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Thread: Bluegrass Players Who Play an Oval ?

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    Default Bluegrass Players Who Play an Oval ?

    Any Bluegrass musicians out there who play on an oval mandolin rather than a F5 or A5 ?
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

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    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Players Who Play an Oval ?

    If you want to hear some really good, solid, traditional stuff on an oval (usually a 1922 A4), go back a bit and seek out some of the stuff the late Red Rector did... some very rare footage of a duet with Bill Monroe here...



    He also used an oval-hole with quite a bit of stuff recorded with Reno & Smiley...



    Jump to 18.03 on this one 'Choking the Strings' - featuring Red Rector on a fast banjo classic...



    I was lucky enough to catch him in performance a few times. A wonderful mandolin player. Look out too for his work with Norman Blake, Bill Clifton and Jethro Burns.
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Players Who Play an Oval ?

    Jimmy Martin owned an oval-hole F-4 which he had some of his mandolin players use.

    Here's a 1988 live performance, featuring the F-4. Hope someone can ID the mandolinist.

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    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Players Who Play an Oval ?

    Great footage.

    That one with red rector - you can hear the differences in tone. They complement each other beautifully.

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Players Who Play an Oval ?

    Jodie Stecher plays an oval hold gibson

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oZeEL7IATw
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Players Who Play an Oval ?

    Quote Originally Posted by RobP View Post
    Jodie Stecher plays an oval hold gibson

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oZeEL7IATw
    better look again!
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Players Who Play an Oval ?

    Quote Originally Posted by RobP View Post
    Jodie Stecher plays an oval hold gibson

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oZeEL7IATw
    That's an A, but not an oval hole. Check it out on the full screen. Great sounding mando though made by Stan Miller.
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Players Who Play an Oval ?

    Dean Webb of the Dillards (Darling family on the Andy Griffith Show) played one on occasion.

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Players Who Play an Oval ?

    Oval hole mandolins were quite common in bluegrass through the 1960's. Just look at old photos and videos.

    I've seen old footage of the Stanley Brothers and Flatt and Scruggs with oval holes in the band. Roland White. Red Rector. Ira Louvin. etc.

    Some of you may remember that it was not easy to find decent new mandolins through the 70's or early 80's. Oval hole Gibsons were common, inexpensive, and sounded a lot better than most of what we could find new. Some of us stuck with them even after decent modern f-hole mandolins became available, myself included.

    There were an awful lot of records made on those old oval hole mandolins.

    Norman Blake and Peter Ostroushko used oval hole mandolins most of the time.

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Players Who Play an Oval ?

    wow.. I didn't look closely enough at the video. He DOES play a gibson oval hole also - that's what he was playing when I saw him with Peter Rowan here in Corvallis. I'll look for another video
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Players Who Play an Oval ?

    Curly Seckler played his oval-hole F-2 for years with Flat & Scruggs' Foggy Mountain Boys. He seldom got to take a break, as the lead instruments were Scruggs' banjo, Paul Warren's fiddle and "Josh" Graves' Dobro.

    Seckler was there mostly for his singing, which was immaculate. He was apparently a decent mandolin player, since he sorta "replaced" Bill Monroe as a duet with brother Charlie Monroe. Seckler was given the nickname "Smilin' Bill" to fool audiences into thinking the mandolinist was like Bill Monroe.

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Players Who Play an Oval ?

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Jimmy Martin owned an oval-hole F-4 which he had some of his mandolin players use.

    Here's a 1988 live performance, featuring the F-4. Hope someone can ID the mandolinist.

    It's Audie Blaylock on mandolin.

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Players Who Play an Oval ?

    Well, I must be losing my mind. I can't even find an image of Jody with an oval hole. I could have sworn that's what I saw him perform with, but perhaps my memory is cloudy.

    Sorry for the false alarm
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Players Who Play an Oval ?

    Andy Statman played that black Gibson snakehead A2 for years.

    I think he's on his third Kimble F-hole mandolin since he retired the snakehead.

    Seems like Peter Ostroushko most often plays an oval-hole instrument, but on the other hand one wouldn't accuse Peter of playing bluegrass most of the time.

    David McLaughlin had an A2Z as his second stage mandolin for certain songs.

    I'm a big fan of Jim Watson and his snakehead ... again, not bluegrass most of the time, but a few grassy numbers in there with the old-time stuff.
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Players Who Play an Oval ?

    Jimmy Gaurdreau played an oval early in his career. He has an F2 or F4 on the cover of the Twin River Boys album he did back in 1965.

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Players Who Play an Oval ?

    Mr. Bill used one himself on several recordings, Monroe’s Hornpipe and several other cuts were done with an F-4.
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Players Who Play an Oval ?

    Uncle Gene Johnson played an early F-2/F-4 3 point in the mid 60's I believe before he got his Loar in 68-69.

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Players Who Play an Oval ?

    When I first saw Joe Val, with the Charles River Valley Boys, he was playing an oval-hole F-2. At that time (1960's), Everett Lilly was playing an F-4 with his brother "B," Don Stover, and Tex Logan in their band.
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Players Who Play an Oval ?

    Are there any Bluegrass players that ever played on a tater bug? even for a few gigs (one gig?) ,rare recordings, whatever? Didn't BM begin on a tater bug, single strung?

    I'm right in between serious and that amused point where I wonder if orthodoxy is so entrenched that anyone would care if somebody does NOT use an F style mandolin for BG music.

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Players Who Play an Oval ?

    Less about "orthodoxy" I suspect, more about being heard... tater bug vs. 5-string = no contest.
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Players Who Play an Oval ?

    I've seen both Mike Compton and Steve Gilchrist play Gilchrist F4's......... Eric Thompson plays an ol' Gibson F4.

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Players Who Play an Oval ?

    Nolan Faulkner-F-4 3 point and stylish hats too,
    Sorry, I don’t have that picture in my collection!
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Players Who Play an Oval ?

    Quote Originally Posted by almeriastrings View Post
    Less about "orthodoxy" I suspect, more about being heard... tater bug vs. 5-string = no contest.
    I have played some bowlbacks that can stand up to a banjo.

    However, many can't, as you point out.

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    Default Re: Bluegrass Players Who Play an Oval ?

    Roland White told me that he started with a ‘tater bug.
    Timothy F. Lewis
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    Default Re: Bluegrass Players Who Play an Oval ?

    Well, 'tain't bluegrass, but the late Kenny Hall could make a "tater bug" heard in a string band context, fer shur....



    ...and pickin' with his index fingernail.
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