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Thread: f-style as american icon

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    Registered User billkilpatrick's Avatar
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    Default f-style as american icon

    those neighbors and friends here in italy who've seen my f-4 mandolin invariably ask:"what is it?" everyone knows the neaopolitan-style mandolin - correct recognition of the flatback runs about half and half.

    if it's not already considered as such, i wonder if the f-style can assume its rightful place in the smithsonian as a genuinely american instrument?

    - bill*

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    Default Re: f-style as american icon

    Sure. As someone wrote here within the last week or two, a good answer to the question heard by F-style mandolinists - "What IS that thing?" - is - "It's an American mandolin."

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    Mark Evans mandozilla's Avatar
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    Default Re: f-style as american icon

    Whenever anyone asks me what my mando is, I tell them it's an American Mandolin. And they're a bit taken aback by my statement...they usually say stuff like, "I didn't know there was such a thing"..."sure is pretty and sounds nice too".

    Now I don't know if that's 100% accurate, but I do believe that it was Orville Gibson, and American in America, that first patented the carved top/back plate type mandolin...and that's good enough for me. Mando experts feel free to chop me off at the knees now.

    "You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can't wipe your friends off on your saddle."

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    Registered User billkilpatrick's Avatar
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    Default Re: f-style as american icon

    so be it! ... american it is!

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    Default Re: f-style as american icon

    Who's going to write the letter to the Smithsonian?

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    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: f-style as american icon

    Sorry guys - but the Banjo has it !. The ONLY instrument to be fully developed in the USA.
    Whether you like it or not,be proud of it - millions of folk around the world love the sound,mainly due to another WSM 'discovery' - Earl Scruggs. I'm totally unashamed by my 'other' affiliation.And any criticisms will be followed my MORE Banjo piccies !!
    Saska
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    Registered User 45ACP-GDLF5's Avatar
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    Default Re: f-style as american icon

    Sorry saska, but the Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer was created here in the USA.
    Molon Labe

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    Cambridge Mandolinist Daniel Nestlerode's Avatar
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    Default Re: f-style as american icon

    I'll buy the F style mandolin as a quintessentially American version of an instrument invented on the Italian Peninsula. But it doesn't rise to the level of "icon." Let's face it, if people who are barely literate when it comes to music don't know what instrument you're playing, it's not an icon. Elvis was an icon. Guitars are iconic. Banjos are iconic. Mandolins are very much a mystery to most Americans.

    It ain't called "Guitar Center" for nothing.

    Daniel

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    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: f-style as american icon

    That's a CRITICISM !! - more bigger & better BANJO pics.a comin' up. Joking apart,yes i agree with you re.the MOUNTAIN Dulcimer,however it's 'hammered' associate,is a development of the European 'Cymbalom'. Possibly if i'd engaged my brain,i'd have qualified my statement by saying the most 'widely known' American instrument,
    Saska
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    Registered User Mike Snyder's Avatar
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    Default Re: f-style as american icon

    I believe that the modern banjo has evolved from skin headed stringed instruments from Africa. Of course, those instruments are pretty far removed from the hardware store nightmare of the 5 string bluegrass abominations twanging about on this side of the pond. Very similar to tack head banjers, though. The mandolin moved closer to iconic status when Sir Paul made a video with one.
    Mike Snyder

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    Lover of Weber & Martin Rod_Neep's Avatar
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    Default Re: f-style as american icon

    Quote Originally Posted by 45ACP-GDLF5 View Post
    Sorry saska, but the Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer was created here in the USA.
    In defense of my English compatriot I think that I would have to point out that the Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer was developed directly from the German scheitholt.

    Rod

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    Registered User 45ACP-GDLF5's Avatar
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    Default Re: f-style as american icon

    Quote Originally Posted by Rod_Neep View Post
    In defense of my English compatriot I think that I would have to point out that the Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer was developed directly from the German scheitholt.

    Rod

    Pure speculation. The two are similar, but that's where it ends. Being a native of the appalachians and an historian and player of the dulcimer, I've never read or heard this anywhere.
    Molon Labe

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    The Forrest Gump of Mando Rob Powell's Avatar
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    Default Re: f-style as american icon

    Yep, unfortunately you can't iconize the American Mandolin when a lot of people still think it's a little guitar
    "If you can make it to 50 without growing up, you don't have to..."

    Rob Powell AKA The BeerGeek

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    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: f-style as american icon

    As to the dulcimer...
    According to the late great Bruce (U. Utah) Phillips it's name came from someone hearing the instrument and they said "Play dull some more" and they did.
    I miss Bruce something fierce!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    Nos Mos Nunquam Astrum

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    Default Re: f-style as american icon

    No offense to Mr. Scruggs, I thought the banjo was really popularized by Deliverance.

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    Registered User fredfrank's Avatar
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    Default Re: f-style as american icon

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Wofford View Post
    No offense to Mr. Scruggs, I thought the banjo was really popularized by Deliverance.

    I don't know if 'popularized' would be the correct term. Perhaps 'pigeonholed' would be more appropriate.

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: f-style as american icon

    Instruments that America can make some claim for as "originator":

    Ukulele (Hawaii's now part of the US) -- derived from Portuguese guitar-family instruments
    Banjo -- derived from African prototypes (banza etc.), but brought to its present form and variations in the US -- 5-string, tenor, plectrum, cello, banjo-mandolin, banjo-uke, etc. etc.
    Autoharp -- variant of European zithers, mechanical chording device patented by Chas. Zimmermann of Philadelphia in the 1880's
    Carved-top guitar and mandolin -- application of violin-style arched, carved tops to mandolin and guitar family instruments, mainly initiated by Orville Gibson around 1890
    Steel-string guitar -- derivative of gut-strung Spanish-developed instruments, enlarged body size, altered bracing patterns, early 20th century by Martin and others
    Electric guitar -- attachment of device to electronically amplify string vibrations; Rickenbacker "frying pan" electric steel considered earliest prototype.
    Resonator guitar (and other resonator instruments) -- design by James Beauchamp and the Dopyera brothers, Los Angeles, 1920's
    Steel guitar, pedal and "lap" varieties.

    Don't know about the Appalachian dulcimer, since there are German and Scandinavian fretted, elongated zithers that seem related, but its current configuration seems American.

    Getting back to the original theme of the thread, I would hold up the F-style mandolin body as a significant icon of esthetic design, and cite its world-wide popularity. Since scroll and points are there basically as decoration rather than for acoustic enhancement, it really is a silhouette that has captured the imagination of musicians for its gracefulness and visual interest.
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    Registered User billkilpatrick's Avatar
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    Default Re: f-style as american icon

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Instruments that America can make some claim for as "originator":

    Ukulele (Hawaii's now part of the US) -- derived from Portuguese guitar-family instruments
    ...
    Getting back to the original theme of the thread, I would hold up the F-style mandolin body as a significant icon of esthetic design, and cite its world-wide popularity. Since scroll and points are there basically as decoration rather than for acoustic enhancement, it really is a silhouette that has captured the imagination of musicians for its gracefulness and visual interest.
    i agree with you on the american aesthetics of the F-style mandolin - a contribution yankees can be proud of - but not about the american origin of the 'umble uke.

    can't be many who haven't heard this ... but story goes that when the first braguinha from portugal was heard in hawaii it was named a "jumping flea" - ukulele - because of the sound it made. the instrument that arrived 100-something years ago and the instrument today are virtually the same.

    here's another old (personal) chestnut:

    iberian men
    brought their vihuelas with them
    hola, aloha

    - bill*

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    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: f-style as american icon

    Heck - I'm taking up Trumpet after all this. I'll just wait for the post that tells me that the Trumpet was developed from the Native American 'mouth bow' !!!,
    Saska
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    Cafe Linux Mommy danb's Avatar
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    Default Re: f-style as american icon

    Saska, actually the Banjo is a descendant of an African instrument called a Banjar

    Pretty sure Americans can still lay claim to the drive-through window thought
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    Registered User billkilpatrick's Avatar
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    Default Re: f-style as american icon

    Quote Originally Posted by saska View Post
    Heck - I'm taking up Trumpet after all this. I'll just wait for the post that tells me that the Trumpet was developed from the Native American 'mouth bow' !!!,
    Saska
    take up the sousaphone ... bona-feedie, gen-u-ine amur'ican ...

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    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: f-style as american icon

    Does it matter? We are all "enlightened' enough to play the Mandolin in any of it's guises. I do not see that it's point of origin is here of there, I am just happy to have one!
    I do like the factotum of the Sousaphone though, A buddy of mine playe the piccolo part of the "Stars and Stripes Forever" on the mandolin..if anyone cares.
    Timothy F. Lewis
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    Registered User billkilpatrick's Avatar
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    Default Re: f-style as american icon

    Quote Originally Posted by Timbofood View Post
    Does it matter? We are all "enlightened' enough to play the Mandolin in any of it's guises. I do not see that it's point of origin is here of there, I am just happy to have one!
    me too - but imagine (coming, as you do, from kalamazoo) how you would feel if ... assuming you have a time machine and there's a future worth visiting ... you were to leap forward to find that an F-style mandolin had taken hold somewhere (choice is yours - more out-of-the-way the better) and inhabitants there were claiming it as their own. equanimity (oyez!) is worth it at any any price ... but wouldn't you feel obliged to set the record straight to at least a few of the more discerning?

    - bill*

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    Mark Evans mandozilla's Avatar
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    Default Re: f-style as american icon

    Saska
    The B***O, which I really love BTW, is, as I'm sure you know, of African origin...can you say Banjar?

    Other than the Neopolitan (bowl back style) European mandolin, I don't know of any flattish (as opposed to the bowlback), carved top/back mandolin of European origin that pre-dates Orvilles' patent...correct me if I'm wrong (and I probably am).

    That's why I call mine an American Mandolin...not trying to be an 'Ugly American'.

    "You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can't wipe your friends off on your saddle."

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    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: f-style as american icon

    mandozilla: That's why I call mine an American Mandolin...not trying to be an 'Ugly American'.
    I agree American mandolin! 100%

    Flat back, carved top scrolled -- mandolin. Definately, Orville did it and he was from Michigan

    And then came Llyod and the f-hole and the long neck-- quod erat demonstrandum.

    And don't worry about being an "ugly" American -- that was a figment of other's imaginations. Actually, Americans are pretty cool folks by in large.

    There must be some reason why no one wants to leave but most want to come to our shores. Ya think?
    Bernie
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