Other terribly useful information

Friday, August 4, 2017


People ask about this instrument.  Generically, it's a guitar-bodied octave mandolin.  Specifically, it is one of Austin Clark's creations.  He lives and works in Boise, ID.  His mandolins have been featured as prizes for the mandolin contest at the Walnut Valley Festival the last several years.

I got interested in this style of instrument after watching videos of Sarah Jarosz, Sierra Hull, John Mailander and others playing one.  Its sound is kind of like an acoustic guitar being run through a chorus pedal, but distinctly different than a twelve-string guitar.

I've had this instrument for less than two years.  It is tuned one octave below a regular mandolin, placing it a fifth higher than a mandocello and a fifth lower than a mandola.  It has the same range as a guitar tuned to standard and capoed at the third fret.

The scale is long enough that standard closed chord positions are sometimes impossible, but the nice bass and middle available from the open lower strings makes you wonder why you'd even try.

Thursday, April 13, 2017


Poster boy for Biking Across Kansas...

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Spending the most luxurious Walnut Valley Festival ever in this borrowed '81 Boler 13 ft trailer.

I'm spoiled.

Saturday, October 17, 2015


Marketing swag: 1.0 mm rounded-triangle acetal picks.

Sunday, September 20, 2015


I've been attending the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield for over 30 years.

Here's the view from the dike on the east side of the fairgrounds on land rush morning.

Sunday, May 3, 2015


I first played music with Eric Nelson when he was a teenager.  We first played on Stage 5 together when he was 15.  It was so good to see the DeWayn Bros in such good form at String Break yesterday.

Sunday, March 29, 2015


This morning at church, a friend asked, "Where do I take a guitar to get it re-strung?".  I said I'd do it.

After the service,  I followed her to her car where she had the guitar.  She said her dad had purchased this guitar before she was born and it has lots of sentimental value.

It was a HUGE case and it weighed a ton.  I lugged the case and contents to my car and opened it.  Inside was an Epiphone jazz box.  The label inside proclaimed "Emperor".  I was pretty sure that this was a top-of-Epiphone's-line of guitars, but I couldn't tell its age.  I told her I'd investigate, string it, and return it.

The serial number, 16700, means that this guitar was made in 1941.  And, I read that it is indeed a higher-end Epiphone.  The acoustic Emperors like this one seem to have been deemed more collectible than the electric ones.  Therefore, this guitar has more than just sentimental value.

Now that it has fresh strings, it plays like a dream.  

Moral of the story:  Say "yes" to changing other people's strings.