Covid drives flute player to new mandolin

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PB+J
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Tell us something.: Hello. I'm a historian and musician living near Washington DC. I play the bass and guitar and focus on jazz. I'm interested for reasons I can't quite explain in Irish music. I play the flute.

Covid drives flute player to new mandolin

Post by PB+J »

After several years of steady work at the flute I've gotten to where I'm tolerable at a session. I found a couple that would tolerate me and it was great.

I was going to work--45 students, all required to be in masks, myself in a mask as well--and had been going to pub sessions, where I'm was blowing across the opening in a tube, with no mask. I decided this was not sustainable or advisable, for myself or others.

So I picked up a used mandolin for very cheap, nothing fancy, a ply top chinese made mandolin that played quite well but was very thin and one dimensional sounding. It was enough to show that forty years of playing bass and guitar is of some value in transitioning to mandolin.

So I went to my local music shop where I've been going for decades and traded in a bunch of guitar stuff for a Weymann mandolin, made in Philadelphia in 1914.

Image

It's a nice old instrument well aged, with the eccentricities one might expect. It likes lighter strings and rings beautifully in the mid-range. I've been studying the playing of Marla Fibish, who is really terrific, a graceful payer with good taste and fine sense of swing.

At least I can play the mandolin in a mask, and if I'm terrible the mask will conceal my identity.
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paddler
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Re: Covid drives flute player to new mandolin

Post by paddler »

Very nice! I think Weymann used to call that particular model a "mandolute". I heard they were nice and,
in fact, I tried to buy one on eBay a few months ago. But I got outbid ... as usual. :swear:

I too have been playing mandolin recently, having set my flute aside temporarily. Not because of covid,
but because of some right hand finger problems that have left me able to hold a plectrum, but not do a
whole lot more. I don't have the background that you have with strings, but I've really been enjoying the
mandolin.

Jon
PB+J
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Tell us something.: Hello. I'm a historian and musician living near Washington DC. I play the bass and guitar and focus on jazz. I'm interested for reasons I can't quite explain in Irish music. I play the flute.

Re: Covid drives flute player to new mandolin

Post by PB+J »

Yes it's a "mandolute" and has quite a nice sound. It seems to like lower tension strings, and I made a new bridge for it which is better in some ways and not in others.

It's a lot of fun and very useful to think about the tunes from a different set of possibilities and limits. Been listening a lot to Marla Fibish, who's really quite a marvelous and graceful player.
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