Confessions of the Mandolin obsessed

Restorative Mandolin Fever

By Annette Siegel

Mandolin_groupIt all started back in January of 2011. Trying to stave off the after Christmas/Holiday blues I felt compelled to look inside the little mandolin case my husband had around the shop for many years. There was a cute little “bowl back” mandolin called a Giuseppe Pettine Special made by Vega that I thought of as a “she.” So very cute and such a beautiful sound…the only argument, her bowl back was difficult to keep on my lap. It got me thinking about adding a different voice to the music I was playing. So I dived into the Internet world looking for and discovering other mandolins. I found out that these round backs were called “tater bugs” have a European heritage and are generally more suited to classical playing. Also found out about the golden age of mandolin building/making in the early 1900s here in the US. Gibson was at the forefront of this, bringing the “F” shape to the mandolin that most people would recognize today, especially if you’ve attended a bluegrass festival or seen the latest Geico commercial. There is also an “A” shape that is round, but not the “bowl back.”

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