15 March 2015

BU for March 2015

The BIB editor writes:

Fourteen months ago, at the Ashbourne concert that opened the 2014 tour by High Plains Tradition (USA), a friendly member of the audience asked me what was the little instrument played by Doug Elrick. When I said it was a mandolin, he replied: 'How long have they been as flat as that?'

Though I meant to say 'About a century', that would have been a grave understatement. As the March 2015 issue of Bluegrass Unlimited says on the cover, carved Gibson mandolins have now existed for 120 years. The major article by Larry Nager (reprinted in full on the BU website) ranges over Gibson's history of innovation, interviews luthiers and instrument historians, and includes the welcome news that banjo and dobro production will be renewed.

Other features in this year's special instrument issue include articles on Hoffee carbon fibre cases, Roger Siminoff's new Straight Up strings for banjo and mandolin (which I highly recommend), and the banjo that British bluegrass veteran Rod Davis played as a member of John Lennon's original skiffle group. (Rod now plays a Tanglewood Pro 5; so, at a very good price from McCullough Pigott in Dublin, you could be playing the same model 5-string as a bandmate of John Lennon.)

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