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Thread: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

  1. #1
    Registered User Mike Romkey's Avatar
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    Default The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

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    Like just about everybody else, I have a lot of time on my hands these days to stay constantly apprised of new discussions and classified listings at my favorite website in the world, namely the Mandolin Cafe. I'm wondering how The Situation is impacting people in the mandolin and acoustic music world.

    I had a bunch of St. Pat's gigs canceled due to social distancing. I canceled a monthly show I produce. The theater was nice enough to credit me the time. The money I spent on Facebook advertising won't come back, nor will the event insurance, but that's OK. I'm hoping we won't have to cancel April but that remains to be seen.

    On the plus side, I have been practicing A TON. And that's been a good thing. I straightened out a bunch of stuff with my right hand, including learning to not plant my palm on the bridge, which just deadens the sound plate. All these years, who would've thought? It's like I discovered old sweat socks stuffed in my mandolin, pulled them out, and voila! Viva la difference!

    I took a video lesson from Lauren Price for some tips on playing that greasy Monroe way. She's a heck of a player and a super nice person.

    I took a couple of mandolins that needed repair to Dale Ludwig for some TLC. One is pictured above, the Duff I bought when my father passed, which badly needed frets.

    I've been watching the classifieds to see how the epidemic impacts things. I must say I'm encouraged that if anything there seem to be fewer people selling mandolins. I haven't done a statistical analysis or anything. Just judging from what I see. There has not been a proliferation of great deals, so I'm taking that as a sign that people are generally weathering the storm.

    So how you doin'?
    '09 Gilchrist Model 1, “July 9” Red Diamond F-5, '12 Duff F-5, '19 Collings MT2, ’24 A2-Z, ’24 F-2, '13 Collings mandola, '82 D-35, Gibson Keb Mo.

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  3. #2

    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    There will be deals. I hate that part of the crisis. My actual retired life is really not that different. With five dogs and a large garden, I routinely go a week without leaving my house. But psychologically, it’s taxing. I used to deride a home confinement jail sentence as being no sentence at all, but I’m singing a different tune. But the garden is a vibrant green, and there is rarely a day where I can’t sit in the sun and play one of my mandolins for a couple of hours.

    But Thursday was my day out when I’d spend the afternoon with my grandchildren, and the evening running an open mic. Now Thursdays is a bummer..

    My uncle left me with literally forty or fifty pounds of real silver quarters which likely will double in value. Each quarter was worth $2.25 but could easily go to five bucks. That would buy a fine mandolin. I do fantasize.
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  5. #3
    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    Woodshedding, in between video conference meetings and emails. Working from home is going much better than I thought it would.

    Mostly feeling very grateful that I am doing ok, compared to many, many other folks.
    "Keep your hat on, we may end up miles from here..." - Kurt Vonnegut

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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    I'm a long time lurker, not a regular poster. I think I'm pretty typical of a lot of people right now though. Wife and I are both working from home for the forseeable future. Thankfully both jobs are currently secure, however both of us working from home at the same time is challenging.

    As of next week, both children will start 'at home' learning as well. My wife is a former elementary school teacher so that will help a lot with the younger one. I teach math as part of my job (though to engineers primarily) so that should help with our oldest. The difficulty will be balancing work with the kids education needs. Oh boy!

    On a positive note, I've been playing all my instruments (mandolin, fiddle, guitar, etc) much more in the past month than I can remember prior. I also have a few instrument projects that I plan on getting into soon and a couple I've finished that would not have occurred otherwise. Gotta make the most of the situation!
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    Shout out to Andrew Mowry who took out time from building and with his family has been sewing some masks.

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    Front Porch & Sweet Tea NursingDaBlues's Avatar
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

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    My wife just showed me this.

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  13. #7
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    Generation X, aka the latch key generation: We were made for this! It's finally our time to shine!!

    Work has been hectic and I have both kids home now (one from law school, one from undergrad). They're both doing online classes, but their evenings are free, so we've been hanging out/catching up, and I've probably played less in the past 2 weeks than I have in quite a while. I'm the adult supervision for our church's youth band, and the youth group has been doing Zoom meetings once a week. My law student, who's an alum of the band and a heck of a singer, has agreed to do some "Live at Home" style praise music recordings this weekend for the meetings...we'll see how it works out, but I'm just excited to get to play with her again, and the weather here in NC is supposed to be gorgeous this weekend, so we'll get in some outside pickin', for sure!

    I've been jonesing for a nice smaller bodied guitar (O or OO sized), but have put off buying until things stabilize a bit, just in case this drags longer than anticipated. Here in NC, we're just getting in to the front end of our wave, so are bracing. These times bring out the best and worst of people. Everyone, stay safe.
    Chuck

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    F5G & MD305 Astro's Avatar
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    Kinda sucked the music out of me at first. I feel it trickling back in a little now. But its just a trickle. At least I hope thats the music. I did write a new song on guitar though in between the panic attacks. Now to learn it.
    No matter where I go, there I am...Unless I'm running a little late.

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    Posted about this on this current thread, so not too much to add. My music calendar after March 11 was wiped clean; there are early-to-mid-April jobs that are likely to be scrubbed as well. Probably out $1K or so as a result, but Joan and I don't live on my music earnings, thank goodness. What's a bit more disappointing, is that the two local concert series I help run, Tunes By the Tracks and Rochester Folkus, have had to close down; we had some good touring performers lined up, Carla Ulbrich and Gerry Timlin, whom we hope to reschedule, plus some of our local friends. No good idea of when we'll be able to start up again, though.

    What's surprising, as I read other posts, is that I haven't felt impelled to spend a lot of time playing at home -- been sorta caught up by cable news, and calling friends to see if they're getting through it all right. I think the uncertainty is what bugs me the most: the disagreement between experts and government leaders as to how long we'll be house-bound, how risky it is to buy groceries or pick up take-out, whether it's a good idea to set up an outdoors, more-than-six-feet-apart get-together. My brother-in-law's a golf nut, and he's enjoyed playing solo since his job's reduced to two hours per day.

    Could be a lot worse, of course. John Bernunzio and Dave Stutzman have closed their showrooms, dealing on-line or by mail only, so I'm not tempted to escape boredom by going mandolin shopping! No matter what deals are offered -- and I've been getting frequent e-mails from Elderly, Musician's Friend, Guitar Center, Deering et. al. -- I don't expect to be seriously tempted.
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    Registered User McIrish's Avatar
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    I work in the entertainment industry. Our company was hit very hard and we had to furlough over 100 people. There are very few of us trying to keep it afloat and also helping the fight by making some items, such as face shields and floor stickers. When I get home at night, I'm just too drained emotionally to play much. It's been a very rough year even before the virus hit. I had a short tour in February, but since then it's been a lot of scrambling to stay in business.
    Gibson 2016 "Harvey" Fern
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    I neverhave time on my hands".
    My days are filled 6:00 AM to 10:Pm every day of the week.

    I am currently in the final steps of remodeling my house and renovating my property with the objective of listing it for sale May 1.
    Wonderful timing, even though I have been at this for a year. Will install new roofing in the next couple weeks. Yes I am doing all this myself. I prefer quality work so no "local professionals" will be involved.

    All the while also fixing up the new (old house I have spent the last 5 years refurbing) with the intent of moving there.

    Meanwhile finishing off a few projects for my "business". ( jjhildrethstudios.com)

    Also have a few cars I am fixing up for eventual sale.

    Lots more projects. Never "time on my hands" not in 73 years.

    Oh, also have a cavaquinho in figured maple and rosewood 80% complete...that has been off and on for 3 years.
    Another oh, need to finish a new bridge for my 1929 Stromberg-Voisinet 12 fret decalcomania parlor.

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    Registered User Willem's Avatar
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    Quote Originally Posted by Astro View Post
    Kinda sucked the music out of me at first. I feel it trickling back in a little now. But its just a trickle. At least I hope thats the music. I did write a new song on guitar though in between the panic attacks. Now to learn it.
    I relate to this all too well. Inspiration to play was hard to find for a couple weeks, though is starting to return. I forced myself to play last night and was glad I did.
    I lost 2 gigs on March 13th and 14th and my weekly jam has gone by the wayside for now. I am not looking to buy or sell any mandolins (My Ruhland will have to be pried from my dead hands). It will be incredibly sad if folks have to fire sale valuable instruments.
    I am incredibly fortunate that, at this time, my wife and I remain employed. We both have the ability to perform aspects of our jobs at home so we have been able to have one of us home with the kids. The kids are going far more stir crazy than us which presents an entirely different challenge.
    I think I will spend some time getting better acquainted with my octave mandolin this evening.
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  25. #13
    bass player gone mando
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    I play mandolin, upright bass and bass guitar in about five different ensembles (I say "about" because the personnel overlap to some extent). I've had three gigs cancelled so far and more to come, no doubt. I've responded by doing something I've never done in my life, which is a solo act. I've put together my personal fakebook with lyrics for maybe 60 songs so far (just need the lyrics - I know the chords), and I'm playing a Guild 12-string. Nice guitar. After being a mandolin player so long, I really prefer a 12 to a 6 as I am so used to double-course strings. I've done one of these solo gigs so far and it went over well, but of course everything is now completely on hold. Not really where I expected my musical life to go but I'm discovering I'm not the world's worst singer. At the very least, this is letting me do shows for the kids and grandkids when the social distancing permits.

    That said - I want to use the down time to get 'Cherokee Shuffle' and 'Red Haired Boy' down on mandolin as well.
    Collings MT O
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    Troy Shellhamer 9lbShellhamer's Avatar
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    I'm a hospital Registered Nurse and today was pretty rough. I was honestly fine until today. It's starting to take it's toll, or maybe I'm just rambling and tired after a bad shift. My wife and kids are at my wife's parents house and I am home alone until at least a few weeks from now because I don't want to accidentally infect someone in her family. My kids are 3 and 7 and so with my first grader doing online school she needed help from her parents to wrangle the 3 year old while she's helping with the first grader. I had some extra time a few weeks ago to practice a lot. My hospital knew things would be getting really bad so they gave us extra days off with pay, and I learned some new Grisman tunes, New Camptown Races, Salt Spring, and Chinquapin Hunting, so hopefully I can play with my old band some day this fall if things get better. I was planning on buying a new mandolin this spring, but in light of the economy I think I'll just hang on to my two regulars.

    I hope everyone is doing well....
    *2002 Collings MT2
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  29. #15
    Spencer Sorenson Spencer's Avatar
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    Our Bluegrass Association cancelled 4 concerts through June. Both of my bands have stopped getting together 2 weeks ago, as we are in the older category, and I expect the gigs we had scheduled for this spring will also be cancelled. Into the 3rd week of quasi-isolation, I am just getting the urge to play again, after hardly touching a mandolin for a while. Too much else on my mind I guess. But I have played a lot this week. Can't use it for anything currently, but it helps to pass the time. It looks like it will be quite a while with all of this. Observe social distancing and please stay well all of you!

    Spencer

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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    I picked up the first instrument I've picked up in a few weeks today. I was playing and singing some songs for my grandsons in Maryland that I haven't seen in a month and a half and won't see for at least that long, probably longer. My wife and I read to them over Facetime and Duo alternating nights. The music was new but I enjoyed it.

    I'm working from home 4 days a week, one day a week in the office with just a few people. I'm also managing most of a company network that is now working from home and was not allowed to do this for the last 10 or 12 years. It's like a new experience on an old platform and it kind of takes it out of you. I walk outside now and again just to breathe fresh air. I am classified as an "essential" person because of my job. We are an insurance company paying workers comp payments to people that were injured decades ago. The checks have to go out or those people starve.

    That family of 4 that died in New Jersey (and there are 3 other members of that family in the hospital with the Covid-19 virus as well) are from the town just north of me. There are 180 some cases in the town just south of me. It's pretty much exploded in this state. I have friends that I'm not seeing that have been tested and are awaiting results. So far that's as close as it's come. There are times I wish I could just move someplace to get away from this.

    I wish we weren't living in such interesting times. Stay home and flatten the curve.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  33. #17
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    I already work from home so that hasn’t changed. My customers are still operating but at a lower capacity. I’ve been putting off selling a few instruments that I’m not playing and then this hits.... Holding off on my Waterloo mandolin purchase until i sell something or we are back to semi-normal.

    Had a buddy get this crap. 43, great health, works out 5x a week. He was in the hospital for 7 days. Home now doing much better but this stuff is serious. Best to you all out there. Stay safe!

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  35. #18
    bass player gone mando
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    Quote Originally Posted by 9lbShellhamer View Post
    I'm a hospital Registered Nurse and today was pretty rough. I was honestly fine until today. It's starting to take it's toll, or maybe I'm just rambling and tired after a bad shift. My wife and kids are at my wife's parents house and I am home alone until at least a few weeks from now because I don't want to accidentally infect someone in her family. My kids are 3 and 7 and so with my first grader doing online school she needed help from her parents to wrangle the 3 year old while she's helping with the first grader. I had some extra time a few weeks ago to practice a lot. My hospital knew things would be getting really bad so they gave us extra days off with pay, and I learned some new Grisman tunes, New Camptown Races, Salt Spring, and Chinquapin Hunting, so hopefully I can play with my old band some day this fall if things get better. I was planning on buying a new mandolin this spring, but in light of the economy I think I'll just hang on to my two regulars.

    I hope everyone is doing well....
    Best of luck on the front lines. Folks like you are going to make the difference.

    Mandolin is important to all of us, but some things are more important.
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    My mother is an emergency room nurse and I spend most of my time worrying about her. When I'm not worrying about her, I spend the rest of my time worrying about my family and myself. I'm part of the "at risk" groups when it comes to this virus, and I'm not ashamed to say it scares me.

    I've been spending the last week or so providing food for community and family friends. Now that everybody is gonna be fed for the next month or so, I'm sitting on the couch doing things to keep my mind busy. Music hasn't been at the top of my list, but for my mental health I think it needs to be.

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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    To Troy and Em Tee's mom and all the health care workers you're in my prayers. You and all the other essential people out there still working...grocery store, pharmacy, delivery, etc you are the true heroes.
    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

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  41. #21
    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    Since shattering my kneecap in early December I've been housebound, so already used to "sheltering in place". Playing a lot of mandolin and tenor banjo, when I can (when it's quiet out - still far too many folks acting like "everything's fine" and not social distancing here) I get out for a walk for physiotherapy purposes to strengthen my leg and try to get some more range of motion in my knee. Just got the deeds for this place (small farm in Co. Mayo), so fingers crossed I stay healthy and can get back to Ireland soon:


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    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    Wow, a farm in Ireland? How cool! Hope to visit Ireland next year if we get back to normal by then.

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  45. #23
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    Our small rural hospital just got designated as the regional covid19 treatment center. They moved surgery,OB, medsurg, outpt, cardiac studies to another local facility. Working 7 days on with round clock call, then 5 days with 2 off, until all this passes.
    Haven't touched an instrument in 2 weeks, just too worn out when I get home. Do a run with the akita, then a walk for about an hour thru woods with the akita and old dog bob, then I decompress in just quiet, about 40 min yoga, then get some rest.

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    Registered User MarkusSpiel's Avatar
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    I live in germany and we not shut down completely. I work in a home of disabled people and still work almost normal. They(the people at my work) don't work till mid april so we try to keep the days different.
    My girlfriend does Homeoffice most of the time and spend more time together- pretty cool.
    I miss my bandmates and playing with them. But I did some
    video online playing with them. They had the idea to a video serie like 'playing for change'. That's lots of fun.
    I got a F2 a few weeks ago and spend a lot of time with it.
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  49. #25
    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    We are also in the sell the mandolins for the tax man season. IIRC Scott has posted this is a normal spike in sales time.

    Jamie
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