Our rapidly growing group ~ Introductions!

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  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    I'm pretty proud of this group! Our membership has grown every day!

    I can't believe I didn't start it out with "Introduce yourself"... so, along with week #3, lets do that!

    So many of us have our 'user name' as something other than our real name, and we neglect to sign a name at the end of our messages. Our 'signatures' that show up on the regular message boards, don't show up here.

    So, start out by telling us your name, and a little of your mandolin playing history, and the music you enjoy playing, and your musical goals, and any other thing you want to chat about!

    My name is Barbara (obviously). I've been playing mandolin for about 4 years. I had never played a stringed instrument before that. I did play piano when I was a kid, and learned to play 'pop' music on the organ when I was a teenager. Because of that, I did know how to read standard notation, and had some very basic music theory knowledge.

    I took up the mandolin, because I'd moved up to Iowa, and my good friends were musicians. It seemed like so much fun, that I told them I wanted to learn to play something! It was they who suggested the mandolin!

    I borrowed my friend's vintage A style mandolin, and started taking weekly lessons. My friends (who comprise the band, The Flatland Ramblers, that I now am a member of), play mostly Old-Time and Celtic music, so that is what I've mostly learned, and mostly played. Until that time, I didn't listen to that kind of music, but now, it's about ALL I listen to!

    Once I determined that I was going to be able to play the mandolin, I bought my first mandolin, a Michael Kelly Legacy O. Later, I upgraded to a Weber Y2K. Scott (who is the one male in our band, and was my instructor) also plays a Petersen Cittern, and I was interested in branching out to other instruments. W. E. (Bill) Petersen lives in far western Iowa, in Council Bluffs. We drove out there to meet him, and check out his instruments, and I left with a beautiful new Petersen Octave Mandolin.

    A couple of years ago, I guess, the Flatland Ramblers' guitar player had left, and they were down to just 2 people, in need of warm bodies! So, I officially joined the band, as did Donna, who had been playing the guitar for several years. So, she and I are the rank newbies... Jeanne and Scott have been playing music for decades!

    MAS (mandolin acquisition syndrome) and it's related syndromes, has hit me hard! As far as mandolins go, I've also gotten my own vintage Martin mandolin, a Weber Bridger A, a Collings MT 2 O, a Mid-Missouri M-O. I now also have a Petersen mandola, a short scale Petersen cittern, a long scale Apollonio cittern, a no-name tenor banjo, and a vintage Slingerland May Bell tenor banjo. I've even got a couple of guitars that I have only barely learned to play at all!

    I'm in my mid 50's, and I don't work outside the home (and not much inside my home, haha!), so I am very lucky that I am able to devote several hours every day to playing music. Our band gets together twice a week for play and practice (it's 100 mile round trip for me!!!) We do get hired for gigs, several times a year, not as much as we'd like. However, Old-Time & Celtic acoustic music with no vocals, isn't as 'popular' as Bluegrass or Classic Rock covers, haha!

    I would eventually like to learn to play blues mandolin, as I really enjoy listening to the blues. I enjoy listening to bluegrass, but don't think that playing it is in my future. I have a CD of Andy Statman & David Grisman, Songs of our Fathers, which is 'traditional Jewish music' (wouldn't that be classified as Klezmer?)... I'm not Jewish, but that music really speaks to me! I also have the 3 CD's of the Montana Mandolin Society, that I enjoy playing along with. Other than that, most of my current music listening slant, is Old Time, Irish Traditional / Celtic, New England dance tunes, etc.

    I don't have scroll envy! My first mando, which I sold, was an F body (with an oval hole), but I love the way the A body, oval hole instruments look and sound! I do think it's very beneficial to learn to read simple standard notation, and to learn very basic music theory.

  2. HddnKat
    Dang, Barbara, you evidently learned to type somewhere along the way. It would have taken most people an hour to bang all that out!
    My handle is HddnKat, because my 'real world' name is Kathy Gryta, aka Kat. I have been playing guitar since I was about 14, so that's been 30-hmmm years or so, although I never got much beyond chords and strumming til the last year or two. Six years ago on Mother's Day my -family gave me a Fender A style mandolin and lessons for the next two years and I was hooked. I love the sound of Celtic, Old Time, and Bluegrass music, although I don't think I'll ever play fast enough to play a BG break. Two years ago I was invited to join our church praise band, and very quickly we decided that my contributions on mandolin were not nearly as useful as the other mando player in the band, so I concentrated on improving my guitar skills there and keep the mandolin playing for my own entertaiment (not generally for public consumption). On the other hand, the things I have been learning on mandolin - picking melodies, looking for double stops, moving two and three finger chords up and down the neck - have translated very well into my guitar playing and I think I've come further on guitar in the past 2 years than I did in the first 30-some.
    I love the song-of-the-week because it prods me to learn a new tune, and gives me enough of a time limit to give some urgency to doing it.

    IRL I am an instructional technologist, teaching the faculty and staff of Wallace Middle School how to incorporate technology into their daily jobs, so if you get stumped on some technology issue I will be happy to answer questions or try to point you in the direction to find answers.

    I am happily married for 22 years now, and by next fall will have two kids in college, and two more queued up to go in the next 5 years, so sometimes finding a little time to myself to practice in peace is a challenge. Sitting next to a pile of laundry in the utility room is fairly safe, since none of my family members ever voluntarily come there, LOL
  3. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    To tell you a dead secret: my real name is Bertram Henze.

    Born in the same year as the first Ford Thunderbird with a continental kit, as the only child of two professional classic musicians, I was given a violin and a violin teacher at my 10th birthday - which I both hated - and was forced to torture the neighbors and myself with it for another 9 years until I left school.

    I did not touch a musical instrument until after my physics diploma, when I took to hear and like Irish music. I wanted to be able to play that myself, and thought back to the old violin. One day, in my parents' home, I took it out of its case and "screeechhhh" OH NO, that was not the way to go, it didn't sound Irish at all, what a creepy recall.

    By that time, I had a job and had moved to the utter West of Germany, a municipal clump of cities collectively known as the Ruhr, heavy industries hotspot, and meeting point of job-searching people from half of Europe since the 19th century. There was lots of music, and music shops. Passing by one of those, I saw a cheap mandolin from eastern Germany in the shop window, liked it and bought it. Found out that it was tuned like the violin and glad I could use my left hand technique. After a while, it was joined by a tenor banjo. I joined a folk music group where I played for approx. 4 years, replacing the old mandolin by a better one (Aria two-point) on the way.

    By that time, two things happened: I had a new job in steel plant automation, sending me to places all around the planet (there is only one continent I missed - the Antarctic); and I married and became a father. Less and less time to practice, let alone playing in a group.

    Winding fast forward by 20 years...

    Around 2002, I started to play more often again, and I bought the Fylde Touchstone OM I play today (no MAS, it's hard enough to love and live with one instrument). I don't play in groups, except for little performances with my wife, who plays flute, recorder and harmonicas and sings (you can hear our stuff here), instead I attend sessions, of which there are 3 to 5 per month within short distance.

    I changed jobs again in 1999 and 2004, being a consultant for electronic document management (aka paperless office) and its introduction to the German public health insurances.

    Today, we are a musical family (my daughter plays tenor sax which was her own dream, I knew better than to suggest anything). Oh, and I am a regular visitor to that forum website - what was the name? - oh yes, that's it: the "Mandolin Cafe"! - which is the other dead secret I was to tell.

  4. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Kat & Bertram! You both are typists, as well! That's good!

    I neglected to mention my family, as you both did! I've got 3 grown kids, age 26-36, and 4 beautiful grandchildren, aged 18 months to 7! Grandkids are the best!
  5. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    I think we should also add where we live! I live most of the time, in central Iowa, on a farm, with my fiance. I have a home south of Houston, Texas, where I am originally from, and where most of my family still lives. I go down to Texas about 4 times a year.
  6. billkilpatrick
    connecticut/new york yankee - living in italy. my waaay smarter wife has a real estate agency here in tuscany and i do whatever she jolly well tells me to do. we've got two sons, both in their 20's: one of whom is working as a theater technician in rome and the other at university in siena. we've got 7 acres of rampant weeds growth and over 250 olive trees. we've also got 4 dogs at present, all foundlings.

    played the same chords (badly) on the guitar for years - came to the mandolin by way of oud and charango - tuning in 5ths changed my life. my musical interests are varied and subject to change.

    i have: 2 mid-missouri mandolins (m-4 and m-0); 1 turn-of-the-last-century bowlback; 1 oval-hole "F" ... and i'm awaiting the arrival of a LM 600 loar, hopefully in june- after which, i swear, i will never buy another instrument ever-ever-ever-ever again.

    i also play bagpipe but age and subsequent lack of puff makes that a rare event.

    i can't ... read music notation and have a hard time piecing a tune together from tab. what works best for me is listening to my betters and learning accordingly.
  7. Leigh Coates
    Leigh Coates
    I also have a secret, my real name is Leigh Coates. ">)

    I'm a 55 yrs old female and come from a classical guitar background. I fell in love with the mandolin about 3 years ago, but I've only really been playing it for the past year. I bought a Weber Bitterroot A Oval around Christmas time this year and it's my best buddy these days. Before this I played an old Aria mandolin that is actually quite nice. I'm about 24 hours away from owning an octave mandolin, so more about that later.

    I'm married, live in a small Saskatchewan city (in Canada, for those of you who have never heard of Saskatchewan). We get a lot of ###### weather up here, so lots of time to play mandolin!! My kids are grown and living on their own, and my husband has to listen to me playing guitar, scottish smallpipes and mando constantly, so he deserves a big pat on the back, or perhaps a little sympathy,....

    Presently I'm in a 4 piece band, and we play Celtic, folk, interesting music. I'm having the most fun I've ever had in my life with this band; I would have never predicted it would be so fulfilling and such a fine time.

  8. Leigh Coates
    Leigh Coates
    Just in case anyone thinks that I used a bad word in my post, it really wasn't all that bad! Honest,... It must have been on a "do not allow this word" list. Sorry.

  9. HddnKat
    I live in Texas full time - just north of San Marcos, where it's finally raining today. We've been in a drought for about 3 years, so I'm sure happy to hear the rain. Barbara - I grew up in Bellaire right in the middle of Houston. Lived there for 25 years then moved here to attend graduate school and stayed.
  10. willh
    My name is Will and I have been playing mandolin since February of 08. I played so much my first few months that I gave myself tendinitis and had to lay off playing for four months.

    I started my music education with the flute in elementary school. I wanted to play jazz flute, but I soon put the flute up for a guitar. Like Kat, I never progressed much beyond strumming chords. I have messed around with keyboards, flute, midi-sax, bass, hammered dulcimer, and whistle. I was playing hammered dulcimer and wanted to play more Irish stuff and found the limited range frustrating. I didn't want to mess with my wife's three guitars, so I went digging in the closet and found a mandolin.

    At one time, my wife wanted to become a violin maker and was working with a local shop. Her cousin came to town after a stint of working in Russia and had a broken mandolin with him. He gave it to her and she repaired it with a new neck, thinking that she might play it someday. It languished in a hardshell case for years until I dug it out and started playing it.

    I bought a used Hohner MM-200 (which is an f-style, solid mahogany) after I had been playing for a couple of months. I still pull out the Russian mandolin from time to time because I like the neck my wife put on it.

    I started out doing three chord chops with a bluegrass jam, but still wanted to do Irish stuff. So, I bought the Mel Bay Irish Mandolin Playing book and checked out traditional cd's from the local library.

    I am also into photography, so I began attending the local sessions and photographing the players. Most of them know me now and I go to listen. I have only picked up an instrument twice. You can see some of my photos at my website: http://irishinmo.smugmug.com.

    I have ordered an octave mandolin from Walt Kuhlman at gypsysmusic.com. I should get it before the end of May. I can hardly wait. (Is this the beginning of MAS?)

    I spend my non-playing time as the Assistant Director of Kansas City Rescue Mission. Where I supervise the emergency shelter, IT, and the addiction recovery community. Two months ago, I became the part-time pastor of St. Matthew Presbyterian Church in Grandview, MO, which has limited my time practicing, but that is OK.

    My wife plays guitar in the worship team at South-Broadland Presbyterian (contemporary, jazz, and black gospel styles). Our son is just finishing his first year at West Point (yes, we are proud of him).

    I am enjoying this group because we have varied levels and the opportunity to share and get constructive criticism. If we could just figure out how to do a mandolincafe virtual mandolin orchestra.

    God bless.
  11. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Leigh, don't worry about it! It's something automatic, and I'm not sure what exact words are on it, but I've had that happen when I used a word I didn't think was bad.... you hear worse on prime time TV!

    I would never in a million years, have thought that when I was in my mid 50's I'd be in a band, and I agree, it's a great time!

    Kat, I lived on Willowbend Blvd from the time I was 6 months till I was 10, then we moved WAY out in the boonies, at the end of Westheimer (which is now, smack dab where the Sam Houston Tollway crosses it). My older sister graduated from Bellaire High School, one of the early graduating classes, 1958 I think. My daughter went to Southwest Texas (or whatever they call it now... Texas State University, isn't it?) She majored in partying, haha! I have a son who lives in Austin.
  12. CelticDude
    Hello all,

    I became loathe to list my real name while hanging around political and evo/creto lists, where people are sometimes a little nutso, in a dangerous way, so I won't tell you my real name is Dana Placzek. (Also, I've never liked my name anyway...)

    I grew up in Connecticut, where I still live, and was introduced to music in 5th grade when I started playing the clarinet, and then the oboe. I never got really good at either, and gave it up in my senior year of high school. But after graduating, I took up contra dancing while all my friends went off to college. I found I really liked the music, especially the Irish, so I started banging around on various instruments, finally settling on the pennywhistle and flute. (Some of the instruments I tried were hammered dulcimer, banjo, concertina, and octave mandolin. )

    After playing wind instruments for 20 years (and going to college and getting married and having a kid in the meantime), my son started playing electric guitar. I thought that was way cool, but didn't want to learn a new instrument. So I got an acoustic/electric mandolin that I could plug into a guitar amp, and also play Irish stuff acoustically (or electric ) The mandolin was somewhat familiar, having played OM.

    Well, the mandolin has become an obsession, and here I am, two years into it. Although Irish music is my real focus and love, the mandolin has expanded my musical interests, so I play around with rock, blues, folk, even classical. I also did end up with an acoustic guitar and an electric guitar, which are fun, but I know I won't ever be great at. The mandolin is too much fun to take music time away from.

    Well, that's all the relevant stuff. - DWP
  13. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Leigh & Will, both waiting on OM's! Yeah! I LOVE mine. And, playing the OM improves your mandolin playing!
  14. bgjunkie
    Hello all. My name is Steve Butler. I live in Lebanon, TN with my wife and two kids. I have been a chord strumming guitar player for more than 20 years (a short stint of heavy metal electric guitar playing during my high school years). I have always loved the sound of the mandolin and after mentioning it to my wife several times, she bought me an Epiphone MM30 for Christmas around eight years ago. I messed around with it a little, but couldn’t quite get the hang of it until I stumbled onto the Mandolin Café (around three years ago) and found the tab section with some MP3s. I learned “A Place in the Heart” and that was all it took. A friend gave me a copy of Steve Kaufman’s “Bluegrass Mandolin Solos – that every parking lot picker should know” and I started to learn some bluegrass tunes. I quickly found my MM30 to be lacking, so I did a barter deal with a guy and re-designed his website in exchange for a Michael Kelly Dragonfly mandolin. After playing for six or eight months, I started asking around on the café about places to meet other pickers and a guy told me about the Nashville Old-time String band Assosiation (NOTSBA), so I went to their slow jam night. That night I met a guitar player, dobro player, and the only other mandolin player there and we decided to start our own bluegrass jam. I played with those guys, along with another guitar player, a fiddle player and a bass player for around two years. We played the occasional church social, wedding, or bar-b-que, but never pursued the performance side as much as just the sharing of good music. Now I get together with a few friends from time to time, but don’t get to play as much as I would like. I upgraded my mandolin to an F9, bought a mandolin banjo (I like ragtime on it), and an OM, and I still suffer from MAS. I also bought a fiddle a year ago and mess around with it a little.

    Anyway, I guess that is enough of an introduction. I hope to start trying to record some videos of me playing so that I can be a more active member of the group.
  15. Marc Berman
    Marc Berman
    Hi all,

    Yes, my name is Marc Berman and I live in Red Hook, NY which is in what is considered the Hudson Valley. I’m 54. I’ve been playing the mandolin since January of 08. I did play the cello when I was young but gave it up when I was twelve. My 12 year old daughter plays the violin, both classical and fiddle. She belongs to a fiddle group that ranges from 8 years old to seniors in high school. 2 years ago we accompanied the older fiddlers on a tour on Scotland. That’s when I met my friend and teacher Wayne Fugate. Wayne’s a great mandolin player who was part of the band that backed up the fiddlers. Fast forward to Christmas of 07 - My wife and I were trying to figure out what to get our daughter. That’s when I remembered Wayne telling me “A mandolin is just a violin turned sideways”. I gave him a call and we talked about mandolins and I ended up ordering my daughter an Eastman 505. While waiting for it to arrive I started thinking about possibly using my daughter’s mandolin as a springboard to playing the fiddle because “A mandolin is just a violin turned sideways”. Christmas day arrives and my daughter loved her present. I asked her if she would mind if I doodled on it “just for fun”. Well two days latter I was told to put it down and order my own. Which is what I did and I haven’t put that one down since. I like to play anything from classical to bluegrass. I do focus primarily on fiddle and bluegrass though. I have to admit that I have forgotten about moving to the violin though I do see a mandocello somewhere in my future.
    I see Wayne twice a month and when I can I attend the bi-monthly jams that the Hudson Valley Bluegrass Assoc. puts on.
  16. GTG
    Hi folks,

    My first name is Dan and last name is P-e-r-a-k-i-s (but with 2 r's). Sorry to be weird, but I write it that way to avoid being searchable on google. (Since getting a real job I've started worrying about my 'internet presence'. Last I checked, my family and I were the only ones in Canada with that last name, so I'd rather stay a bit under the radar if possible...)

    In any case, I'm a 33 year-old fire ecologist working with Parks Canada (the Canadian equivalent of the US National Park Service) in Calgary, Alberta. I've been involved with music for nearly my whole life, although always as a hobby. After seeing a student concert at school when I was 7 that featured a guest violinist, I pestered my parents until they bought me a violin and got me enrolled in lessons. About a year later, I was sick of all the practicing and screeching, but felt guilty about quitting, so I stuck with it. In middle school I played the euphonium and tuba, and then started playing guitar when my friends pestered me, because 'it's basically the same thing as a violin', and they wanted a guitarist to play in their rock band. I bought an awful electric guitar from a consignment store and a terrible little amp, and we wrote a song we couldn't play to open up our jr high grad dance... I don't think I could properly even tune the thing...
    I began playing trombone in high school. My first girlfriend played alto saxophone in band, so I tried her sax once and found it really fun and easy, so I picked that up too. In grade 11 I was playing alto sax, baritone sax, trombone, french horn, and trumpet in the school's 5 bands, while still taking violin lessons and playing guitar casually at home - I was definitely known as a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none sort. Eventually I quit all the other distractions (including violin, after almost 9 years) and stuck with the guitar, tenor sax, and trombone for my last year or two of high school. The sax got left behind when I went to university (undergrad in forestry/resource conservation), but I continued to play trombone in a local college jazz band, and eventually in the UBC jazz band, alongside some quite serious aspiring musicians. I kept the guitar up for campfire-type singalongs. I went to grad school in Seattle (my mom is American and I'm a dual citizen), and the trombone finally started gathering dust. I started jamming on guitar with some bluegrass types I met through school, and one of them had a mandolin. "Hey, this plays just like a violin!" I bought an ebay special mando, found the Mandolin Cafe, upgraded to a Michael Kelly, and as The Woodpickers we played a few coffee houses, parties, and a bar gigs. Ideas about staying in the US and making a career there got quenched by the political events of 2002-2004 - didn't do it for me, and figured I'd move back to Canada. I broke up with the fiddle player, the band went in a different direction (without me), I got busy with school, and then I got a real job and moved to Calgary in 2006. I bought a house and then a Collings, finally finished my doctorate in December '08, and kept practicing. I started meeting some Calgary musicians and jamming a couple years ago, did a musical gig for a private school, and the fun continues. I'm hoping to join or play with another group at some point, maybe even take some time off work to play some festivals or something, but we'll see what the future brings. After all the other adventures on different instruments, I'm happy to have settled with mando and guitar.

    Thanks Barb for making this group happen! I'll try to make some more videos.
  17. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Hey, ya'll, if anyone is uncomfortable in giving their full name, how about just signing your messages with a first name, that way, those that reply, will have a name to reply to!
  18. Eddie Sheehy
    Eddie Sheehy. Living in sunny Southern California by way of Springs South Africa after moving from Limerick Ireland. Played tinwhistle and guitar during my misspent youth. Dabbled in mandolin and bouzouki but have only started really playing them since I found the Cafe about a year ago. Actually thanks to the mandolin/bouzouki/OM etc. I'm currently having a ball and have started dropping in a on a local Living Tradition jam. I have always loved ITM and now it is so great to be actually playing it and sharing it with like-minded people - YOU!
  19. Kyle Baker
    Kyle Baker
    My name is Kyle Baker. I'm 25 years old and come from a nice tourist town in Ontario Canada called Merrickville. I've been playing musical instruments for a number of years, and somehow came to enjoy traditional irish music the most in the last couple of years. I started playing acoustic guitar in about 1996, then later found myself picking up the drums in highschool. I played drums in a punk rock band (ya, punk rock... what was I thinking!) fairly seriously for 3 or 4 years until I realized that it wasnt going to pay the bills.
    About 2 or 3 years ago my father started playing mandolin, so we would jam together some old time and bluegrass music. We would go visit my grandfather at the nursing home to play for him where he very much enjoyed the musical company. After a while we started moving into some irish music, and after listening to Planxty albums over and over decided I wanted a bouzouki and that was that.
    My beautiful wife surprised me on my birthday last July with a trinity college irish zouk (one of the best gifts ever and I've been hooked ever since. I learned fairly quickly on the zouk, and now I find I rarely play guitar as I'm hooked on mandolin family instruments. I also recently purchased a tenor banjo.
    I play in a session group every second sunday and still jam with my dad quite often.
    My instrument collection is rather large...
    2 irish bouzouki's, a vintage bowl back mandolin, tenor banjo, fiddle (can't play this one), two electric guitars, one 6 string electric acoustic, one 12 string electric acoustic, electric jazz bass guitar, my drumset, and a bodhran.

    I have been married 2 years to my wife who has been with me for a total of 10 years... do the math, we were about 16 when we got together. We are expecting our first child this july Very exciting!
    I work as a millwright (industrial mechanic) in an aluminum alloy foundry that makes mostly automotive parts.
    I'm addicted to music, and love this group. It is pushing me to learn a new song each week which will only make me a better player Good stuff!
    Now that's enough about me... haha
  20. Tracy Tucker
    Tracy Tucker
    I'm one of the silent members, learning behind the camera. =o) I am Tracy Tucker, a 38 year old stay-at-home mom of 2 boys. I do volunteer work for several different organizations and the billing for my husband's business. I came to the mandolin almost 3 years ago, never having played any instrument (except for the forced and little-enjoyed assignment in 6th grade of learning 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' on the recorder). I taught myself as much as I could and started taking lessons just about a year ago. I've made a lot of progress since then, but feel that I've really been held back by not getting to play with others. Seems like there are few opportunities to jam in west central Ohio. =o(

    I appreciate this group because it's encouraging me to learn and push myself. Thanks, all!
  21. KyleBerry
    My Name is Kyle as you can tell! I am almost 19, will be the 27th of this month. I am currently a freshman in college. Just started playing the mando about two weeks ago. Thanks to Tracy here getting me addicted by letting me borrow one of her mandos. I have been playing piano also for about 7 months. Piano came a whole lot easier than the mandolin is coming. I love to sing. I am planning on being a Pastor or Missionary once I graduate from college. I love God and going to church. Well that is about my life in a nutshell.
  22. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    Hi all, Jill here, currently resident in wild and wooly Oakland, CA, but originally from Ireland. I moved to the States exactly a year ago tomorrow! I started playing the tenor banjo and a wee bit of mandolin in July '07, prior to that I'd played guitar in punk bands for years and years. I've been focusing primarily on the mandolin since about September of last year. Focusing is probably not a strong enough word, obsessed is much more accurate! I play Irish Trad stuff - right now I've got a Custom Weber Aspen II, with a Redline Traveler pancake and a Pomeroy A-4 about to join the family within the next month.

    I haven't got a webcam or video camera yet, but plan on getting one soon, so for the moment I'll just be enjoying everyone else's videos.
  23. Tom Tax
    Tom Tax
    I recently joined this group and have not yet posted any recordings, but I eventually will work up the nerve and post one. I've made several attempts to get a good recording but mess it up every time. I bought an Eastman 815 mandolin three years ago for my 60th birthday and have been plugging away at it ever since. I'm making some progress, I think, but the going is slow. I also flatpick guitar and play a bit of clawhammer style banjo. Actually this is the third time in my life I've tried to learn the mandolin. When in college in the mid-1960s, I bought a very used Kalamazoo mandolin and learned to play some easy things like Woody's Rag. Unfortunately it had a bad crack in the back and eventually sort of imploded (it was in the case at the time). Years later I borrowed my brother's Gibson A50 for a while, but never spent enough time to pick it up. This time I am more serious and have no doubt I will continue with the mandolin. I've been playing guitar since I was 16 and have a 1973 Martin D35 I bought slightly used in 1974 and a Martin 000-28VS I bought about 5 years ago. Although I play it less, my banjo is a basic Baldwin resonator model I bought around 1970. I tend to play the same sorts of tunes on all three. I play mostly Old-timey tunes but would love to get good enough to play bluegrass. I'd also like to jam, so if there is anyone near Highland Park, Il (a northern suburb of Chicago) who is interested, let me know. I retired from a career with the Federal Government in 2007, so I have no excuse of lack of time to practice. It's more a problem of will power and preferring to play something I know that is easy than to struggle with something more difficult.

    On a more personal note, my wife and I will be celebrating our 40th anniversary next month and she is retiring from her job at the end of next week. We have 2 adult children who live fairly nearby and each has a small child and another on the way. I have spent a lot of time in grandchild-care since I retired and have enjoyed it greatly. I look forward to spending a lot of time with the group.

  24. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Tom, Welcome! On the subject of videoing, don't wait till you get something PERFECT, or you'll never post anything! The idea here, isn't perfection, it's sharing. Plus, seeing our fellow musicians blunder a little, makes up for watching the pros perform! Makes us all human! But, I know what you mean.... you don't want it FULL of boo-boos! I'll be recording something, and get all the way to the last measure, then make a horrible mistake! So frustrating!

  25. ChrisStewart
    Howdy all,
    I am also a converted guitar player. My wife and I gave each other instruments for wedding presents and she wanted a mandolin. She plays the fiddle though and never played the mando much and so when the mandolin player left the band and we had three guitars I switched over. So I have been at it for six years or so and have not made much progress but I think finding MC and this group is already helping me push myself a bit more to learn new stuff.

    I am 48 and design houses for fun. (I used to build houses but that was work) I am also a Texan. Anyway I am enjoying everyone's contributions to this group -keep it up.

  26. mandomaybe
    Being both lazy and not a tech person, I don't have (or know how to have) my real name or photo in the greeting, but here I am.
    I'm not much of a mando player, but something about it has grabbed my interest. I have been a guitar chord banger/simple fingerpick type guitar player for many years, with my main interest being songwriting. A few years ago I picked up the mando mainly because I loved the sound of it as an accompaniment in many of my favorite singer/songwriter artists, and I figured that when I get together with my folk/singer-songwriter buddies it would be nice to have at least one person who is not banging out the same chords on the guitar. So, it has been fun to play, adding my simple attempts at playing breaks on the folk/pop/singer-songwriter stuff that I grew up with and still love. Never have had interest in learning bluegrass. Used to hangout monthly with a song circle that did lots of old-timey, but never had the patience to learn tunes, so I revert to playing backup guitar, which is always needed when you get a bunch of fiddle/mando/hammer dulcimer folks around!
    Still play the first mando I bought which is a 7 yr. old MidMO M-1. Love the (to my ears) wody. almost guitar-like sound of it, and would like to hit the lottery and buy an old Gibson oval as a next step.
    Live in southern California, 56 yrs. old, pay the bills as a psychotherapist, hope to finally learn some songs by watching this group.
  27. Don Christy
    Don Christy

    Don here. I used to ride motorcycles quite a bit, and still own a Ducati, hence the 'ducati08' user name.

    I'm 43 years old and have been playing for about 3 years. Actually, I've been saying that for 2 years now, so I've probably been playing closer to 5 years.

    Before the mandolin, I didn't really play any stringed instruments before, but I did play alto saxophone in junior high and messed around with a guitar for about 6 months once.

    I live in St. Louis MO now, but grew up in North and South Carolina and graduated from Clemson University before moving to MO in 1989.

    I mostly play bluegrass, but I also enjoy playing Old Time and some blues. I've recently become interested in playing jazz. We'll see how that goes.

    I take classes and serve on the board of The Folk School of St. Louis, a wonderful non-profit organization that offers programs in traditional music.

    In addition to the Folk School sponsored events, I've recently begun jamming regularly with a great group of friends/musicians that I met through the Folk School. That's been a ton of fun. I think everyone should have the pleasure of playing music with friends.

    All for now,
  28. Don Grieser
    Don Grieser
    Howdy folks,

    Another Don here, and I started playing when I was 40 also. I played guitar for many years, never much lead, but the mandolin seemed to make sense to me immediately. I had the good fortune to attend a bunch of RockyGrass Academies when I was just starting, and those really helped jump-start my playing. Now some 14 years later, I'm still playing and loving it even more.

    Monroe's playing is what really grabbed me early on--especially his powerful downstroke solos. I still love that style of playing and love playing bluegrass. But lately I've been on an oval kick and just love playing all kinds of music--anything that expresses some great feeling/emotion. I've really enjoyed all the Celtic and O'Carolan tunes I've been exposed to by all y'all. Lots of great tunes from all of you. Hope I can share some tunes if I can get the YouTube problem I have figured out.

    I grew up in Indiana but have lived out on the Navajo reservation in New Mexico the last 30 years. It's 50 miles to anything, but it's a good life.

    I've played in a couple bluegrass bands and now back up a songwriter and play with some other folks a couple times a month at the Coal St. Pub in Gallup. Great fun.

  29. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Hi Don Grieser! Welcome! My sister in law lives in Navajo Dam, New Mexico, and worked for several years as an art teacher on one of the reservations.. not sure which one!

  30. beepu
    Howdy all. I'm Bob. 20-something. Currently living somewhere in the frozen hell-scape that is Canada (actually it's damn muggy right now). I do mind-boggingly complicated work with computers, which is so arcane that nobody understands it (certainly not me, anyway!)

    Been playing mandolin for about 6 months. Got turned onto celtic/folk stuff about a year and a half ago. It started with Planxty, The Bothy Band, Dervish, etc., and now I can't even begin to list all the great musicians I've been exposed to. Not physically exposed myself to... gah, this is all coming out all wrong.

    Anyways, I found this forum and group through Barbara's videos on Youtube, which are fantastic. I try to learn a couple songs a week, and figured it couldn't hurt to learn one more. Hoping to pick up some pointers from you all -- in fact, I can honestly say that I already have, in just a day or two of lurking the forum.

  31. Joe Nobiling
    Joe Nobiling
    Finally gettin' 'round to my intro...I live on the Midwest Coast of the U.S., more specifically, Moline, Illinois - across the river from Davenport, Iowa. Been playin' music on one instrument or another since 3rd grade. Not really a beginner, hope that's not a prerequisite for this group. Been playin' folk music since the mid 60s and barndance music since the early 80s.

    I support my musical habits workin' as a visual information specialist which translates roughly as a graphic designer but also do things such as shoot and edit photos, video, and audio, create interactive cd-roms/dvds, etc.

    String instrument-wise I'm primarily a guitarist but also play 5-string banjo, fiddle, and mandolin. This group seems like a good challenge or opportunity to improve my playing by trying to learn a tune a week. Come fall I may slow down as I'm also involved in a masters degree program...we'll see as music's always a great release for and from stress, study, and work. Look forward to any words of wisdom, directions, ideas, etc.
  32. Eddie Sheehy
    Welcome Joe. You hit the ground runnin'.
  33. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    i notice we have many members who have not introduced themselves! If you haven't please take a moment to do so! You don't have to give your full name, if you don't want to! Please just tell us a little bit about yourself!
  34. d28martin
    Tim O'Neill here in beautiful Upstate NY. Guitar player since my long ago youth, mando for 5yrs give or take. Thanks for making me learn new songs!
  35. Joe Nobiling
    Joe Nobiling
    Y'know I don't see MandoKatt's introduction here.

    He definitely should intro himself as he seems to be a hidden gem and I'm hopin' he puts up some vids of his playin' because his website shows a wealth and depth of knowledge I've not seen in a while.

    Y'all check out this website he's put together. It's a real fine piece of work - only the highest compliments intended!!! http://www.oldtimemandolinmusic.com/
  36. kristallyn
    I m sorry I haven t introduced myself properly yet, I hadn t seen this thread yet
    after a lovely weekend at a german bluegrass festival I ll make an effort now

    my name first of all is kris, I live in the netherlands ( and am dutch) am 41 , and married to a great guy, we have two kids togehter, an almost eight year old girl and an allmost sixteen year old boy.
    I studied music when I was in my early twenties, ( vocals ) sang old music for a long time , but than life started "happening" we had kids, and there were circumstances that made it hard to make a lot of time for music. When I was 38 my husband decided I really needed to get back into the musical saddle.and he put an old guitar underneath our christmas tree with a note attached, urging me to be myself, make music , and promising me guitarlessons, so I learned to play chords, taught myself how to fingerpick and started a band,..
    at this moment I am playing in two bands, ( kristalmusic.nl) and have recently bought a mandolin.( one week ago to be exact LOL) I decided to learn bluegrass mandolin but do it "all the way" reading notes , playing scales etc etc etc. I have discovered a lot about mandolin playing in this past week. and on the bluegrass festivals we visited I used my eyes and ears well,..I ve been practising a lot and It is getting more fun everyday.
    well that s about all I have to tell about myself, but if you have questions just shoot
    kind regards
  37. Ken_P
    My convoluted musical history:

    I started playing voila in elementary school at around age 8. I wasn't really that into it for a long time, but I never gave it up either. I picked up guitar from my father, who bought himself a new one when I was around 14, and gave me his old Yamaha (which I still have). I learned chords for a bunch of folk-ish music that I was listening to at the time, and eventually started picking out melody lines and short solos. After about a year, my parents decided I was good enough that I needed a quality instrument, and bought me a Martin D1. That's still the only guitar I own (aside from the Yamaha), and I couldn't imagine giving it up.

    One of the bands I was a fan of at that time featured a banjo on a few songs, and I really liked that sound, so around the age of 16, I got a cheap banjo and started to learn. That was when I really started to broaden my musical horizons, because I started seeking out other banjo music. That led me to Bela Fleck, whose albums with the Flecktones were the first instrumental music I ever seriously listened to. In exploring Bela's music more fully, I discovered his amazing bluegrass albums, which is what got me hooked on acoustic music. While I was listening to those records, Sam Bush's playing always stood out, and I decided I had to add mandolin to my stable of instruments. I got my first mandolin (a Kentucky KM150S) as a high school graduation present, and took to it right away. I already had the basics down before I started, because I already knew the tuning and I had developed the right hand technique by learning flatpicking on guitar.

    I played all four instruments as much as I could during my college years. I eventually stopped playing banjo because I never really got comfortable with 3 finger style, but the others stuck. By the time I got to my junior and senior years in college, I was deeply immersed in classical music as part of my studies. I didn't do much playing at all for a few years after that because I devoted all my time to every music theory and history book I could get my hands on.

    My father convinced me to pick up guitar and mandolin again when he bought himself another guitar (a Martin HD28LSV). With such a great instrument around, I rediscovered my interest in playing and went back to all my favorite acoustic music again with new ears. While I really enjoyed flatpicking again, I was having trouble getting back into the mandolin because I had outgrown my instrument. I eventually sold the Kentucky and bought an Eastman 515, which did the trick.

    That takes me up to the point when I got married, about 6 months ago. I had been quite happy with all my instruments, but I had the opportunity to get a great mandolin that I just couldn't pass up. I had by complete luck become related to the owner of a music store (my new wife's uncle) and he gave me a great deal on my Collings MT2. I don't forsee trading that in for anything! I got over my scroll envy with the Eastman, and I now love having an A style that can hang in there with any other mandolin.

    My apologies to anybody who read the whole thing! I've got a new tune to learn!
  38. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Wow! Marrying into a music store.... what a deal! I love your Collings, but I would, wouldn't I?
  39. Joe Nobiling
    Joe Nobiling
    Y'know some people just live right, it seems - both Kris & Ken. What great stories!
  40. Bill Snyder
    Bill Snyder
    Bill Snyder. Texan.
  41. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Welcome. Bill Snyder. Man of few words. But, plenty of punctuation!
  42. Bill Snyder
    Bill Snyder
    "Welcome. Bill Snyder. Man of few words."

    Explained that at the start. Texan.

    Actually, anybody that looks at a few of the message board sections probably will think I can't keep myself from responding to threads. I tend to use plenty of words there.
  43. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Hey, Bill, I was born and raised in Texas, and still have a home south of Houston. I am a woman of MANY words, haha! Sometimes, though, my punctuation and lack of capitalization, is terrible! Love those smilies, though! Welcome!
  44. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    I was born and raised in California and started out my musical life as a bass player when I was fourteen. By the time I was sixteen I had added guitar, mandocello & mandolin to my instrument list. I learned 3 tunes on the mandolin in the sixties and then lost interest and the mandolin in subsequent years. As a bass player I played many styles of music: rock, folk, country, jazz, and even punk for awhile and for a few years I even made a living at it. Fast forward to the nineties when I started to play Irish music and found out that bass playing wasn’t quite right so I started playing backup on guitar. About the same time I bought an octave mandolin to play tunes on and I’ve been learning tunes and buying instruments ever since. These days people pay me to play guitar mostly but I’m hoping to sneak some mandolin in here or there.
  45. OldSausage
    I was born and raised in.. oh, you don't wanna hear all that. Anyhow, I've joined, so there.
  46. John Ritchhart
    John Ritchhart
    My name is John Ritchhart. I've been fooling around with music for some ten years but not in a more dedicated way until about 4 years ago. Born in St. Louis, raised in southern Ohio, schooled in New York. I like playing all sorts of different music from Irish to Polkas. Probably would be better if I stuck to one thing but I can't. Met my wife in Houston (she's from Port Lavaca , home of the fighting sandcrabs which I think is the funniest mascot ever) while I was living in beautiful downtown Katy, Tx. I have lived all over from Europe to Asia and 14 at last count different places in the U.S. Presently working in Charlotte and have a home in the Smokies just this side of Tennessee. I like going to music camps and fooling around on this forum. Howdy to all.
  47. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Hi John! Welcome! I used to live in that part of Texas, in El Campo, home of the Fighting Ricebirds, so we used to go down to Port Lavaca... can you imagine a 'fight' between the sandcrabs and the ricebirds?
  48. John Ritchhart
    John Ritchhart
    very funny.
  49. Carolie
    My name is Carolyn Boyles. I am an incomplete quadriplegic and have a traumatic brain injury after an auto accident. I live in North Little Rock, Arkansas with my husband and 4 cats.

    I've been playing mandolin for a whole 3 weeks now.

    My parents made me take piano lessons from around age 8 until I was in high school. I had no interest in piano. My eyesight became bad enough by the end of high school that I had difficulty reading music so I could not continue playing.

    I really wanted to learn guitar. They wouldn't buy me a guitar so the only way I could get one was to save up the old yellow stamps. It took 48 books, but I did it. Maybe it was 28, but it seemed like more.

    I learned basic guitar, but had no one to jam with, so I never got anyplace with it and put it away after high school.

    I have always wanted to learn mandolin. My husband and I gave my late father-in-law an acoustic/electric mandolin for Christmas about 5 years ago. He loved it. He'd always wanted a mandolin and we didn't know that when we gave it to him. He was one of those people who could play anything after a few days of practice. He had my mother-in-law give the mandolin back to me.

    Anyway, I took a bad fall in November and started physical therapy in January. My physical therapist wanted me to do 2 things: find a way to relax so my spasms would be so bad and find a way to strengthen my hands. I can't write by hand and I can't hold onto things.

    I decided to kill two birds with one stone. I'd always been captivated by the sound of a mandolin so I started playing my father-in-law's mandolin, but found that with my hands it was unplayable. So I bought one I could play (and will be able to once I get more strength built up and light gauge strings on it).

    I also have a cheap 5-string banjo with pretty decent sound that I'm working on to help build the strength and stretch in my hands for the mandolin.

    I'm disabled, but stay busy trying to be a freelance writer part-time and being a wife with taking care of the household.

    I guess that's about all.


    PS-no webcam or other form of video recording
  50. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Carolyn, welcome to the group! I hope that your mandolin playing accomplishes everything you are aiming for! I believe, where there is a will, there is a way! You may end up having to do things 'different' to get it to work, but whatever it takes, go for it! If there is any way that any of us can post anything that would help you, I'm sure there are plenty of us here who would be happy to!
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