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Mandolin News that didn't make the Cafe home page

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Some news or information just doesn't hit the Cafe home page and of late there's been a fair amount worth sharing. With a hot cup of java in hand and the current temperature 8 degrees, here's our shot on a Friday that might interest you:

If you're on Twitter you may have noticed someone promoting the hell out of Avi Avital's Between Worlds. How many of these promoted tweets have we seen? More than we can count. Assume Deutsche Grammophon is funding this (we'll watch more closely next time, we promise). Sort of a first for a mandolin player on Twitter. Why is this important? Because Twitter is where the most influential reviewers, promoters, critics, newspaper columnists, etc. are camped and exchanging information, not to mention the plethora of musicians and fans. It's a fascinating platform for mining information.

We don't recall Thile's Bach album promoted there in this fashion but DG is far larger than Nonesuch.

For those of you pshawing about Twitter, it's where the Cafe gets much of it's up-to-date news. Google? Not close enough to people you need to be in contact with. Facebook? Bloated, slow, and so annoyingly overrun with pictures of cat and politician memes. Please...

We'll be traveling to Nashville in the near future to work on an article featuring Carter Vintage Guitars. Just our opinion, but the balance of power in Nashville for vintage instruments is clearly shifting. Gruhn is no longer the sole big player for highly sought Gibsons, Martins, etc. CVG has turned the store into a performance space attracting a different kind of crowd and customer and we're being treated to some very rich video content on the web. It's refreshing.

Three Loars on commission flew out of the store in a single month recently and Gilchrist moved the handling of his sales to them. You know where that business would have gone a year ago. Gruhn Guitars isn't going away and will continue to be a major player, but they're no longer alone. And remember, CVG is a growing and expanding business, not static and established. Instrument owners looking to commission products clearly have another choice to make, and many have switched. Oh, and I'm traveling there with a collector who is bringing three high end mandolins along for that very reason. I'll be personally carrying one of those onto the plane.

You haven't forgotten it's The Year of the Mandolin in Classical Music, have you? Watch for classical releases from Mike Marshall and Caterina Lichtenberg late spring/early summer (said to be collections of Bach Inventions) and a solo classical recording by Caterina.

Prediction: the Punch Brothers are turning into another major Thile project vs. his sole passion. They aren't going away, and they have a new project in the works, but the days of them turning out 275-300 out-of-town performances a year are a thing of the past. The man is newly married, has a MacArthur Fellowship and a good half dozen small acts (or more) that can play about anywhere they desire. A lot easier way to make a living than the small army of professionals required to take a band of five on tour. Still his main gig, but the talent--his and that of the band--is clearly being spread around to other acts.

Heard the buzz about the cases Collings is working on for their guitars and mandolins? We've been promised a first look at the mandolin case and as with their instruments, expect a top-notch product coming out of the Austin plant. The mandolin case as described by Bill Collings sounded like a gem.

Colorado Case Company has a new owner and we really liked what we saw at the recent NAMM Show. They've created a custom case cover for the new Austin Caltons that are a great match. The web site still looks the same but definitely a breath of fresh air in ownership.

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Updated Feb-07-2014 at 2:38pm by Scott Tichenor

General Mandolin Comments


  1. Earl Gamage's Avatar
    wonder who the "we" is
  2. Scott Tichenor's Avatar
    Perhaps you never noticed. There is no "I" in this site and the word has never appeared on the home page since launch November 18, 1995. This site is not about a person. It's about an instrument and the people that play, build, listen to and admire it.
  3. Dave Greenspoon's Avatar
    Great summary Scott! A "page two mandolin news link" would be a welcome feature on the homepage!