View Full Version : Byron Berline

Apr-11-2004, 1:05pm
I'm in Oklahoma City on business and made the trip to Guthrie yesterday to check out the Doublestop Fiddle Shop. It's a great little shop located in a small town near OKC with a great selection of mandolins (and a ton of fiddles too). ANYWAY, me and my buddy walked in and were able to just pick up any of the mandolins hanging on the walls and play them all we wanted. I'm not talking about just cheap stuff either...Gibsons, Webers, Krishot etc. He's got some really nice stuff. While we were there some locals started showing up with instruments so we went back out and got ours. We sat and picked with these guys (including Byron) right there in the shop all afternoon. I had heard of Byron but didn't realize what a musician he was until he started in on his fiddle. He and another guy (Greg Burgess) were just wearing it out. I have never picked with that caliber of muscician before and even though I could barely even keep up they were sure to keep offering me breaks. They are not only world class musicians but also really nice guys. Byron has a music hall upstairs and put on a show with his band that evening that was just excellent. I found out that he is not only a great fiddler but an awesome mandolin player too. There are pictures on the walls of Byron playing with the likes of Bill Monroe, Sam Bush, Vince Gill and more big names than I can put down here. If you like bluegrass and western swing music and happen to be near OKC this place is definitely worth checking out. Byron has definitely got a new fan here.

Apr-11-2004, 1:56pm
Byron is one of the best fiddlers in the world, I think. I have heard him on mandolin a little, and he is great on that too, but he mostly played fiddle during the last 25 years that I have intermittently seen/heard him. I think he helped write "Gold Rush" with Bill Monroe, but am not 100% sure of that. If you get a chance to hear him live, do it, you won't been disappoinated. One of the bands he has been in, "California," had John Moore, one of the best mandolin players I have ever heard. I believe that band occasionaly has reunions, that give concerts in various states.

Apr-11-2004, 4:11pm
I First heard Byron and John Moore with Califorina at a local festival last Aug. or Sept. You're right, Byron is an incredible picker. He also sat in on John's Mando workshop. Listening to those two go at it was pure pleasure. If I remember correctly, Byron said he gave Monroe Goldrush when he was playing fiddle for him. John & Byron also hinted at the possibility of another CD. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

Apr-11-2004, 4:47pm
I went there almost a year ago. Great guy, good store, bad prices though. He picked up the mando and let me listen to each one so I could hear them as others would instead of just how the sounded to me. He could play mando better than I probably ever will and it wasn't his main choice.

Apr-11-2004, 9:33pm
Well I live in OKC and have been to Byron's a few times, even got the name of my teacher from him. He is a great guy and can play both mando and fiddle. I have enjoyed the times that I have been up there and listening to him talk and play have been great. He and Monroe did write Gold Rush together, he even has a special edition mandolin in a glass case that is named Gold Rush. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Apr-11-2004, 9:44pm
Another cool story.

My friend purchased a used fiddle from Byron. When Byron sold it to him, he informed my friend that he wasn't completely sure of a repair job the previous owner had done on it. It was a great fiddle though and my friend wanted it. Well something happened to it and Byron fixed it no cost. I was glad it happened though because I got to make another trip up there with him to hang out and check out the museum.

I know what you mean about playing all the instruments. I was just picking up the "cheap" a styles. He kept practically shoving the high end ones in my hands. Played Weber Big Sky, Osbourne Model Mando, Gibson MM, etc. The ones I thought would sound good didn't and some of the ones I thought wouldn't sound so good did. Best in the bunch as far as playability and sound was a Flatiron Artist. The high end Webers and Gibsons were kind of lame.

Byron liked the Czech mandos by the way. He hosts a bluegrass festival and has some Czech bands come play. I hope to catch it some day.

Apr-12-2004, 6:46pm
Thanks for lauding John Moore. I knew John started teaching Chris Theile when he was a youngster. I've had the opportunity to listen to John every year in Guthrie. He is definitely one of the very best. Chris would probably say so too.

Apr-13-2004, 9:58pm
Sam Bush refers to learning a bunch of tunes from Byron in his "Mandolin Technique & Repetoire" CD set. Is Byron also "Texas Shorty" or was that a different Texan fiddler?

Apr-14-2004, 8:30am
Texas Shorty is James Chancellor

Apr-14-2004, 11:20am
Speaking of fiddlers, the Texas State Fiddling Contest is coming up on Saturday and Sunday, April 24 & 25 in Hallettsville. Texas Shorty is usually there every year, as well as many other great fiddlers.

Scotti Adams
Apr-14-2004, 8:39pm
..way back..Byron, John Hickman and Dan Crary put out a record..Byron played alot of mando on that..very good too I might add