Saturday, April 16, 2011

Just for the fun of it

I've been busy with other stuff lately. Lots of low C extensions, preparing for the upcoming ISB conference in San Francisco etc. and I've been wanting to do some bloggin' but been feeling a bit "uncreative". So, today, after a week of ordering a bunch of promo stuff to hand out in SF come June, I started thinking about the power of the logo. Just for the sheer fun of it, I googled "MDP" and am now posting a few of the images that popped up. I still like my Draplin elephant the best.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Making stuff look better

Recently, I had a customer bring a bass to me with some seriously bad varnish issues. The bass had obviously been part of a school inventory in the past and had some major problems. Now I've seen my share of trashed school instruments. Initials carved into the body... candy wrappers stuffed into the bass through the f holes... boogers stuck to the the neck and fingerboard... You name it, I've seen it. This particular instrument had, at some point, been rescued from this abusive lifestyle and ended up in a shop in Connecticut. Being a smaller scale bass, my petite customer snatched it up and had it shipped directly to my front door.
Upon cracking open the shipping container, I hate to say, I was horrified. It looked as if someone had dumped a can of stain all over the instrument without bothering to clean up their mess. Although the bass was playable I absolutely COULD NOT allow my customer to play on a bass looking the way it did. Cosmetically speaking, this went way beyond an enjoyable patina and into the world of "Burn it, burn it, burn it!". I had to do something.

Unfortunately this "something" meant losing a few brain cells.

Fully outfitted in protective gear (respirator, latex, etc.) I went to work. Underneath the pitiful stain on the back of the bass, I uncovered the beautiful, original varnish underneath. Lovely, golden, European flamed maple began to show. A little bit of elbow grease went a long way. The top of the bass was a whole different story. After years of abuse to the varnish, the only thing I could do was strip it. Now usually this IS NOT the answer, but, in this case, we had to do it. After even more elbow grease (and some serious "light-headedness") we have a bass that's real pretty to look at. It sounds FANTASTIC too.

All in all, a really satisfying project.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

MDP Person of the day!

So, if I do a couple of blog posts a day, I can still make my "10 people in 10 days promise". With that being said, today I'm going to write about the one and only MR. STEVE CARDER!!!

Here's a couple of interesting facts about Steve....

-He has more nicknames than anyone else you know. Seriously. And he responds to each and every one of them.

-He grew up in Vienna. Vienna, West Virginia.

-The only boss he listens to is Bruce Springsteen...because #1, Bruce Springsteen rules, and #2 Steve Carder is his own BOSS! Steve owns one of the tastiest sandwich joints in Portland.
If you haven't already, go grab a snack at The People's Sandwich of Portland. I promise you, you won't be disappointed. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

And the final fact o' the day about Steve is that he has a million friends*. ONE MILLION. You don't have a million friends without being pretty darn awesome, and that he is. One of the most genuine people I know. Thanks for representing MDP Steve!

*Okay, maybe not a million friends but it sure seems that way.

p.s. If you go get a sandwich at TPSP and mention this blog post, Steve will give you a free HIGH FIVE! Alright!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Just to prove I'm not a liar...

I swore, a long time ago, that I would write a blog post about each and every person who sent me a picture or let me take a picture of them wearing an MDP t-shirt. I'm keeping good with this one. Let's say... 10 posts in 10 days. If I don't keep to my word, the first person to call me out on it gets a present. Seriously. I give you a present. It will most likely be a t-shirt.

John, more famously known as "Captain John", works at a pretty cool place in Wood Village, OR called Big D's Printhouse. These guys hooked me and a bunch of people I know up with some really great merchandise. Friendly? Check! Professional? Check! A job well done? Check and 5 stars!
I couldn't be happier with the work Captain John did for me.

In addition to being a master printer, John is also a badass bass player in Portland band DIESTO. If you haven't already, check them out! Next show is 2.18.11 in Seattle.

AND, in addition to being a master printer and badass bass player, Captain John is just one of those people that you are lucky to call a buddy. Thanks Captain! YOU RULE!

p.s. Sorry about the blurry photo. I'm still working on keeping my fingers away from the lens...
***one down, 9 to go....stay tuned!***

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Remembering Homer Mensch

Today I am remembering the late, great Homer Mensch who died five years ago today. I had the honor of studying with Mr. Mensch while I was a student at the Manhattan School. I could tell you all about the wonderful things he did professionally but instead I'd like to add a few personal quips...

One of my favorite things was his level of "casual" professionalism. Every week I would take a lesson from him in his own apartment and every week, without fail, he would be waiting for me with shined shoes and a freshly pressed shirt. He showed respect to everyone. Even the scrubby kid in the Dead Kennedy's tee shirt with half her hair burned off because her "friend at NYU" tried to bleach it the night before. He was the classiest man I've ever known.

He also had a "phone crush" on my mom. Now, he never once met my mother but would tell me week after week about "what a lovely woman she is" because she would chat with him occasionally when he called to schedule lessons. Obviously he had good taste. My mom rules.

He only drank decaf. He taught almost 50 lessons a week and only drank decaf. That's impressive.

He played on the original soundtrack to Jaws. Du-duh. Du-duh. Du-duh. You've all heard him and he invokes fear in you! Du-duh. Du-duh du-duh du-duh duduhdudhudhudhhdudhdudhhdhduhbgdhjduduhdh! JAWS!

He was a total badass tennis player. Seriously. Almost went pro.

He was a pretty good tuba player too.

He would casually refer to the one and only Mr. Leonard Bernstein as "Lenny" as if you all were the best of friends. I thought that was so cool.

I could go on about all the little things I remember about my time with Mr. Mensch but the underlying point is that he was one of the most influential people in my life. In ways he probably never realized he affected me so positively. He was an amazing man who offered his time and knowledge to so many young musicians. When I visited with him years after graduating he welcomed me into his home as he always did and showed interest in my personal endeavors in an almost grandfatherly sort of way. I feel lucky to have studied and spent time with such a man. A true legend.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Liner notes

I was recently given a recording of Oregon's latest album and was delighted and honored to be mentioned in the liner notes. To purchase or listen to clips from the album go here.