Wednesday, 24 February 2016


Woohoo I have been busy with my Octave, playing in church three times a month,  and at Opportunity to Worship at one of the Aged Homes, all playing along with Barry. I am now joining him at our regular Aged Care concerts. It is nice when people comment that the instrument has a lovely sound. We also run a Strumalong group twice a month with about thirty participants.  Just started practising three numbers for the St Patricks Day morning tea concert in for the local hospital. About 12 of our members are also in the St Marks Choir which is putting the concert on.

Our Strumalong group is vaguely based on a ukulele group we attended while it was in existence at Lismore a few years ago, except all stringed instruments are welcome, and we have a violin, guitars, mandolins, banjo, as well as a number of ukuleles, and also people who join in by singing.

I also bought my LAST instrument, a Cordoba baritone ukulele, and it has the best sound of a ukulele that I have heard.  I am just using it at home and amusing myself picking.  I am still using tab, though I am working towards reading the notes.  There aren't many songs tabbed for baritone ukulele on the internet, but if the tune doesn't go below "middle D" for want of a better description, I can use the guitar tabbed songs as the strings are the same as the first four strings on the guitar.

Saturday, 31 January 2015


Woohoo.... I love my mandolins!  We had a trip to Sydney and I have the one from ebay, such a sweet sounding soprano instrument, and I also traded in the Kentucky on a Trinity College octave mandolin, and it is my main instrument now.

It is my first public outing with the Octave today with Lynn and Barry at the Uniting Church.  It went well at the practice on Friday. I love its bass-y sound.

Love and Blessings.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014


Such a lot has been going on.

We now support Lynn in Praise and Worship on the first three Sundays every month.  The big one coming up is the Nimbin Carols in the Shed on second Sunday of December.

Lynn and I have had a busy time with our participation in St Marks Singers.

Music with Friends at the Uniting Hall has replaced the Community Garden Music Group. The aircon  in the hall is very much apprecated.  We now have 24 participants, 13 playing including guitar, mandolin and ukulele, and eleven singers.  We are hoping for a good Christmas party on Saturday 13th December.  And the support from Peter and hierarchy at the Church is very much appreciated.

The Kentucky 172 mandolin duly arrived and somehow I did not fall in love with , although it had very good reviews, and plays well.  I think it is because I compromised as I really wanted a lighter coloured one..
I am now taking a chance on one that I have bought on ebay for the princely sum of $90..... have to wait and see how it turns out.  It has to be picked up in Sydney.

Very busy week coming up with two concerts, St Marks etc, and the party at the end of the week, Nimbin Sunday, the Monday Music, and another concert and singing at the Lismore hospital.  The Nine Lessons too and the St Marks party.... and more.

Love and Blessings.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014


The book, Beginning Mandolin, arrived today.  It looks very comprehensive and useful, one of the best instruction books I have seen, and I have looked over a few.

At first glance at the chord charts, I was very excited to see that he uses the ones I had worked out for myself.     How's that!    There is a DVD as well.

Monday, 18 August 2014


Here is an online chord chart. Of course it is a beginner chart. See the little crosses indicating that string is not played.
Lets look at the C Chord. The notes that make up the C Chord are 1 - 3 - 5 = C - E - G.
The open notes are G D A E.  The chart above tells us to play E and C, and not the open strings G and E which are part of the chord. I don't understand the thinking of whoever prepared and approved the above chart..

 If we strum the four strings we are playing G E C and E, (4th to 1st string) all notes that make up the C Chord.  A much fuller sound  and to my liking.

A Chord. The notes are A C# and E.  What does the chord chart say? Play C# and  a high A.
My A chord  is  A on 4th string E on third string, C# on second string and open first string  = E, easily doable and a rich sound. And so it goes on, I've made up my own chord chart and Barry has helped me check them all, playing the chords on the guitar along with me.

We played several songs from including Beautiful Isle of Somewhere and In the Garden (I come to the garden alone), last night, very clearly set out.


While I await my new mandolin which should arrive this week, I am going to remind myself what has been going on over the past few years.  At hubby's choice we have had a fairly high level of entertaining at Nursing Homes and mainly for the Aged, and back to averaging six or seven a month lately. We are in the process of dropping back to three from September. Pic is typical though we have done lunches for 100+ particularly Christmas thank yous for volunteers and Christmas in July.

For last couple of years we have been helping out our friend, who leads worship, accompanying her, Barry on guitar and me on ukulele.  This is on second and third Sundays of the month, six numbers on former, and three on latter occasion.  My tenor ukulele at left of pic (and I made the banner too).

We also have a small group at the community garden and this pic below is on the first day.  We have had up to 27 attend, and there are 12 -15 regulars. Instruments - guitar, ukulele, mandolin, octave mandolin and voice. The attendance of a man with age onset polio, (coming back after polio in childhood), in his gofer, and his satisfaction and enjoyment on the ukulele is particularly heartwarming to me. His wife, who started off helping him, has also joined in on ukulele.
I made up a book with 40 chorded songs, with ukulele chording on each tune, and we have been using that one so far. We have beginner ukulele players progressing very well and now three mandolins players.
We already had two mandolins in the house, so I was able to get started on the mandolin and took it along at our last session at the garden.  I added the mandolin chords in my copy, though I find most of the chords easier on the mandolin.  I practised and was prepared to play in church yesterday, but unfortunately came down with a head cold, so it did not eventuate.

I  listed all the notes in the chords that I need to use from a piano book and worked the chords out, and quite frankly some of the chord charts online are not satisfactory in my opinion.  I have also been learning where the notes are as I am particularly interested in picking my favourite tunes and prefer notation. I find with tab that I still look at the melody line to check, though I mainly attempt tunes I know.

I thought I would reward myself with a new mandolin towards the end of the year, but hubby encouraged me to go ahead now, and the new mandolin, and a book with DVD arrive this week.  He is quite good on the mandolin, though guitar is his main instrument, so I am confident that I will go ahead.  I have had bad experiences with "professional" teachers, or people who portrayed themselves as teachers in the past, and am not going to look for a mandolin teacher here in our country town.

I have been in Mandolin Cafe forum and see people talking about mandolins at $5,000 plus, and all the big names,  and my modest instrument doesn't rate a mention , but that is all I am prepared to spend.
A favourite pic, on back deck. Emi with Barry's handmade in Australia mandolin.