View Full Version : Influences

Dave Caulkins
Jul-15-2004, 4:53pm

For those of you who haven't encountered my scant posts thus far:

I'm Dave, a "longtime" (15 or so years) guitarist and recent mandolin addict (it's slowly pushing guitar to a sideline instrument - in fact I sold most of my six stringers, and a bass, to get another mando!). MAS runs deeper than GAS ever did, I'm afraid.

My roots are in bluegrass and jazz (actually attended college for the latter). I drifted away for years, seeking the golden ring of gigs but realized that it really isn't about just playing out but being who you are, musically.

I'm curious what musicians (they don't have to be mando players) have influenced the way you approach the instrument. I think sometimes musicians become too focused on their own instrument's virtuosos and forget about others who can provide equally valuable harmonic/melodic vocabulary.

I will do ten (in no particular order), but feel free to name any number...

Django Reinhardt
Jethro Burns
John Coltrane
Miles Davis
David Grisman (not quite jazz, but it shows through)
John Aebercrombie (...a weakness for good fusion)
Joe Pass
Kenny Burrell
Yusef Lateef
Bob Ferrier (my guitar prof from college)

There are countless others... whom I'm sure I will regret #not including and several distinctly non jazz players who have definately influenced my jazz "chops" (Zappa, anyone?).



John Rosett
Jul-15-2004, 5:24pm
django, stephane, jethro, louis armstrong, benny goodman, charlie christian,coleman hawkins,dizzy gilespie, buddy emmons, tom morrell, david bromberg, mike marshall, frank zappa, scott spadafora......the list goes on and on...

Jul-16-2004, 7:03am
Since I am very new to mando and jazz-playing (I play for 1 and a quarter year now) I'm not going to mention 10, and it is more a list of the style I want to make my own instead of the style that is my own. These guys aren't necessarily Jazz guys either. I want to mention:

Louis Armstrong (solid at the top. especially his hot five and hot seven period of the twenties)
Tiny Moore (as a close second)
Frank Zappa
Duke Ellington
Jerry Garcia
Django Reinhardt
and a recent one, but great influence: Michael Lampert

Jul-17-2004, 5:37am
Tony Rice, Clarence White, Thelonius Monk, Emory Lester, Stephane Grapelli, Kenny Baker, Bela Fleck, ....

Jul-17-2004, 8:43am
Django Reinhardt, Jethro Burns, Bix Beiderbecke, Wynton Marsalis and John Hartford.

Dave Caulkins
Jul-18-2004, 10:03am

Yeah, I knew I'd regret a few... Bela#Fleck has definately influenced my jazz style, especially the 'Deviation' album. I wish I could call Tiny Moore an influence but I'm having a b*tch of a time finding recordings - even on ebay and the like (I am working out of his mando book though). I love Satchmo... his trumpet is inspired and his voice is sublime. If you like vocal jazz, one can't go wrong with the 'Ella & Louis' recordings. Django & Stephane go hand-in-hand, thus I should have mentioned him too.

When I'm BG picking on six strings, Tony Rice and Clarence White (woohoo! Late period Byrds recordings #were an early and hefty influence on me) are MAJOR influences. I was sticking closer to my jazz side, but I can't avoid chiming in.

The last one I regret is one that I only mention in select circles these days. Jerry Garcia. Possibly the biggest influence I ever had on guitar. There was a point when my playing (on Guit) was so Jerrified that every solo I played sounded like something off 'Live Dead' or 'Europe '72'. I spent years of my life as a Deadhead but eventually I needed space to breathe, musically speaking. I can't deny the influence, it's still there. The Dead exposed me to Bluegrass, Jazz, Folk, 'Deep' Psych (Gong perfected that though). The whole 'jamband' scene got kinda sketchy towards the late 90s so I took my leave, but its in my blood and I guess I can't deny it. I just try to limit it these days, though I still like the music.

If I regret any more, I'll chime in again... Too many influences... too few mandolins... (damned MAS)...


Jul-18-2004, 6:00pm
Santana is probably my biggest influence, we're hearing a lotta the same noise's in our heads.

Jul-18-2004, 8:09pm
ditto- plus discoveries through mando- yank, howard armstrong, sam b., etc..
but jerry rings constantly through my head.

Jul-18-2004, 8:14pm
Adam Steffey
Michael Kang
Jerry Garcia
David Grisman
Sam Bush
Chris Thile
Tim O'Brien
Mike Marshall
Stuart Duncan
Doyle Lawson
Shawn Lane
Tony Rice
Bela Fleck
Trey Anastsio (sp?)

And the list goes on and on. Pretty much everybody I listen to influences me, and its a pretty big list http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif Mostly on the bluegrass and rock side of things though as opposed to the jazz side...

Steve S.
Jul-19-2004, 11:57am
add to the list:

Bill Evans
Clifford Brown
Pat Martino

Jul-19-2004, 1:46pm
Johnny Young
Charlie McCoy
Carl Martin
Yank Rachell
Rich DelGrosso
Niles Hokkanen

...love the Blues http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif

Ted Eschliman
Jul-20-2004, 9:53am
Kenny Rankin and Stevie Wonder for my adolescent exposure to Pop/Jazz sensibilities. (Jazz Pianist) Bill Evans for a keen sense of linear that pokes through vertical harmonic complexity.
Paul Glasse for daring to redefine the boundaries of mandolin "convention." Jethro, for taking the mandolin out of the key of 'G.'
John Reischman for unwittingly sharing his secrets of line and meter. (Probably ought to put Will Patton there, too, but I haven't stolen anything from him in person… Yet.)
Don Stiernberg for demonstrating that being a musical genius does not necessarily exclude being a nice person. #Michael Lampert for his counsel, and his best quote, "If the music isn't pretty, then why bother?"
And of course, Scott Tichenor for proving that mando obsession CAN coexist with a healthy family life…

Jul-20-2004, 11:18am
not really influences for mando playin, but certainly for song styling- david bromberg, don white (if you don't know his stuff and you like folk music- go get some), weavers/pete seeger, arlo, janis j., bb, ray charles

Aug-09-2004, 3:03pm
In order of style from old jazz to modern to acoustic and bluegrass: #Karl Kress, Django, Charlie Parker, Joe Pass, Bill Evans, Stan Getz, Phil Keaggy, Marcus Miller, Jaco Pastorius, Fred Hammond, Tuck Andress, Bill Monroe, Sam Bush.

--Eric Elias

Aug-09-2004, 3:24pm
I learn from most the same folks, Dawg, Bush, Django etc...... but another unmentioned great resource is Barry Mitteroff playing with Jorma Kaukanen, fantastic duo guitar and mando and I've learned a ton about accompanyment by watching Barry. Excellent blues and folk, but Barry can play it all. He's extremely clean and his licks are clever, but not impossible like Thile or someone else.

Also, I've transposed a ton of Garcia licks to mando from albums like So What w/ Grisman. Grate stuff. HA!

Michael H Geimer
Aug-09-2004, 3:48pm
Doc Watson
Norman Blake.

Those guys really know how to tell a story. Listening to them made me stop worrying about the licks, and the breaks, and really centered me on the job of just playing the song.

Aug-10-2004, 8:54am
This may sound crazy but coming from the rock guitar world, it's been people like SRV, BB King, Wes Montgomery as well as some of the metal folks like Randy Rhodes and Joe Satriani...I do listen to a lot mando music..Yank is one that showed me that the mando was a valid blues axe. But I guess you can't get away from those early influences...The other night I was taking a solo and when I got done one of the neighbors (who hear me playing eletric blues all the time) said "Man, that sounded like Stevie..."

Aug-11-2004, 2:36pm
for me......., bill monroe, tony rice, his name escapes me now but the mando player for the johnson moutain boys, ricky skaggs, norman blake, john hartford (for that down by the river groove), chris thile bridging the gap, and just recenty ive found adam steffey
my jazz influences thelonius monk, john coltrane, joshua redman, wes montgomery, django, john mclaughlin, ahmad jamal, jimmy smith and miles davis.

as an addition to this post, the song that really got me into playing jazz and swing on the mando would have to be blue monk but a bit more up beat than the original version.

Aug-12-2004, 10:10am
In my earlier years (1-8) of learning mando, there was much more of a direct mandolin influence: Dave Swarbrick, Skaggs (circa JD Crowe & Boone Creek), Jimmy Gaudreau, Doyle Lawson, Jethro Burns, Larry Rice, Mick Moloney.

Loved Ry Cooder and Andy Irvine's mando playing, but at the time, I could never really figure out what they were doing and only gave myself headaches trying. #(While there was an occasional smattering of Grisman and Bush, relatively speaking, there was a whole LOT more Garica, R.Thompson, Albert Lee, Clarence and Tony Rice guitar stuff I was trying to transfer over to and capture on the mando.)

However, what really strikes home with me is what some of the better electric guitarists do. #Also, I really like a lot of genres in which mandolin is a non-indigenous instrument, so in order to play that stuff (convincingly, on mando) there is no other choice but to study the approach, techniques, phrasing and vocabulary of the instruments that do define those styles. #

So I would consider these to be influences on the way I approach the instrument (mando):

Electric Guitarists: <span style='font-size:12pt;line-height:100%'>Richard Thompson; # Jimi Hendrix;</span> Jerry Garcia (electric, early 70's stuff mostly); Ry Cooder; SRV; #John Cippolina (Quicksilver Messenger Service, Copperhead);

Carlos Santana; # Albert Lee; #Don Helms (table steel guitar for Hank Williams Sr, Ray Price...); #Clarence White (electric, Byrds); # Mark Knopfler; # David Lindley; # Eric Clapton; # Peter Green (original Fleetwood Mac); #Robin Trower; #Angus & Malcom Young #(AC/DC); #Jerry Donahue (Fairport Convention, Hellecasters); #BB King; # James Calvin Wilsey (early Chris Isaak albums); #Don Rich (Buck Owens); Tom Brumley (pedal steel w/Buck Owens)

Acoustic guitarists: Richard Thompson; Martin Carthy; Clarence White (I Am A Pilgrim, Listen The Mockingbird etc); John Renbourn; Mississippi John Hurt

Fiddle: Dave Swarbrick (Fairport Convention, etc.); Don "Sugarcane" Harris (Frank Zappa, John Mayall); Michael Doucet; Curley Ray Cline; various Scandinavian fiddlers

Accordion: John Kirkpatrick, Flaco Jimenez

I don't think I these qualify as overt "influences", but among sax/horn players, these are some of my favorites: #Johnny Hodges (alto), Sonny Rollins (tenor), Coltrane (tenor), Art Pepper (alto), Chet Baker (trumpet), Rhasaan Roland Kirk (especially his flute playing). Like Django too.

Niles Hokkanen

Aug-12-2004, 1:42pm
Hey Niles
I know your flexibility from hearing you in person ... and the above mentioned musicians can´t be more different. But you dig them all !

What I was wondering is if you ever get kind of " mandolin lessons" from one of the "famous" mandolin players . You told me ( if I recognize correctly) that you once met Howard Armstrong. And you have some teachers in Finnland as well... I assume. Or is it all worked out by yourself just from hearing the music of them ?

Thanks !


Dave Caulkins
Aug-14-2004, 1:49pm

Knew I'd regret not mentioning someone else (especially after Niles...).

Richard Thompson & Dave Swarbrick (and John Renbourn, Bert Jansch, and a host of other Brit/Celt folkies) - Ok, they really haven't affected my jazz playing (but then again, this isn't just about jazz anymore, is it?). Thompson is one of my top influences, period, especially on the six-string. Pick and fingers style? I learned it from him. Rearranging traditional folk? Thompson and Swarbrick (Fairport Convention... my first love in British Folk-Rock). Not writing the same old 'love song' drivel? Yup, it's Richard again...

I definately agree that diversity in listening is important. I listen to everything from bluegrass to death metal (no joke), sometimes within the same hour. My coworkers think I'm crazy (Jethro Burns followed by Opeth?), and maybe I'm inclined to agree. I don't think I show too much metal influence on the mando however (but I have tried a few Iron Maiden licks!).