Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Eastman MDO-305 Octave Mandolin for Sale

 Hey everyone,

Hope everyone is doing well! I have an Eastman MDO-305 octave mandolin I am interested in selling. It’s in great shape and a fine instrument for orchestral playing.  Here is a link to a video where you can hear it played:

It’s a great instrument and I’ve enjoyed playing it, I just have my eyes on a different model and I need to make some room!

These retail these days for about $920, I’d take $800 for it. Comes with an Eastman gig bag! 

Let me know!

Monday, March 27, 2023

Weber Sage octave and W.A. Petersen Irish bouzouki for sale


From Tedd:
I have a Weber short scale Sage octave mando and a W.A. Petersen Irish bouzouki looking for new homes. 
They are both fine instruments but I don't play them anymore. I would like to get $1,500 for each. 
If you are interested feel free to contact me for more information and photos.

Tedd Ronning
(651) 724- 7396

Friday, December 30, 2022

mandolin/fiddle oriented music books for free

 At our Jan. 9th rehearsal, I'm bringing a few mandolin/fiddle oriented books free to first takers. 


  • The Complete Mandolinist (spiral bound) by Marilynn Mair
  • Die Mandoline (mandolin duos) by Ursula and Bernd Junghanns
  • Crosspicking Technique by Mickey Chocran


  • The Scottish Ceilidh Collection
  • Scottish Fiddlers' Session Tune Book
  • O'Neill's Music of Ireland

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Opus 6 smartmusic practice file

 I made a smartmusic practice file for Handel opus 6 #1, movements I and II. In the"videos" dropbox folder, there's a file called opus-6-1-I-II-smartmusic.web. When you open the .web file, it opens your default browser, and then smartmusic runs in the browser. It works with chrome and edge. It does not work with firefox, but you can copy the url and paste it into a different browser. Try it out and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Transitioning to mandolin from bowed string instruments

 CMSA had a workshop about this very topic. And, the MMO is fortunate to have a number of players joining us recently and over the years who have and are making this transition!

A few of us attended this workshop. What I want to focus on is tremolo.

By the way...your facility with your left  hand...awesome! Those of us coming from other musical realms have to work on those upper positions. Share your knowledge you bowed string peeps!

Some come to the mandolin thinking it's tremolo it when you'd make a left hand vibrato.

Well...maybe. But no.

The style/era of the music makes a difference. 

Baroque (Bach, Handel) - No or as indicated by the conductor. 

Early classical (Mozart) - Same. 

Later Classical, Romantic - Under the slur, long notes - usually dotted quarter or more. 

Modern compositions for mandolin orchestra - follow the notation, the composer is explicit about the needs of the music.

As far as HOW to tremolo...relax...perhaps do the quarter note/eight note/sixteenth note/32nd note exercise and envision how to make it flow. Think about making that liquid string of notes louder and softer. Stay in the tension. Relax.

If there's any question or controversy about when to tremolo, look to Lon. He'll have the answer.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Minnesota "Ice Picks" performs at Open Mic!


Fantastic time at the first in person convention of the Classical Mandolin Society of America since the COVID hiatus. The organization was still active with "conventions in the cloud" that were well done and well received, but boy howdy, were folks happy to be back together in person again!

A number of MMO peeps attended: Daryl, Erik, Dotty, David Ingham, Jack, Jonathan, Lon, Lou, Cheryl.

We had an aHa moment and thought "hey, we have enough people to do an Open Mic ensemble. And we did!

In an odd confluence of events, the lower voices dominated, so Dotty switched to mandolin and we recruited friend Nancy King from the Atlanta Mandolin Orchestra to join us in performing John Goodin's Wedding March Suite and Peter O's Red Lodge Reel at Open Mic. And we were fortunate to get the slot. It was nerve wracking and fun! Thanks to all who participated.

Otherwise. In the lead up to the convention, a few of us gathered and tried rehearsing some of the pieces. Let us say, we shook our heads about this difficult music (some had unfamiliar time signatures, some had a difficult key - E Major - with ridiculously fast passages, some were absolutely gorgeous and easy to a much slower tempo). We thought OMG how will this possibly come together with only 3 sectional rehearsals and 4 full ensemble rehearsals?

Cut to the chase. It did. The final concert was AMAZING.

There were a number of wonderful workshops. Many about the music of the Philippines and South America.

The program kept us busy and engaged the whole time. The Kalamazoo Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra did a very nice and tight performance featuring some singers doing some 1930's(?) style tunes and some other challenging works. They were wonderful. And great convention hosts!

No matter what skill level, people learn a lot, participate in the En Masse as best they're able and have the best time you can with a bass, guitar or mandolin in hand!

Next year's will be in Kansas City, which is drivable. Hope more MMO peeps will consider attending.

Please talk to any of us mentioned above about the experience and mark your calendars for November of next year (I've forgotten the date and it's not yet on website but will be soon no doubt).

As for transportation, there was a lot of carpooling. Erik rode with Daryl, Jack and David with Lou, Dotty with the Lou group up there and with Cheryl back. So don't figure you'll have to drive alone or go by plane!

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Album Release Announcement

 Hello MMO Friends,

I am very excited to tell you all that this past week I released a new album of all original compositions! It features mandolin and octave mandolin on every track, and includes my own recording of Defiant. I was heavily inspired by the soundtracks to fantasy films, Studio Ghibli movies, tabletop gaming, and the fantasy genre in general. It is available to stream for free on Spotify and YouTube/YouTube music, as well as on Apple Music, Amazon Music, and just about anywhere else you can stream music! You can also download it on iTunes, Amazon, and the other web stores if you so choose. While you're there you can also give a listen to a couple of albums that I released last year, my first collection titled "Borne Aloft" which featured the Raven, and a collection of tunes I wrote for mandolin quartet, "Introspection". You can also listen to the first track off the new album below!

Hope everyone is doing well! It was wonderful to see and hear you at the Arboretum, hopefully I can resume attending practice semi-regularly come fall. Have a great summer and thanks for listening!

Benjamin Gieseke, M1

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

CMSA 2022 MMO Update. Wow!

A lot of chat prior to last night's performance. There's a BUNCH of MMO people going to CMSA 2022 in Kalamazoo!

Here's what I know:

Mandolins: Cheryl G., Lou, Allison

Mandolas: Jonathan, Sarah

Mandocellos: Daryl C, Dotty, Erick

Bass/guitar: Jack L. Dave Ingham

Director: Lon Hendricks 

I may have missed someone. There are a lot of gyrations figuring out transportation, but people are open to driving together. There are some folk going via train and plane.

Let me know if you are considering attending and are trying to figure out transportation.


Richfield Bandshell!

 So glad to see so many of us at the Richfield Bandshell last night!

Jim and I were there early and set up chairs and chatted with the young man handling sound. He was very amiable and helpful and clearly enjoyed his job. He talked about the lunchtime children's program they had earlier about science and how they had the kids and the entertainer all on stage.

As a performance venue, this is a new one not just to us, but to the city of Richfield as it opened over the last 3-4 years. Great acoustics onstage without monitor speakers. A nearby bathroom (wow!). Wise of them to hold up on landscaping given the drought of the past couple of years. In a few years, the arbor vitae behind the stage will grow and shelter performers' backs (and iPads), not to mention the audience's eyes from the setting sun.

It's clear there's Richfield community support given the number of people who came out in spite of the iffy weather forecast and stayed for the entire performance!

I just wanted to thank everyone in the orchestra (we had an excellent turnout) for sticking with the program despite the forecast.



Sunday, July 3, 2022

 CMSA is coming up! Kalamazoo, Sept. 21-25.

Most of the music is already available thanks to Lon who is key to all of that.

I do think attending workshops and conventions, particularly those that are classical in orientation (but none-the-less play a wide variety of music), are wonderful development opportunities. Several days to JUST play the instrument, attend workshops about the instrument, and perform together!

If you're intimidated by the notion...don't be. You ARE good enough no matter your skills. You will have concentrated time, be around knowledgable people and will improve. And there's no shame in playing air mandolin at times!

Go, if you can spare the time and afford it.

This year, if you register now, you'll already have access to your parts, so you can begin looking at them, maybe some performances exist on Youtube and you can listen (I haven't looked, usually at least one is there).

In August, I propose to host small mandolin family instrument group practice sessions Saturday mornings 10 AM at my home in Excelsior. By small, I mean no more than 5 people. (Guitars, I can't hope to help you, you may want to do your own thing). Though I play mandocello, I've played mandolin and octave in the orchestra.

We'll focus on the tricky bits...seeing if we can't identify optimal left hand fingerings for stratospheric sections and work on rhythms to the extent we can. That prep will make your experience at CMSA even more enjoyable.

Look me up in the roster on and shoot me an email if you're interested in doing this.

And I encourage others to do the same outreach/small group thing. In fact, I think the MMO will get better if various folks go "hmm, this is challenging...maybe an off-site sectional will help!"