Today I'm going to do something a little different and talk about a party in Nashville a few years ago, where we had not only a lot of good pickers but also a lot of good mandolins. Some people there took some good pictures.
There are a lot of really excellent mandolin builders active today, and Randy Wood is my favorite. I was fortunate enough to acquire Randy's first mandolin back in 1971, and have owned it ever since. It's a great instrument, and it really taught me to play. Then in December of 2001, Randy's #3 mandolin came up in the Bill Monroe estate auction, and Murphy secretly bought it for me and gave it to me for Christmas. It, also, is a terrific mandolin, and it's the one I now usually take out of the house now for picking and performing.
At this party in Nashville I had Randy's #1 and #3 mandolins with me, and Christopher was there with the mandolin he plays, which is Randy Wood #1281 (made in February, 1981). Also there was Roland White, who acquired Randy's #2 mandolin new (in 1969) and had played it ever since. Roland also brought along his late brother Clarence's mandolin, a very nice Randy Wood 2-point, a real showcase with elaborate inlay and carving as well as a great sound. We lined all these mandolins up on the couch, and got a picture:
From left to right: Randy Wood #1; RW#2; RW#3; Clarence White's RW 2-point; and RW#1281
It was a pretty historic occasion, I think, to have all these mandolins in one place. And to top it all off, who should walk in but Randy himself, who was in town for the weekend! So we had, on one place, not only all these great mandolins but also the man who made them. Such a gathering could not happen again, since Roland has since sold RW#2, but it's a lot of fun to remember.