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Larry's Mandolin Ramblings

MAS...a sickness for which there is no cure

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In relationships I've always been a reliable, monogamous person. But when it comes to instruments I tend to fall hard, going along with the crush until I'm committed, then slowly becoming distant...eventually breaking up when the next interesting mando walks by.

MAS...that's my disease. I've had my share of instruments that were "just right"...but now they are just memories. And of course, that's where I find myself today.

Some case history:

My Orpheum number 3 Special tenor banjo was the answer to my curiosity about the banjo sound. I was getting into really great Irish musicians such as Angelina Carberry and Gerry O'Connor and I picked up this tenor banjo (tuned Irish G-D-A-E) and was in bliss! It was both a work of art and a great sounding player. It was like playing an octave mandolin but had that celtic snappy sound and projection. Nothing would ever come between me and this tenor banjo. I was to become an Irish music legend...

But then I got an old Gibson TG-50 tenor guitar, and THAT was the new sound that I was looking for. Almost immediately my Orpheum started complaining that she hadn't heard from me in a while. "Oh, I've just been really busy" I'd say. But it was becoming obvious that it was over, and we both knew it.

It certainly didn't help when I spotted (across a darkened room) a flashy new National Model RM-1 resonator mandolin.



What was I thinking before? THIS was the sound that I've apparently been looking for all of my life. I can play blues and choro on it...and I finally won't get drowned out by other instruments! Plus it plays like butter and looks really cool.

So like Steve Martin constantly upgrading towards a Googlephonic stereo I find myself once again caught in the cycle of "catch and release".

Here's how it works...you run across a new instrument that you like, then in order to get it into the house you have to sacrifice the instrument that you are playing the least. In my case it's the Orpheum tenor banjo's time to go. Yes, it's my only banjo family instrument, but I'm just not playing it anymore (not a banjo person I guess). So the affair is over..time for Craigslist.

I have a date with the resonator Monday. If you see my tenor banjo don't mention that you've seen me!

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