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  1. Dampit or Damnit?

    There's been a bit of discussion about Dampits--the green worm like humidifiers that go inside the instrument through the sound hole.

    A few of the Cafe members that I trust have posted about a customer who had problems with them---mold around the sound hole, cracked f holes or water spots.

    I have yet to see any of the talented and helpful builders post of several customers having problems with the Dampits.

    I don't think there is a product that some individual ...
  2. The Sad Story Behind the Failed Jerusalem Ridge Magazine

    Here we go again.

    Seeing last year's announcements of the pending launch of Jerusalem Ridge Magazine, a magazine devoted to traditional bluegrass music I could only shake my head. Unsuspecting innocent lovers of traditional bluegrass were going to lose their money, this much was guaranteed.

    Meet Ron Malec.

    The Mandolin Cafe has a very long and very well documented history with Ron. I've personally devoted more hours and effort than I could begin to estimate ...
  3. Another Season To Deal With

    I haven't had an instrument in years I felt was worth worrying about the humidity levels. I got a 2 point Eastman in January and decided it was time to worry.

    Within a week, I could feel the grain on the top. Not thinking this was a good sign I decided to find out what was going on. My hygrometer was way, way off---no wonder it was a close out item on eBay.

    I had a few Dampits already on the way, so I used the sponge in a baggie with paper punch holes. When they ...
  4. The Strawberry Music Festival Mandolin Experience

    Besides copious amounts of jamming from Thursday night to Sunday night, The Strawberry Music Festival provided a rich source of mandolin listening pleasure.

    Thursday night the Dry Branch Fire Squad brought their traditional Bluegrass crossed with Will Rogers style to the Music Meadow Stage and tore it up. Friday afternoon they hosted a workshop, and Friday night they played a final set at "Amy's Orchid Lounge," a special late night venue at Strawberry that charges festival ...
  5. Tribute to Butch Baldassari

    inline imageThe Butch Baldassari Tribute CD has been released and is now available for purchase directly from SoundArt Recordings, the music label Butch founded. All proceeds from the sale of the CD go to Butch's immediately family, wife Sinclair and son Blake.

    The brainchild of Dr. Brian Hull of Wichita Falls, Texas, the project was started last year with hopes it would be available for Butch to see launched. He got to hear an unmastered version ...

    Updated May-27-2009 at 11:01am by Scott Tichenor

    General Mandolin Comments
  6. Reality Hits the Road

    I had to face a few facts:

    1: I may be to old to work but, I'm to young to retire.

    2: I would starve to death trying to make a living playing a mandolin and it doesn't lay eggs.

    3: The truck engine has to be rebulit.

    4: No "Super Mando" this year.

    After a few weeks in a rental truck (), I'm back in the black beast. As fast as ever with a fresh stable of 600 horses. You just don't realize how much of ...
  7. Playing and Focusing (Multi-Instrumentalism continued)

    In my last post on this subject I came to the conclusion that the ability to play more than one instrument is a good thing. It broadens musical perspective, it highlights similarities and differences between instruments, and it helps development of music theory knowledge.

    But playing an instrument and focusing on an instrument are quite different musical pursuits. Anyone who can play a few songs and/or tunes with a moderate degree of musicality on a musical instrument can be said ...
  8. Who Needs a Guitar When You Have a Mandola?

    I spent about 2 hours today with my Weber (Alder #2) 'dola. You put something away for a while and you forget how cool it is.

    With a banjo capo, this thing becomes incredibly versatile. I was banging through a ton of folk music (contemporary and traditional) and some rock n roll too. [John Prine, John Hiatt, Neil Young, Victoria Vox, Kate Wolf, Dylan, Grateful Dead, Graham Nash, Tom Waits, Stephen Foster, Danny Dill, etc.] I got nearly 2 sets worth of tunes just passing through ...
    Acoustic Adventures
  9. Developing Skill on One Instrument or Many?

    As you may or may not know I am the moderator over at the Santa Cruz Guitar Players Forum. Recently on that discussion board one of our regular posters posed the question, "One instrument or multiple instruments?" Itís an interesting question, and one that can only be answered definitively for oneself.

    But that doesnít mean examining the topic is pointless. The examination alone may prove useful reinforcing your own opinion. Or it can serve as an opportunity to change ...

    Updated May-08-2009 at 9:44am by Daniel Nestlerode

  10. Shipping an Instrument?

    I insure my mandolins with a policy from Heritage Insurance, a company that actually *knows* what a mandolin is, and is engaged in the business of insuring instruments like Loars and high-priced violins, guitars and other acoustic instruments along with lesser valued instruments (such as my own).

    I once had the unfortunate experience of having to go toe-to-toe with FedEx on a $10K instrument that arrived at it's destination with a crushed in face that required about $700 of work and ...