Bassists Who Double on Mandolin Club

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by EdwardofHuncote, Jul 25, 2015.


  1. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    Just for fun...

    I've noticed what seems to be an odd occurrence... there are some bass players out there that also double on mandolin. I have seen reference to playing mandolin on-the-side by at least four other bassists here at TalkBass, and I know of several more mandolin-playing bassists within 100 miles of me here in Virginia. (though to be fair, one of them is primarily a mandolin player, who also happens to play bass)

    The mandolin is a very old folk instrument descended from the lute family. Even Stradivarius made mandolins in his Cremona workshop, right alongside his masterful violins. Modern mandolins are usually tuned in fifths, and the strings are in courses/pairs tuned in unison to the same pitch as standard violin, E-A-D-G.

    So they are upside-down and backwards from bass, with almost nothing in common. Basses and mandolins are even at opposite ends of the sonic spectrum.

    What makes us residents of the F-clef want to play these tiny, tinn-y little things that you spend half your time tuning... I don't guess there's a deeper reason for it than we're just playing what calls us... still, it just seems an odd coupling of interest, and might be a fun recurring discussion.

    So who's in? Put your pictures, stories, videos, and commentary here. We'll do numbers if anybody wants to, but I suspect this will be the smallest (ummm... *exclusive*) club on TalkBass. :laugh:
     
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  2. kcole4001

    kcole4001

    Oct 7, 2009
    Nova Scotia
    Not me yet, but I certainly want to. I've been interested since I heard Led Zep IV many years ago.
    The guy who used to own the local music store (retired last year) who plays bass, guitar, mando, and piano tunes his like a guitar so it's easier to play.
    The chords are the same shapes as guitar that way he tells me.
     
  3. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    20150725_075005.jpg 20150725_075111.jpg 20150725_075019.jpg 20150725_075327.jpg 20150725_075351.jpg 20150725_075414.jpg Obligatory sofa shots of my two primary mandolins: 1962 Gibson F-5, and a 1919 Gibson Model A.

    Not pictured (yet), a 1915 Vega mando-lute, a 1947 Martin Style 2-15, a 1953 Martin Style A bent-top, and a 1923 Gibson A-4 "snake-head" I have shared custody of.
     
  4. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    For me, mandolin chords were *much* simpler to structure than guitar chords... just by virtue of having fewer choices. Also, the fifths tuning made it easier to find and play a melody line.

    I expect a few of the Zeppelin IV influenced folks, as that was a fine example of mandolin used in modern music.

    Mandolins have really made the rounds in a few hundred years... these days, Jazz, Country, Pop, Alternative, Bluegrass, and my personal favorite, it's predecessor - traditional Appalachian String "Oldtyme" music.
     
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  5. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    Count me in.

    Mandolin was my first instrument at 7, partly because it was cheap and partly because the only music teacher available nearby taugh it.
    I still play my first one, which until recently looked like an abused piece of crap with worn frets jumping away from the ship. I gave it a makeover a few years ago with new fretboard, inlays, general cleaning and setup.
    CFRilPC8waWa9KEhXaxOC3WgeB9Esz1VS9Hc-Af_6Sg=w1024-h522-no.jpg

    I tried for years to replace bass in acoustic campfire situations with something smaller than an upright but that would still get me heard. After seeing Mike Marshall's D'Addario video, like many I fell in love with the mandocello and had to get one. I eventually got Freshwater to build me one and have been happy since then.
    l-fCGm2v3lrL3GlUdrNIA1eKzjdcW5iZARCcwN-cSqQ=w449-h800-no.jpg
     
  6. hdfixer

    hdfixer Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2008
    Morgan Hill CA
    I also play mando & bouzoki, both acoustic and electric. Check out this electric zouk G. Armstrong custom made for me - (it's Padauk btw)
     

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  7. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    Very cool! Pleased to meet ya' fellas. Maybe I'll pm the other guys on here I know play mandolin.

    Here's a YouTube of the David Grisman Quintet featuring monster bassist Todd Phillips... on 2nd mandolin.

    The David Grisman Quintet - Minor Swing:
     
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  8. bluesblaster

    bluesblaster

    Jan 2, 2008
    I play enough to get by doing chop rhythm at a jam, not much for soloing. I'm currently on the hunt for a mandola
     
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  9. pklima

    pklima Commercial User

    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Karoryfer Samples
    Not anymore, but I used to. Nobody ever asked me to leave the bass at home and bring a mandolin, though. I sold all my small instruments before moving across the ocean, but I later switched to fifths tuning on both BG and DB, so something remains.
     
  10. Used to always try to include a mando tune or two into the night. Haven't picked her up in a while....mmm this gets me thinkin' after all I do play in a western swing band should be room for mando somewhere.
     
  11. G. SMITH

    G. SMITH

    Dec 4, 2010
    Omaha
    I was bit by the mandolin bug about 7 years ago. It's absolutely a joy to play! I play mostly fiddle tunes and Bach on mine. I got really lucky with a Gibson Oval on Ebay from 1916. I have played a bunch of them since and none are even remotely the same in sound and playability. I also have a Collings MT2 and it is fantastic in it's own right. I play pretty much everything else with strings, but I love the mando. Cheers!
     
  12. el jeffe bass

    el jeffe bass

    Nov 22, 2013
    New Mexico
    I play a bit of mandolin as well as guitar, harmonica, banjo and lap steel. Once you know a bit of music theory playing other instruments is just a matter of learning the different techniques used for those instruments. The scales and chords are the same formula regardless of instrument.
     
  13. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    One of my buds called it "mandolin poisoning" :laugh:
     
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  14. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    I play *at* several other instruments too, but bass is home. Actually did record a gritty distorted sounding lap steel track for our band once. :thumbsup:
     
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  15. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    Cool responses to the thread... I figured there were more of us.
     
  16. Ok, I'm in, or as in as I can be, given that I'm still a student of the thing; I have a Michael Kelly f-style (best I could find in my price range that didn't have plywood anywhere) with a bone nut that my tech made for me (and swore at me about...apparently it was bit of an adventure to do). I'll have pics up later, after I find them.

    This could be an interesting thread...
     
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  17. wintremute

    wintremute mediocrity at its finest

    Oct 16, 2014
    Vegas
    Endorsing Artist: Langstrom Carrot Farms
    I have a mandolin that I inherited. I really need to get it cleaned up and into playing shape.
     
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  18. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    mandobass.jpg A mascot for this thread, if ever there was one!
     
  19. reddesert

    reddesert

    Mar 19, 2015
    You nailed it there. Bassists who are disappointed that they don't have to tune nearly as often as guitarists, and have a secretly suppressed desire for the joys of tuning and re-tuning, can satisfy their shameful envy by taking up the mandolin. Plus, they do both have four courses of strings - can't be that different.

    I was just listening to the Byrds' "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" and Chris Hillman is credited with bass and mandolin, so good company.
     


  20. Some 20 years ago I went to a pawn shop and found a bass amp I wanted. I noticed an Epiphone A model mandolin on the wall, and got the owner to throw in in as part of the deal.....Since then I'm pretty much equally crazy about bass and mandolin, though I'll focus (obsess) about one or the other for some time. Added a produced video from the Troubadours of Divine Bliss, a wonderful female duo that I get to play mandolin and bass with from time to time. Played mandolin on this song, Divining Utopia.
     
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