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  #1  
Old 07-19-2012, 05:27 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Default Mandolin players: how many mandolins do you own?

There have been many threads on the main guitar forum here about the various guitars forum participants own, but I've never seen an "inventory" thread about mandolins here. So I thought it might be fun.

So answer as many or as few of these questions as you like:


1. How many mandolins do you own? What kind are they?

2. How did you get started playing mandolin?

3. What was your first mandolin? Do you still own it?

4. What style (or styles) of music do you play on mandolin? Where do you use it? (In a bluegrass band, at church, in a country band, at home strictly for fun, etc.)

5. Who are your favorite mandolin players? Do you try to play like them, play any of their compositions, or do you just admire one or more aspects of their playing?


I have my own answers to these questions, but I'd like to read some of your posts before going on in detail.

Besides, I'm actually just about to leave the house to drive into Anchorage to look at a mandolin that's for sale. So if I end up getting it, my own mandolin collection will be one instrument bigger when I get back.


Wade Hampton Miller
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  #2  
Old 07-19-2012, 05:47 PM
HHP HHP is offline
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1. Three. An old Sigma 2 point A style, a Harmony twisted Batman style, and a Fender electric.

2. Listening to Mick Maloney play "Loftus Jones" at the Daisy Theater in Memphis

3. The Harmony, and yes.

4. Fiddle tunes and Irish music now. Played with a local mandolin orchestra for a while.

5. John Reischman and Andy Irvine. Play some of the style but not the tunes
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Old 07-19-2012, 05:50 PM
Dru Edwards Dru Edwards is offline
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Hi Wade - I don't have any mandolins but one day I'll get one. Believe it or not, I think I'm more interested in how many Mountain Dulcimers you own, or have owned. Sorry, didn't mean to derail the thread. It's just that I've never played a Dulcimer before.
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Old 07-19-2012, 06:02 PM
Scriptor Scriptor is offline
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1. How many mandolins do you own? What kind are they?

- currently none (sold my first and only one a few months ago) ... Octave Mandolin (Gold Tone OM-800+) on order. My first was a Washburn A which was a very good starter Mandolin

2. How did you get started playing mandolin?

- I played in Bluegrass bands when I was a teenager (many years ago). During that time I messed around with many acoustic instruments. About 7 years ago, I decided I wanted to be more proficient with instruments other than guitar and I started with Mandolin. Already knew some chords so I bought a book of old fiddle tunes with Mandolin tabs.

3. What was your first mandolin? Do you still own it?

- Washburn Sitka/Walnut A style ... no, sold it to my oldest son so it is still in the family and I can play it from time to time. My old hands tend to fatigue quickly on a standard Mandolin so I have an Octave on order. Should be in sometime in August.

4. What style (or styles) of music do you play on mandolin? Where do you use it? (In a bluegrass band, at church, in a country band, at home strictly for fun, etc.)

- Bluegrass, Folk, Rock, Country ... I still enjoy the old fiddle and traditional tunes most ... I have played at church and home ... hope to start playing with some other musicians that I met when I played guitar recently at a benefit if we can find some time to get together ... hope to play out more with various instruments

5. Who are your favorite mandolin players? Do you try to play like them, play any of their compositions, or do you just admire one or more aspects of their playing?

- Sam Bush, Chris Thile, Doyle Lawson and others. I have learned some of their compositions but certainly cannot come close to exact emulation ...
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  #5  
Old 07-19-2012, 06:26 PM
googoobaby googoobaby is online now
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1. One. A Rigel G-110. Have thought seriously about buying a mandola though.

2. I always liked the sound of it on the indie records I was listening to. Even thought I liked bluegrass until I was corrected that the bluegrass I liked wasn't "real".

3. First mandolin was a Weber Gallatin which I don't own any more. Thought I would keep it when I bought the Rigel, but didn't have time for another mandolin.

4. Indie/singer-songwriter. Mostly at home, but I have busked with it successfully.

5. Peter Buck, Jethro Burns, Avi Avital. No shrine to Bill Monroe. I can imitate the 1st successfully enough, will never be good enough to play like last two. Would really like to play Bach.
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Old 07-19-2012, 08:53 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HHP View Post
1. Three. An old Sigma 2 point A style, a Harmony twisted Batman style, and a Fender electric.
...
3. The Harmony, and yes.
Is this what you're referring to as the "Harmony twisted Batman style" mandolin?



I can imagine that being stuffed into the trunk of the Batmobile, to fill the idle hours during those boring stake-outs waiting for the Penguin or the Riddler to show up and start wreaking havoc....


whm
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Old 07-19-2012, 08:57 PM
HHP HHP is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
Is this what you're referring to as the "Harmony twisted Batman style" mandolin?



I can imagine that being stuffed into the trunk of the Batmobile, for those boring stake-outs waiting for the Penguin or the Riddler to show up and wreak havoc....


whm
That's it, minus the pick up. The guy I play with now started as my next door neighbor. He saw my cases and said he played mandolin. When we got together the first time he had the same Harmony. They play well and sound pretty good as well.
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  #8  
Old 07-20-2012, 05:45 AM
DNestler DNestler is offline
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Howdy Wade! Hope you are well!

1. How many mandolins do you own? What kind are they?
(That's 2 questions!)
Counting the mandola, I own 5. In order of the amount of use I put them to they are...
a. Gary Vessel F5
b. Weber Alder #2 mandola (string with mandolin strings and tuned EBF#C#)
c. Fender FM-988 8-string emando in the general shape of a Strat
d. JBovier EMC-5 5 string emando (CGDAE) in the general shape of a Strat but better executed than the Fender
e. Epiphone Mandobird emando restrung with heavier strings and tuned CGDA

The weather here in the UK has been so awful that I fear for the longevity of the Vessel, so I'm thinking about getting a New Millennium Acoustic Designs carbon fibre mandolin to match my Rainsong guitar.

2. How did you get started playing mandolin?
I heard Garcia/Grisman and thought, "Hey, I can do that."

3. What was your first mandolin? Do you still own it?
Epiphone MM-20. Nope.

4. What style (or styles) of music do you play on mandolin? Where do you use it? (In a bluegrass band, at church, in a country band, at home strictly for fun, etc.)
I am no respecter of genres. I'll play anything I am asked to play and/or can get under my fingers. This includes Bluegrass, Jazz, Rock, Classical, and pretty much anything in between. I usually support other musicians as a sideman these days, and they play in folk clubs and festivals.

5. Who are your favorite mandolin players? Do you try to play like them, play any of their compositions, or do you just admire one or more aspects of their playing?

I always try to play like my favorite players, but I meet with more or less success depending on a million different intangible factors.
Favorites are:
Mike Marshall, Tim O'Brien, Chris Thile, David Grisman, Don Steirnberg, Mike Compton, Evan Marshall, Marilyn Mair


Daniel
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Old 07-20-2012, 09:41 AM
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kydave kydave is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
1. How many mandolins do you own? What kind are they?
2. How did you get started playing mandolin?
3. What was your first mandolin? Do you still own it?
4. What style (or styles) of music do you play on mandolin? Where do you use it? (In a bluegrass band, at church, in a country band, at home strictly for fun, etc.)
5. Who are your favorite mandolin players? Do you try to play like them, play any of their compositions, or do you just admire one or more aspects of their playing?
Wade Hampton Miller
1. My sweetie and I own 3. Two Loars and a Kentucky.
My Loar LM-700 is a one of a kind prototype with an Adi top.
Her Loar is a prototype of the LM-400 prior to its production, a Xmas present from me.
Her Kentucky used to be mine. It was a prototype distressed KM-750 model (I used to call it my poor man's Sam Bush model.)
Lots of prototypes? Yes, it helps to live nearby and have friends at the companies who make & import Kentucky (Saga) and Loar (The Music Link).
2. Seemed like a good idea at the time...
3. ...so I went on Ebay and found Saga selling some KM-150S models, seconds. I live nearby and went in and picked the best one. Sold it down the road after I went to F-Style.
4. Bluegrass-ish/country-ish... We have a four piece band in which I play guitar, mando, Dobro, sing/write; she sings/writes, plays mando (and we have singers on standup bass and guitar).
5. Sam Bush, John Jorgenson, David Grisman

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Old 07-20-2012, 11:14 AM
fatt-dad fatt-dad is offline
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1. How many mandolins do you own? What kind are they?

'84 Flatiron A5-1
'84 Flatiron 1N
'20 Gibson A3
'23 Gibson A2Z (new purchase)
'12 Cohen A5 (redwood/walnut)
'12 Muth A5 (red spruce/big-leaf, not quite built yet)
Kit that I sort of built
c. 1950s Kay
Romanian "Montana" (former beach mandolin)
Two bowl back wall-hangers (hopeless)

(I think I need to part with a few though. . .)

2. How did you get started playing mandolin?

Some gal in 8th grade gave me my Kay. My inspiration developed during college though.

3. What was your first mandolin? Do you still own it?

My Kay and yes. It needs a neck set though.

4. What style (or styles) of music do you play on mandolin? Where do you use it? (In a bluegrass band, at church, in a country band, at home strictly for fun, etc.)

I play old-time music for therapy. I play at jams twice a month.

5. Who are your favorite mandolin players? Do you try to play like them, play any of their compositions, or do you just admire one or more aspects of their playing?

I don't much think of other mandolin players. I do like to listen to Grisman, Monroe, the Buckhannon Brothers, Sam Bush, etc. I don't really emulate these greats though, mostly 'cause I'm just not that great. I just have fun.
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  #11  
Old 07-20-2012, 07:04 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Okay, since I started this thread, it's inspired some interesting responses. It's nice to see that there are such a wide array of musical influences for so many of you.

Since I began the thread, I suppose I should answer a few of my own questions:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
1. How many mandolins do you own? What kind are they?
There are four instruments that I actually use: a so-called "Sumi-era" Kentucky KM-604 oval hole A model, made in Nagano Prefecture, Japan in the mid-1980's; a Rover prototype solid wood A model I found hanging "in the white" on the wall at Saga Musical Instruments headquarters; a 1940 or '41 wood-bodied National resonator mandolin, which I had restored and which the modern National Reso-Phonic company used as an inspiration for its RM-1 model mandolin; and a production prototype National RM-1 mandolin that National gave me for serving as a consultant during the RM-1's long and involved development process.

I also own a lovely little mahogany Larson Brothers flat top and back mandolin that my godmother bought new as a teenage girl in the 1920's, but don't use it, because while it has a nice tone, it's strictly a parlor instrument that doesn't project well at all. I hang onto it for sentimental reasons as much as anything - my godmother (whom I loved dearly) died nearly 20 years ago, and this is all I have of hers.

Yesterday I picked up a Kentucky KM-350 in superb condition off Craigslist. It's a really good-sounding instrument, but that Rover prototype is a similar style of instrument (A model with f holes) and covers pretty much the same tonal territory. So the KM-350 will serve as trading stock.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
2. How did you get started playing mandolin?
I was playing mountain dulcimer, and was hanging around and jamming in bluegrass and semi-bluegrass-oriented music circles. Something I immediately picked up on was how so many bluegrass players doubled on mandolin - I'd see guitar players picking up and playing mandolin, and I'd see fiddlers doing the same thing.

At that point I was sort of vaguely interested in eventually learning guitar, and the mandolin seemed like it might be a possible "gateway" instrument between dulcimer and guitar.

Which it was and is. That assumption proved to be correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
3. What was your first mandolin? Do you still own it?
In the mid 1970's there was a guy named Truman Haddox who occupied a little frame building on the grounds of the world headquarters of Campus Crusade For Christ on Rainbow Drive in Kansas City, Kansas. Truman taught music lessons mainly to kids, mainly from families associated with the church, and he also bought various auction lots of lowball musical instruments which he would fix up and sell, again, also to these families who wanted their kids to learn an instrument.

Truman had bought up all sorts of stuff when the Harmony company went out of business, including a finished body for an electric mandolin in the style that HHP has memorably dubbed "the twisted Batman style."



The Harmony mandolin body that I bought from Truman for $25 or $30 had the sunburst finish and the neck and all the frets on it, but had no hardware or electric pickups. It was all plywood, and in addition to the two f holes had holes where the pickup and tone and volume controls were supposed to go.

Hey, it was a mandolin, and one that I could afford at the time! I spent about as much on the hardware and bridge and strings as I did buying the body, and strung it up and began learning mandolin.

A few months later when I played my dulcimer while on a visit to my godmother, she complimented me on my playing. I said: "Thanks. Now I'm starting to learn mandolin, as well." She said to her husband: "Dick, where is that old mandolin of mine?" "In the hall closet," he said, and went and fetched it.

It had one of those stiff canvas "bottom-dropper" cases, where the curved lower end of the case has a latch on one end and a hinge on the other (and which loves to give way suddenly, hence the name,) so I knew before she even took it out that it was old. But I wasn't expecting the gorgeous mandolin that came out.

"It's beautiful," I said. "Do you want it?" she asked me.

It was one of the RARE occasions in my life when I was speechless, and my parents and godparents had a hearty laugh at THAT! It was a wonderful gift, and I've cherished it ever since.

That was really the mandolin I learned on. The Harmony Batman model I'd cobbled together went unplayed thereafter.

I still have the mandolin my godmother gave, only getting it identified as a Larson Brothers model by the Larsons' nephew many years later.

As for the Harmony Batmandolin, not only do I not have it anymore, I haven't owned it for decades. Of all the many instruments I've owned since the mid-1970's, that's one I have absolutely no memory of what happened to it.

It'd be nice if it ended up with someone who appreciates and uses it, but, honestly, I don't care....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
4. What style (or styles) of music do you play on mandolin? Where do you use it? (In a bluegrass band, at church, in a country band, at home strictly for fun, etc.)
As I mentioned, I started off in bluegrass and bluegrass-influenced music circles, then got heavily into Irish music. Nowadays I love to jam on any style of music at parties, but use the mandolin professionally mainly at church, where I lead a choir and use the National RM-1.

The RM-1 has a gorgeous tone, but it's so loud that it's kind of impolite to inflict it on people at jam sessions. So I use my Rover prototype in that setting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
5. Who are your favorite mandolin players? Do you try to play like them, play any of their compositions, or do you just admire one or more aspects of their playing?
There are all sorts of mandolin players I admire, many of whom have already been named in this thread, like Sam Bush and David Grisman. One name that I haven't seen come up yet, though, is Dash Crofts:



There was a real fluidity to his playing and a strongly melodic phrasing that he used that I've always enjoyed, even though I've never learned or performed any Seals & Crofts songs. But of all the well-known mandolin players, my own mandolin playing is probably closest to his style.

When I was using a wooden mandolin I gravitated to oval hole mandolins, because of their sweeter low end and their greater sustain. Now I have even greater sustain with the National mandolins, and I can play vocal-like melodic lines on them without having to play tremolo - I can still use all the standard mandolin techniques on my Nationals, but I've got the greater melodic flexibility that the resonator gives me.

Which I like a lot, and have evolved to the point where it's a crucial element in my mandolin playing style.


Wade Hampton Miller

Last edited by Wade Hampton; 07-20-2012 at 07:15 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 07-20-2012, 10:27 PM
Scriptor Scriptor is offline
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Wade, I enjoyed your answers (to your own questions, but still ) ... it was particularly touching to hear about your godmother and her special gift to you ... those sorts of things are treasures regardless of the object being gifted ... and yes, I have enjoyed Dash Crofts playing which reminds me of a lot of good mandolin playing back in those days ... how about the still un-named player that provided mandolin for Rod Stewart's "Maggie May" (and "Mandolin Wind" from that same album for that matter) ...

Thanks Wade. Good thread. Fun and very informative.
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Old 07-20-2012, 10:41 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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There was an article in a recent Fretboard Jourmal, I believe, where they tracked down the guy who played mandolin on "Maggie May." He's still playing with a group and performing.

One of the points that the article made is that it truly is the mandolin overdubs that really make that song work. I learned that the hard when when I worked up a version of the song on guitar, and tried singing it in bars back when it was still well-remembered.

It never went over. I have a "three strikes and you're out" policy, meaning that if I try a song three times onstage on three different occasions and it doesn't go over, it gets retired. Unless I come up with a totally different arrangement, which gets another three chances.

But if it still doesn't make it, it's done. This includes my own songs as well as those written by others: if a song doesn't work, I don't keep inflicting it on people.

So it's really the mandolin parts on "Maggie May" that are so captivating. I can remember that the very first time I heard the song I was in high school, and was shopping in a counter-culture blue jean store (remember those?) when the song came on.

The music was up pretty loud, and I was entranced by the whole thing, especially the multi-track mandolin parts at the very end. I just stood stock still and focused totally on the song until it was over.

Then I went and paid for my blue jeans!


whm
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Old 07-21-2012, 02:15 AM
iDavid iDavid is offline
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I've played guitar and uke for a long time so I though it was time to expand. After much research I bought my first Mandolin.

A Big Muddy all mahogany and M11w.

I spoke a few times to the builder and it felt more like talking to an old friend than anything else. Very good-humored, modestly fellow.

He has nothing to be modest about however; the build quality, the playability, the tone of the instrument, and his serve is simply outstanding. The price was also very, very reasonable.

I LOVE this Mandolin.
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Old 07-21-2012, 03:55 AM
thegreypicker thegreypicker is offline
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1. How many mandolins do you own? What kind are they?

Just one mandolin right now - an A model made by Mike Vanden in 1984, Gibson snake-head copy - fabulous. From the rest of the Mandolin family I have a bouzouki by Richard Beard (North Carolina), and a Mandocello by Paul Hathway (London)

2. How did you get started playing mandolin?

A forner German prisoner of war named Otto showed me how to play the tremelo, back in the late 60s. Barney McKenna and Mick Moloney inspired me

3. What was your first mandolin? Do you still own it?

Romanian A model - long gone

4. What style (or styles) of music do you play on mandolin? Where do you use it? (In a bluegrass band, at church, in a country band, at home strictly for fun, etc.)

Irish and accompanying my own stuff, e.g.:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Munro-Ba...2860754&sr=8-8

5. Who are your favorite mandolin players? Do you try to play like them, play any of their compositions, or do you just admire one or more aspects of their playing?

Mick Moloney. I copied him but not for years.
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