Liner Notes

The Mandolin Player's Pastime - Phil Williams

VRCD 379

In the winter, I like to sit before the fireplace and play fiddle tunes that work well on the mandolin all by myself, with no backup. These tunes all are very satisfactory to play without any backup, just solo mandolin. Here are 57 of them. Most were recorded on our sailboat, anchored in a quiet bay in British Columbia. Some, with Albert Holdridge, bass, were recorded in our living room.

The mandolin I used to record is a 1914 GIbson F4. Vivian is playing her 1965 Gibson LG0 guitar. These tunes work well on any mandolin that is properly setup. I often play these on my Gibson F5 as well as my collection of Neopolitan mandolins. Before playing a tune, it helps to run the scale of the key of the tune first to get the fingers adjusted. Watch the phrasing of the tunes, and don't feel you always have to play them fast.

After a few years of playing these tunes, I put together a book of 140 of the tunes I liked in standard music notation and mandolin tablature, called The Mandolin Player's Pastime. These are mostly "Northern" style tunes from the 19th century or before, from England, Scotland, Ireland, and the U.S. A lot of them are suitable for contra a square dancing. This book is available from Voyager Recordings.

Phil Williams

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