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  1. New Mandolin Cafe features in 2010

    Last month the Mandolin Cafe marked 14 years on the web, and the fun is just starting! Here are a few things on tap for 2010:

    We're estimating the launch of the next generation of message board software from our current provider some time in late January. This is a total rewrite of the software with existing and new and improved features. To date the software is receiving rave reviews in beta form, and some web site owners are already using it. We prefer to let others work out some ...
  2. The Zone Between Jazz and Bluegrass

    Nick Morrison of KPLU has collected 5 tunes you all should hear. He's found folks who explore the space between Bluegrass and Jazz. The five he features are Richard Greene; Grisman, Auldridge, & Brozman; Alison Brown; Buell Neidlinger; and Chick Corea & Bela Fleck.

    Of particular interest is the Buell Neidlinger cut, "Stardust." Andy Statman weaves amazing mando lines all through it. Those of you who think Andy is too far out there might be pleasantly surprised, ...
  3. Mandolin 1

    Well, I am now officially in the world of mandolin. I repaired as best I can the top of the old mandolin given to me. The low set of strings buzz when fretted below the 5th but still it is better than nothing. I will learn to play this instrument. I was gonna start with the Stewart banjomandolin but the action is just too high above the 5th fret-caused by a failing heel on the instrument. Emailed Tim up in MT. Wolfe the other day about it. He will fix it for me when I send it up to him. ...
  4. Lance Armstrong can beat you on a 40 lb. Huffy

    A friend recently visited Italy for a day as part of a 12 countries in 14 days tour and said he saw all that was worth seeing. No need to return.

    A common bistro meal in France consists of onglet (hanger steak). It's fabulous, affordable, and an absolutely wonderful meal in the hands of a competent cook. In the U.S., it's mixed in with stew meats or ground up for hamburger.

    Feijoada is a remarkable dish made of throw-away cuts of smoked meats (think hoof and face meat, ...
  5. Muscal Heroes

    I play mandolin, and have played for many years. I am not great, never will be. Mind you, I am a fair hand at it, but the package of abilities I received at birth did not include prodigy. (It did include skills in other areas, in which I make my living, and for which I have a different kind of passion.)

    But I do have a love for the mandolin. I enjoy playing mandolin more than I enjoy listening to any particular genre of music. And I play just about every day for myself, and once or ...

    Updated Aug-24-2010 at 9:45pm by JeffD

  6. 2009 Mandolin Year in Review

    Every year we like to pause around this time and reflect on some of events that stick out in our mind. Not surprisingly, 2010 was a busy year packed with a lot of excitement. Got your own favorite memories from the year past? Post them here as a follow-up reply.

    inline imageJanuary, 2009 - The passing of Butch Baldassari started the year out on a sad note. The night before he left us, he told his wife Sinclair he'd decided it was time for him ...
  7. Thoughts on Mandolin as Vocal Accompaniment

    I've been using the mandolin (Gary Vessel F5) as a vocal accompaniment on a few songs for a couple of years. "Wish You Were Here" is one of the easier songs to transfer from guitar to mandolin, and it was the first song I tried.

    But developing material for this endeavor is not as easy as playing the same chord progression on mandolin as guitar and learning the runs/leads. Choosing the right songs and choosing approaches to those songs is very important.

  8. Changes and updates to our Builder Database

    For the past month we've been diligently working through a much needed update of our builder database. In the process we've discovered a few (not suprisingly, out of close to 1,000 builders) that have retired, passed away or have moved on to new ventures. We don't find any of this unusual, but before anyone thinks these folks are all running for the door in this economy, don't worry. They aren't. It's just us updating a lot of data.

    inline image ...
  9. Reader survey

    What would you all like to read in a mandolin blog?

    • Electric?
    • Acoustic?

    • Jamming?
    • Performing?
    • Recording?

    • Mandolin only?
    • Guitar too?

    • Amateur?
    • Professional?

    • Instruments?
    • Strings?
    • Accessories?
    • Recordings?

    I'm looking for inspiration. I can ...

    Updated Nov-14-2009 at 1:57pm by Daniel Nestlerode

  10. My Ten Favorite All Time Albums

    This is a little rainy day blogging...

    Whether I'm playing my iPod in the Chiropractor's office, using the CD player in the car, or listening at home, all of these albums (collections of songs) remain in heavy rotation.

    Interestingly, to me at least, these are not at all mando-centric. In fact, only Butch B gets a nod as recording artist. Looks like I'll need to examine these albums against the context of my mandolin playing and see where that takes me. Maybe this ...