View Full Version : Ramblings of a bluegrass mandolin player

Gary Hedrick
Feb-23-2008, 11:52am
I am so happy to see this section of the Cafe' open up. I must confess that I have been a addict of tenor guitars for a very long time.
My father, Marvin Hedrick of the Bean Blossom Bluegrass Tapes fame, owned a 50's Gibson arch top tenor that he would pick around on in private. I have tapes of Joe Stuart coming by my father's shop and playing it...everything from an Elvis version of Blue Suede Shoes to fiddle tunes. Joe was a player of many instruments..fiddle, guitar, banjo and of course the tenor....he would always ask Dad to get it out when he stopped by...he loved fooling around on it.

So as I learned to play Bluegrass mandolin I still had the urge to play one from seeing Joe have so much fun with it.
Around '65 I took all my saved money from working to buy an 018T from Arthur's Music in Indianapolis....$75 bucks!!!! I have a tape where I'm playing it in a backstage jam with Bill Monroe and we are playing Swinging Shepherd Blues...(it was my time to call out a number so scared out of my mind I picked it)...Bill really cut into it!!!! Sold it in the early 80's in my less than brilliant days but now own a 1940 018T that Lynn Dudenbostel directed me to some years ago. I play it or my mandola when I play in jams and we have too many mandolin players.
Oh and I just bought a 20's Gibson off of ebay....ah TGAS strikes again.
So to all of you mandolin players out there that are bluegrassers...yeah you can play a tenor guitar in bluegrass....don't let the "supposed thought police" tell you otherwise....I can testify that Bill liked it!!! so it must be ok.....besides he let Sally Forrester play an acordian on some of his early stuff!!!!

ps....yes you can "chop" a tenor guitar...it takes practise and it can only be done well in the lower positions...

Feb-24-2008, 4:17pm
Didn't Rabon Delmore play tenor guitar?


Feb-24-2008, 7:20pm
right on Gary...bluegrass fiddle tunes sound great on a tenor and all but a few are easier to play on one as well. I think its mostly my old abused hands don't scrunch up well with those short scales. I'd love to hear that tape of you and old Bill! Thats gotta be great!

Apr-29-2008, 8:14am
How does a tenor fit in in the standard bluegrass five-piece?

I've been eyeing a tenor with the thought of concentrating on closed chord "sock" rhythm, hitting the 2 and 4 with the mandolin, with a little syncopation thrown in where appropriate.

I know the tenors who back up Texas fiddle really run the neck and can hit even the simple major chords four or five different spots on the neck. That seems like it could add some extra texture to a song, as long as the guitar and the mandolin were leaving a little bit more space.

What else? Bass runs? Leads? Doubling the fiddle line?

Adam Tracksler
May-08-2008, 5:14pm
I played one out one night with a BG band. it sounded great. I used the space to add texture and different voicings to the songs...I guess not to differently than when there are more than 2 mandos at a jam...

Jason Kessler
May-09-2008, 12:56pm
<<I have a tape where I'm playing it in a backstage jam with Bill Monroe>>

That's a pretty cool sentence to be able to type...

May-09-2008, 1:10pm
<<I have a tape where I'm playing it in a backstage jam with Bill Monroe>>

That's a pretty cool sentence to be able to type...
That was a sublime comment.