Modern Gretsch Guitars

Somewhat new mandolin day

1

Adding another Gretsch mandolin to the stable... I actually bought this the last week of Feb. 2020, but am just now getting around to adding it to the database. While I have two other Gretsch G9350 Park Avenue mandolins, this is my first venture into the Gretsch A-body models-- this one is a G9320 New Yorker Deluxe.

I use the term "bought" loosely, as it was more of a steal than a buy. $100 bucks shipped, and that included over $100 in accessories-- a RoadRunner gig bag, a custom rosewood armrest, a custom rosewood string overtone damper (no grommets!), and a Tone-Gard, which by itself would cost at least $75.00. What is a Tone-Gard, you ask? it's a device that keeps the back of the mandolin off of the body, maximizing volume and reducing tone dampening.

I will say that this thing sounds way better than I expected. While it doesn't sound quite as nice as my Gretsch Park Avenue mandos, it is more than adequate for taking to parties, jams, etc.

2

Nice, been thinking about another Mando

3

Would you believe that I have never been to a party where someone started playing mandolin? I've played in loud rock bands at parties and played acoustic rockabilly once... while extremely drunk!

4

Would you believe that I have never been to a party where someone started playing mandolin? I've played in loud rock bands at parties and played acoustic rockabilly once... while extremely drunk!

– JimmyR

That’s OK... I’ve never been to a party where somebody broke out a didgeridoo and started jamming... I guess we’ve both been going to the wrong parties.

5

Nice, but where's the confetti cannon?

6

Nice, but where's the confetti cannon?

– AndyJ

A confetti cannon is just not practical on a mandolin, primarily due to its size and scale length... It's just about impossible to mount one.

However, that doesn't mean you can't have fun with a mandolin-- these make a perfect mandolin sized substitute:

7

I agree - looks like a steal! Congrats

8

Would you believe that I have never been to a party where someone started playing mandolin? I've played in loud rock bands at parties and played acoustic rockabilly once... while extremely drunk!

– JimmyR

I've busted out a mandolin at party more than one, and played music that got the place jumping. I do old blues stompers like Wang Dang Doodle, or Led Zeppelin stuff like Black Mountain Woman.

9

I've busted out a mandolin at party more than one, and played music that got the place jumping. I do old blues stompers like Wang Dang Doodle, or Led Zeppelin stuff like Black Mountain Woman.

– Daniel Weldon

Living where I do (middle Tennessee), bringing a mandolin to a party is not unusual at all. There are so many guitar players around here (and so many better than myself), that when I show up with a mandolin it's a welcome addition.

And I ALWAYS bring one to the Nashville Roundup for the cabin parlor acoustic jam sessions. Of all the instruments I play, mandolin is far and away my personal favorite.

10

Please believe me I wasn't meaning to upset anyone - but the idea of someone playing mandolin at a party is something I've never experienced. There is no reason you shouldn't. It's just something that never happens here.

Now didgeridoo - that is something we always play at parties here. Invitations often have "BYOBAD" on them - Bring your own beer and didge".

As an aside, I do genuinely love our indigenous music.

12

Please believe me I wasn't meaning to upset anyone - but the idea of someone playing mandolin at a party is something I've never experienced. There is no reason you shouldn't. It's just something that never happens here.

Now didgeridoo - that is something we always play at parties here. Invitations often have "BYOBAD" on them - Bring your own beer and didge".

As an aside, I do genuinely love our indigenous music.

– JimmyR

No offense taken, Jimmy!

And I've been fooling with Didge since around 1997. I find playing it somewhat transcendental. My didge collection pictured below-- Left is made of very large bamboo trunk, the middle is a horrible polymer plastic "Didjeribone"-- not the best sounding, but it is pitch adjustable like a slide trombone, which allows it be tuned to 10 different key drone modes, so it can easily be used with western music. On the far right is one I made myself out of PVC pipe... I put a lot of work into it-- I used a Dremel to engrave the knotwork ornamentation the entire length of the instrument, and of course hand-fashioned the mouthpiece from beeswax.

Pardon the cat-hair blanket in the window seat-- that's in my office at home, and happens to be a favorite perch for my 10kg (22 lbs) Norwegian Forest Cat.

13

Wow! Didge is amazing when played well - like most instruments. It's not easy. I taught myself circular breathing but still I'm hopeless.

I'm lucky in that sometimes my job leads me to otherwise boring jobs shooting openings of things. Here it's common to have an indigenous welcome to country, which is usually the best bit of the whole routine. I love aboriginal music and dance - it's mesmerising.

14

Wow! Didge is amazing when played well - like most instruments. It's not easy. I taught myself circular breathing but still I'm hopeless.

I'm lucky in that sometimes my job leads me to otherwise boring jobs shooting openings of things. Here it's common to have an indigenous welcome to country, which is usually the best bit of the whole routine. I love aboriginal music and dance - it's mesmerising.

– JimmyR

I was taught circular breathing by a woodwind player, and I can do it, but not for extended periods... If I played more, I'm sure it would improve, but I don't spend enough time with the instrument to master it.

15

Not meaning to steal the thunder from the didgeridoo's, but that's a steal deal on the Mandolin, TP! I think everyone should have one of these little instruments. I'm sure you will have a a lot of fun with it, congratulations on the Reverb snag!

I inherited a very old (1970's) Kentucky Mandolin from my grandfather 15 years ago. I took a year off the guitar to learn how to play it. I was already a violin player, so I was, at least, familiar with the tuning and fingering. It rapidly became a favorite, and I play fiddle tunes, J.S. Bach, and Led Zeppelin on it as well!

I love that little box, and I remember my grandfather every time I play it. Grandpa was a lifelong musician in Phoenix, he knew and played guitar with Buck Owens way back in the day. In his later years, he and grandma played in the Pickers and Grinners. I used to go to their gigs and have a huge grin on my face. I'm proud to be the current custodian of his mandolin.

16

Not meaning to steal the thunder from the didgeridoo's, but that's a steal deal on the Mandolin, TP! I think everyone should have one of these little instruments. I'm sure you will have a a lot of fun with it, congratulations on the Reverb snag!

I inherited a very old (1970's) Kentucky Mandolin from my grandfather 15 years ago. I took a year off the guitar to learn how to play it. I was already a violin player, so I was, at least, familiar with the tuning and fingering. It rapidly became a favorite, and I play fiddle tunes, J.S. Bach, and Led Zeppelin on it as well!

I love that little box, and I remember my grandfather every time I play it. Grandpa was a lifelong musician in Phoenix, he knew and played guitar with Buck Owens way back in the day. In his later years, he and grandma played in the Pickers and Grinners. I used to go to their gigs and have a huge grin on my face. I'm proud to be the current custodian of his mandolin.

– Wade H

That's a great story-- also, I believe that if it's a 70's Kentucky model, it was probably built in Japan, at a time when Japan was really beginning to come into its own for string instrument quality. Kentucky production was moved to Korea in the late, late 80's, and then later to China in the early 00's.

My first mandolin was an early 90's Korean build Kentucky A model, and it served me well, and got me hooked on the instrument. I now own five mandolins-- three Gretsch models (this one and two 9350 Park Avenues), a Fender FM62SC, and an American made '68 Harmony Baroque F (aka the "Batwing") model. And while I could never afford to own a $5K+ Dudenbostel or Collings instrument, I still hope to add a 20's/30's era Gibson A2 to the herd, as I have really come to love the sound of oval-soundhole mandolins. I would also love to pick up a good Italian-style bowlback, but finding a "good" one is easier said than done.

I later gave the old Kentucky to a friend's daughter because she was interested in learning the instrument. She still has it and it's still going strong. I also had a Fender A-body that I gave to another friend.

17

There are so many guitar players around here (and so many better than myself), that when I show up with a mandolin it's a welcome addition. Tartan Phantom

You got that right about there being an abundance of guitar players out there. There's one around every corner, and good ones too! I can't count the times I've been smoked by some 16 year old prodigy!

But mandolin players are far and few between, especially good ones. They fill a sonic void that people don't know is there, until they hear it filled. I get way more gigs on the mandolin than I do the guitar. I even play it simi regularly with my church worship band. I had a K&K pickup installed soon after I inherited my mandolin, and I use a K&K preamp and a Fender Acoustasonic 90 watt amplifier. The amp has an XLR output, which comes in very handy. I usually XLR out to the sound board, and use the amp as a stage monitor.

I gig as much as I want on the mandolin, there always seems to be someone wanting to add a mandolin to their Folk Americana ensemble here in Phoenix. I found that out by going to the community jam get togethers. There doesn't seem to be enough mandolin players to go around with this style of music.

18

Congrats, Rob. I know you'll play the hell out of her.


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