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Mandolin Mondays #265 w/ Special Guest Dagger Gordon

Rating: 1 votes, 4.00 average.
All the way from the Scottish Highlands, Dagger Gordon joins us this week on Mandolin Mondays to play a lovely tune on his powerful 10 string Sobell mandolin.

From the town of Invergordon, about an hour north of Loch Ness, Dagger Gordon is perhaps the main torchbearer for traditional Scottish music on our instrument. He is not only a perceptive and rooted player, but he is also a great mandolin educator. Dagger is the author of the well received book The Scottish Mandolin Tutor--one of the only Scottish mandolin method books of its kind. Be sure to check out this amazing resource here:

Read more about Dagger's impact on the Scottish mandolin world in this Mandolin Cafe feature interview from back in 2011:

Here's a quote from Dagger about the instrument he's playing in this video here: "The mandolin was made for me by Stefan Sobell in 1984. Cedar and rosewood. It has 10 strings, tuned DGdae. I find that the D bass string really works for me, especially when I play solo. I realise that other 5 course players often tune their bass string to C, but I can get a good drone from the D and incorporate it more easily into my chords. It has been my main mandolin since I got it."

Be sure to connect with Dagger at the following links below for more information about his music:

And as always, tune in next week for more Mandolin Mondays! Until then...

Happy Picking!

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  1. Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
    Beautiful piece of music and playing! Well done, Dagger. Great to see you on Mandolin Mondays.
  2. Michael Romkey's Avatar
    Awesome playing, awesome mandolin, awesome tune. (What's the name?) You made my Monday morning. Thanks!
  3. Todd Bowman's Avatar
    What a beautiful tune! Thank you for sharing. Beautiful playing Dagger!!
  4. John Kelly's Avatar
    Good to see you here, Dagger, and playing so well. Sitting in the Stern of a Boat is a great tune and not heard often enough.
  5. Jill McAuley's Avatar
    Great stuff Dagger, what a lovely tune!
  6. chasray's Avatar
    Really enjoyed that!
  7. usqebach's Avatar
    Always been intrigued by 10 string instruments, but couldn't figure out what to do with that C string to be of any use other than in C and the "flat" keys. Why have I never thought of raising it to a D? I have my fiddle in "high bass" tuning for 3/4 of what I play. Thanks for helping me make that connection!
  8. Don Grieser's Avatar
    Fantastic playing. Love the sound you get out of that Sobell.
  9. Paul Cowham's Avatar
    Lovely stuff Dagger! Great to see you playing, and it looks like you haven't aged a day since I met you at the Fčis back in 2011
    Updated Feb-01-2021 at 6:37pm by Paul Cowham
  10. Luna Pick's Avatar
    That was really great Dagger, thanks for sharing it!

    Nice mug over your left shoulder!
  11. Alfons's Avatar
    Thanks Dagger, I enjoyed that very much!
  12. Dagger Gordon's Avatar
    Thanks a lot everyone. I have been very lucky with that Sobell mandolin.

    As John said, the tune is called Sitting In The Stern Of A Boat. it was composed in the 18th century by the Rev. William McLeod and is taken from Captain Simon Fraser's Knockie Collection of 1816. It has long been a favourite of mine.

    Usqubach: I don't remember why I started using a D bass string, but in fact I have always done it. At the time quite a lot of people were getting 10 string citterns made by Stefan Sobell, and they tended to have them tuned with ADAda or something like that, in other words some form of semi-open tuning, and I think I probably saw it as a variation on that. Similarly people were exploring DADGAD and other tunings on the guitar, so the idea of two D strings seemed quite obvious to me in that context.

    Luna Pick: Well spotted! It is indeed a Mandolin Cafe mug.
    And Paul: It sounds like your eyes aren't quite as good as Luna Pick's if you think I haven't aged a day in ten years!
    (But thanks anyway - good to hear from you again).

    Thanks again everyone,

    Cheers Dagger
  13. maxr's Avatar
    Great playing, Dagger. BTW, I heard the story behind the tune was the Rev McLoed was leaving his parish on Skye to move to the mainland, and the tune was inspired by him looking back at the island from the boat ferrying him over. As a Swedish nyckelharpa player said to me - "It's important to have a story for a tune, and some of them are true."
  14. Dagger Gordon's Avatar
    Yes, that's the story I know as well, Maxr. Cheers Dagger
  15. Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
    Dagger's book The Scottish Mandolin Tutor is still available from the publisher.

    I have a copy from the article we ran about it close to 10 years ago. Great book, highly recommended.