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Author Topic: Blues on a Tiple  (Read 5160 times)

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Offline vandeller

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Blues on a Tiple
« on: September 14, 2009, 03:02:47 PM »
I'm a blues guitarist and mandolin player, getting interested in buying and learning to play the tiple, but there's precious little out there that I can find, to listen to or read - any tips?  Who are the tiple players I should be looking out for?  I'm only aware of it as a footnote on string band records.  I also play blues and old time country on a Puerto -Rican cuatro, which is an interesting sound - I only got it as a stop gap while looking for a tiple.  I still haven't got one, but in the mean time the cuatro is a good substitute.

Offline Slack

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Re: Tiple? What can you tell me?
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2009, 03:10:31 PM »
Hi Vandeller, welcome to weeniecampbell.

Are you looking to play a South American tiple?  Or the tiple produced by Martin? - which is basically a 10 string ukulele...

Offline dj

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Re: Tiple? What can you tell me?
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2009, 05:09:17 PM »
Big Boy Teddy Edwards recorded a few blues on which he accompanied himself with a tiple, both solo and with a band.  All of his recordings are on Document CD 5440.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Tiple? What can you tell me?
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2009, 08:05:06 PM »
Dj beat me to it on Teddy Edwards. I really like Teddy Edwards, though he is frankly much more fun as a singer than a tiple player, and better with a band.

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Tiple? What can you tell me?
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2009, 01:27:30 AM »
One of the finest tiple players around is Pete Mason of the Hokum Hotshots from Newcastle, UK.  He plays a fanastic hand-made instrument crafted by York-based luthier, Ralph Brown.

A few years ago I bought a Harmony tiple on eBay, which is basically that company's take on the Martin design with 10 strings in four courses - 2 / 3 / 3 / 2. Rick Sellens aka rick218 repaired it for me, but to my great regret I could not get on with it. Whenever I played it, I got pains in the wrist (I don't get that from playing guitar or tenor ukulele). Anyway, Rick liked it, so we did a swap - I had a Regal mandolin he wasn't playing (to be fair I don't really play it myself much either) and he had the tiple, which he tells me still needs some work on the intonation.

I find the sound of the tiple somehow more appealing than that of a mandolin, which is a sound I really like.

A second-hand Martin tiple will cost you upwards of 600 (c. $1000) here in the UK - if you can find one that is.  Rick and I did find one in a good guitar shop in Brighton some time ago, but I did not have the money to buy it - and was wary of the aforementioned wrist pains. That shop also had a beautiful Ralph Brown tiple, but I seem to remember it carried a price tag of at least twice the above.

You do see cheaper South American 12-string tiples on eBay, but I have no idea what they are like.

Let us know if you get a tiple and what you think of it.
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Tiple? What can you tell me?
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2009, 10:37:56 AM »
I'm fond of a tiple myself....

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Tiple? What can you tell me?
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2009, 12:50:22 AM »
Ha! Scratchy, I might have known it!  Excellent performance as always.

Given your northern connections and my Sherlock Holmes tendencies I'd surmise that's a Ralph Brown koa tiple. Am I right? If you ever get sick of the instrument, I've got a crisp ten pound note waiting for you here...
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Tiple? What can you tell me?
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2009, 01:22:08 AM »
...no - it's a Harmony...(I think)
« Last Edit: September 16, 2009, 01:23:54 AM by Prof Scratchy »

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Tiple? What can you tell me?
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2009, 03:21:21 AM »
Oh well, wrong again!

The older Harmony tiples, like the one I had, usually have a distinctive slight dome on the top of the headstock.  I'll see if I can attach a picture.
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline Slack

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Re: Tiple? What can you tell me?
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2009, 07:31:09 AM »
Thanks for posting that Scratchy - Henry Thomas works well on Tiple!

Hopefully the original poster will check back!

Offline vandeller

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Re: Tiple? What can you tell me?
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2009, 01:46:37 PM »
Well... thank you all! 
I just bought an early 1970s copy of a Martin tiple, made by Yasuma - I briefly had one of their mandolins which was pretty good so thought I'd risk it.  If I'd had the money I would have preferred the bell shaped 1920s Washburn on sale at the same time, but maybe I'm just being romantic about old instruments! 
Which are the Big Boy Teddy Edwards tracks with tiple?
Nice to hear the Henry Thomas on tiple, I do a couple of his songs,solo and with my band, on cuatro which works well.  I also find Blind Willie Mctell songs work well for me on cuatro as the transposition of pitch makes them more in my range.

Offline dj

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Re: Tiple? What can you tell me?
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2009, 02:55:13 PM »
Quote
Which are the Big Boy Teddy Edwards tracks with tiple?

Solo:
  Them Things
  Family Troubles
  I Ain't Gonna Give You None
  Lovin' Blues
  Wild Woman Blues
  Alcohol Mama

With a band:
  Who Did You Give My Barbecue To? Parts 1 & 2
  I'm Gonna Tell My Mama On You
  Louise
  Love Will Provide For Me
  If I Had A Girl Like You

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Tiple? What can you tell me?
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2009, 01:00:20 AM »

I just bought an early 1970s copy of a Martin tiple, made by Yasuma - I briefly had one of their mandolins which was pretty good so thought I'd risk it. 


You should have said you were bidding on that one - I chipped in towards the end and probably pushed the price up.  If I'd known a fellow Weenie was bidding, I'd have kept clear.  Let us know what the tiple is like when you get it - maybe even post a sound recording.
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Tiple? What can you tell me?
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2009, 07:14:02 AM »
Quote
Which are the Big Boy Teddy Edwards tracks with tiple?

Solo:
  Them Things
  Family Troubles
  I Ain't Gonna Give You None
  Lovin' Blues
  Wild Woman Blues
  Alcohol Mama

With a band:
  Who Did You Give My Barbecue To? Parts 1 & 2

  I'm Gonna Tell My Mama On You
  Louise
  Love Will Provide For Me
  If I Had A Girl Like You


Vandeller, in case you want to hear them sort of right away, the Teddy Edwards tracks are on the Juke, accessible by following the links on the left menu to Weenie Juke Radio. Once there you can request a song through the Playlist and Requests link. Unfortunately, with our newly required webradio setup, requests take a good 45-60 minutes to play.

Offline vandeller

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Re: Tiple? What can you tell me?
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2009, 12:35:56 PM »
Just got the tiple - looks good for the price - wrestling with the tuning now, though it appears to have been strung wrong, the second string is the lowest, I thought it was the third that was lowest, with a lifted fourth like a ukulele - A D Fsharp B.  Until I get a new set of strings at the weekend I guess I'll play it in this even more eccentric tuning!  Will report further later.  Any tips welcome...

Tags: tiple Teddy Edwards 
 


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