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Thread: Mandolin Influences

  1. #26
    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin Influences

    The first time I ever heard a mandolin and knew who was playing it was David Grisman. The Garcia/Grisman albums really had me listening, made me want to figure out what David was tapping into to get that sound.

    The second was Sam Bush. Bela Fleck and the flecktones came out with “live art” in 1996 and I was blown away by the rhythm mando, of course Newgrass revival was a discovery that would lead me further down the rabbit hole...

    I think I got my first mandolin in 1998?

    Tim O’brien, Ronnie McCoury, Jeff Austin and Chris Thile all influenced me heavily in my early years, and still do.

    I went back and tried to educate myself, listen to a bunch of old stuff I had missed but had a hard time getting into Bill Monroe (with apologies to Bill). The Bill Monroe and Doc Watson stuck a bit, but I always seem to like the modern takes on Bill’s music (again, with apologies).

    There is a huge demographic of mando players I came across through the cafe here and then either discovered I had already heard them but didn’t know, or who I liked and ended up following them... Mike Marshall and Andrew Marlin being two respective examples. With all the stuff I have read and seen through here, I guess in a way my biggest mandolin influence is mandolincafe. You all seem to know the obsession I had assumed was all in my head...
    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

  2. #27
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    Default Re: Mandolin Influences

    Dang, I'm with you on Monroe. I love his playing but the singing, it's an aquired taste and I never aquired it. Loved Kenny Baker though.
    We had a local band, Monroe Doctrine that featured Charles Sawtelle and they were doing a blend of traditional and more modern (newgrass), Beatles and Derek and the Dominoes stuff. They were tight, energetic and had great singing and playing. Wayne Beezley was doing Sam Bush before we knew who Sam Bush was.

  3. #28

    Default Re: Mandolin Influences

    Robin Hall and Jimmy McGregor in the 1960s playing 'fitba' crazy' with a Gibson F4 was implanted into my mind. I just loved the shape of the F4 as well as the bright sound. The Edinburgh folk scene was buzzin' in 1969 and local group The Rowans (residentds at The Buffalo's Club) had Davie Lonie playing a few lovely mandolin licks on The Banks of Newfoundland. I loved the way he played it, The McCalmans had Hamish Bayne playing great mandolin with his Levin flatback which I believe the great fiddler Chuck Fleming sat on and promptly went out and bought Hamish another one. I then discovered Dave Appollon through BMG magazine and sent to USA for his album which was sublime. I then found the LP by USA bluegrass band High Country with Hello City Limits on and I just had to have an F style mandolin. Ibanez were the first F styles in Uk at the time and I bought one in 1976. Looked great but quiet as a doormouse.

    I then stumbled upon a 1932 Gibson A with silver script logo. Owned by the same guy since 1932. Not for sale and then two weeks later he rang me and I bought it for £180 I think. That was a really special time as the mandolin just seemed to be such a massive uplift from my Levin. That was the start.Never lost the love of mandolins. Dave Appollon is my favourite.

  4. #29
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    Default Re: Mandolin Influences

    I had just started playing a mandolin (about 3 months) and my friend who played mandolin suggested I go to a workshop (1 week) and learn to play. So he booked me in to the workshop in Sorrento BC. On the way over ( 6 hour drive) he said "I booked us into the advanced class, the instructor is a guy named John Reischman, you can handle it". I had never heard of JR or any mandolin players, as far as that goes, so John was a huge influence and still is.
    Dave
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  6. #30
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    Default Re: Mandolin Influences

    Picked up my first mandolin back in 1966, pawnshop-new Czech bowlback. Played it until I wore the cheap brass frets down to the fingerboard. Wasn't worth refretting. Then on to guitar, 1967-8 Hummingbird, until I heard Ry Cooder's first album back in 1971. I knew then that I had to have a mandolin just like his old F4.

    Took a year to find one and scratch up the money to buy it - got it from Mike Holmes of Mugwumps fame. It's still my numero uno. Still have the Hummingbird, too.

    After a while my daughter seemed to enjoy singing along, but her range pushed me toward a mandola, provided by George Gruhn. (Anyone remember the mimeographed price lists he's mail around? Odd-colored paper stock, print so small you can barely read it? I think I still have a stack of them somewhere, too). Still have the mandola, too.

    Eventually I found the Cafe, and MAS set in. Still, my first three really good instruments are Gibsons, so thanks, Orville, and thanks to the nameless toilers in your vineyard.

  7. #31
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin Influences

    Hey Bob A, I remember getting those Gruhn instrument/price sheets back in the mid 1990's before the "internet craze" Yep one needed to use the granny glass's to read the list-so small print! Gone are those days as we can find and lust after way more instruments at the push of a button nowadays! Its good but yet evil as there are way too many choices in todays world!

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    Default Re: Mandolin Influences

    William,
    Benny Cain’s list was his own handwritten scribbling. I think it was even before Daryl Wolfe had a list, but not sure.
    Bob

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  10. #33
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    Default Re: Mandolin Influences

    According to Darryl Wolfe’s F5 journal, Benny Cain published the first Loar serial numbers in Bluegrass Unlimited in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s

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    Default Re: Mandolin Influences

    I been listening the heck out of Tiny Moore and Jethro Burns lately

  12. #35
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    Default Re: Mandolin Influences

    Quote Originally Posted by CBFrench View Post
    I been listening the heck out of Tiny Moore and Jethro Burns lately
    Anything Jethro Burns plays is pretty much required listening..

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  15. #37
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin Influences

    Quote Originally Posted by re simmers View Post
    Benny Cain’s 5 Loars we’re in that trunk in mid August near Winchester, VA. Really hot!! One Loar was exceptional, which he said was insured for $25,000. The other 4 were in rough shape. Benny “player” on that day was a nearly new Flatiron F5, the same as me at that time.
    Also, Benny had a list of Loar owners with serial numbers in his wallet.
    Benny and Vallie Cain did the best version of Little Annie.
    Bob
    I'd love to know what and where the "rough" shape Loars are???

  16. #38
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    Default Re: Mandolin Influences

    Thought I would share because my story is a little different.

    I never "came into" the bluegrass scene, or any mandolin scene really. No style of music made me aware of the mandolin. I picked up the mandolin because it was easy to understand and fun to learn. Everyone with that Don Johnson emotional unavailability was taking up guitar and singing Neil Young or James Taylor. I wanted to play a stringed instrument too, but something not a guitar.

    I played for several years before I ever knowingly heard a recording containing mandolin. I played bits and pieces of this and that, movie theme songs, fold tunes, fiddle tunes, classical themes I could get from a piano score, etc.

    It was years later that I started to listen more regularly to music featuring mandolin.

    The biggest influence was the Mandolin World News, which in many ways was the Mandolin Cafe of its time. From that publication I saw my first F style mandolin body, and I at first thought it was ridiculous. (Much the way we nerds first thought of dancing.)
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  17. #39
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    Default Re: Mandolin Influences

    William,
    Benny’s Loars, as well as a few nice Martins are a mystery. After Vallie died, Benny’s son and girl friend moved in with him. His son died first. Then the girl friend took care of Benny until he died. Benny had no other kids. By that time the instruments were gone.
    Maybe someone here knows where they ended up.
    However, at one time in the early 90’s, Benny and his Loars were a big influence on me.
    Bob

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  19. #40
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin Influences

    Hey Bob-a bluegrass mystery like Monroe's F-7 and herringbone D-28, Cain's Loars, the blue Busby or Wakefield spray painted Loar? John Duffey's carved tops/the old F-2 he maybe did with the step off the cellar door? If anyone knows it would be Tony Williamson, Darryl Wolfe or Tom Isenhour AKA F5loar! I'm a firm believer that many are still out there languishing in attics/closets or under the bed! My friend once told me of a "real" Maggini violin that was in a barn and turned to dust because the hillbilly didn't want to sell anything! NUTS man, NUTS! I know a few people with serious $ that live in squalor! One even has some old fiddles and his family came over to this country in the 1700's and were decedents of noble knights from England! I really need to look at his old violins! But I'm pretty positive they are more than likely turned to splinters-the same people had an original GTO Judge that instead of selling rotted into the ground!

  20. #41
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    Default Re: Mandolin Influences

    My earliest memory of the magic was hearing Mike Seeger play with the New Lost City Ramblers, with the beauty and power of his high lonesome sound.

    Then, seeing Frank Wakefield on the David Frost Show in the early 1970's, playing this tune while sitting in the interview chair.

    Then, hearing "Friend of the Devil." First aural contact with David Grisman.

    Then, hearing "Dawg's Rag" on KPIG while in a dorm room at UC Santa Cruz.

    Then, seeing Sam Bush with the New Grass Revival on the Too Late to Turn Back Now tour.

    Then, seeing the David Grisman Quintet at the Great American Music Hall, with Andy Statman as the second mandolinist before Mike Marshall took that spot.

    Then, going to Mandolin Symposium #3, taking classes from Bush, Grisman, Statman, and Marshall in the same week. I had played guitar for a few decades and mandolin for a few years at that point. I had a Kentucky 250. I met this really nice builder named Jim Hilburn, who brought this absolutely drop-dead gorgeous mandolin that he had built. After a brief conversation, he insisted that I play his mando, and wouldn't accept my "Thanks, but I'm not worthy or wealthy enough" answer. Even with my limited skills, I could get a drop-dead gorgeous tone out of that instrument. Six months later, I moved beyond the Kentucky.

    What a long, wonderful, and expensive trip it's been!
    still trying to turn dreams into memories

  21. #42
    Registered User Steve Lavelle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin Influences

    I started out in high school influenced by Pete Seeger because I got a banjo when I was a 15. There must have been some mandolin on the Flatt and Scruggs record I had, but I don't remember who it was. Reading through these posts I realized that the first mandolin player I knew by name was Jethro Burns after seeing him play with Steve Goodman at the Philly Folk Fest. David Bromberg may have been the second. John Hartford would show up at some of those early fests and I would hear Norman Blake playing with him leading me to the great mandolin on Aereo-Pain. Within a couple of years I was in college and a friend played the DG Quintet record for me. The sphere of influence has continued to expand since then, listing all those names would be tiresome to most on this forum.
    Steve Lavelle
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    Default Re: Mandolin Influences

    I'm with JeffD - I came in to the mandolin without knowing what I was getting into. Played guitar as a child, and when I was an adult I saw a mandolin hanging in a pawn shop window for a long time near where I was working one day a week. Kept meaning to stop in and check into it, and never did, and one day it was gone. So then I decided to start learning about mandolin, found the Café, and learned about them and bought one, and been here ever since. The first mandolininst I ever heard play (other than the Andy Griffith Show and Beverly Hillbillies) was Chris Thile, and he inspires me to try to get better.

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    Default Re: Mandolin Influences

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    I grew up in New Orleans which in the 60's had about zero Bluegrass and other "typical" American roots mandolin music.
    David, growing up in New Orleans did you ever hear the 6 & 7/8 String Band or similar string jazz music that featured mandolin? They were a big influence on me.
    Last edited by Bill Foss; Jul-04-2019 at 11:38am.

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    Registered User Mike Buesseler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin Influences

    I’m not even sure why this is an interesting question, but I just read all the way to the last sentence in the last post, when I did indeed stop.

    I think Rod Stewart’s Maggie May had something to do with me buying my first mandolin in Florida about 1971. I love Ry Cooder’s stuff, too. He played on a Gordon Lightfoot song...I forget which song, but I still can’t play like that! Oh, Cooder also played Pete Seeger’s whistling part to “Living in the Country” on Arlo Guthrie’s version of that tune! Sweetness!

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  27. #46
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    Default Re: Mandolin Influences

    Yes, "Maggie May" and "Mandolin Wind". Loggins and Messina "Be Free". And then backed into bluegrass through the Grateful Dead with Old and In the Way. Bluegrass came about 20 years later. Oddly I grew up about 10 miles from Bean Blossom and went to a couple in the 70's but it wasn't rock and roll enough. I wish I'd listened more.

  28. #47
    Registered User John Soper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin Influences

    Although I was aware of mandolin throughout high school in the 1960s, there wasn't a lot of mandolin music or Bluegrass in Iowa at that time. Jethro in the Kellogg's commercials... In high school and college I was in a group that played mostly Beatles, CSN&Y, James Taylor etc with 3 guitars. Ry Cooder, Levon with The Band, Hillman with The Byrds, Working Man's Dead, and the Circle Album prompted me to buy an old Harmony mandolin for $50 in 1972 to provide a different texture. Gateway drug...

    Living across the street from the Mill in Iowa City exposed me to much more in 1973, including that new grass group with the Bushy fellow in it. Then Grisman...

    In the 80s I was trying to sound like Tony Rice on my guitar (failed) and was in a bluegrass band where I ended up getting handed the mandolin by default because I couldn't change a broken string as fast as the other guitar player...

    This forum has opened my ears to all sorts of influences, in genres I never imagined. Thanks again to Mandolin Cafe!

  29. #48
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    Default Re: Mandolin Influences

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Foss View Post
    David, growing up in New Orleans did you ever hear the 6 & 7/8 String Band or similar string jazz music that featured mandolin? They were a big influence on me.
    Yes, but it sure wasn't Bluegrass! and broke up by 1964 so they were not performing anymore.

    I first heard them at the old Jazz museum when it was in the Royal Sonesta hotel circa 1971 or so; they had listening devices where you could hear rare classics like the 6 and 7/8's ban.

    As a mandolin AND steel guitar player they were very influential.

    Also, there was no other string band working the local jazz scene by 1970 or so, thus they were not directly influencing the younger players.

    Thanks for bringing them up.

  30. #49
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    Default Re: Mandolin Influences

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buesseler View Post
    I’m not even sure why this is an interesting question, but I just read all the way to the last sentence in the last post, when I did indeed stop.

    I think Rod Stewart’s Maggie May had something to do with me buying my first mandolin in Florida about 1971.
    About the same time was when I got my first mandolin, and although I played lots of Italian music on it, the very first thing I learned on mandolin was the end lick to "Maggie May", simple as it was.

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  32. #50
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    Default Re: Mandolin Influences

    My first influence was Dean Webb of the Dillards. I'm surprised that no one has mentioned him on this thread. The Dillards were playing fast hard-driving bluegrass back in the sixties, which was a welcome departure from all of the folk singers of the time. After that I "discovered" Frank Wakefield and was blown away by his mastery of the instrument. Then, over the years I was influenced by David Grisman, Jimmy Gaudreau, Sam Bush, and more recently, John Reischman. I also credit the Mandolin World News booklet as a great source of tabulature back in the day when such was hard to get. And also John Baldry's tabs and news mailings from the UK.
    .....Rickker

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