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Thread: what is it

  1. #1

    Default what is it

    Hello Friends,
    Just a question. What is it about the mandolin that started your appreciation/love/obsession. I know all it took for me was seeing the "This Side" music video and Chris Thile's masterful playing and I was hooked

  2. #2
    Destroyer of Mandolins
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    Default Re: what is it

    For me it was really weird. I'd never seen, played, or even heard a mandolin. I was nine years old and saw a picture of one in the Sears catalog. My mom bought it or me (for $25!). I fell in love because it was small and looked soooo much cooler than a guitar. Half a century later I earn my living with it. Just destiny, I suppose.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: what is it

    Frank Wakefield with the Greenbriar Boys, 1964.

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    Default Re: what is it

    Bill Bolick got me going in the mid-50s; by the early 60s Monroe and Wakefield had sent me off the deep end. RT

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    Registered User Nick Royal's Avatar
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    Default Re: what is it

    Someone gave me a mandolin to see for them; I started playing it, and enjoyed it. (and also gave up trying to play 5 string banjo) Bought her mandolin, and then later on went to Gryphons, in Palo Alto, and traded it for a really nice old 1918 Gibson A mandolin.
    Nick Royal

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    Registered User Earl Gamage's Avatar
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    Default Re: what is it

    When I was in my 20's I played in a bluegrass style gospel band. We had a fellow about 70 at the time who played fiddle and mandolin. I thought his mandolin playing was great (I think the tremolo hooked me) and I wanted to play it. I just got around to getting one last year and I am now 53.

    Thanks Howard!

    btw, I'm getting to where I can tremelo kind of like I remember Howard doing it.

  7. #7
    Henry Lawton hank's Avatar
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    Default Re: what is it

    I was looking for a resonator to take my finger picking to the next level but just couldn't find one that I really liked the sound of. Out of frustration I started plinking on a Tacoma M-3. The rest is history, I went home with the Tacoma and started the crazy journey down the mandolin rabbit hole. Now years into this I can't imagine playing anything else. I am still absolutely spell bound with these little jewels. It's an obsession I never anticipated but am happy to have found.

  8. #8
    Phylum Octochordata Mike Bromley's Avatar
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    Default Re: what is it

    Louis Benoit playing "Daybreak in Dixie" (or, at least the same structure) at the 1975 Nine Mile River Bluegrass Festival in Nova Scotia. He was playing with his late father Gervais, and I believe it was with David MacIsaac & Andrew Russell and a bass player whose name escapes me.

    Oh, look what you have wrought, Louis. Thanks!

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: what is it

    Loved bluegrass, after hearing some good bands (Osborne Bros. w/Bennie Birchfield, e.g.) in college coffeehouses. After getting out of the Army, wanted to start a band with a banjo-playing friend. I had two mandolins, Gibson A-1 and Victoria bowl-back, found in my grandfather's attic. So I was the mandolin player. This all occurred in 1970 or so.
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    Registered User Douglas McMullin's Avatar
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    Default Re: what is it

    Interesting question. I think a number of things through the 1990's started getting me interested, but the final straw was actually the Johnny Staats - Wires & Wood CD in 2000. I was/am not a big bluegrass fan, but the mandolin on that recording really sucked me in. I got my first mandolin, a Weber Gallatin, a few months later.

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    Default Re: what is it

    I got my first mandolin after hearing Josh Turner on his song "Would You Go With Me?" I was hooked, never had played any instrument in my life, now I have 4 mandolins and play 3 of them everyday!
    If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. H.D. Thoreau

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    Default Re: what is it

    I had always appreciated acoustic music but it was a cross of a colleague giving a presentation at work about learning an instrument when you were older, having a non-conformist bent that kept me from guitar, and hanging out after the show with Chris Thile and Matt Glaser that sealed the mandolin for me.

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  13. #13

    Default Re: what is it

    Heard Ry Cooder's Blly the Kid in 1973 or so, Grisman on Old and in the Way not long after, figured my fingers couldn't move that fast, and forgot the manolin until 2003, when I had hand surgery and needed an activity to get them moving again. It was mandolin or knitting, and I chose mandolin. Lookout world!

  14. #14
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: what is it

    In high school, a kid hands me a bowlback, tells me where to put my fingers.

    Changed my life.
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    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: what is it

    When I moved to the States I discovered that my tenor banjo was too loud to play in an apartment building unless I wanted to incur the wrath of my neighbors, so I picked up a beater mandolin just to have something to practice tunes on....and I couldn't put that thing down! Now I have 4 mandolins and a rather neglected banjo.

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    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: what is it

    Ralph Rinzler's Mandolin intro.to "I Cried Again" from the first Greenbriar Boys LP in 1962. It still blows me away even now. I think that he's possibly the most under-mentioned / rated Mandolin player ever. I hardly ever see his name on here anyway,
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: what is it

    Back in the mid `80's I used to listen to the super AM station KXEL out of Waterloo, Iowa late at night. They would play Bluegrass Gospel and I was drawn to the mandolin. I traded a guitar straight up for an A model because I had no money at the time.

    Anyway, if KXEL played an album, say "Flatt & Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys Sing Songs of Glory" they announced the artist and name of the album. But, if they played individual cuts, they said nothing.

    Then one night, I still have this on tape with static because I live in Wisconsin, they played a mandolin instrumental. It wasn't Bluegrass but kind of sounded like Bill Monroe. I tried to play it, but it sounded like the guy was bending strings or something. Most eerie sounding song ever ...

    I decided it was my favorite song of all time but didn't know who it was by or it's title. So, I called it "Ghost Mandolin".

    Years later I found out ... it's "My Last Days on Earth" by Bill Monroe. Tuned G#G#-C#C#-G#B-C#E. No wonder I couldn't figure it out. Got it now ...

  19. #19
    Registered User bigbike's Avatar
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    Default Re: what is it

    For me it was Amy Ray and her use of the mandolin in various IG and rock music. My first love is banjo and always will be. I hate conforming to what everyone else does. My love of accoustic instruments goes back a long time. My ex was an accomplished quitarist and could have made a very nice living with playing, BUT EVERYBODY and their brother or sister plays the guitar and guitarists are a dime a thousand. Great guitarists are a dime a dozen. Non bluegrass musicians using instruments traditionally played in bluegrass are reaching across boundries and affecting people who never before had an interest in mandolin, banjo, bouzouki, jews harp, even autoharp and mt. dulcimer.

    For me it is a shame music has been taken out of schools and away from kids. So it is up to us who do play or even toy with various instruments to show kids and teach kids other uses other than kindlin for our accoustic intruments.
    If it ain't got at least 3 strings on it, it ain't worth playing.

    Just sittin back, pickin and grinnin!

    Thank you AMY RAY for giving me an interest in mandolin and bouzouki, as well as Bill M, and countless others!

  20. #20
    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: what is it

    For me, a combination of the cool way a bowlback looked (kind of like a small lute) and the fact that it was small enough that I could reach the strings (unlike guitar) and I found a book where I could teach myself how to use it. And the fact that nobody I knew had ever played one (I grew up in northeasten Ohio) or even knew what it was.
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: what is it

    For me it was this cute young girl that played mandolin in her family bluegrass band from north ga , She taught me soooo much.

  22. #22
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Re: what is it

    Quote Originally Posted by JEStanek View Post
    ...having a non-conformist bent...
    Jamie
    I would think most mandolin players have this, at least to a degree.
    ...

  23. #23
    Mandolicious fishtownmike's Avatar
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    Default Re: what is it

    I don't know. For about fifteen years I had an old Epiphone hanging on the wall with my guitars and one day I just gave a serious try at it and stuck with it. Where as the guitar was getting a little boring to me after almost 20 plus years i found the mandolin fun, exciting and challenging to me.

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