44 Ways to Enjoy The Super Mario Brothers Theme

I don’t know about you, but every time I hear the Super Mario theme, I feel like a big nerd. It’s a theme that any gamer over a certain age can hum off the top of their heads, and when people put their efforts into playing it, I end up grinning like a dope.

And I’m not alone. Below are the results of sifting through hundreds of videos to try to find the theme played on as many instruments as possible. I ended up with 43 decent renditions, covering brass, woodwinds, string and percussion instruments. The top ten is below, and the full 44 is listed at the bottom.

Before you proceed, be warned that I claim no responsibility if the Super Mario Theme is still stuck in your head next Tuesday.

Update 4/16/08: The RC car video was added at #2, pushing “Flute (with beatboxing) out of the top 10. Technically, the list is now 45 ways.

The Top 10 Super Mario Renditions

10. High school band
The odds are extremely high that the only person in this video that was alive to play Super Mario Brothers when it came out was the teacher. And a high school band is obligatory in this type of list, anyway, isn’t it? You know it is.

9. Contrabassoon
There’s something about the sound of the contrabassoon that cracks me up. And Richard plays it for us fabulously, even though he can’t get the camera situated the way he’d like.

8. Two Electric Guitars
Two guitars. One kid. I haven’t seen anything like this since Satan unleashed his metal fury in Rock n Roll Nightmare.

7. 11 String Bass
When I form my world-conquering metal band, The Mighty Fist of Thor, this guy is getting an invite to audition. He will invariably deem the music to be below his abilities, get a PhD in Music History, and die never knowing the gratification that comes with doing twelve chicks from eleven countries at the same time in a tour bus hot tub. At least he made it to evil number six on the list though, right?

6. Balalaika (Russian folk guitar)
While this version isn’t played the most accurately, I have never seen anyone play a folk instrument with such a rock star attitude. And considering he’s playing the Super Mario Theme, I’m guessing the reason is either insanity or nuts the size of Titan. In either case, this guy is also getting an invite to the Mighty Fist of Thor auditions, assuming my agent can find his tiny village in Russia.

5. Alto sax
Notice that this kid is not only in the standard rock star stance, but he plays the song in the style of Lisa Simpson.

4. Ballpoint Pen
While not yet accepted as a standard orchestral instrument, the ballpoint pen takes slot number 3. I think my favorite part of this is the “This is just an ordinary pen” move at the beginning, as if he’s about to do some sort of remarkable magic trick with it.

3. Beer Bottles
“Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.” Oh no? Well, it gets you famous on YouTube, now doesn’t it? Yes, and it gets you the number two slot on this list.

2. RC Car and Bottles
Take a lot of bottles, a radio controlled car, an underground garage, and the Japanese and throw them in a blender and you know that something awesome is going to be unleashed. This was a late addition that knocked “flute (with beatboxing)” off the top ten list, debuting at #2.

1. Tesla Coil
These guys jack it up to 88 miles an hour and play the Super Mario Theme with 1.21 gigawatts of power. Seriously. How can you beat that? 1.21 gigawatts!? 1.21 gigawatts!? Great Scott! the only power source capable of generating 1.21 gigawatts of electricity is… Mario.

If you haven’t gotten enough, yet, continue on. I take no responsibility for any further damage you do to your nerdy little synapses…

Top 44 Super Mario Themes, Listed By Instrument

Acoustic Guitar
Alto Horns
Alto Sax, see #5
Ballpoint Pen, see #4

Banjo and guitar
Beer Bottles, see #3
Balalaika (Russian folk guitar), see #6

Brass Quartet
Church organ
Clarinet Quartet
Contrabassoon, see #9
Electric Guitar
Electric Guitar x2, see #8
Electric Bass
11 String Electric Bass, see #7
Erhu (Chinese Violin)
Euphonium and Saxhorn
Flute (with Beatboxing)
Flute and Clarinet
High School Band, see #10
Marching Band
Mouth Harp
Radio Controlled Car with Beer Bottles, see #2
Rock Band
Ruler and Table
Stage Production
Tesla Coil, see #1
Upright Bass
Vocals (A capella)

Did I miss your favorite instrument? Drop it in the comments.

7 thoughts on “44 Ways to Enjoy The Super Mario Brothers Theme

  1. My favorite of the top ten were definitely the two electric guitars and the 11 string bass.

    While I admire the saxophonist’s attempt at the song, being a saxophone player myself I couldn’t stand to listen all the way through.

    I’m really surprised that the people doing the beer bottle one weren’t too drunk to pull that one off.

    Good finds. I’ll hit up the other ones tomorrow or saturday.

  2. Wow…Zack Kim! I loved it. Two guitars…I had to listen to a bunch of his other stuff. It was great.

    #1Wife is hoping that I’ll get another song in my head. I remarked that the beauty of a lot of those video game songs is that..for some reason…a million times won’t make you sick of them.

    I watched an orchestra at Yale do the Mario Brothers theme. Then I watched them do a Sonic the Hedgehog medely. My kids came running in….we were both on the same page. So we listened to Yale do Zelda.

    I’m still putting fence up in my yard….I put up one panel today. A rather poor showing really. On a more positive note, I’ve listened to the Mario theme at least 50 times today. After watching the local sports team on the in home moving picture show, #1Wife says she’s heading up to bed and tells me…”Have fun with Mario.”

    I wasn’t gonna, but it sounded like a great idea. I went right back to Zack Kim. The other kid that was good was the one on the Piano playing the theme blind folded who then spins into a ton of other themes too…a lot I don’t know. After listening to the pros and ams play this stuff all day I can’t help but have a lot of respect for people that come up with this music. It’s good stuff. I really think it is. Perhaps I don’t have a choice seeing that it was jammed into my brain when playing the games originally. I don’t really care.

    The phone rang a little while ago…..I didn’t pick up. The other phone rang next….I didn’t pick up. It was work trying to suck what’s left of my life from me. I thought that maybe if the phone rang Mario……I’d be dead.

  3. Thanks for putting the theme right back in my head. I almost got it out for a couple of hours.

    Doot doo doo,
    dadoo dadoo,
    doo doo dah doot
    dah doot dah dadoodoo

  4. I’m impressed by your exhaustive research into this topic! Also impressed by your transcription of the theme into doos above.

  5. So here we have Jim John JoJo and now me. I had to note that. Also, I am reposting this on my own blog after seeing that you had compiled this definitive collection. I looked back and without knowing it I had been servicing my own Mario Brothers theme fascination. You have satisfied my latent belief that this list was actually possible.

    Thank you.

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