Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"The Morning Star" - Amazing Irish Mandolin CD

I just recently found this CD from Marla Fibish and Jimmy Crowley called "The Morning Star" (Irish Music on Double-Strung Instruments).  I have been playing Irish mandolin for about 15 years or so and this may be the best example of Irish mandolin I have ever heard.  To be honest, I have to admit that most Irish mandolin can be thin, tinny, and shrill, but this CD shows how sweet the mandolin can be when playing Irish music.  Check out this CD!  It's awesome and if you want a full review of this CD check out the Fiddlefreak blog (I have it listed under "My Blog List" down the left hand column of this page.) On the Fiddlefreak blog you can hear sound clips and see a video of Marla Fibish playing her mandolin in a parking garage!

A New Ancient Modern Traditional Oud

     We just go this in!  It's an electric Oud made by the Godin Guitar company up in Canada.  It's not too often you see something like this.  It's an 11 string Oud (5 double courses and one single course) with an on board pre-amp/eq/tuner. I don't really know how to play the Oud, but we have had one or two customers who know how and it sounds incredible!  The fretless fingerboard lets you get all the microtones that are essential in Eastern music.  
     We don't really stock anything electric (except a weird electric fiddle that no one will buy) but this thing is so cool that we had to get one in.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Breedloves Looking for a Good Home!

Breedlove makes an incredible guitar!  Breedlove was one of the first brands I started carrying when I opened my shop 5 years ago.  Their guitars are truly some of the best instruments being made in America these days.  
     HOWEVER, Breedloves are tough to sell to the traditional crowd.  They are now featured maybe a little too prominently in a well known "big box" chain store and that seems to have diminished their brand reputation, at least among the traditional crowd.  Breedlove has had a hard time establishing themselves in the bluegrass genre and that's a shame because these Breedloves totally "spank" some of the brands that bluegrass/Americana/country players tend to go for.

   SO, WE'RE TRYING TO FIND GOOD HOMES FOR OUR REMAINING BREEDLOVES.  These are new instruments, they've just been hanging around a while.  Also they have just been recently adjusted and set up by our luthier and are in top condition.  We have an OM, three dreadnoughts, a funky jumbo model, and an awesome mandolin.  Check our website or call because we're selling them dirt cheap!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Our favorite iPhone app of all time!

Have you ever wondered how we get that great "vintage" quality to our photos? Well, wonder no more! It's an awesome little iPhone app called Hipstamatic (Check out their Website or Facebook pages). It lets you choose from a bunch of different lenses, film and flashes to create cool artsy photos. They can also print your photos for you and send them to you, if your into the analog thing :) (there's a minimum order, but it's super low). It's by far our favorite app, so if you have an iPhone, check it out!

Friday, September 2, 2011

"Play the Ukulele Daily"

     Ukuleles seem to be all the rage right now.  In the shop we probably sell more ukes than anything else.  We have no idea why, but it seems like people are going crazy for them.  I guess it's because they're small and cute and not as intimidating as a guitar or banjo or whatever.  Also, it seems to me that there are no uke virtuosos out there (okay, I know there are some but they're not widely known) that are making people think they have to be really technically good to play the uke.  For the most part, people seem to think of the easy strum, strum, strum style of Tiny Tim and "Tip Toe Through the Tulips" or the song from the movie "The Jerk" with Steve Martin.  The uke seems to have built up a friendly and relaxed vibe and goes with a moonlight walk on a beach the same way a hot dog seems to go with baseball.  There was that guy Iz who made a big hit with strumming along to "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" (leaning against a palm tree on a Hawaiian beach!)  That version even got translated to the younger crowd when it was covered on the show Glee, adding definite "coolness" points.   Eddie Vedder from the rock group Pearl Jam picked up a uke a few years ago and used it on a few songs (uke in a rock band?!), and just recently put out a CD of all ukulele songs appropriately titled "Ukulele Songs", (he even does a cover of the song from "The Jerk"!) More "coolness" points!  Yay Eddie Vedder!  So, the uke is small, easy to carry around, relatively inexpensive, cute, friendly, easy on the fingers, has a laid back image, and you don't have to be awesome at it.  It's a pretty cool combination!  Maybe it's just a fad, but being that we're in the music business, we'll go with it!  We hope it lasts!

     By the way, for anyone not yet into the uke craze, we are having another UKULELE WORKSHOP for beginners and intermediate players.  We will provide ukes if you don't have one, and you'll get a coupon for 15% off the purchase of a uke from the shop! This is a perfect chance to see what all the hub bub is about.  Click here for more info.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Docs New Banjo!

A few weeks ago, Doc Hamilton told us about this old Fairbanks banjo he found on ebay. He was so excited, he hung out most of the day to talk about it! (Not that we mind. Doc is awesome!) Well, it finally came in, and he was sweet enough to bring it by. It's a 1900 Fairbanks "electric" (named for the "electric" model tone ring. It's not actually electric :) with all original parts but for the head and strings, which he changed out for Aquilla Nylgut Classical Banjo strings. It has the original ivoroid tuners and a really impressive bone tailpiece. It's one of the nicest sounding banjos we've heard! I asked Doc what he loved it more than, and he said "Ha! I love it more than a hog loves slop!" 

Here's Doc playing Last Chance on his "new" Fairbanks