View Full Version : You CanT Beat A Man At His Own Game

Feb-20-2004, 9:21pm
"You can't beat a man at his own game."

A quote that I'm told was attributed to Bill Monroe. #David Grisman said these words were spoken by Bill to Frank Wakefield as Frank was developing his skills as a bluegrass mandolin player. #The idea being that Frank should develop his own style, which I believe he did.

Which brings me to this, starting with Bill Monroe, put together a list of the progression of bluegrass mandolin playing. #One could go for a "who influenced who" or a chronilogical list or whatever they thought appropriate.

This idea occurred to me several years ago when Chris Thile and Mike Marshall played the "Midnight Mandolin Madness" gig at Wintergrass. #I was interviewing Grisman and asked how he felt about this and the progression of the mandolin in the music world. #He said that he was very pleased to see how it had progressed and I think he felt a bit like the father who started those two (my words actually). #He said something which I found amusing. #I aksed him what it was like to get up on stage play with Mike and Chris and he said he felt like "Marie Antionette going to guillotine."

I'm not sure what that has to do with this thread idea or even what this thread may become, but what that being said and in my mind, here's my list . . . .

Bill Monore
# # Frank Wakefield
# # # # #David Grisman
# # # # # # # Mike Marshall
# # # # # # # # # #Chris Thile

Feb-20-2004, 9:27pm
......and as I reflect on this a bit, I was thinking about the thread about John Duffey on the General Discussion forum and thought his name ought to be in the progression, I'm just not sure where.....

Feb-20-2004, 9:35pm
I think you have to find a place in there for Bobby and Jesse ... and maybe Sam Bush as well.

John Flynn
Feb-20-2004, 9:40pm
I would put Mike Compton and Sam Bush in there somewhere also. I think Compton perfected Monroe's mandolin technique and Bush took it to a new level.

Feb-21-2004, 8:04pm
its hard to make a direct jump from one to the next. how much of grisman's style was due not only to bg offerings but jazz, and where would thile be if not for the newgrass spin that sam bush put on the bg scene way back when. what about roland white? and now ronnie mccoury (though not a tremendous bg fan- ronnie blows me away- oooh to get a sound like he does- wow!). i'm sure there are many more. you would need kind of a web after the first generation.

just my 2

Feb-21-2004, 9:08pm
I know the thread title is "BG Mandolin", but there is another leg, that being jazz mandolin. Pretty clear how that one would tree out:

Dave Apollon
Jethro Burns
Don Stiernberg
Paul Glasse
Dave Peters

Johnny Gimble would fit in theresomewhere, also Dawg and Statman, probably Jamie Masefield, too ('though haven't checked him out too much).

Too many mandolinists out there cookin', for sure

John Flynn
Feb-21-2004, 11:08pm
Since we are doing a little creative "thread hijacking" (just kidding!) what about old-time mando?
Kenny Hall/Mike Seeger
Curtis Buckhannon/Bruce Ling

Who else? I'd really like to add to that list.

Also, I think Buzz Busby deserves at least an honorable mention on the bluegrass list.

Feb-21-2004, 11:57pm
It's interesting how Sam Bush has to added as an after thought. I don't want to start any flames, but I always thought that Grisman was at least as adept at self promotion as he was at mandolin playing. Don't get me wrong, his playing has had a huge influence on me, but more about not accepting any limitations on the instrument, than his actual playing. Sam Bush's genius lays not so much in how many notes he plays or in what style he is playing at that moment, but because he puts that extra ingedient in; call it soul, love, whatever...

Feb-22-2004, 12:21am
My wife has really been into genealogy lately and I agree with how mandopete has his first line. Except when Chris was about 10 or 11 he sounded so much like John Reishman it was scary so I would put John, then Sam Bush, between Grisman and Marshall in the Thile line. I'm sure Jesse McReynolds is in there too because that used to be what a lot of people called him, little Jesse. Quite a lineage.
To this day though, one of the most amazing things I've ever heard was Radim Zenkl do a Bach piece, I believe, where he does it like how all the major mandolin players would do it, one time through, each player. I think there's like 10 of them at least. He's never recorded it, but I wish he would. You can see how everyone of those guys influenced him. Makes me wonder how that guy that wrote the thread a while back could be happy not knowing who all these great players are/were....???

Bluegrass Boy
Feb-22-2004, 11:38am
I wouldn't model it as a thread. Wore like a web with everyone influencing everyone else. Remember, Big Mon had people influencing him. And if he was the man I assume he was, he continued to learn, and be influenced, even by those he influenced. He may have started and defined Bluegrass mandolin, but music draws in inspiration from all over.

Feb-22-2004, 2:47pm
Here's my list and what I am using for my criteria is the innovators:
Dave Apollon
Bill Monroe
Jesse McReynolds
Frank Wakefield
John Duffey
Jethro Burns
David Grisman
Sam Bush
Mike Marshall
Chris Thile
Definitely not all bluegrass players but they were all innovators and took the mandolin to some different level than had previously been known. Also, my opinion!

Jack Roberts
Feb-22-2004, 10:25pm
Am I mis-informed? Wasn't David Grisman influenced by Ralph Rinzler? Why isn't Rinzler included in anybody's list?

Feb-24-2004, 10:21pm
If Jesse McReynolds isn't in everyone's list here, than I think you guys need to go buy some Jim & Jesse albums.

Or better yet, take your Mandolin Extravaganza album and play it for you neighbor, and ask him, "What's wrong with this picture?" 9 out of 10 it will be the Jesse McReynolds tunes. (well, maybe the Frank Wakefield tunes, too http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif )

Noone has invented a more dramatically different approach to bluegrass mandolin flatpicking than McReynolds.

Feb-24-2004, 10:41pm
Noone has invented a more dramatically different approach to bluegrass mandolin flatpicking than McReynolds.

Agreed. And I would add that either noone is capable, or noone is interested in reproducing and expanding upon the MacReynold's approach.

Feb-25-2004, 12:45pm
Agreed. #And I would add that either noone is capable, or noone is interested in reproducing and expanding upon the MacReynold's approach.
Who is noone?


Actually I quite agree that Jesse McReynolds is in class all by himself. #There does not appear to be anyone who is carrying on with the notion of cross-picked mandolin.

My progression for him looks like this . . . .

Earl Scruggs
# # Jesse McReynolds
# # # # #?

Feb-26-2004, 2:04pm
I saw the quote from Bobby Osbourne in Frets regarding playing like Bill, which made him develop his fiddle-based style that Sam Bush mentioned as an influence- this developments are more circular than linear, in the player A to player B doesn't really give you the big picture IMHO http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/blues.gif

PS- Andy Statman does AMAZING things based on Jesse's style- you know he wrote "the book" on Jesse for Oak Publications, long out of print, if you can find it DO, I learned tons from it myself.

Feb-27-2004, 11:32am
Is everyone forgetting about Ronnie McCourie?

Feb-27-2004, 9:52pm
The Walrus was Bill!


Feb-27-2004, 10:09pm
Please don't forget Ira Louvin of the Louvin Brothers. I believe that Bill Monroe said that Ira was the only player as good as he was (in his time, at least). I understand that Bill Monroe sang at Ira's funeral. A truly great and often neglected player worth listening to.

Scotti Adams
Feb-28-2004, 8:35am
..Yes..Ira Louvin was a great player in his time..way ahead of his time....and would still be playing some great stuff today if he hadnt died. I like listening to him....

Feb-28-2004, 9:34am
Who is noone?

Peter Noone from Peter & Gordon, those mop-haired Brits who were one hit wonders with "A World Without Love" http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif