Category Archives: Uncategorized

For sale: Lyon and Healy C style mandolin (#55 c.1919)

After a lot of hemming and hawing, I’ve decided to put my Lyon and Healy C-style mandolin up for sale. If you’re reading this, you probably know that Lyon and Healy mandolins are the go-to for many classical mandolinists, particularly in the US. They’re known for their sweet, resonant tone, easy playability and an exceptionally high standard of workmanship.

This one has a straight neck, with no top sinkage or cracks. It also has the original finger rest/pickguard, tailpiece, bridge, tuners and case. It has a varnish finish, which sort of glows in good light. Apart from the playwear and dings you’d expect on an instrument of this vintage, it’s in excellent condition.

Please note that the bridge has been moved from its original position. If you’d like, you can move it back; it’ll look a little prettier but will play out of tune as you go up the neck. This is something common to all the Lyon and Healys I’ve come across, and I’ve been told that it has something to do with differences in how strings are wound now versus back in the olden days. Who knows?

If you have any questions about the condition, just let me know — and I’m happy to send more pictures.

Because this mandolin was played extensively and was not just a collectable, it was refretted with modern fretwire and the fingerboard was planed, which in terms of playability, intonation and articulation, was a major upgrade. It’s set up with light Thomastik flatwound strings, the frets were recently dressed and it plays beautifully and sounds fantastic, just as it is.

I’m asking $3300 and will cover shipping within the lower 48. Comes with a 48-hour trial period. If it’s not what you’re looking for, just pay for insured return shipping and I’ll issue a refund when it comes back to me, minus my shipping costs. Will offer a discount for local sales (I’m in St. Paul, MN).

If you’re interested or have any questions, shoot me an email using the contact form on my website.

High 48s Bluegrass Jam Camp!

Super excited to be back at the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association’s August Fest jam camp with the High 48s this year. This camp is just the thing if you’re learning to play bluegrass fiddle and looking for a way to get out of the practice room and start making music with other people.…Continue Reading

The Bluegrass Brunch is Back!

It’s that time of year — The High 48s will be playing every Saturday in January and February from 11am to 1pm at the Aster Cafe in Minneapolis for our twelfth-annual (!) bluegrass brunch. It’s a limited run and an intimate room, so the tables fill up pretty fast. In other words, reservations strongly encouraged.…Continue Reading

Soldier’s Joy Fiddle Lesson

Here’s an intermediate arrangement of one of the most standard fiddle standards of all time, Soldier’s Joy. This tune’s been around a couple hundred years, and it’s still in circulation at pretty much every fiddle jam circle. To download a free PDF of the sheet music, click here.Continue Reading

Five Miles of Ellum Wood Mandolin Lesson

Here’s a beginning-intermediate arrangement of a great old-time fiddle tune called Five Miles of Ellum Wood. The basic melody here is pretty straightforward, but the right-hand rhythm can be a little more challenging, shuffling along steadily when the melody hangs on one pitch for a while. This would be a good tune for some metronome…Continue Reading

Saint Anne’s Reel Fiddle Lesson

Here’s an intermediate arrangement of one of the most standard tunes in the bluegrass/old-time repertoire. Like Whiskey Before Breakfast and Ook Pik Waltz, this tune is on loan to us from the Canadian old-time fiddling tradition(s). In this arrangement, the tune gets the bluegrass treatment with some bluesy slides and some open, droning double-stops. To…Continue Reading

Saint Anne’s Reel on Mandolin — Free Sheet Music

If you’re watching this video, you probably know all about St. Anne’s Reel already. It’s a classic Canadian fiddle that’s a standard in bluegrass and American old-time music. If you’re looking to build up repertoire of standard fiddle tunes for bluegrass/old-time jams, this is should be one of the first, let’s say, ten tunes you…Continue Reading

New single from The High 48s!

The new single from The High 48s just landed on the streaming platforms today. This is a tune I wrote during lockdown and named after my favorite Columbo villain, played by Ruth Gordon. It’s got seven chords and there’s probably nothing about this that Bill Monroe would’ve recognized as bluegrass, but the 48s were up…Continue Reading

Grey Owl Fiddle Duet

As promised, here’s another fiddle duet arrangement for you. This is a great Métis fiddle tune that’s been drifting into the bluegrass fiddle repertoire lately. Click here to download a copy of the sheet music (standard notation). Enjoy! And as usual, if you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line using the…Continue Reading

Melinda (aka, “Old Melinda”)

Here’s a tune I recorded — in a slowed down, spacier version — on my solo album a while back. I learned Melina (sometimes called “Old Melinda”) from an old recording of Russell “Casey” Jones, a fiddler who regularly played live on KFNF, the radio station in Shenandoah, Iowa where jazz bassist Charlie Haden (Ornette…Continue Reading

The Bluegrass Brunch is Back!

I’m beyond psyched to announce that The High 48s are going to be back at the Aster every Saturday from 11am to 1pm in January and February for our long-running Bluegrass Brunch. For many years (eight?), this is what got us through the coldest months of winter here in Minnesota…until last year (cue the sad…Continue Reading

Blue Ox Fiddle Workshop

Thanks to everyone who came to my fiddle workshop at Blue Ox this weekend! Just in case “Scotland” isn’t permanently engraved in your memory, here’s a link where you can download the sheet music.!AmDZi7PxHuQLguE6mtld0dOxwGaCJA?e=cg8Zy0 The sheet music includes a harmony part that we didn’t go over in the workshop (but you might’ve heard me…Continue Reading

Simple Gifts Mandolin Sheet Music

Here’s an arrangement of Simple Gifts I wrote for solo mandolin. During the pandemic, I spent a lot of time finding music to play unaccompanied on mandolin, fiddle and violin. For obvious reasons. This arrangement should be doable for most intermediate mandolin players. If you’re not sure how you rank on the ol’ beginner-to-advanced continuum…Continue Reading

Muiñeira de Ponte Sampaio

During the long pandemic winter, when the walls were closing in, I started thinking a lot about solo arrangements for mandolin (fiddle and violin). Since playing live with other humans was still months away, the time seemed right for playing solo. So I started writing solo arrangements for myself and for my students. This is…Continue Reading

Jenny Lynn — Video Lesson

In this lesson, I’ll teach you a bluegrass (and old-time) standard that’s been recorded by everyone from Bill Monroe to Tyler Childers. It’s often played in “sawmill” tuning (AEAE), but this version’s in standard tuning (GDAE), for those who don’t feel like opening up that particular can of worms! Although I play it through with…Continue Reading

Playing sessions is a gas!

A few months ago, the folks at Pickle Music got in touch looking for some mandolin and fiddle for this Burger King ad. When you’re working on a project like this one, it’s always fun to check back after awhile to find out how it all came out on the other end. Okay, I’ll stop.…Continue Reading

Update on COVID-19

Over the last week or so, it’s become clear to me — as I’m sure it has to you — that the spread of the coronavirus is going to completely change how we live our lives in the coming weeks and months. And the way I teach students will be no exception. The more I…Continue Reading

Eric Christopher and Anthony Ihrig — Thanksgiving Eve at the 318

Join me and banjo player extraordinaire Anthony Ihrig at the 318 Cafe in Excelsior for a Thanksgiving Eve banjo-fiddle (and mandolin) throwdown. In addition to being my longtime bandmate in The High 48s and one of the best melodic-style banjo players working today, Anthony’s my musical enabler when it comes to exploring music outside the…Continue Reading

Upcoming Workshop

On June 6 and 7, I’ll be teaching a two-day fiddle workshop at the International Music Camp’s Fiddler’s Weekend, on the North Dakota-Manitoba border.This is a workshop I’ve been doing for years and it’s always a lot of fun. At this camp, I’m usually the lone bluegrass fiddler (or one of the few) in a…Continue Reading

Grass Seeds Academy Bluegrass Jam Camp for Kids

It’s that time of year again, when I — along with The High 48s — get to mentor the talented kids at MBOTMA’s Grass Seeds Academy! Grass Seeds is a weekend-long bluegrass jam camp that takes place during the annual MBOTMA Winter Bluegrass Weekend, March 1-3 at the Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West in Plymouth, MN.…Continue Reading

The High 48s — 2019 Bluegrass Brunch!

The bluegrass brunch is back! This FREE, eight-show series takes place every Saturday from 11AM-1PM during the months of January and February at the Aster Cafe in Minneapolis! Bring your family and friends out of the cold* and into the promised land of bacon, eggs, bloodys and bluegrass, it’s the perfect way to start your…Continue Reading

Fiddling for Violists

If the viola is the butt of jokes in the orchestra, in the bluegrass and old-time fiddling world it’s a non-entity! Although the viola has three strings in common with the violin and is played in almost exactly the same way, it seems to have never occurred to most bluegrass and old-timers that a fiddle…Continue Reading

Intro to Double-Shuffle Bowing (aka, “Hokum Bowing) Lesson

Learn to play Orange Blossom Special in twenty minutes! Well…not quite. But in this lesson we will go over the basics of the double-shuffle bow pattern (the part in Orange Blossom where the audience goes crazy). So, if you’d like to learn Orange Blossom Special, or Back Up and Push, this is your intro. We’ll…Continue Reading

Upcoming Workshops

June is shaping up to be a big month for fiddle workshops and fiddle camps. On June 8 and 9, I’ll be teaching a two-day fiddle workshop at the International Music Camp’s  Fiddler’s Weekend, on the North Dakota-Manitoba border. This is a workshop I’ve been doing for years and it’s always a lot of fun.…Continue Reading

Grass Seeds Academy Bluegrass Workshop for Kids

Grass Seeds Academy is one of the many things I love about spring. Every year on the first weekend of March, The High 48s (my band) teach this weekend-long bluegrass (and old-time) workshop for kids at the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association’s Winter Weekend festival. The focus  of this workshop is on group playing, whether…Continue Reading

Eric Christopher and Anthony Ihrig at the Cedar — October 11

Anthony and I have been playing banjo-fiddle duets together for years. We started working up arrangements in our downtime with The High 48s, waiting backstage or killing time on the festival grounds. Eventually we decided take to our show out of the green room onto the stage.     This coming Tuesday, Anthony and I…Continue Reading

Grass Seeds Academy — March 4-6

On March 4-6, The High 48s will be teaching at the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association’s Grass Seeds Academy, an three-day music camp for kids ages 8-18 that takes place during the Bluegrass Winter Weekend festival in Plymouth, MN. We always enjoy working with these talented young musicians and are impressed with what they are able…Continue Reading

Tune of the Week: “Scotland”

Over the weekend, I did a twin fiddling showcase with Catie Jo Pidel at the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association’s “12 for 12” Fundraiser, and one of the tunes we pulled out was Bill Monroe’s twin (sometimes triple) fiddling classic “Scotland.” Now, this is a tune I hadn’t played or thought about for quite some…Continue Reading

Music is Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a bit of a buzzword these days. And for good reason: there’s a national shortage of it. Since smart phones have become part of our daily lives, we increasingly live in two places at once. While we inhabit the physical world — working, running errands, eating dinner, going to concerts, taking vacations —…Continue Reading

High 48s Album Release Show!

Save the date! The High 48s have booked a concert to celebrate the release of our upcoming CD “Great Northern Railroad” on May 2nd at the O’Shaughnessy Education Center Auditorium on the campus of the University of St. Thomas. (IMPORTANT: NOT the O’Shaughnessy on the campus of St. Catherine’s…directions here.) Joining us will be alt-country…Continue Reading

Back from Nashville…

Just got back from Nashville where The High 48s were working on the new album. We tracked it with Grammy-winning dobro player/producer/engineer Randy Kohrs at Slack Key Studios. It was three ten-plus-hour days of tracking, sandwiched between two fourteen-hour days of driving. We’re all feeling a little ragged right now, but happy, because the album…Continue Reading

The High 48s at Grass Seeds Academy, February 28 through March 2

The High 48s are very excited to announce that we’ll be teaching at the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association (MBOTMA)’s Grass Seeds Academy again this spring. Grass Seeds is a weekend-long jam camp for kids that’s held in conjunction with MBOTMA’s Winter Weekend bluegrass festival at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Plymouth, MN. We’ve…Continue Reading

Bluegrass Today…and tomorrow

Thanks to Bluegrass Today, the bluegrass blog of record, for the nice write-up on The High 48s’ forthcoming CD. The High 48s ride the train For those of you who are tardy to the party, we’re working on a collection of train songs, new and old, originals and covers. The album will be called Great Northern Railroad…Continue Reading

High 48s-related gig alert!

The High 48s won’t be gigging between now and when we head off to Nashville next week, but there are High 48s-related shows to report: Tonight, January 10, at Lee’s Liquor Lounge in Minneapolis, the 48s’ Anthony Ihrig and I will be joining up with Chris Silver, Wayne Beezley and Pete Mathison and Ron Elwood…Continue Reading

Help The High 48s Record Their New Album — Contribute to our Kickstarter Campaign!

This winter, The High 48s will be traveling down to Nashville to record and album of bluegrass train songs with Grammy-winning producer, engineer and dobro player Randy Kohrs. The album will be a collection of High 48s originals along with some choice cover songs from the likes of Greg Brown, Robin and Linda Williams, Muddy…Continue Reading

The High 48s Jam Camp — August 6-8 at the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association’s August Fest

The High 48s will be back at the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association’s big festival near Richmond, MN this year. In addition to playing a couple of mainstage sets, we’ll be teaching Jam Camp. The camp is for beginning- and intermediate-level players and will include individual instrument instruction (in banjo, fiddle, flatpicked guitar, upright…Continue Reading

May 10: Americana Triple Bill with The High 48s, The Roe Family Singers and Becky Schlegel

On May 10, The High 48s, The Roe Family Singers and Becky Schlegel will celebrate Mother’s Day weekend with a triple bill at the O’Shaughnessy Education Center Auditorium on the campus of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. We’re looking forward to this one! It’s not often that we get a chance to play on a bill…Continue Reading

Young Fiddlers Association Fiddle Workshop, February 18 at 1pm

I’ll be teaching a fiddle workshop for kids on February 18, 1pm, at the Tapestry Folkdance Center at 3748 Minnehaha Avenue South in Minneapolis. The workshop is being organized by the Young Fiddlers Association, who put on a lot of great events for fiddlers between the ages of 8 and 18. Visit for more info or…Continue Reading

Jump Start Your Fiddle Workshop — February 9, 9-5pm

On February 9, I’ll be teaching a clinic for classically trained violinists who are learning (or are interested in learning) how to play fiddle. As a classically trained violinist/bluegrass fiddler, this is a topic near and dear to me. I’ll be giving lots of practical pointers on making the transition from classical music to fiddling…Continue Reading

How do I play the double shuffle in Orange Blossom Special? Part Two.

In part one of this lesson, we looked at two types of double-shuffle bowing as well as two basic double-stop voicings to use with these bowing patterns. Once you’re able to play these patterns with good timing and intonation, then you’re ready to tackle the triple-stop (three-note chord) version. The easiest way to beef up…Continue Reading

How do I play the double-shuffle in Orange Blossom Special? Part one.

UPDATE 1/8/2018: check out my new video lesson on double-shuffle bowing on Youtube.   This is a question that comes up in lessons and workshops a lot. I mean, A LOT! And that doesn’t come as a surprise. Orange Blossom Special is far and away the most popular American fiddle tune, it’s fun to play…Continue Reading

Tonight at Underwood Studios

Tonight The High 48s went to Underwood Recording Studios in Minneapolis to record one more track for our soon-to-be-released album. For this song, we chose to abandon our usual method of working, which is recording over a click track (a metronome, basically) with each instrument isolated in its own room, on its own track, using headphones and…Continue Reading

Tunes from the Minnesota State Fiddler’s Association Workshop

Thanks again to everyone who came to the Minnesota State Fiddler’s Association workshop yesterday! As promised, here are some bare-bones transcriptions of the tunes I shared. Just click on the links below and a PDF file should download to your computer automatically. These are just the basic melodies. Bowings, exact phrasing, slides and drone double-stops…Continue Reading

CD Release Show, May 11 at Dreamland Arts in Saint Paul

When: Friday, May 11 at 7:30pm Where: Dreamland Arts, 677 Hamline Avenue North, Saint Paul Tickets: $15, available at Info: Click here for directions and contact info Come on down to Dreamland Arts in Saint Paul to celebrate the release of In the Quiet Night: Fiddle Tunes from the Upper Midwest. After many years spent listening hard…Continue Reading

Grass Seeds Academy Bluegrass Workshop for kids — March 2-4

I’ll  be teaching a bluegrass band workshop for kids along with The High 48s at the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association’s Winter Weekend Festival.  The High 48s will be joined by Catie Jo Pidel, Chuck Millar and Ryan Kimm, and Peter Ostroushko will be giving a fiddle workshop for intermediate-advanced students. I’ve taught at…Continue Reading

MinnPost’s Jim Walsh Likes It!

We’re always grateful when someone, anyone, really listens to and connects with our music, especially when that someone hears what you were trying to get at when you were locked away all those long hours in the studio. And when that somebody happens to be a music journalist who can really write — I mean,…Continue Reading

A Banner Weekend at Bluegrass in the Pines

Just got back from the Bluegrass in the Pines Festival in Rosholt, WI (near Stevens Point), and I’m physically exhausted but spiritually recharged. Outstanding picking (both onstage and off), good people and an almost magical vibe. Really. I love, love, love this festival. If you’re thinking about going to a bluegrass festival next summer, put…Continue Reading

Remembering Kenny Baker

  Kenny Baker, longtime fiddler for Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys, died of a stroke last week in Tennessee at the age of 85. Kenny’s passing didn’t make headline news [although the “newspaper of record” did finally publish an obituary:] , and unless you were reading a bluegrass blog or heard it through the bluegrass…Continue Reading

Festival Seasons is Here!

If the triple digit temperatures weren’t a dead giveaway, the my/the 48s’ schedule this week clinches it: festival season has arrived. This Thursday and Friday, I’ll be teaching a two-day bluegrass fiddle workshop up at the International Music Camp in Peace Gardens, on the North Dakota/Manitoba border. For more info, visit On Saturday, the…Continue Reading

Minnesota State Arts Board Grant

Just found out that I’ve been awarded a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant. So excited! This will help fund an all-instrumental CD I have in the works. For this one, I’ll be performing/arranging a collection of tunes from Upper Midwestern fiddlers across genres/traditions. I’m still collecting tunes, so if you have any suggestions, send ‘em…Continue Reading


I’d just like to say thanks again to all of the jam camp students at this year’s MBOTMA fest. It was a ton of fun working with all of you this year — and I know I’m also speaking for my fellow High 48s and for Willie Scott Bauer. We’ve posted pictures from jam camp…Continue Reading

The High 48s New CD is Done, Done, Done

The High 48s have just released their third CD. It’s called Up North, and it features eight High 48s originals, two bluegrass classics and a song we picked up from the Irish band The Pogues, as well as some smokin’ guest appearances from Mike Compton on mandolin ( ) and Randy Kohrs on dobro (…Continue Reading