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  1. In Transit

    The mandolin is the perfect travel instrument. My mandolin, in a hard shell case, has fit in the overhead compartments of every puddle-jumper into which I have had the pleasure of folding myself. Occasionally a zealous gate agent will attempt to tag my case for gate-check for the short flights. When that happens I have been able to put off the green-tagger by saying, “It’ll fit,” or “This needs to come with me -if you need to check something take the backpack.”

    The size also allows ...
    Tags: practice, travel
  2. NAMM 2010 Report #2

    Like Pacific rim mandolins, electric mandolin family instruments are showing some market development. Back down in Hall E, among the acoustic instruments Eastwood Guitars showed their wares, including a soon-to-be issued electric tenor guitar. The example on display was a yellow Mustang-shaped tenor guitar tuned dgbe (low to high). It played well and looked great in butter yellow with a faux tortoise pickguard and white pickups. It should be available sometime this calendar year, and it will likely ...

    Updated Feb-05-2010 at 6:16pm by Daniel Nestlerode

  3. NAMM 2010 Report #1

    Scott Tichenor is right. The National Association of Music Merchants convention is a cacophony of debilitating proportions. Everything you can think of that might be sold in a music store is being hawked, pushed, dealt, played, amplified, strummed, bowed, picked, struck, blown, printed, digitized, reproduced, sung, and displayed. All of this activity occurs in the same moment and repeats constantly from 10am to 6pm for 4 days.

    Music celebrities are not above hawking wares made ...
  4. Namm 2010

    I'm off to Anaheim in a week. My wife is calling it my annual weekend long window-shopping trip.

    Goals for the show:
    1) Get my paws on Jeff Cowherd's JBovier solid body emandos
    2) See if Larrivee is trying again
    3) Look for new entrants to the mandolin market
    4) Cases: emando and mandola. Why are they so hard to find?
    5) Amps: I wanna see little ones, and talk to makers about building them for emandos
    6) Drum accessories for Kristen ...
  5. 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, ...
  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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 ...
  9. Downs and Ups

    Went into the studio for most of the day on October 9. In retrospect it feels like a waste of $150.00. But Things improved a little more than a week later...

    I arrived at the studio on Friday hopeful of getting at least two songs in the can under the watchful eye of a professional engineer using some good mics. But I ended up with two lousy tracks I don't feel I can use.

    The problems stemmed from lack of preparation and equipment failure. I figured I could walk ...
  10. Fun Group Project

    Over on the guitar discussion board I moderate,, I started a group project. I supplied the basic tracks of a song (percussion, guitar, voice) I had written and demo'd with GarageBand on my Mac. I asked the folks on the board if they might contribute some lead instrument ideas.

    I was having difficulty getting a lead instrument track down on a demo for a song I had written, called "Big Valley." The idea arose from realizing I could ask ...
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