Pink Floyd’s Echoes—K1 Mandocello

When I was in my teens/early 20’s, Gilmour, Clapton, and Hendrix were the big three for me (the cult of Strat—and, I shouldn’t forget SRV too). Gilmour (and later Mark Knopfler) perfected the clean Strat tone for rock. Echoes was the tune my brother Phil and I would jam for hours on on our back porch. I loved the tune and prided myself when I learned it on my Strat (from dropping the needle on the LP no less).

If you’re unfamiliar with Echoes, it was on the album Meddle—probably the best of the pre-Dark Side of the Moon albums (and this is a bold statement as I love Syd Barrett, as well as the album Atom Heart Mother). The tune is fairly simple—it’s really about creating the atmosphere for layering. Two things stand out to me that make this song so compelling to me. The first is David Gilmour’s guitar. His style now seems fully formed. The same clean bluesy Strat sounds we hear in Mother, Shine On (You Crazy Diamond), or the first Comfortably Numb solo. The second, of course, is the killer riff after bridges.

Some time back I worked up an arrangement of Echoes on the mandolin in the original key of C#minor. I was never quite happy with the mandolin version of the tune as felt it really needed the bottom. Enter this beautiful 1921 Gibson K1 mandocello with the big resonant low C. Makes sense to put the song in Cminor (and if I want to play the original key, slap on a capo).

Still working through the strategy of mandocello fingering. Even though it looks like an oversized mandolin or perhaps an octave mando, it really is it’s own entity and requires some thought. And for an increasingly aging guy with left hand index and pinky fingers that often hurt, the ‘cello is a bit of a reach. But, hopefully you enjoy me getting acquainted with this instrument and what it can do.

This apparently is my first mandolin post to YouTube in 4 years. You’ll see a lot more of this and tablature. I am recommitting myself to musical endeavors in the time I have way from my day job as a clinical director for a mental health center. That time the past 10 years was used for either for kids (who are now all college age or older) or my own schoolwork. Those obligations are both past me.


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