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Thread: Eddie Condon

  1. #1
    Registered User Mike Anderson's Avatar
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    Question Eddie Condon

    Hoping someone can clue me in to what the instrument he's playing here in this Red Nichols film might be?



    It looks like a banjo (very long scale) with a mando-style body. You can see it a bit better in this screenshot:

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    Here's the headstock:

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    And here he is later in the same clip playing a banjo with what appears to be the same long scale:

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    Thanks!
    "But wasn't it all stupid nonsense, rot, gibberish, and criminally fraudulent nincompoopery?"
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  3. #2
    Administrator Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eddie Condon

    Looks vaguely like a Vega Tenor Lute from the 20s. One thing, those boys could swing pretty nicely. Enjoyed the music.

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  5. #3
    Registered User Mike Anderson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eddie Condon

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandolin Cafe View Post
    Looks vaguely like a Vega Tenor Lute from the 20s. One thing, those boys could swing pretty nicely. Enjoyed the music.

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    Vaguely, heck no, I think you nailed it! Very cool, thanks!
    "But wasn't it all stupid nonsense, rot, gibberish, and criminally fraudulent nincompoopery?"
    - Neal Stephenson, Quicksilver

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    Registered User Bob Visentin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eddie Condon

    tuned in fifths like a tenor banjo, or mandola, C G D A

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  9. #5
    Registered User Mike Anderson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eddie Condon

    Now that you've pointed me in the right direction, turns out there's a fair bit of stuff on the interwebs about the instrument. Thanks again!
    "But wasn't it all stupid nonsense, rot, gibberish, and criminally fraudulent nincompoopery?"
    - Neal Stephenson, Quicksilver

  10. #6

    Default Re: Eddie Condon

    most probably Pee Wee Russell on clarinet, legendary player who was the modernists favorite Dixieland player. He performed with Thelonious Monk at the 1963 Newport Festival and was a favorite of Coleman Hawkins, the swing giant who was most open to bebop.

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  12. #7
    Registered User O. Apitius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eddie Condon

    Bravo!!
    'love Condon's walk and Red Nichol's side shuffle near the end. A real polished act.
    https://www.instagram.com/apitiusmandolins/
    What is good Phaedrus? and what is not good? need we ask anyone to tell us these things?

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  14. #8
    Registered User Mike Anderson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eddie Condon

    Happy to see this thread has some legs! Here's something much more exotic from Red McKenzie and the Mound City Blue Blowers:



    Two Tenor Lutes, megaphone, and suitcase played with whisk brooms! I dunno, there's something about having moved into a house built in 1921 that has me needing to hear this stuff on a daily basis. It's like a benign form of possession.
    "But wasn't it all stupid nonsense, rot, gibberish, and criminally fraudulent nincompoopery?"
    - Neal Stephenson, Quicksilver

  15. #9
    Registered User O. Apitius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eddie Condon

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Anderson View Post
    Happy to see this thread has some legs! Here's something much more exotic from Red McKenzie and the Mound City Blue Blowers:

    Two Tenor Lutes, megaphone, and suitcase played with whisk brooms! I dunno, there's something about having moved into a house built in 1921 that has me needing to hear this stuff on a daily basis. It's like a benign form of possession.
    'dunno if you're aware but there's a fantastic radio show by the late, great Jeff Healy on JazzFM 91.1 in Toronto every Wednesday night from 9 to 11pm where he plays this kind of music. The show is called "My Kinda Jazz". Jeff had a vast knowledge of traditional jazz and a record collection to match. If you can't pull in the signal, you can listen to it "live" over the internet.

    http://www.jazz.fm/index.php/on-air-...-my-kinda-jazz
    https://www.instagram.com/apitiusmandolins/
    What is good Phaedrus? and what is not good? need we ask anyone to tell us these things?

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  17. #10
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    Default Re: Eddie Condon

    I believe Eddie Condon played mostly plectrum guitar and banjo: 26" scale, tuned CGBD. Mike's original impression of a very long scale in that first video seems right. In the suitcase quartet it's harder to tell because of foreshortening from the angle of view.
    On a normal guitar the long scale puts the body at the 16th fret, and tenor scale at the 14th. The teardrop shape of the tenor lute truncates the body, which lets you have those high frets.

    this is Eddie's usual in later years, a Gibson plectrum:
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  19. #11
    Registered User Mike Anderson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eddie Condon

    I'll definitely check out the Healy show online (not sure there's even a radio in the house but will see if I can tune in in the car)... and thanks John for more Condon info!
    "But wasn't it all stupid nonsense, rot, gibberish, and criminally fraudulent nincompoopery?"
    - Neal Stephenson, Quicksilver

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