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Thread: NimbleFingers, Michael Heiden, and a Kimble

  1. #1
    Registered User Denman John's Avatar
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    Default NimbleFingers, Michael Heiden, and a Kimble

    I made an appointment with Michael Heiden to drop off my mandolin for a refret on Aug 19th and would pick it up a week later. From there, my youngest son and I did some road tripping around BC and met up with my older son at Nimblefingers Music Workshop & Festival in Sorrento on Friday. Tai got to study with David Benedict for a week, and also played a set at the festival on Saturday. Itís a really good vibe they got going on and the level of music and jamming going on was incredible. Catching sets by John Reischman, Lonesome Ace Stringband, Mile 12, Foghorn Stringband and the Slocan Ramblers were all highlights.

    This was definitely Heiden territory as there were 4 Heiden mandolins in Taiís class, and I saw another beautiful chocolate brown Artist model at a jam on Sat. night. From NimbleFingers we drove down to Michaelís shop and met him on Monday morning. It was great catching up with him again and he did a wonderful job on the refret and setup. I thought It was set up pretty well before, but he brought it up to a different level. He also cut a new nut to adjust the string spacing. It definitely plays a lot easier now and somehow I wasnít expecting that as I was happy with the way it played before.

    Tai wanted his action lowered, so Michael did some bridge work and tweaking and got it playing exactly like he wanted it. He checked it over and gave it a clean bill of health. It was a great mandolin when he bought it last year, and it definitely sounds more resonant after a year of heavy use.

    Michael had one Artist model available to play and and a few others in various stages of being built. I took a few pictures while at his shop and thought Iíd share some of the Mando madness.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    ... not all those who wander are lost ...

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: NimbleFingers, Michael Heiden, and a Kimble

    Wonderful pics and story.
    What's in the jar that John R is holding?

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    Default Re: NimbleFingers, Michael Heiden, and a Kimble

    Michael's setups are the best I've ever played. Thanks for all the photos of Michael's shop. That pic of Tai with John and David is so great!
    the billyhawks http://thebillyhawks.bandcamp.com

    Original Melodies for Mandolin, Mandola & Mandocello
    http://HillbillyChamberMusic.bandcamp.com

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  7. #4
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: NimbleFingers, Michael Heiden, and a Kimble

    Props to Will Kimble for making a 12-fret oval hole mandolin. None of that hybrid stuff there! That's an eye-catcher for me!

    I'd love to get my hands on a Heiden! I'd just like to hear what's going on up there. He sure gets a great reputation!

    f-d
    °papŠ gordo ainít no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

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    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default Re: NimbleFingers, Michael Heiden, and a Kimble

    Cool post John. Nimble Fingers sounds like it was a great experience for you guys. What a lineup too. John Reischman, Eli West, Caleb Klauder, David Benedict...and Slocan...damn! I agree with you and Don that Michael's sense of how to set up an instrument is phenomenal. My John Sullivan F5 is on its way up to him for a set up and refret and can't way to play it.

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  10. #6
    Registered User Denman John's Avatar
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    Default Re: NimbleFingers, Michael Heiden, and a Kimble

    Fatt-dad - yeah, I really like the Kimble oval. It’s been my only mandolin for the last 5 years and I’ve played it a lot ... hence the needed fret job. I think Will has only made a handful of oval hole mandolins. I’m definitely a fan of his mandolins.

    Evan - As I’m sure you’re aware, Michael does awesome work and your Sullivan will be in good hands. I’ve been playing the Kimble a lot since I got it back and I can’t believe how easy it is to play. Slides, double stops, and overall feel are so much easier. It had smaller fret wire on it originally and went up to standard size EVO frets. Michael also cut a new nut and adjusted the string spacing, so I’m sure that has something to do with it. I can’t put my finger on it, but I think it sounds a little different since getting it back... it still has the same voice, but something subtle ... It has new strings, a new nut and lowered action, so I kind of expected something to change a bit. Loving it!

    Don - we were talking about you and the “Up in the woods” book that you and David contributed to. That book has seen a lot of use at our house since it first came out - thank you! Tai played “Saltspring” during their set and both John and David had kind words afterwards. Not only are they great mandolin players and teachers, but also wonderful people.

    Darylcrisp - I didn’t ask what he was drinking, but probably some magical elixir tone tonic I suspect
    ... not all those who wander are lost ...

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  12. #7

    Default Re: NimbleFingers, Michael Heiden, and a Kimble

    Quote Originally Posted by Denman John View Post
    Tai played “Saltspring” during their set and both John and David had kind words afterwards. Not only are they great mandolin players and teachers, but also wonderful people.
    Yes they are both great people, and I bet Tai nailed it. Salt Spring gets played a lot in the campground at festivals in Colorado. Great tune.
    the billyhawks http://thebillyhawks.bandcamp.com

    Original Melodies for Mandolin, Mandola & Mandocello
    http://HillbillyChamberMusic.bandcamp.com

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