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Thread: Bill Monroe played bass?

  1. #1
    Registered User Bob Visentin's Avatar
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    Default Bill Monroe played bass?

    The Atlanta Journal /Constitution had this article in the Sunday paper about the new Bluegrass Museum in KY.

    https://www.ajc.com/entertainment/mu...JP0I8F3ysUTyO/

    Here is a quote. "On display are artifacts from those pioneer days, including a show poster promoting Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys at the Opry, Monroe’s bass that he played during many live shows and recording sessions, and a Flatt and Scruggs song book."

    Also is that really one of Bill's mandolins in the picture?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Bill Monroe played bass?

    Well, he played guitar and mandolin well. I assume he could thump out a bass line when necessary. I might take the "during many live shows" with a grain of salt, though.

    Remember, Del McCoury taught his sons how to play mandolin and banjo; though we are used to seeing Del with a guitar in his hands.

    And Maybelle Carter played mandolin and banjo in addition to guitar and autoharp. I could go on about other musicians who played instruments they are not normally associated with, but the list would be endless.
    Last edited by rcc56; Dec-16-2018 at 6:42pm.

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    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill Monroe played bass?

    While I am certainly no expert on Bill Monore, the simple fact that he may have played bass does not surprise me in the least. In Bill's era it was not terribly unusual for musicians to be somewhat proficient on a few instruments, so that several artists appearing on the same small shows together could back each other up, instead of each artist having to travel with, and pay for, his or her own band.

    But again, I am no Bill Monroe authority, so I leave any definitive answers to those who are far more knowledgeable . . . .

  4. #4

    Default Re: Bill Monroe played bass?

    Well,Dave Appolon started out on a bowl-back!

  5. #5
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill Monroe played bass?

    Even if he didn't play the bass chances are he owned one. He also owned a guitar and banjo that he kept for use within his band.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Bill Monroe played bass?

    http://monroemandolincamp.com/the-blue-grass-boys/

    I found this. Birch and James Monroe are listed as playing bass.

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    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill Monroe played bass?

    Quote Originally Posted by V70416 View Post
    Well,Dave Appolon started out on a bowl-back!
    So did Bill Monroe. His first bowl back Italian mandolin was bought for Bill to play from a nearby neighbor for $3.

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  9. #8
    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill Monroe played bass?

    No doubt he could by why would he? I bet you won't find a photo of Big Mon with a big bass. As far as mandolins on display, I was there and they had 2. One was given to Monroe by Bill Grant as a gift and the other one was a real Gibson Fern F5L that was given to Bill in the care center shortly before he died. So yeah, he played both of them but you won't find any photos of him playing them. The Monroe Museum in Rosine, KY is still getting under way with many displays not completed. They are still raising money and accepting donations of Monroe artifacts. Down the road from it is Uncle Pen's cabin and the old Monroe homeplace.

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    Dan Sampson mando_dan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill Monroe played bass?

    My guess? Just some bad reporting by a well meaning nonmusician.
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    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill Monroe played bass?

    Quote Originally Posted by V70416 View Post
    Well,Dave Apollon started out on a bowl-back!
    So did Monroe.

  12. #11
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill Monroe played bass?

    I'm currently 3/4 of the way through the new book by Tom Ewing, & as of now,there's been no mention of Bill Monroe ever playing Bass fiddle. He 'may' have played it as a bit of fun,but never during a performance(as far as i know). In actual fact,the number of his 'Boy's that swapped back & forth on various instruments,inc. Bass,is truly amazing. I'm sure that if BM had ever needed to play Bass during a show / recording,then Tom Ewing would have come to hear of it & would have included it in his book,after all,he interview a huge % of the guys in BM's bands over the years that he was researching his book,
    Ivan
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  13. #12

    Default Re: Bill Monroe played bass?

    I think it is an error and it was either Birch or James’ bass.

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