Monday, March 24, 2008

The Mandolin Is Here!

I have a great affinity for acoustic string music. Yes, electric instruments have their place, but there is something in the tone of acoustic instruments that is pleasing to my ear. Not only that, but acoustic instruments can be taken anywhere and played anywhere. If you need electronic amplification, you can always add a pick-up to enable the ability to plug in.

While I am far from acheiving virtuoso status on my guitar, I am about to expand my horizons. I have just received the gift of a new mandolin, and am determined to learn how to make something that is akin to music with it. Mandolins were largely popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as mandolin bands became commonplace. The advent of big band music consigned the mandolin to the attic, until Bill Monroe stepped onto the stage of The Grand Ole Opry in 1939. Since then the instrument has become a staple of bluegrass bands, as well as finding a home in country, blues, rock, and pop music genres. Remember the mandolin licks that were the opening to Rod Stewart's 1971 hit, Maggie May? Or how about Bruce Hornsby's Mandolin Rain?

Much to the lovely spouse's chagrin, I have developed a taste for bluegrass music. You'd think that her West Virginia upbringing would make her a fan, but no. She absolutely despises "that crap", saying she grew up hearing it at her grandparents, so now she doesn't have to listen to it. So in my house, bluegrass is a lonely affliction. Still, the appeal of a combo featuring mandolin, guitar, fiddle, banjo, and bass call out to me. I sometimes wish my commute were a bit longer so I could listen to the Bluegrass Junction channel on XM a bit longer. I cannot listen while the spouse is in the car with me on weekends.

Saturday, I picked up the mail from the post office box, and found a card saying they had a package that was too big to fit in the box. I knew it was the mandolin! Since the counter was closed, I stopped by the Post Office on the way to work this morning and picked it up. Now it is still boxed up in my car. Tonight ought to be fun, unpacking and tuning this fine instrument. If you hear screams coming from Colorado, it may be the lovely spouse being subjected to the sound of the mandolin! :-) I will take pictures of it and post them soon.

No comments: