Look what I got!


November 16th, 2014

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So during my birthday month, I decided that I would like to learn a new instrument.  I kinda wanted a banjo, but maybe a mandolin or even a ukelele.  So on the day after my official birthDAY, my little family & I went to my favorite music man, guitar guru and great all-around guy, Denis Laroque of Real Instruments here in Charlottetown, and had a lovely visit and told him what I wanted.  Because whatever I decided on, I was getting from Denis.

Anyway, we had a great visit, and Denis trucked out a banjo, mandolin and a ukelele for me to mess around with.  Now, I have no idea how to play any of these instruments, by the way, but with Denis playing the instrument in question and me accompanying on guitar, I could get a pretty good idea of what was going to be the best for me.  I LOVE the sound of a banjo, but I also need something that I’m going to be able to accompany myself on, and sadly, banjo just wasn’t going to be it.  So we moved on to a mandolin and there were some possibilities there, but I just wasn’t sold, and truth be told, I just wasn’t real keen on a ukelele either.  So between us, we decided the best thing to do would be to go to the local music store, Long & McQuaid and rent a mandolin to see if that is what I truly wanted.  Knowing, of course, that I’d be back to Denis to buy whatever I decided on.

We (my husband, Bruce and Savannah, my red-headed stepdaughter) loaded ourselves back in the car and went directly to Long & McQuaid’s.  Now they’re a great bunch there too; there are a ton of instruments, and a wonderful rental department.  I went there and unfortunately, their 2 mandolins were already rented.  JEEZ!  Oh man!  But then, the awesome guy behind the counter said they had a new one that wasn’t in the system, but he’d get it for me anyway!  And it’s beautiful, let me tell ya!

So they packed it up for me and we went to the mall for a pretzel.2014-11-16 09.42.44

But now HERE’s the thing.  While I was waiting for the lovely lad to get the mandolin ready for me, I wandered over to the banjo, mandolin, ukelele section of the store.  It was a few minutes before I saw them.  Two banjitars just waiting for me!  A banjitar, by the way, is an instrument that looks and sounds like a banjo, but has 6 string and is tuned like a guitar.  So if you can play the guitar, you can play this.  I freaked for a moment, then played one.  It was just horrendous!  So poorly put together; as you went up the fret board, the further out of tune it went.  Same with the other one.  It was too late anyway; I was hooked and knew that’s what I wanted.

We took the mandolin home and I’ve messed with it a bit, but I was already gone for a banjitar.

Monday came and I had already been on ebay searching for one, then thought I’d message Denis to see what he thought.  I don’t know why I was so shocked, but he said, of course, “I can make you one”.  I flipped!!  At lunch, I went to his shop, he explained what he could do and I said “giddyap!!”

But what he made me was no run-of-the-mill banjitar.  This one, you can’t just run out and buy.  This is custom made, just for me, a banjitar with Nashville tuning strings.  That makes me sound smart, but I don’t have a clue what it means. All I know is that I now have this amazing instrument and I LOVE IT!  And look at it… how could I not?

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It’s beautiful, just the like the guy who made it.  Denis Laroque.  Real Instruments.  If you ever need anything music related, this guy will take care of you like your ever-lovin mamma would.


Denis is the greatest.

So here is my stringed corner at the moment, although the mandolin’s not mine… yet.  It’s so pretty!!

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The little guitar on the couch is for travel; got that when I was in Halifax this past summer on my yearly pilgrimage to John David’s Shoes.  I missed playing, so we went to Long & McQuaid in Halifax and I bought this little baby to play at the hotel and in the car.  S’cute!

Oh, but my 12 string Takamine is missing… it’s in the den.

All in all, it was a pretty great birthday month.

Now Christmas is coming… what more could I possibly want!?  Except for world peace and maybe that mandolin.