Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cheap Trick: Mandocello

It’s been a while since I featured any Cheap Trick songs – so I guess I am due for one. I’ve always liked the band and had a chance to see them in concert in 1978. I actually won the tickets off one radio station while simultaneously working at another. Multitasking, I guess. It was the summer of that year and AC/DC opened for the Cheap Trick at the Huntington (WV) Civic Center.

Here’s a song from their first album and the title has nothing to do with the lyrics. “Mandocello” was named for the acoustic instrument that carries the rhythm but is predominant during the intro and outro of the tune. Guitarist Rick Nielsen plays the mandocello on the cut, but is not credited on the album as such.

The mandocello, which is typically mandolin shaped, is tuned as a ‘cello with double course strings as CC GG DD AA. Later versions of the mandocello were made with guitar bodies to provide better projection of the low sound as the C note is lower than the low E on a guitar.

I have a mandocello wrapped up in the corner and I am not allowed to touch it until Christmas. Drat. I can’t wait to get it out and play it. I always loved sound of the instrument and since it is tuned in fifths, I should be able to pick it up pretty easily as I already play mandolin, tenor guitar, and bouzouki – all tuned in fifths. Oh well, until Christmas – here’s Cheap Trick’s “Mandocello.”

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