Songs?

    Excellent! Thank you so much! I've been assuming this is the case, in the absence of proof, but that meant having to rely on my unreliable ears. Now I don't have to do that any more. What a relief! Thanks for your persistence!
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    The big blowhard in his conch shell blowing championship form

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •