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Announcing CaseNotes - A Musical Instrument Diary

By Mandolin Cafe
November 19, 2008 - 2:00 pm

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CaseNotes - A Musical Instrument Diary

CaseNotes - A Musical Instrument Diary

Birmingham, Al. — A new accessory for mandolins, guitars, banjos and other stringed instruments is quickly finding its way among instrument owners as an item with a unique story—the life story of their musical instrument.

CaseNotesTM is a small diary that fits in the case of most instruments and provides space for instrument information along with handwritten experiences from as many as six different owners. Designed to accompany an instrument as it is passed down to family members or other owners, CaseNotes is printed on archival quality paper which is acid-free.

"Small personal notebooks have been used to record the experiences and observations of artists, collectors, and creative people since before the time of da Vinci," says CaseNotes creator, Brant Beene.

"CaseNotes is not just a personal notebook, it is a very specific record book for the owners of stringed musical instruments. It has sections to include the make, model, serial number, color, distinctive marks, materials used in construction, engraving, binding, and other detailed descriptions of every part of the instrument from headstock to tailpiece.

Maybe more importantly, CaseNotes also has a place for the personal information of six different owners, including repairs and set ups for the instrument during each ownership, plus places for stories such as how the instrument was acquired by each owner, who played it, what was played on it, and when. So many times I've wondered—'if this old guitar could only talk.' With CaseNotes now it can.

"If you've ever watched the Antiques Road Show you know how much value that owner history and handwritten notes can add to any item," says Beene. "CaseNotes has generated interest from instrument makers, stores, plus players and collectors of new and vintage instruments. Australia's Steve Gilchrist is one maker who has high praise for CaseNotes. "The secret life of a fine old instrument is often fascinating and surprising," said Gilchrist, "With Case Notes, there is now the opportunity to give a narrative to that story that will be of great interest to future owners for many generations to come."

Grascals mandolinist, Danny Roberts, agrees. '"I wish I could have had CaseNotes records of my Loar's first 86 years. Now that I have CaseNotes—I love knowing that my family will have a record of my history with it from now until I pass it down."

Two other mandolin virtuosos with keen senses of history—Mike Compton and David Harvey—have also taken note of CaseNotes. "I can think of almost a dozen instruments that I wish I knew the history on; not just who owns them now, but the journey the instruments have been on." said Compton. "Opening the case to find CaseNotes would be like discovering priceless works long forgotten. This could be an invaluable resource."

As an instrument historian as well as player and master luthier for Gibson, David Harvey understands the enrichment that CaseNotes could bring to any instrument. "Every instrument of any value needs CaseNotes," he said recently during the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) convention in Nashville.

"My wife tells her friends I've developed sort of a 'Baby's First Years' book for musical instruments," said Beene.

"As much as I baby mine, she ought to know. But it's more than just about the first years, it's about an instrument's entire life and the lives and experiences of each of its owners—a family tree and six diaries that fits in your case."

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