Sunday, February 13, 2011

Epiphone Mandolin...

In the wake of the great banjo experiments that conduction of which have been well documented here I pulled out my Epiphone Mandolin and began plunking on it for the first time in ages. This mandolin was a birthday gift from Cathy. We had gone to a Southwest Liturgical music conference. I won't try to even be accurate as to what year or even what city as I have been under some fire lately for poor fact checking of the info on these pages. Hey, the older you will get..., so I will guess the decade as to 90s and the city as Austin.

Cathy kept a good secret. We traveled, got a hotel room and the small mando in it's case was well hidden in our luggage. I never suspected and it was quite a surprise. That night, we were staying at the conference host hotel, I quickly learned three cords and clumsily jammed with Oregon Catholic Press composer Arsenio Cordova in the hotel lobby. I had previously made his acquaintance at a work shop held at St. Patrick's and for better or worse he's probably responsible for launching my church music career. He's a professor at the University of New Mexico according to his OCP bio of various cultural and political science topics. The songs that night were in Spanish and by the laughter of the group I don't think they were all church songs.

With the banjo project experiments I found (on the Internet, how did I ever learn without it?) I could use Chicago tuning, also an Irish tuning and get going quickly, even though it's not in the traditional tenor banjo Dixieland style. Also works for the mandolin. The way I had been playing mandolin was I would learn a song for some special occasion or gig, put the mando away afterwards, chops get rusty, big old fingers get forgetful and I would be back to square one learning before I knew it. Now I am up and going with modest skills, at least enough to have fun with.
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