Clark JM Jazz Mandolin
Tips & Tricks Mel Bay Mandolin Sessions








Sage Wisdom

"Good improvisation communicates harmonic progression melodically. Effective melodies manipulate harmonic content through the use of guide tones and preparatory gravity notes, masterfully woven in systematic tension, release, and transparent harmonic definition."

« October 2015 | Main

November 11, 2015 | Another DeCava! Limehouse Blues

We posted a terrific Classified find a few weeks ago from New England builder James DeCava, his signature jazz-bodied 8-string mandolin. Confession: we ended up buying it and have simply been blown away by the quality craftsmanship, and the character in its tone. Strung up now with some Thomastik flawound strings, it may well be the best jazz sound we've ever encountered on a mandolin.

L'Artista "Limehouse Blues."

Now we need someone to save us from temptation and pick up the other instrument listed in the Mandolin Cafe Classifieds. This time it's his other signature mandolin build, the L'Artista "Limehouse Blues." We've been teased by the builder database overtime this instrument shows up on the front page of the Cafe, and now this one is looking for a home at a ridiculously low selling price of $2400!


We dare you to beat us to the punch and pick this up before we do. We can vouch for the reputation of the seller having already done several smooth transactions with him.

DeCava_LH_HdstkFront.jpg DeCava_LH_HdstkBack.jpg

From the ad description: "The instrument was inspired by the instrumental version of "The Limehouse Blues" performed by The Hot Club of France that helped to bring Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli to the world stage. In addition to the unique color that appears to be somewhere between green and blue, there are a number of distinctive features of this mandolin including: Inlays include a Chinese Dragon on the front of the headstock, and Big Ben on the back of the headstock to represent the "Limehouse" section of London's Chinatown that served as the inspiration for the song. The mandolin construction features a red spruce top, figured maple back, sides and neck, with beautiful burl maple on the front of the headstock."

Cafe Ad: Limehouse Blues Mandolin
Builder Website: CeCava Guitars


Did we mention--it's blue?


Posted by Ted at 9:30 PM

November 5, 2015 | JazzMando Pick and String Alternatives


It's been a good run for us this past decade, but we are shuttering down the JazzMando Merchandise Center, including our online sales of strings, picks, and soon our books. We appreciate the patronage over these years and don't worry, we're not leaving you out in the cold.

Strings: What used to be Labella JM-11 JazzMando strings have disappeared, but with that, the quality control issues that plagued us for so long. We're confident you will be happy with the flatwound string we helped D'Addario develop several years ago, the EFW74 (formerly FW74).

Picks: The JM Proplec have been officially retired, but you can still get the 346 pick from any D'Andrea pick dealer, albeit without the gold stamping on the 2nd side. We've made a personal move to the JM V-pick, which we are happy to announce is available direct from the maker himself on the V-picks website.

Books: Getting Into Jazz Mandolin is still available from the publisher Mel Bay, or of course you can still get print copies through Amazon. Note the books no longer come with a CD, but the accompanying audio is now available through an online link.

Thanks for your support these past few years!

Posted by Ted at 7:30 AM

November 3, 2015 | The Mandolin Omnibook

As policy, we tend to shy away from promoting Crowdfunding projects on the site, but we have quite a number of industry friends showcased in this Kickstarter campaign, The Mandolin Omnibook. Within a few days of announcing, the project has already reached its modest funding goal.

According the description of the product, Author Alex Heflin is tackling "A collection of important jazz mandolin solo transcriptions, featuring solos by artists including Don Stiernberg and Jethro Burns."

Artist and song selections are pictured in the graphic below. Check out the video on the Kickstarter Page: The Mandolin Omnibook


Posted by Ted at 8:47 PM

November 1, 2015 | Hamilton de Holanda with Brasilidade Geral


Nothing better than a mandolin playing in a horn band context. We love seeing our instrument function in the jazz world like a "legit" instrument, and the following video clip demonstrates why. Enjoy bandolim superstar Hamilton de Holanda performance with Brazil's Brasilidade Geral with us!

Video Link: Hamilton de Holanda with Brasilidade Geral; Carolina de Carol

Facebook Page: Brasilidade Geral
Music of Hamilton de Holanda

Posted by Ted at 5:59 AM

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