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Thread: Montana mandolin field trip

  1. #1
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Montana mandolin field trip

    I just returned from a field trip to Montana. Objective was to meet Bruce and Mary Weber, to have Bruce Weber lay his hands on my Weber Beartooth A, to see his shop, and incidentally do some sightseeing.

    The sightseeing was great. Yellowstone National Park is beautiful and well worth a visit. Another sight seen was Greg Boyd's House of Fine Instruments. My goodness, what a great time I had sampling the various mouthwateringly nice mandolins.

    But the highlight of the trip was the visit with Bruce and Mary Weber. They are really super nice folks and they acted like they had been hoping I would visit them for just the longest time. As I looked around the shop, I was really impressed. Good equipment, well maintained, all tools in their proper places, and the place was spotless. I didn't put on white gloves and check the overhead ledges, but I am willing to bet I wouldn't have found any dust anywhere up there. Everything I saw was truly indicative of a real honest-to-goodness craftsman.

    So, is he busy? He treated me like he had all the time in the world for random guests, but the amount of in process work in evidence revealed that he is busy. I noticed several Rangers in various stages of completion and at least four full size mandolins -- two A's and two 2-pointers. I didn't dig around or pry so who knows what else he has in production right now. Bruce says business is good and it sure looked like it to me also.

    Bruce made time to tinker, adjust, buff, and spruce up my Beartooth while I watched. He and Mary and I kept a running conversation going as he worked. They are both really interesting folks to talk to.

    I am going to try to show some photos from my visit below:

    Mary and Bruce and my Beartooth:
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    Me with MC hat, Bruce and Beartooth:
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    Rangers and a 2pt on the wall behind Mary:
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    A couple of soon to be A model B-II's:
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    My five day road trip was great, but the absolute highlight of the trip was my visit with Bruce and Mary Weber.
    New to mando? Click this link -->Newbies to join us at the Newbies Social Group.

    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

    My website and blog: honketyhank.com

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  3. #2
    Registered User MoreThanQuinn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Montana mandolin field trip

    Glad you enjoyed Montana! That's where I'm from and, like you, I love the sights it has to offer. I have never had a chance to check out their workshop, but I'd certainly love to do so.

    Thanks for sharing your story and pics!
    2018 Poe Scout #76

  4. #3
    Registered User Russ Jordan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Montana mandolin field trip

    Is he still in the old school building in Logan? We toured it back back in 2008. There was a river close by, and several folks had fishing gear at their workspace. It sure seemed like a happy crew. We did not meet Bruce and Mary, but were pleased to have John Lowell as a tour guide!
    Russ Jordan

  5. #4
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Montana mandolin field trip

    Henry, is this near Missoula? My son played violin for about 8 years starting in 2nd grade. He's about to start a new job in Missoula. Would love for him to start back playing music, especially mandolin.
    This space reserved for 5 year mandolin gift to self.

  6. #5
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Montana mandolin field trip

    They are still in the school but they are looking to downsize. It sounded like they would like to find something near Flathead Lake.

    I still love Oregon but Montana could sure seduce me.
    New to mando? Click this link -->Newbies to join us at the Newbies Social Group.

    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

    My website and blog: honketyhank.com

  7. #6
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Montana mandolin field trip

    Sherry, they are in Logan, which you may find on the map if you blow it up to giant size scale. Their mailing address is Manhattan, which is only slightly larger, but at least the post office can find it. About a three hour drive southeast of Missoula on I-90 -- maybe only two hours if you keep up with traffic on the interstate.

    edit: So yes, it is close to Missoula by Montana and Texas standards.
    New to mando? Click this link -->Newbies to join us at the Newbies Social Group.

    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

    My website and blog: honketyhank.com

  8. #7
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Montana mandolin field trip

    For those visiting MT, I'm just down the road in Bozeman. I have a weekly gig at Red Tractor Pizza. Bluegrass with The Bridger Creek Boys, Thursday's 7-9. Boutique pizza, 12 Montana craft beers, ripping Rocky Mountain Bluegrass!
    Cafe Members get a super special high five!

    - - - Updated - - -

    BTW, nothing is close in MT
    2007 Weber Custom Elite "old wood"
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  10. #8
    Registered User Scotter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Montana mandolin field trip

    Is he still building those Weber small bodied archtop guitars? One of my great regrets is not buying one when I had the chance.
    Play that which you feel is groovy, get down with your bad self, and shake your money maker if it makes sense for you to do so.

  11. #9

    Default Re: Montana mandolin field trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    Henry, is this near Missoula? My son played violin for about 8 years starting in 2nd grade. He's about to start a new job in Missoula. Would love for him to start back playing music, especially mandolin.
    Sherry, tell your son to look up Greg Boyd's House of Fine Instruments. Its right in Missoula, he has a fabulous shop and is a equally fabulous person. There is a great music scene in Missoula.
    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

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  13. #10
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Montana mandolin field trip

    You know, I just looked back over this thread and I realized I never mentioned that Bruce and Mary Weber are aka Montana Lutherie, one of Mandolin Cafe's many supporters. NFI on my part except my ownership of, and partiallity for, my three mandolins with Bruce's signature on the label and his name on the headstock.
    New to mando? Click this link -->Newbies to join us at the Newbies Social Group.

    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

    My website and blog: honketyhank.com

  14. #11
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Montana mandolin field trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Scotter View Post
    Is he still building those Weber small bodied archtop guitars? One of my great regrets is not buying one when I had the chance.
    I don't know, but take a look at the far left side of the picture of Mary. That looks like it could be the beginnings of a small guitar or maybe a mandocello.
    New to mando? Click this link -->Newbies to join us at the Newbies Social Group.

    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

    My website and blog: honketyhank.com

  15. #12
    Registered User Russ Jordan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Montana mandolin field trip

    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaMatt View Post
    For those visiting MT, I'm just down the road in Bozeman. I have a weekly gig at Red Tractor Pizza. Bluegrass with The Bridger Creek Boys, Thursday's 7-9. Boutique pizza, 12 Montana craft beers, ripping Rocky Mountain Bluegrass!
    Cafe Members get a super special high five!

    - - - Updated - - -

    BTW, nothing is close in MT
    Montana Matt— do you ever go to the Old Time Fiddlers Picnic in Livingston? We had a great time there a few years ago. We had 8 folks from the Carolinas, and they really treated us nice. Enjoyed going to Music Villa in Bozeman, and Burger Bob’s (Sorry, we’re open!) where I was introduced to huckleberry milkshakes!!
    Last edited by Russ Jordan; Jul-04-2019 at 4:48pm.
    Russ Jordan

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    Registered User WELSrev's Avatar
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    Default Re: Montana mandolin field trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Russ Jordan View Post
    Montana Matt— do you ever go to the Old Time Fiddlers Picnic in Livingston? We had a great time there a few years ago. We had 8 folks from the Carolinas, and they really treated us nice. Enjoyed going to Music Villa in Bozeman, and Burger Bob’s (Sorry, we’re open!) where I was introduced to huckleberry milkshakes!!
    Russ,
    We were glad you made it to the Fiddlers' Picnic that year. You certainly kept that corner of the pasture hopping. Just talked with Dave and Candace and they are set for another year.

    Matt,
    If The Pretty Good String Band doesn't put me to work when I come out this year, I'll stop in and say hello that Thursday.

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  18. #14
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Montana mandolin field trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Russ Jordan View Post
    Montana Matt— do you ever go to the Old Time Fiddlers Picnic in Livingston? We had a great time there a few years ago. We had 8 folks from the Carolinas, and they really treated us nice. Enjoyed going to Music Villa in Bozeman, and Burger Bob’s (Sorry, we’re open!) where I was introduced to huckleberry milkshakes!!
    I go to the Fiddlers Picnic occasionally, but hope to again and often!
    2007 Weber Custom Elite "old wood"
    2017 Ratliff R5 Custom #1148
    Several nice old Fiddles
    2007 Martin 000-15S 12 fret Auditorium-slot head
    Deering Classic Open Back
    Too many microphones

  19. #15
    Registered User Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Montana mandolin field trip

    Great trip report, Hank!

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  21. #16
    Registered User Rob Ross's Avatar
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    Default Re: Montana mandolin field trip

    Nice post, Hank. Seven years ago I got to take my Flatiron on a pilgrimage back to it's birth state and see Bruce and Mary at the Logan schoolhouse when it was putting out Webers. They are, like you say, the nicest folks and very friendly. They scoped my A-model out, determined it was one of the last Montana-made Flatirons, and very graciously showed me around the shop (I have a photo album on my profile if you can figure out how to navigate there.) It was great meeting them and seeing all the Webers in various stages of construction. I had hoped to one day come back to personally order a new Weber, maybe now I'll still be able to order a Weber-made mando.

    As an aside, down the highway in Bozeman there is a great Scottish session on Sundays at the Bunkhouse Brewery. Formerly at the 406 Brewing Company, the session has legs and has been going on for several years. The regulars are friendly, the beer is good, and it's a great way to play all those tunes you downloaded from Nigel Gatherer's website over the years (Thanks, Nigel!)
    Rob Ross
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    the 1970 Suzuki-Violin-Sha Bowl Back Taterbug

  22. #17
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    Default Re: Montana mandolin field trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Russ Jordan View Post
    Montana Matt— do you ever go to the Old Time Fiddlers Picnic in Livingston? We had a great time there a few years ago. We had 8 folks from the Carolinas, and they really treated us nice. Enjoyed going to Music Villa in Bozeman, and Burger Bob’s (Sorry, we’re open!) where I was introduced to huckleberry milkshakes!!
    I’m a regular attendee of the Fiddler’s picnic! Candy and Dave are great hosts and I hope it continues for many more years!

  23. #18
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    Default Re: Montana mandolin field trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Russ Jordan View Post
    ... Enjoyed going to Music Villa in Bozeman ...
    Thanks for the memory! All of them, you guys!

    Back in '90 or so, when Music Villa was in their much smaller (guessing original?) store downtown, and I was starting to look for a good acoustic guitar, they were gracious enough to walk me thru a series of largely vintage Martins & Gibsons - a most education hour or two. Might well have bought if we hadn't been in the middle of a month of car-camping and w.w. kayaking across the country. And, uhmm, my wife's biology presentation at Montana State had something to do with us being there, as well.
    - Ed

    "What our group lacks in musicianship is offset by our willingness to humiliate ourselves." - David Hochman

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