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Cool video about Orville's work.


Murph
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Very cool to see what a departure Orville's mandolin design was from what was around at the time. I spent most of the video transfixed on the scroll of that f-body. Pity we got to hear so little of the mandolin. Good share.

Edited by 62burst
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14 hours ago, 62burst said:

Very cool to see what a departure Orville's mandolin design was from what was around at the time. I spent most of the video transfixed on the scroll of that f-body. Pity we got to hear so little of the mandolin. Good share.

It's the first early prototype of the F series. Even with the oval hole it's almost there already. 

I mean him and Lloyd basically re-invented the mandolin, and in doing so, Bluegrass music.

Fascinating.

There is a fine line between genius and insanity.

 

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On 8/7/2022 at 4:13 PM, 62burst said:

Very cool to see what a departure Orville's mandolin design was from what was around at the time. I spent most of the video transfixed on the scroll of that f-body. Pity we got to hear so little of the mandolin. Good share.

You can see that the Gibson "Bling" started very early. 

Orville digs the bling.

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I'm fresh from reading Jeff Noonan's book The Guitar in America, which is centered on the BMG (banjo-mandolin-guitar) movement c.1880-1930.  One of the points that emerges is that the early guitar heros like Eddie Lang and Nick Lucas, who were both of Italian extraction, started out as mandolinists who adapted mandolin technique (using hard plectrums) on archtop guitars were essentially large mandolin-construction bodies fitted with guitar necks.  (We DO note that Nick Lucas would go to flattops later, but still used the same playing techniques)  And we recall that in 1902 it was the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co., which would have been in line with the BMG world, which never really got past guitar-as-backing-instrument mindset.

The book is interesting - the whole mandolin orchestra thing that Gibson was focused on was very much about creating an upper-middle-class music world, more refined than the common man or woman playing what would later become blues or country, but borrowing styling cues and even attire and organization from "foreign" classical musical groups while being somewhat distrustful of it.  Even the mandolin-mandola-mandocello-mandobass thing copied the violin-viola-cello-string bass format, but as "plectral" instruments of a distinctly American type.

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6 hours ago, rustystrings said:

I'm fresh from reading Jeff Noonan's book The Guitar in America, which is centered on the BMG (banjo-mandolin-guitar) movement c.1880-1930.  One of the points that emerges is. . . 

Wow- very concise. 'Just saved me a whole bunch of reading.

For now. 

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19 hours ago, rustystrings said:

The book is interesting - the whole mandolin orchestra thing that Gibson was focused on was very much about creating an upper-middle-class music world, more refined than the common man or woman playing what would later become blues or country, 

When you consider Gibson mandolins are NOW most admired by the greatest BLUEGRASS players, as well as Gibson banjos, the last 100 years were quite telling.

And NOBODY expected country music to become so dominant, and then take the strange turns of late.

I think that's why (acoustic) Americana/folk/roots and blues is so hot right now.

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1 hour ago, Murph said:

When you consider Gibson mandolins are NOW most admired by the greatest BLUEGRASS players, as well as Gibson banjos, the last 100 years were quite telling.

And NOBODY expected country music to become so dominant, and then take the strange turns of late.

I think that's why (acoustic) Americana/folk/roots and blues is so hot right now.

And sadly, strangely - after the Nashville Flood in 2010,  Gibson never went back to building banjos.  Their 'Mastertone' was the gold standard. But Henry decided that product line was not financially worth re-building.   Unlike acoustic guitars and mandolins - banjos can be built in your basement. You just buy parts from different manufacturers and assemble them.  In fact, many of the parts Gibson was using in their final years were from sub-contractors.   The end of an era. 

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5 hours ago, fortyearspickn said:

And sadly, strangely - after the Nashville Flood in 2010,  Gibson never went back to building banjos. 

There were Stingrays in a tank there at Opry Mills. You could feed them shrimp.

I always wondered where they ended up during that flood. ?

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15 minutes ago, Murph said:

There were Stingrays in a tank there at Opry Mills. You could feed them shrimp.

I always wondered where they ended up during that flood. ?

The stingrays? Probably swam away if the top of the tank was easy to escape from, once the water got high enough.

My question is how do you know if a banjo really sounds good? They all sound . . . well banjo-y. I think if I remember correctly from a the music history course I took in college, the banjo was first made in West Africa.

Edited by Sgt. Pepper
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3 hours ago, Murph said:

If Noam plays it, it sounds good.

 

 

He certainly can play it, and it maybe according to some in the know as the best sounding banjo ever, but it still has that unmistakable that can only be a banjo sound that does nothing for me. Like Martins for most of you guys. They just sound, and all I can say is plinky (if that is a real word) and tinny. 

Edited by Sgt. Pepper
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"In spite of the American tendency to appropriate cultures without attribution or apology, our melting pot at large often produces incredible synergies, and the modern banjo is no exception. This is why the banjo's evolution through a "clash of cultures" is a beautiful thing."       Rhiannon Giddens  (The Carolina Chocolate Drops) 

Yep, Sgt Pepper right again !!!   The 'banjer'  came from West Africa. Went to the Caribbean first as a gourd with anywhere from 2 to 4 or 5 strings. , refined a bit, moved with those slaves up to the Southern US English colonies.  Evolved as Minstrel Shows became popular forms of entertainment, where white performers shared their appreciation for the instrument with black performers.  Moved to the Appalachian Mountains - hollers and groves -  evolved to the point it became popular in Ireland.    Most Americans only know  "Deliverance" and have no appreciation for the depth and history of it or the versatility.   

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19 hours ago, Sgt. Pepper said:

My question is how do you know if a banjo really sounds good? They all sound . . . well banjo-y.

You can hear the difference in tone in these two Murph-supplied videos.  And in style - one is three finger picking, the other two finger.   Those who can tell the difference in tone between using bone pins and ebony pins on their acoustic guitars should be able to here the differences on these two.  And, it is possible to customize the sound/tone of a banjo much more than you can an acoustic guitar.  But, yes at the end of the day -  they all sound  'banjo-y'... no mistaking a banjo for anything else. 

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