View Full Version : Two years in: Newell #30

Dec-26-2008, 1:53am

What a ride folks! It was October of 2006 when I ordered a mandolin from Keith, and two months later, a week or two before Christmas, I got the best thing in the mail ever....Ever!

I was 20 at the time, had started playing when I was 18 - got my first mandolin, a Kentucky, from my parents as a high school graduation present. In those two months it took Keith to build the new one, I think I practiced more than I ever have...it's quite a motivator, getting those pictures in your email every few days.

(All the ones he sent me are here (http://www-personal.umich.edu/~garnetb/mandopic/) )


I absolutely love this instrument, and of course you're all wondering how it sounds. I'm not exactly sure what words are en vogue these days to talk about tone. "Ruddy?" "Apple-esque" "Carniverous?"

I have no idea...and so, instead, I recorded some sound clips!

These two are instrumentals, recorded here at home, no EQ other than to boost the volume a teensy bit.
Old Mountaineer (http://www-personal.umich.edu/~garnetb/newell/old_mountaineer.mp3)
Evening Prayer Blues (http://www-personal.umich.edu/~garnetb/newell/eveningprayer.mp3) (I think I might have gotten too close to my mic on this one, sounds a little hot to me)

They're both Mike Compton songs, since he kicks butt.

Over the past year I've been learning to sing and play. It's been painful, probably moreso for the people who had to listen to me than it was for myself.

But that's coming along too! It can be done, I didn't believe it at first either, but by it's coming, and holy cow is it fun.

I did add a little compression to these, and I only have one mic so it's not multitracked or anything.
Annabelle (http://www-personal.umich.edu/~garnetb/newell/annabelle.mp3) (Gillian Welch)
Wagon Wheel (http://www-personal.umich.edu/~garnetb/newell/wagonwheel.mp3) (Old Crow Medicine Show)
Gospel Plow (http://www-personal.umich.edu/~garnetb/newell/gospelplow.mp3) (I have a reaaaally funky solo in here at one point. And not a good kind of funky. Ouch.)

Next up: writing my own songs. It'll happen. Maybe soon?

Keith Newell, you make a heck of an instrument, and I'm happy to play it every day if I'm able. :)


Mike Snyder
Dec-26-2008, 3:25am
Looks good, sounds good. I've played only one (Karen Newell, no relation) and liked it alot. Also, very good photography. Enjoy!

Dec-26-2008, 6:53am
Really nice, thanks for sharing :)

Keith Newell does indeed build very fine mandolins. I bought a used one from him earlier this year, which is perhaps 18 months to 2 years older than yours, but very similar, and I love mine.


Dec-26-2008, 7:12am
garnet, if i was yer folks i'd be busting with pride. you seem to have really connected with that mandolin and it shows. keep up the good work.

my hats off to keith newell too.

Lawn Jockey
Dec-26-2008, 7:19am
Garnet, great read. Awesome looking and sounding mandolin too.

I can't wait to read/hear when you write your own songs.

Ivan Kelsall
Dec-26-2008, 7:45am
Garnet - That is one of the most wonderful colours on any Mandolin i've ever seen,it really is glorious & it sounds as good as it looks,that's a beauty !!. Great playing & singing as well,that's a gift,
Saska ~:>

Dec-26-2008, 8:09am
Garnet. Wonderful looking and sounding mandolin. Your singing and playing were great too!

James P
Dec-26-2008, 7:04pm
That's a beauty!

Speaking of blood red, is Blood Patrol ever going to release a follow up CD?
"Monkey Businessman" still pops up on my iPod from time to time. XD

Dec-27-2008, 10:57pm
Hah! I'll let you know James!

I'll let my fellow Blood Patrol Member know we have developed a cult following...

Thanks for the kind words everyone. :)

Lee Callicutt
Dec-28-2008, 6:40pm
I admire Keith's work a lot. Whoever bought that black-faced beauty?

Jason Renzi
Dec-30-2008, 1:09pm
i honestly think that's the most beautiful instrument i've ever seen...
that color is breathtaking...and that tailpiece is just wonderful...
and the way he ended the fretboard in a taper...
wow...just wow...

John Flynn
Dec-30-2008, 1:27pm

Great looking and great sounding mandolin! You play pretty well too. Hey, I noticed you have an unusual stringing technique: Hardly any winds around the posts and the treble strings are crossed behind the bridge. Do you have a philosophy on that?

Dec-30-2008, 2:25pm
The treble strings aren't usually crossed...that was a mistake when I string it up this spring. It doesn't look like that currently. :)

As for the minimal winding, I just find that it takes less time to do. I might be doing it wrong, I dunno! It doesn't seem to be detrimental, they don't seem to go out or stay in tune any more or less than I'd expect them to. I usually pull the strings taut and then wind while keeping pressure on the string so there's not a lot of slack to wind up.

I am using heavier strings than were stock, I use Firewires, which I think are equivalent of J75s.

Skip Kelley
Jan-02-2009, 6:19am
Garnet, that mandolin sounds great! Nice playing too. You pull a great tone out of that mandolin. Keith knows how to build a good sounding mandolin!