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The Fifth Course

Thoughts on playing mandolin family instruments, both acoustic and electric varieties.

  1. Weekend Workshop with Simon Mayor

    The first thing all my fellow Americans need to know is that Simon Mayor is a monster player. Tone and technique for days. He's not a Bluegrass guy, and that may be why he gets fairly little attention from mandolin communities dominated by the good people of the Americas. If you need a genre or category to wrap your mind around, then think of him as cut from the same mold (or mould as they spell it here) as Mike Marshall. He's an excellent all-rounder, plays fluidly through pretty much anything ...

    Updated Jan-22-2015 at 10:46am by Daniel Nestlerode

    Acoustic Adventures
  2. Studio Log: More Than a Little Guitar, ch. 4

    You did not miss chapter 3, and neither is the title a typo. I decided writing about paperwork was a kind of a meta-hell in which only the most self absorbed self abusers are punished. Lacking an appetite for self-harm, I'm skipping on to chapter 4.

    [If you're really interested in UK registration of recordings and albums drop me line and we can talk. It is an involved process.]

    The mastering is complete! I got something called a PQ sheet from the mastering engineer ...
    Tags: mastering
    Recording Sessions
  3. Studio Log: More Than a Little Guitar, ch. 2

    I do need to make an amendment to my last blog.

    I used a different process to record instrumental than songs. The CD track, "St Anne's Reel/Whiskey Before Breakfast," was recorded without a scratch track. I simply sat down in front of the mic setup that we used to record the guitar rhythm tracks and banged out 72 bars, using my Santa Cruz Guitar Company dreadnought as the rhythm instrument. (32 for St. Anne's Reel, 32 for Whiskey Before Breakfast, and the B part to Whiskey ...

    Updated Sep-05-2013 at 5:48am by Daniel Nestlerode

    Tags: recording, studio
    Recording Sessions
  4. Studio Log: More Than a Little Guitar, ch. 1

    A couple of weeks ago I finished a 10 day recording session for my new CD which will carry the title More Than a Little Guitar. At the outset the goal was to make a folk/singer-songwriter album framed around the mandolin as primary rhythm and lead instrument.

    To record a song, I would sit in the studio with mics on playing the song as though I was performing it. My producer, Brooks Williams, and my engineer, Chris Pepper, would find the tempo and create a drum track that suited ...

    Updated Aug-30-2013 at 2:57am by Daniel Nestlerode

    Recording Sessions
  5. In Rochester. Um, no not New York. Rochester, England

    Seriously, I had no idea England had a Rochester too. But every time I come across an English city with the same name as an American one, like Boston, I think, "Well duh. They had to get the name somewhere,"

    In any case Rochester is a lovely little town that holds a medieval castle and cathedral. They have a folk festival there every year called Rochester Sweeps Festival. I appeared on Sunday the 5th of May at the Busker's Corner. The stage was set up between the castle ...
  6. Raisin' her up right

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    Napping during the break.
    Acoustic Adventures
  7. First Time Busking

    Matt and I went to the Cambridge market square yesterday afternoon. Mandolin and guitar in tow, we walked through it twice scouting busking locations. One by one they were taken up by more experienced and decisive buskers. We finally settled upon the southwest corner, near a coffee shop and some likely looking kiosks.

    I set out the mandolin case (my breast-cancer-awareness pink gig bag) and tuned up my Vessel F5. Matt tugged out the Rainsong and waited.

    That space ...
    Tags: busking
    Acoustic Adventures , Gigging
  8. Welcome to England

    A lot has happened since the last time I dropped a line here. I should update here more often! (I wonder if anyone is still reading this. Drop me a line or post a comment if you are!)

    The following is a warning to all you unattached people out there. This could happen to you...

    She is wonderful. She plays guitar and writes songs, she is intelligent, insightful, caring, patient, and fun to kiss. When we met she was on vacation from England, visiting the Bay Area ...

    Updated Jul-11-2012 at 8:47am by Daniel Nestlerode

    Acoustic Adventures
  9. New Year's Eve and a Bodhran

    I had accepted an invitation to play mandolin and join in the fun at the monthly Contra Dance in Sonora at Aronos Hall, so I felt obligated to go. Still I could not find a way out of the doldrums. Nothing seemed worth doing except sitting in my apartment with my cat and a movie...

    Continue reading...
    Tags: celtic, old time
    Acoustic Adventures
  10. Creating a "scene," what's worked for you?

    This is an excellent primer and very good advice if you want to play lot to a wide variety of audiences.

    Thanks Allen!

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Some thoughts on what's worked for me. And let me state up front, that while I make a "good second income" from music -- over $15K annually -- I couldn't live on what I make; that's where civil service retirement comes in...

    1. Playing for seniors: I compiled a list of nursing homes, senior centers, assisted living facilities
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