What is everyone working on?

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  1. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    I'm not sure I can think of an instrument more versatile than the mandolin. Neapolitan songs on a bowl back; bluegrass chops or solos; accompaniment for R.E.M., Grateful Dead, or (ugh) Rod Stewart; a Vivaldi concerto or Mozart aria; mandolin orchestras; Celtic or old-time tunes—almost anything musical can accommodate a mandolin.

    A few newbies have posted videos of what they are doing with our little eight-stringed friends. What's everyone else learning?

    Being an incorrigible classical nerd, that's where I spend a lot of picking time. Sixteenth century to the present, it's all interesting to me. The video below is an unpolished rendition of the first page of a piece I am learning, Victor Kioulaphides's "Carillon Variations." His pieces are a lot of fun to work on. Written for solo mandolin, this piece takes advantage of what a mandolin is built to do.

  2. NDO
    That is great stuff Louise! I haven’t ever tried any classical pieces because I’m still using the mando mostly to accompany vocals but I know I should diversify. I’m really glad to see more folks posting videos! Keep it up!
  3. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    Loved it, Louise! Which instrument is that? It's beautiful!

    Interesting question, BTW. As I finally feel like playing following my surgery, I've been wondering where my focus should be. I won't be able to attend this month's gospel jam, so I have a reprieve there. For now I'm just playing for fun mostly, but also crosspicking and still working on "All of Me." By "for fun" I mean playing chords and melody from a collection of mostly country and pop sheet music.
  4. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    NDO, you're doing just fine. Anyone who can record 75 minutes of songs in one sitting has been putting in their time. Branching out is good for all of us, though.

    Sherry, are you feeling better and healing well? That's the Pava I bought at the beginning of lockdown last spring. I wrestled a new set of strings on it this morning (that's why the G-course sounds so jangly—they need to settle down) and figured I'd take it out for a spin.
  5. Swimbob
    That is very nice Louise.

    I try to learn a new song every week or so. Last week I learned Bill Hart's Jig, this week the tune of the month. Mostly it seems that I concentrate on Irish fiddle tunes although my instructor is trying to teach me to play some jazz.

    Which reminds me...

    Time to practice!
  6. HonketyHank
    I have watched this three times now. I do like the music but I am also enjoying seeing and hearing new things each time. I look forward to updates and for the whole shootin' match.
  7. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    Yes, Louise, I'm healing well and feeling better each day, thanks. So, as I mentioned previously, I'm trying to figure out how to stay more focused in my practice. One of my recent posts in the Forum was to ask for recommendations for tunes/songs to memorize. As I've circled back to that list, I'm thinking about starting a Newbies thread where we can post videos of ourselves playing pieces we've memorized from any genre. I love the idea of a tune per month, but for me personally, my time can be better spent playing pieces I'll actually play outside of my home office. Most of the monthly tunes don't fit that criteria. Is anyone else interested in posting to such a thread??? I feel doing so would give me an ongoing goal to memorize the chords and melody of many popular pieces.

    Louise, would you consider recording that same piece with the L&H?
  8. NDO
    Well Sherry, my old new guy thread sort of evolved into that kind of thread but I’d sure post videos to a new thread if you start one! I’ve been trying to memorize a new song about once a week. I finally figured out the strum for Whiskey Lullaby so I’m polishing that one up. But my band had gigs the last two nights so I’ve been kind of musiced out and haven’t been hitting the mando as hard this weekend.

    Of course this thread wouldn’t be a bad title to start adding more videos to either!
  9. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    Knew I could count on you, Don!

    Imagine to be musiced out! Spose it could happen. Lol
  10. Sue Rieter
    Sue Rieter
    Could be music-ed out and could have enough instruments.
    Anything's possible
  11. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Also gigging a bit, we had a great crowd Friday night for our monthly gig and it was a blast. I'm still working on learning bluesy stuff on the mandolin. This morning though I started working out a Jimmie Rodgers tune I play on guitar alot called Gambling Bar Room Blues. Also decided to try a humorous tune on mandolin this morning and recorded it just for the newbies group.

    This is a heart wrenching country love ballad. It's not politically correct, mind you, due to the author's non-politically-correct sense of humor, no offense intended ... just a lil love song for y'all.


  12. Sue Rieter
    Sue Rieter
    Mark, that song's a riot. Love the singing and playing, too. Thanks for that.
  13. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    OK, who's opening the corner honky-tonk, where Mark and Don can swap sets all evening? Swimbob can add some Celtic tunes, Hank sone old-time, Sue and Sherry can add a few songs.

    Sherry, just for you, here's the same piece on the L&H:
  14. NDO
    Mark and Louise, those were awesome! Great job on both. I do think my harmonica would fit better with Mark’s
    I look forward to getting to those levels someday!
  15. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    OMG what a beautiful L&H Louise! Great playing, and the perfect mandolin for it.
  16. Stacey Morris
    Stacey Morris
    Your playing was great, Louise! I am sitting here trying to decide which of your mandolins sounds the best to me. A different sound from each, but both are great.
  17. Southern Man
    Southern Man
    I'm trying to work on becoming a better rhythm player. This is a long term goal, but it is just so difficult to convince myself to put in serious practice time on it. It is just much more fun to play melody.

    I would be happy to occasionally post more videos. I enjoyed the ones I did. I generally don't participate in the tune or the month because I usually have things that I am working on that I do not want to deviate from that. It takes me a long time to work up a tune so I would put it on video and my job keeps getting in the way of my playing.
  18. HonketyHank
    Louise, I really like the sound of both your Pava and your Lyon and Healy. But for this particular piece I vote, without even thinking about it much, for the L & H. No question in my mind.
  19. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    Henry, I've listened to each several times and keep coming to the same conclusion as you. There just seems to be a richness with the L&H that's not quite there with the Pava, at least not for this style music. I'm no expert, though!
  20. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    Southern Man, use this thread to post Not-Tune-Of-the-Month videos. That's the reason I started it. Many of us learn the TOMs, but pretty much all of us are working on our own stuff too. Whatcha got?

    I'm so happy to have the L&H. The low register on it is just beautiful. When I did the first recording, the strings on the Pava had been on it for about an hour, so it was sounding a bit rough, particularly the open G string. It has settled down. I love how different mandolins have such different voices. My Japanese bowl back has a completely different timbre from either of these, and if I ever get my F back from the luthier, it takes off in another direction. Not right or wrong, not better or worse, just different. Honkety Hank usually does the TOM on a different mandolin than the previous month, and again, they each have their own voice.

    It would be so much fun to spend a Sunday afternoon listening to and comparing Sherry's Weber oval, Sue's Strad-o-lin, Sheila's Collings, Don's new BRW, Henry's Kimball (Kimble?) and an old Gibson, I'm sure we have an Eastman or two and a flat-top around, etc., etc. This gets back to my question above: who's opening the honky-tonk?
  21. NDO
    I still haven’t recorded anything on the BRW...I’m actually interested to hear how it sounds from a distance. It’s totally different while playing it because of the oval projecting more upward. But its action is a little higher than my Eastman so it’s a little harder to play melodies on for now. Practice!
  22. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    Hmm. Louise, I'm thinking if we all meet in the middle, that might be Kansas?

    Don, you've ruled out a setup adjustment?
  23. NDO
    I will definitely lower the action, but I’m waiting until I restring it with mediums instead of the newly installed lights it came with. There’s nobody within shouting distance to do a setup so I’m on my own and I don’t want to screw up this beautiful mando
  24. bbcee
    Louise, those two takes are an excellent lesson in left-right hand coordination and positioning. Lovely to her the differences between the two mandos. I've got Tomasik's on my oval hole as well, and really like 'em.

    Mark, that was fun! I'd give my right arm to sing & play as you do. Hold it ... maybe my right eye tooth ...?
    Your singing is really confident, great job!
  25. HonketyHank
    What am I working on?

    I kind of slacked off a bit on my pinkie finger exercises but I need to keep at those.

    I am always working on the current tune of the month even when I don't care for the tune. There is always something to be gleaned. Even when I don't make a video.

    Right now, Ricketts Hornpipe is coming along pretty well. I took Mike Stangeland's tablature (from the MC Tabledit Library), dumbed it down a bit, and have been working on getting my speed up from a crawl to a mosey. A slow walking pace might even be achievable before the end of the month.

    Also, I have a new webcam - logitech brio 4k. I am learning how to take advantage of its better resolution. Along that path, I have abandonned the software that Logitech provides, which is pretty good for their lower resolution models like the Logitech c920 that I have been using. I bit the bullet and downloaded OBS Studio which is free opensource. It is aimed at the digital audio visual engineer geek, so it has a million settings and functions and vocabulary words that I haven't figured out yet and probably never will. But ultimately I think I will get it set up the way I want it, even if my setup is mere child's play to the a/v geek.

    I'll post a video with the new setup.
  26. Sue Rieter
    Sue Rieter
    Louise, I really enjoyed that L&H - beautiful sounds!
    And Henry, I'm really looking forward to hearing about your new webcam setup. After you know what you're doing, you can translate that geek stuff for us Are you using a separate microphone as well?

    I've been working on feeding my MAS, but that job is done for now. I brought home an Octofone this morning, but it needs work before I can play it
  27. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    MAS done for now, Sue? Guess that's easy to say today, huh? Lol. Seriously, congrats on your new purchase. What is it exactly?
  28. Sue Rieter
    Sue Rieter
    For now. I'd like an oval hole Strad-O-Lin to match with my favorite mando

    The Octofone is 1920's vintage. I posted some pictures over on my MAS thread

    They can be tuned a few different ways, but are lightly built. I'm planning to tune it as an octave mandolin. But, it has to go for some serious neck reinforcement surgery and I won't probably have it to play until the end of the summer. It was Allen Hopkins who got me going on these.
  29. HonketyHank
    Sue - yes I use a separate mic. It's an AKG P220 run through a Focusrite interface. I don't think it is all that special, but it is more than I need. I do know that the mics in almost any webcam are little better than tin cans on a string, Logitech included.

    What are the eight instruments than an octophone takes the place of? Or does it have eight times the charm of, say, a uniphone? Whatever, I am eager to hear it once it gets all trued up.
  30. Sue Rieter
    Sue Rieter
    I would like to make a recording using both the mandola and the mandolin, so I'm interested in what people are doing. I'd thought about recording one (with my phone because that's all I have), then playing it through my bluetooth speaker from my laptop while I play the other part, recording all on my phone again. Haven't tried it yet, but suspect the quality won't be awesome.

    Here is a link to an original document announcing the Octofone in January of 1928.

    The Octofone? Definitely eight times the charm of a uniphone and the eight instruments are tenor guitar, tenor banjo, ukulele, taropatch, tiple, mandolin, mandola and mandocello. And what is a taropatch (I wondered)? It's an 8 string ukelele, I learned. And a tiple? Apparently a 12 string Spanish relative of the guitar, with strings grouped in 4 tripled courses. Very estoteric, IMHO.
  31. phb256

    This is one I've been working on. My sheet music calls it Cajun Waltz, but elsewhere online it's know as Je Passe Devant ta Port (I Passed By Your Door). I couldn't find a thread for it anywhere on this site.
  32. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Cool tune phb. Would you happen to be in Louisiana? I’m a Louisiana boy but raised my family in Texas for the most part, been here in Texas over 37 years now. I love Cajun tunes.

    Bruce Calder - thanks for the undeserved kudos - I am a big fan of your playing & singing.
  33. phb256
    I'm in NY. I caught The Big Easy on TV a couple weeks ago and was inspired to look for Cajun songs to play.
  34. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Check out Cajun love song by Leon Russell. Also Louisiana 1927 by Randy Newman, that one’s about the great Mississippi River Flood of 1927. Also might check out the fiddle work of Doug Kershaw.
  35. NDO
    Mark, where in LA are you? My very favorite guitar player, Phil McGlasson, left my band and moved to Lafayette. If you’re within shouting distance you absolutely need to play with him and we need to figure out a way to jam.
  36. NDO
    And nice work phb! I’m always impressed with the music on your gigantic fretboard. Thank you for posting!
  37. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    So, what I'm working on has changed. I've split my practice hour into 3 20 minute segments. The first 20 minutes is for Barbara: scales and various exercises. Second 20 for Gerald: crosspicking and "All of Me" (melody and chords). Third 20 for Jon*: "This World is Not My Home" in A, concentrating on chord shapes & changes.

    * I "met" Jon on the Café a few years ago and have had a few in-person lessons with him, although he lives a couple hundred miles away. I approached him about having Zoom lessons in an attempt to organize my practice with a goal of playing well with others. Gerald doesn't offer the structure I need, which I know Jon would. After one lesson, so far, so good. Gerald is open to anything I want to work on, so he can help me with technique.

    For me it just makes more sense to spend my money on lessons rather than instruments.
  38. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    Oh, and I ran across Humphreys Waltz in the SAW group, and just had to play it. So, I'm working on that also.
  39. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Don I was born at Baton Rouge General Hospital, grew up in Watson, Louisiana. I lived in Breaux Bridge (near Lafayette) for a few years as an adult before moving to Dallas, Texas in 1984. I've lived in Texas ever since.
  40. Sue Rieter
    Sue Rieter
    Sherry, it's all good, as long as you're having fun and learning stuff, IMHO.

    I started back in on "Groundhog", which is a tune/song I was interested in at the very beginning. (I've actually written new lyrics for it, based on groundhog adventures at my house, but that's another story )

    I had gotten music for the Butch Baldassari Appalachian Mandolin version, but I couldn't make sense of it, because I didn't know anything about doublestops, or slides, or any of that stuff. (Now I know a little, but can't really do it yet). Anyway, I pulled out the music and messed around with it a little, and some of the stuff I learned from MM on AW applied, and I said, "Hmmm..." and listened to the recording a few times, and messed around with it a little more. Makin' a little progress, slow but sure.
  41. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    We want to hear it, Sue!

    Humphreys Waltz is an easy one. I made the mistake, though, of showing Barbara the version with variations. She insists I not post a video until I learn those. When I went back to the SAW group, I found only 2 vids include the variations.
  42. HonketyHank
    Well, I have worked the Ricketty Hornpipe up to about 140 bpm without the camera on before the wheels start wobbling. I'm shooting for 150 bpm with the webcam's blue eye staring at me.
  43. bbcee
    I'm also working on Der Rickety, as well as an old-time tune called Ebenezer (or West Virginia Highway), the latter as a duo.

    @Sue, that Baldassari/Schnaufer album is a real gem. Did you get the songbook for it as well? It's accurately written out, and helped me a lot to make sense of it. Butch's playing is something to aspire to, so clean, unhurried and classy.
  44. phb256
    Hank, I can't imagine playing 9/8 time with a metronome. It would drive me nuts. But then I struggle with 4/4 as well.
  45. Sue Rieter
    Sue Rieter
    @bbcee Yes, I've got the book with the CD. That's the music I'm talking about. Worked on it a little more yesterday.

    @phb256 I saw this tremolo exercise on another thread and I've been messing around with it a bit. That and Duke Sharp's discussion of counting in Garage Band Theory, I think, are going to go a long way with me on keeping time.
  46. NDO
    I’ve got Ricketts memorized but only slowly... it needs to be a lot faster and smoother before I can record it

    I’ve also started tinkering with some tremolo and lead picking while jamming with my guitar buddies. The skip-a-fret technique posted elsewhere has been really helpful. My rhythm guitar player keeps asking me how the heck I can do that already on songs I haven’t heard before

    I’ve been experimenting with my new digital mixer that arrived Thursday. A bit of a learning curve since all the controls are accessed with a laptop or iPad, the box has no sliders or dials on it. But it sounds fantastic and has 18 channels so no more need to bring two mixers to accommodate four vocalists and three guitars and a bass and a mandolin and harps and cajon mikes . And each channel has an amazing level of control with real time analyzer, compressor, filters, and effects for each channel. It’s also capable of multitrack USB recording so when I figure that out I’ll be able to have some live band recordings without as much crowd noise.
  47. HonketyHank
    I am working on staying cool. This is not official, but it is real and not in direct sunlight.

    In my side yard. About 1pm today. The only other time I ever saw this pegged out like this was yesterday at about 4pm. I think our Oregon snowbirds are wishing they hadn't come back from their Arizona winter homes.

    FYI, in honketyhank's mando cave, the temp is 82 and the humidity is in the mid forties.
  48. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    You guys have sure been hit hard by the heat wave out west.
  49. NDO
    I feel ya Hank! I’m taking the boat out tomorrow in Tri-Cities WA in the 117 degree heat. Meanwhile the high back in Carlsbad today was only 70 degree! The world is entirely scrambled.
  50. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    That's horrible, Henry—almost unimaginable. Do you have air conditioning? Stay safe.

    NDO, you picked the wrong time to leave New Mexico. I think it got above 60° here for a few minutes this afternoon. Very welcome after the heat we had the past couple of weeks.
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