The mandocello is a unique and singular voiced instrument which originated in Europe and gained popularity during the early 20th century. The lowest voiced instrument in the immediate Mandolin family, It has eight strings in four paired courses and is tuned CC-GG-DD-AA (low to high). What the cello is to the violin, the mandocello is to the mandolin; with it’s deep rich resonant tone that many describe as having a certain piano like chime. As is typical of the mandolin family, mandocellos can be found with either a single oval soundhole or a pair of "F" soundholes. A good you tube demo see Joel Mcdermott
The Morgan Monroe Mandocello pictured above is built in the great tradition of classic archtop with F-hole construction. Mandocello opens up new sonic possibilities and is an instrument you won’t be able to put down!
Although usually associated with late 19th and early 20th century artists,the mandocello also has a role in modern folk music, such as bluegrass or Celtic music. Some contemporary artists who have used mandocello are listed below.
Rick Nielsen of the band Cheap Trick has a stringed instrument collection that includes electric mandocellos custom made by Hamer Guitars. Such an instrument was used for the title track from their LP Heaven Tonight, while their song "Mandocello", released on the band's debut album
Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora used a mandocello on the song "Lay Your Hands on Me" from their acoustic album This Left Feels Right.
Drive-By Truckers frontman Patterson Hood has been known to play a mandocello
Jaco Pastorius overdubbed a mandocello on the Weather Report hit "Birdland."
Mike Marshall played a mandocello on his collaboration album Uncommon Ritual with Edgar Meyer and Béla Fleck and plays it live occasionally (for example with Darol Anger on violin).