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Thread: Back in action

  1. #1

    Default Back in action

    Hi all...

    I've had many - MANY! - years of inactivity online in virtually every sphere. The reasons? Well, the net. It just became too bickery, too troll-y, too uncivilised. At least the places where I tended to hang out became all those things. The Mandolin Cafe was always a tad more civil.

    And in meatspace, I hung up the mando for many years. The reasons? Way way too many to bore you with. But a lot of it boils down to that old demon that stalks the player of any instrument, self-confidence - the inclination to compare oneself with others, to feel that one's not quite up to the mark.

    Anyhow. In recent months I've been making tentative forays back into the session scene in London. And I've got my hands on a really delightful Eastman which sounds (to these ears) sweet as a nut and plays like butter.

    And I've turned my attention to a little project which I hope will be of some use to those with an interest in Irish music on the mandolin. Essentially I've created a website where I'm beginning to assemble an archive of recordings of myself playing tunes on the mando, with links to more info on The Session. The idea is that those relatively unfamiliar with the Irish Traditional Music genre will be able to get an idea how various tunes sound. A learning aid; maybe a stimulus for getting a few new tunes under the fingers. The key features are that each tune is played through once only and unaccompanied. I'm hoping that this format is a good learning aid.

    The web address is http://www.theirishmandolin.com

    Please visit and let me know what you think.

    And, it's good to be back.

    Aidan

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  3. #2
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Back in action

    Welcome back to the internet and the mandolin! I can't say either has gotten more friendly, but the mandolin isn't any less fun!
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
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  4. #3
    Registered User DougC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Back in action

    Adian you can also have your own blog on Mandolin Cafe. It's not as popular as the general discussion or The Session but it is like your own website within MandolinCafe.
    Years ago, in the 90's, I helped organize a slow sessiun and that interest in helping others really motivated my interests in becoming better as a musician. Welcome back and carry on!
    Decipit exemplar vitiis imitabile

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    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Back in action

    Aidan, just had a look and listen to your tunes and wonder if you have thought of converting your music files from wav to mp3 format, which would save you a great deal of storage space on the site. The loss in quality would not be very great, especially if many of the listeners are listening on phones or laptop speakers, etc.

    Great effort on the site, by the way.
    I'm playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order. - Eric Morecambe

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  6. #5

    Default Re: Back in action

    Thanks for that John. The reason I opted for wav format rather than mp3 is that I have a few older pcs in the house and two them wonít play mp3s. I was chatting to a colleague who works in IT and he suggested that wav files are pretty universal. File size isnít an issue for me. Iím only using 2% of my allocation now and Iíve posted about 50 tunes. I doubt that Iíll ever get to 2,000+. Thanks again. Aidan

  7. #6
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Back in action

    Quote Originally Posted by Aidan Crossey View Post
    I was chatting to a colleague who works in IT and he suggested that wav files are pretty universal. File size isn’t an issue for me.
    File size may be an issue for people loading those files in a low bandwidth area, so it can be a matter of time, not space.
    WAV is common, but mp3 is more common. For instance, when I load an mp3, my browser plays it directly - when I load a wav, it gets downloaded on my computer and then iTunes opens and after a few more clicks it finally plays...

    I used to get some mandolin recordings (especially from Corey Ticknor, IIRC) from your older website, which was a great resource. I might get back to the new one in the future.
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Back in action

    Very nice to see you back Aidan.
    David A. Gordon

  9. #8

    Default Re: Back in action

    Welcome back Aidan.
    There is of course the Song a Week group with a friendly bunch for sharing tunes.
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  10. #9
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    Default Re: Back in action

    Nice to see an old name come back to the fold.

    Pick on...

  11. #10
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Back in action

    Glad to know you're back. Totally understand on the issue of self-confidence. One of the reasons I'm now playing mandolin is a collapse of self confidence on guitar after 20 years. Slowly doing more on it again, but it's still a struggle.

    A slight heads-up - your links to the Session are not working. The first four that I clicked on went to a 404 error page. Otherwise, your website is well thought out and very good. Might even get me to start working on some Irish music.
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  12. #11

    Default Re: Back in action

    Thanks, Eric, for the kind words about the site. Thatís weird about the session links. Iíve tested out the first 4 or 5 on my phone just now and all are taking me to the right place.

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  14. #12
    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Back in action

    If you ever decide on a guest artist, Jill McAuley has been posting a tune a week around here for a while (nearly a year?). she also plays unaccompanied. It's nice to see ITM get some love!
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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Back in action

    Quote Originally Posted by Aidan Crossey View Post
    Thanks for that John. The reason I opted for wav format rather than mp3 is that I have a few older pcs in the house and two them wonít play mp3s. I was chatting to a colleague who works in IT and he suggested that wav files are pretty universal. File size isnít an issue for me. Iím only using 2% of my allocation now and Iíve posted about 50 tunes. I doubt that Iíll ever get to 2,000+. Thanks again. Aidan
    Welcome back!

    BTW, I'd echo what Bertram Henze said about how the difference between WAV and MP3 is more on the user side, if you want more people to be able to access these recordings.

    It's not just the time it takes to download. Many people have monthly data caps on their Internet service where extra fees will kick in, if they exceed the cap. So they'll automatically bypass anything that takes too much bandwidth. I just upgraded my own Internet service to a faster speed, but I had to pay an extra $10 a month for unlimited data instead of a cap. Not everyone will do that, and some folks are stuck with no options other than data-capped service.

    The last time I put up a promotional web site for one of the bands I was in, I used 192 kbps MP3 format for the sound samples. That compression ratio is so close to CD quality that most people can't tell the difference (especially as we get older!). It means more people will click on the link, compared to an uncompressed format like .WAV.

  16. #14

    Default Re: Back in action

    Re the mp3/wav debate. Iíll upload all new sound files after today in mp3 format and l will convert the existing wav files to mp3 format in due course. But this will be a rolling programme over a few weeks.

    Thanks for the input.

    Aidan

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  18. #15
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Back in action

    Hi Aidan,

    Great to see your name again! I well remember the Mandolin Project site you got off the ground back in the days -- still have a backup of most of the recordings on that one. It was the launchpad for later collaborative recording projects here on the Cafe, such as the (very active and friendly) Song-A-Week group, now running for more than 10 years (link).

    I'm also still playing the paddlehead A-jr you sold me. It's a great playing instrument and I love its tone! I have lots of recordings on my Youtube channel with that Gibson.

    Martin

  19. #16

    Default Re: Back in action

    Good man, Martin. Glad that the old A-Jr is still living and breathing. I seem to remember a night in Camden Town where you joined us for a few tunes. Am I right - or am I constructing a memory out of thin air? I think Messrs Beimborn and McLeod might also have been there. But so many nights, and so long ago, that the old memory files might have degraded and started blurring different nights into one!

  20. #17
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Back in action

    Quote Originally Posted by Aidan Crossey View Post
    I seem to remember a night in Camden Town where you joined us for a few tunes. Am I right - or am I constructing a memory out of thin air? I think Messrs Beimborn and McLeod might also have been there. But so many nights, and so long ago, that the old memory files might have degraded and started blurring different nights into one!
    Nothing wrong with your memory. That was a good night out, and fun to play with Dan, Kevin and you (even if my playing at that time was still pretty basic -- I've worked on that since then...).

    Here is my most recent recording with your old A-Jr, on a John McCusker tune: Leaving Friday Harbor.

    Cheers,
    Martin

  21. #18
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Back in action

    Quote Originally Posted by Aidan Crossey View Post
    Thanks, Eric, for the kind words about the site. That’s weird about the session links. I’ve tested out the first 4 or 5 on my phone just now and all are taking me to the right place.
    Just tried again and they are working now. Strange. Could well be The Session was down when I checked it yesterday.
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  22. #19

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    Thanks for getting back to me on that, Eric. Phew!

  23. #20
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Back in action

    Nice to meet you, Aidan. And thanks for your efforts on your website.
    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

  24. #21
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    Default Re: Back in action

    Delighted to see you back here and to know you're playing again Aidan. Your Pay The Reckoning project was very helpful to me hearing a variety of "Celtic" style players which were not always easy to find back then. I dug out my copy of the Humors Of Lewisham when I saw you were back. Welcome!
    Steve

  25. #22

    Default Re: Back in action

    Thanks all for the suggestions about adding mp3s rather than wav files to the site. Iíve now converted all the wavs to mp3 and Iíll upload all future tunes in mp3 format.

    The priority over the next few weeks will be to create tab for those tunes where I havenít uploaded the tab to the mandolin cafe in the dim and distant past. (And some of the tabs that I have uploaded there donít represent the way I now play the tune, so Iíll list a few better versions where the tab is out of kilter.)

    Thanks for the kind words and the suggestions. Much appreciated. Aidan

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  27. #23

    Default Re: Back in action

    A quick update on "The Irish Mandolin".

    Firstly thanks to all who have chipped in ideas about improving the site. Much appreciated, everyone.

    When I launched the site, the tunes page merely contained a link to me playing the tune and a link to a discussion about the tune on the encyclopaedic "The Session" (session.org)

    Subsequently I've added a link to a setting of each tune in mandolin tab. Where the tunes have been set out on The Mandolin Cafe in an acceptable form, reasonably close to the version which I now play, then I've linked to these. Where no tab exists or where I think existing tab is not good quality, I have created tab from scratch. (All that is apart from one tune - The Trip Over The Mountain. I haven't created a waltz template just yet. But I'll get around to that in due course.)

    All tunes which I'd originally recorded in .wav format have been compressed into mp3 format. All recent tunes have been saved as mp3s.

    And the site now has a favicon.

    So, over the months to come I'm aiming to grow the number of tunes at a reasonable lick. There are over 70 tunes at the moment. Expect to see this hit 100 before Christmas.

    Any other suggestions are very welcome. Not sure, of course, that I'll be able to take them all on board but I'll definitely consider them with great interest.

    Thanks again for the visits to the site, the likes and the recommendations. Go raibh mile maith agaibh.

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    Default Re: Back in action

    Welcome back, Aidan. I picked up a mandolin after my first trip to Scotland and Ireland and sought out information on the web. Thankfully I came upon the Pay The Reckoning site and your playing was an inspiration. It still is.

    Tim
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  30. #25

    Default Re: Back in action

    Thanks Tim. Thatís really nice to hear. I didnít know that my obsession of the time was inspiring others. I hope the new site has a similar effect in due course. Great to hear from you. Aidan

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