Classical Mandolin- Bach

        Wayne Benson has me working on a Bach piece right now, “Prelude From Suite 1.” When you get up with the early birds and sit on the back porch and play a tune like this, you can’t help but feel like you are part of something bigger than just your little self. As I struggle to get the piece under my fingers, I realize nothing good every came easy to most of us. My mind wanders. Maybe it did to Bach, but I bet he put in his time too. The wind whistles through the trees. I think Bach could hear the ancient tones just like Monroe. As Wayne says, “it’s all music.” 

        At the turn of the last century, as Mike Marshall says, “mandolin orchestras roamed the earth.” I think my friend Butch Baldassari might have made it happen again if he had not died so young.  Maybe Mike will see mandolins rule again. I do know this; I believe our kids would be better off in the orchestras than to watch reality television. T.V. is all instant gratification. For me, the best of life came from long years of commitment, be it to family, friends, doctor books, or cello suites.

        Maybe it’s just what they call “cognitive dissonance” where you have to believe in your cause for your existence to have meaning, but I feel like so far I’ve used my time on earth the best I could, and I’m gonna continue in my quest until the end. My talents are humble but I’m gonna do my best with ’em every day.

Dr. B

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10 Comments on “Classical Mandolin- Bach”

  1. Irene Says:

    Hi Dr. B, I would love to get that mandolin. I even have a thought for the next recipient. We go to a festival in Preston CT that has a kid’s camp. One of those students would be a terrific person to receive it and keep it going. What do you think? Maybe we’ll run into you at Merlefest.

  2. drtombibey Says:


    Great idea. I transferred this post over to the “Journey of the People’s Mandolin” page. I’d be honored if you took it there. A perfect start.

    Dr. B

  3. Ah, Dr. B… I know what you mean. Not about playing Bach’s music, but about listening to it at least. He’s my favorite composer, ever since I was tiny…

    You’re doing your work damn well, Dr. B. The world is glad to have you in it.

  4. Martin Waddell Says:

    Bach on the mandolin? Wonderful – I’ve heard Handel and Vivaldi, but never Bach. Did hear Bach on the mouth organ once, though – many years ago, there was a Scottish National Orchestra concert in Glasgow, including a 20th century concerto for orchestra and harmonica. The soloist (can’t remember his name) got roars of applause and, for an encore, he did his own harmonica arrangement of a short solo violin piece by Bach – you could have heard a pin drop while he was playing, and then even louder roars of applause. I’ve listened to Bach being played by orchestra, on the piano, the organ, the violin, the cello, and I’ve sung Bach with various choirs, and never tired of it. I’ve always felt there was an undercurrent of incredible joy in his music, even the really serious stuff like the St Matthew Passion. I hope I get to hear your own rendition of Johann Sebastian some day!

    • drtombibey Says:


      I’ve still got some work to do on my version. It’s a bit ragged but pretty good for a doctor.

      Music, like medicine, is a work in progress, but the passion still burns for me for both.

      Dr. B

  5. Smitty Neuse River President of Mississippi fan Club Says:

    So you enjoyed your lesson?

  6. junebugger Says:

    “For me, the best of life came from long years of commitment, be it to family, friends, doctor books, or cello suites.” Very good to know. For me, the best of life comes through appreciation–appreciation of how much my parents love me, of how loving my siblings are, of how beautiful nature is, and of how good God is.

  7. drtombibey Says:


    Very much so. I’ve been fortunate. I have always said if a man can’t learn to play the mandolin with Darin Aldridge on his right hand and Wayne Benson on his left there is no hope for him.

    Dr. B

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