Welcome to our Nest!
Mockingbird Music Co., Inc. is nestled
in the little Town of Berlin, Massachusetts.
You can’t miss it if you travel a short distance up South Street
1.5 miles or so from exit 25B off of Rte. 290.
Head North, continue onto South Street.
If you’ve taken a right by the post office, don’t worry just
take your first left onto Crosby, which will take you back onto South!
(*Also, stop on your way home to Indian Head farms on Pleasant
St., and pick up some delcious home-made jams, veggies, and flowers, or hay
for your loving horse….Hey!
Here is a sneak peak of some of our instruments:
We host an eclectic and dominant range of instruments
for beginner and collector alike, all
set up by our resident Luthier, Glenn Nelson, and some under our apprentices
overseen by Glenn. No need to
purchase and wonder if it can be made playable, they all
are! We’ve heard some chains
“bait” you, only later winding up the customer with additional
bench fees and additional set up fees, and taking a risk of the work
done inappropriately, some by an authorized repairman!
You’ve been “Authorized/Shmauthorized”!
We can order most instruments at competitive costs for
you, just ask
We now offer horn instrument repairs, too !
Check out some of these frogs…
We are currently making some lovely
piccolo banjos. You can view
one pictured in the Gallery Section of this site under “Banjos”.
Standard banjo neck width, by the way.
Maple necks, custom binding, although we like to hint at the tortoise
look because we think it’s classy.
We just finished this beautiful
hand-made Concert ukelele. The
beginning of a beautiful thing! Yes, we now offer hand-crafted semi-customized ukeleles!
You won’t want to go to the upstairs
at our “Liberty cottage”. There’s
nothing but old unsetup/ missing bridges type instruments there. Except for perhaps a Genuine NS Design Bass!!How cool is that!
They asked us if we would contribute making available these into the
bass world, and we accepted! Why?
They meet our approval! We sell
them at the best prices available! About three weeks delivery time at
Don’t throw away your broken fiddles!
Please donate them here. Sometimes
we can harvest parts to make another come alive…yeehahahaha!
You will definitely find some “frankenfiddles” here.
They’re unique, cute, sound good to great, and need a loving home.
Glenn is quite the character, too. Go
ahead, ask him to do a Rodney Dangerfield impersonation!
We can get any sheet music, we choose
not to live with paper fleas. Affordable
for you picked out by you (afypoby).
That’s my smart-alecky acronym, get it?
Stringed instrument Lessons
(978) 838-2344 or E Mail us at Music@aol.com!
Need banjo lessons?
Mandolin lessons? Guitar
lessons? Call us and we’ll
help you make those arrangements!
Check out our Staff: Dan Hunt
(Guitar and Electric Bass), Marc
Albanese (Guitar), Greg Regan (Guitar), Stu Ervin (Guitar, Bass), Glenn Nelson (5-String
Banjo, Tenor Banjo, Ukulele), John Tibert (Mandolin), James Woodworth (Mandolin and Claw-hammer
Banjo), Beth Adelman (Piano) and me (guitar).
We are currently seeking a violin/fiddle
more banjo teachers, Please! One is enough! Kidding.
Exceptional clawhammer style players, only.
“Why did the banjo player stare at his
orange juice?” “Because it
read “concentrate” on the carton! Tee
Hee Hee! (If this is no longer
on the site, you know Glenn got to this!)
I guess my new year’s resolution is to update this website at least every
other Monday! So don’t jump
out of your seats yet!
I said it’s a New Year’s resolution!
Well, hope you had a nice web site adventure here.
Visit again soon, y’all come back now, y’here?
The Results Are
The winners for our
First Annual Pumpkin Decorating Contest!
Jason Montiero garnered first prize with a classic
design. Jason took home a new Electric guitar, amp, stand and gig bag as
first prize winner! Jason is pictured here with his guitar teacher Marc
Albanese. Congratulations Jason and keep rockin'!
Kaitlyn Blandin earned a close second
prize for her decorated pumpkin. Kaitlyn took home a new Flying V
style uke and plush V shaped gig bag!!. Great job Kaitlyn!
Recieving third prize was Charlie
MacDonald. His Grandad Lou pictured here with Glenn receiving a
blues harmonica and instructional DVD. Great job
Thanks to all who participated, you all
did a wonderful job and we look foward to next years entries!
Many pre-owned instruments have been added to the "Attic" page. Instruments of note:
Soon to be added, a restored Gibson J-55, 1965! A
beauty! An 1887 Colin Violin; France, has been added as well as many vintage fiddles and quite an assortment of Ukes
and Banjo Ukes. Some pre-owned instruments of our own making
also grace the page. Also, a rarity: 1890's Oscar-Schmidt twelve string (four groups of three strings) Brazilian Rosewood bowl-back Mandolin in great shape, plays and sounds
great. We also have some great new and used student violins,
banjos, guitars, and amplifiers. Visit our "Attic" page
and see what turns up. And check out our customer highlights page
to see who and what we are up to. Some great new instruments and their
owners shown there as well.
are proud to announce the we are now dealers for the new Ned Steinberger
"N.S. Design" Upright electric basses. These basses must be
seen and heard to be believed. Click on the "attic" link at
the left for more info. Demo models are in at the studio for
you to try. Email for very competitive prices!
Look for a new concert sized Mockingbird Uke in
spruce, mahogany and Paduak. Also, check out the wonderful European Spruce and maple small bodied
cut-away jazz guitar of our making!
new "Kay" introductory line of five string banjo are now in stock,
open back and resonator models. These are expertly setup and tested in
our shop assuring you of the highest quality and easiest playing
introductory banjo for your hard-earned money. Also in are the new introductory/intermediate Strat Style electric
guitars and P-Bass style electric basses. These make a great student/intermediate or travel guitar and
are also expertly set-up to play at their best in our shop. Please
"Attic" Page for more info and photos. Need to plug 'em
in? We are offering some great pre-owned amps as well as new Dean
In The Press!!
We recently spent some time Working at the Grey Fox
Bluegrass Festival, had a great time and met some wonderful people. An
article from WBUR follows.
The Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival's combination of high
quality music and laid-back attitude makes it an unbeatable summer music
banjo rolls rang out bright and clean 70 years after he invented the
technique. I'd never seen Scruggs before, and there he was with an
eight-piece band. Though he left all the talking to his son, he remained the
Scruggs played at the bottom of the hill. I sat on top and listened to
the show from my campsite neighbor's radio, but soon lightning flashed and
rain hit the tarp so hard it drowned out the music. My neighbors shut off
the power and picked up the guitar.
When the rain let up, I raced downhill through a checkerboard of camping
chairs. Scruggs had paused for the storm but he kept going backstage, and
the PA broadcast the informal performance out to the audience. It was a
bluegrass happening, and I missed it. Although I saw most of the official
set, I knew the real excitement had passed me by.
Welcome to the Grey
Fox Bluegrass Festival in upstate New York, where the unexpected can be
expected to happen. Even those jonesing to see the bands always miss a few.
But some campers barely seem to care about the performances, and come mainly
for the spectacular mountain view.
Grey Fox has the reputation of being a broad event, with bands from all
the de facto bluegrass subgenres, as opposed to more traditional festivals
like Maine's Thomas Point Beach. The Del McCoury Band and King
Wilkie played old-fashioned Bill Monroe style. Ricky
Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder had a Nashville country-flavored sound.
Newgrass favorite Tim
O'Brien focused on his singer-songwriter side plus a dose of Louisiana
from accordionist Dirk Powell.
Jamgrass was also heavily represented. The improvisation-heavy form has
become standard at bluegrass festivals but gained additional legitimacy when
O'Brien and McCoury sat in with Leftover Salmon.
Wayfaring Strangers excelled with jazz/bluegrass treatments of
traditional standards like "Cluck Old Hen." The maelstrom of
instruments was topped by angelic 30s radio harmonies. Danny
Barnes played wildly individual banjo songs, a mix of quirkiness and
That said, no matter how stellar the main stage lineup, "parking lot
picking" remains the core of a bluegrass festival. It's bluegrass
immersion in spontaneous happenings. Many performers don't race back to
their hotels: Powell shook it up to zydeco at the dance tent, and Mike
Gordon of Phish played guitar in the fiddle shop at 2 a.m. An hour later I
came across melodic banjo pioneer Bill Keith jamming with a group that
included the festival's stage manager and several professional musicians.
Bluegrass headliners are far more accessible to fans than rock stars, but
seeing them at casual play remains a thrill.
Amateurs raise quite a racket as well. At a journalist friend's tent,
chili and Cabo Wabo tequila were preceded by an hour of piecing songs
together. Session skill levels vary. Many are open to whoever wants to step
in; others practically require an audition. In a jam hosted by the Falco
brothers, who perform with the band Buddy Merriam and Back Roads, I first
saw up-and-coming banjoist Chris Pandolfi playing with the Falcos. The
festival also has formal daytime adult workshops and a kids' academy.
Grey Fox's popularity keeps growing. The good camping tickets were sold
out. A number of people complained that the campsite "land grab"
was out of control. Early arrival was a must. Audiences seemed segmented;
there was large-scale turnover between McCoury and Leftover
Yet, in my fourth year at the festival I saw familiar faces everywhere. I
struck up a conversation during the Kruger Brothers' slick set, and a few
minutes later, I recognized the man as the fiddler who sat in with King
Wilkie in 2002. A good number of Boston bluegrass regulars made the trip
too. Indeed, Boston had much to be proud of. Former residents Andy Hall and
Casey Driessen sparkled with Scruggs and O'Brien, respectively.
Loyalty and tradition matter at a bluegrass festival. People wore
T-shirts from years past, many with the event's old name "Winterhawk."
My tequila friends pasted old snapshots and notable quotes on their tarp.
Luthiers R.J. Storm
and Glenn Nelson,
who skipped (and were missed at) the 2003 festival, came back to vendors'
row this year. They are the Waldorf and Statler Muppets of luthiers. Take,
for example, this piece of conversation:
Storm (at his worktable): I'm not married anymore.
Me (automatically): Oh, I'm so sorry.
Storm and Nelson (without raising their heads): Don't be.
Saturday night, Nelson fixed emerging artist Adrienne Young's banjo, then
played on it longer than the repair process strictly required. Storm, also
an acupuncture student, chalked my festival sleepiness up to "liver
dampness." Ten minutes later, I was on my back in the hippie clothing
tent as the violin-maker burned herbs on my ankles. Only at Grey Fox.
Hours after the main stage shut down, I walked down the potholed dirt
paths past citronella candles surrounded by intense strumming and lonesome
harmony. In my rain-survivor tent, I fell asleep to fiddle and mandolin
tunes and woke up to the same in the morning. That's the only fix Grey Fox
festival fatigue needs.
We were proud to be featured in a recent issue of
Worcester Magazine, below is a portoin of the article.
By Brian Goslow
Where out-of-tune instruments go when
What do Neil Young, Mike Gordon of Phish, ex-Deep Purple guitarist Richie Blackmore, Scott Ricciuti and
Jason James all have in common? They’ve all utilized the Mockingbird Music
Company’s husband-and-wife instrument repair team of Glenn and Barbara
Nelson in a musical emergency. Their shop is a haven for
guitar and banjo enthusiasts looking for a quick repair, major restoration,
or the crafting of a new custom-made instrument.
“When it’s something someone loves, I love putting them back
together,” Glenn Nelson says. One of his regular customers is Ricciuti, a
graduate of the Pete Townshend School of Guitar Abuse. “He always puts my
broken and crumbling Rickenbackers back together and does a fantastic
job,” says the Huck frontman. For his part, Nelson doesn’t take credit
for the aesthetics of Ricciuti’s guitars. “If you look at his guitars,
you can see they’ve been broken four or five times,” Nelson says.
“What you can see are the parts he’s repaired with Elmer’s Glue.
I’ve fixed two of his necks.”
Nelson, who plays banjo with the bluegrass bands Acoustic Planet and Wide
Open Spaces, estimates
he’s currently in the middle of 30 repair jobs, the building of 15 new
instruments and “a phone machine full of messages.” He built an
1858-style fretless banjo for Mike Gordon of Phish and a seven-string
micro-tonal 24 frets-to-the-octave evenly spaced guitar — which he calls
one of his oddest creations ever — for Cambridge musician Fred Comstock.
Even then, it was a bit easier than pulling shotgun remnants from a Martin
guitar he was restoring. On occasion, he’ll get a call to assist a
national act recording at Longview Farm, where he’s worked with Neil
Young, Richie Blackmore, Coal Chamber and Fuel.
He’s documented several of the instruments he’s worked on, many of which
have ended up in museums. " Many of the instruments we deal with are
historically significant. I have disks filled with photos. One
day, a guitar is going to come in without an inlay and I’ll have a picture
of it.” Mockingbird Music also restores vintage mandolins, violins and
cellos, utilizing the knowledge of good Italian and French instrument
makers. “You can apply that knowledge to guitars as well,” Nelson says.
On The Road:
Valentines Day we had a great time meeting people at the Joe Val Indoor
Bluegrass Festival at the Tara Hotel in Framingham Ma. The Fest. was a
lot of fun with some great music being played both onstage and off.
See you all this Summer!!!!!!!
We had a
wonderful time at Banjo Camp North
last May, click here for some great photos!
Please be sure to join us this coming May for another great time at Banjo
Camp North! Also, we met a lot of great folks at the occasionally "damp" Strawberry
Park Bluegrass Festival in CT. at the beginning of June, 2003.
Click here for some great photos!
Photos from the Banjo Camp North
2002 and Old Time Music Camp North 2002
events in Groton, Ma. are here for you to check out.
Speaking of shows and festivals, we have some great memories to share with you from the
2001 Bluegrass Fest at Ancramdale, NY: Click to see some photos of the booth and some great players who dropped by to check out the instruments. Photos of
2002 "Grey Fox Festival"
are up as well.
Thanks to the "Museum of Our National Heritage" in Lexington Ma. for having such a wonderful exhibit, "The Banjo-The People and The Sounds of America's Folk Instrument". This great presentation featured some instruments on which we have had the pleasure of performing restoration work. Click here for some photos of the exhibit which ran through Labor Day 2002.
are so deeply moved by the bravery and wit, and determination proven by our
American and British and Polish troops, and Allies. It’s difficult to express with words. We only look at our children, and cannot thank our
American soldiers enough, for putting their lives before danger to
secure the future of our children, to rid global terrorism, while hoping for
Iraq’s freedom. Our prayers
are with you. God Bless America!
As usual, we'd like to
extend our thanks and appreciation to all of our customers!!! Only through
your support can we continue to embark on our new path of developing and
building on the artistry of stringed instruments! Thank you!
A special thanks
to Matt Lindi of WebHed Design
for enthusiastically helping us to "wrap up" the site with graphic design
and editing, and to understand the nuances of the wide world of HTML and
Also, a mighty
thanks to Robb Scott of Miniature Sun Productions for taking the time to
prepare Radim Zenkle's audio clip for use on our site.