String Instruction At Mo's Fullerton Music

Monday, March 15, 2010

On Mondays and Wednesdays I provide private instruction on most stringed instruments at Mo's Fullerton Music in downtown Fullerton CA. Most of my students are learning Violin/Fiddle, Cello and Viola, and others are learning Mandolin or 5 string Banjo. I can also get people started on some quirky world instruments like the Andean Charango, or the Chinese Er-Hu.

Mo's has many great guitar instructors, so I generally teach guitar only to those who are interested in my particular style of playing which is fashioned after the late, great Chet Atkins. (It's a hybrid classical/folk technique using a thumb-pic and just two fingers.)

Mo's Fullerton Music: 

Mo's is one of the last great "Non Super-Chain" music stores around and has a full selection of instruments, sheet-music and gifts. (Not to mention lessons with FANTASTIC teachers!) It's a great stop if you are ever in downtown Fullerton.

If you'd like to inquire about lessons with me or any other teacher, contact the store at 714-871-1805 or click the name of the store above to drop an email.

Violin (Fiddle), Viola and Cello Links! 

Click here for helpful youtube links and other info to help you along at home.

All other string instruments click here for helpful links.


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Andrew's Truck

Saturday, March 13, 2010



RIP Little Green Pick-up Truck!


The humble green '82 Volkswagon Rabbit Pick-up truck had quite a journey as is documented below. It breathed its last on northbound 57 freeway just short of the Lincoln Ave. exit with a final odometer reading of 424,562.15 miles.  (Additionally there was a 6 month stretch a while back when the odometer was not functioning.)

The wondrous truck lost its gear-box and rolled to its final stop on the evening of St. Andrew's day, November 30th 2014! Finding parts has become increasingly difficult and we will now retire this beloved vehicle.

The silver lining is that I happened upon a white truck which was identical and had just 70,000 miles! It needed a few parts which were taken from the green truck, so as an organ donor the green truck will live on in a small way, and its "mission from God" will continue. (The green truck now resides in my garage and will be used for parts in the coming years.) Scroll to the bottom for more details on the truck's last day)


The Purchase
In 1989 while still living in Colorado Springs, CO, I bought a 1982 Volkswagon Rabbit Diesel Pick-up Truck with an odometer reading of 112,000 miles from a meat inspector for the FDA. (During the test drive, he went on and on about how many “bug parts” per million were allowed in the ground beef.) I purchased the truck for $1200 hoping that it would be large enough to carry me and all my music gear to CA, where I planned on becoming the 1st international rock star on the 5 string banjo.

“Good Bye” Party
Plans for moving to CA came to fuition, and on my last night in Colorado Springs, my friends and family all came to a “going away” party at which I had all of my gear lined up behind my new truck in order of importance. At the front of the line were the things I absolutely needed like an Ome 5 st. banjo, a vintage Fender Twin amp, a vintage Martin O-18 guitar, a 200 year old violin and a Vintage Fender Telecaster. Toward the back of the line were things I could perhaps do without. (furniture, clothing, grooming products, etc…)

We all packed the truck at the end of the party, and I gave the stuff at the end of the line which did not fit in the truck to my guests. (If they wanted it!) The truck was so stuffed that I actually gave away a fairly decent Mandolin that was situated toward the back of the line. (You would think I could have crammed such a small instrument in there somewhere, but no!)

The Trip

On the way out I stopped briefly (5 minutes) to see Las Vegas and wonder “why?”, had my first encounter with a desert, and I recall my first terrifying trip down El Cahon pass into Southern Cal as Bela Fleck played “Tell it to the Governer” on my cassette tape player. It was a perfect match.

In my first few months in Orange County, I began work at two churches (St. Joachim and Blessed Sacrament), was playing fiddle in a Western Swing band called the Electric Tumbleweeds, and was beginning to find musicians to perform my odd banjo music. (I'm fairly certain that I was the only one working this sort of combination.) I also kept in touch with my “fiance to be,” Diane, and went out to see her in Colorado occasionally.

Deserted in the Desert

12 hours into a trip home from seeing Diane in Colorado I lost power going up a hill in the Mojave Desert and pulled over. Only then did I notice that I had totally overheated the motor. I was towed into the lovely town of Barstow, CA, where I had to make a quick decision. Do I leave the truck there with all of the other vehicular carcasses or do I get it fixed?

I took a bus home where two choir members (Ruth and Lupe) helped me to get back on my feet, and I came back to get the truck in my band-mate’s pick-up truck with my good friend and producer Rich. A few thousand dollars and two mechanics later, the truck was rolling again with a new motor, and I wondered at 125K if I had made a good decision. 23 years later, (2014) she had over 420.000 miles.


Stop! Theif!!!
My wife and I were fast asleep at 3:00 one morning when we were suddenly awakened by the unmistakable sound of that diesel motor firing up outside. I ran out of the house in my skivies hollering and screaming as the thief was pulling away as quickly as he could in such a vehicle. At a very casual pace, the police arrived at the scene of the crime, and I quickly realized that this was really no big deal (to them).

After surviving several days without the truck, and missing it dearly, we finally got a call from the police in Ceritos informing me that I could (for a price) come and retrieve my truck. While I was glad to hear the good news I couldn't help but wonder if the car thieves and the impound lots weren’t co-conspirators in the crime.

Jim Edmond’s Carpet!
Dilapidated as the old truck may be, I’ll have you know that the truck bed is lined with a carpet scrap from the home of all star baseball slugger, Jim Edmonds. His Mother (Katy Loving) and Grandfather (Joe McCarthy) both sing in the St. Joachim Music Ministry, and when Jimmy had new carpet installed in his house his grandfather brought me a sizable piece of the old one for my truck bed. (You can touch it if you like!)

Did You Paint Your Truck White?

Just before Easter 2010 I bumped into an old friend at church who owns a truck just like mine, with 2 exceptions: It it is white and the mileage was only 68K! He had offered to sell me this truck several times in the past but I had always told him "no thanks, my trusty green truck runs just fine". This time was different. He told me that he had just listed the truck in the paper and the add was due out on the following Tuesday. This was my last chance to purchase a very low mileage copy of my own trusty vehicle, which was still running beautifully. What to do?
I called Marc, my trusty mechanic, to get some solid advice and he put it to me like this: "Buy the truck, you idiot! When the green truck finally dies, park it in your garage and use it for parts. You'll probably get 400-500K out of the white truck as well! This is the cheapest transportation money can buy!"
So, no, I did not have the green truck painted! I own two identical trucks and I await the demise of the high mileage green one while I drive them both about equally. (Watch and wait, as the high mileage green outlasts the low mileage white!) The green one still runs fantastically well and I anticipate that it just might make the half million mark. Who knows how far it will go? It's always been on a "Mission from God"!

The Demise

As I was returning from a full slate of Sunday masses, traveling northbound on the 57 freeway the truck suddenly slipped out of gear. I tried reengaging a few times as I moved to the right, and with no luck getting it into gear I rolled to a stop just short of the Lincoln Ave.exit. I had just been thinking along the way about how many more years it would have to last to make it to 500K. 2 to 3 years would've done it.

I then had it towed to my mechanic, Marc, who looked it over and then called me down to his shop. I was hoping to hear him say that a simple adjustment to the clutch cable did the trick and I could get right back on the road! However he met me in the parking lot and with his hat over his heart he said "Andrew, I think it's time." He COULD fix it, but acquiring parts would be very costly this time around.

And it happened on St. Andrew's day! Perhaps Andrew was watching over it, seeing to it that I got through all the masses of his feast day before allowing the final blow which would take out this marvel of transportation. Mission from God? You bet! I hope that this mission continues as the green truck provides vital internal organs to the white truck on its journey forward.


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Andrew's Latest

Friday, March 12, 2010

WLP: A New Home For My Music!


World Library Publications is currently in the process of publishing 5 of my songs: Call On  The Lord (3/17) Heaven and Earth Are Wed (8/17) Water (11/17) The Ound of One Voice (3/18) and Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled (11/18)

My last song published by OCP was "Good and Faithful Servant" and has done reasonably well. Near as I can tell there have been some changes, both in personel and in publishing priorities at OCP. Oregon Catholic Press has thus far published four of my works. (Give Jesus a Dwelling Place, He is Risen and Canticle of Zacahariah are the other three.)

I have been contacting those choirs nationwide which I think would be inclined to perform my music, based on their repertoire and style. Many of them have a submissions process of their own and I am sending each choir the music which I believe suits their style.

I also continue writing and springing new songs on St. Joachim choir and church, as well as the school choir. The home-page has great recordings of the school choir singing arrangements of mine like "The Star Spangled Banner"and "Bridge Over Troubled Water" in addition to the School Choir CD which includes my arrangements of covers such as "Lean On Me"and "He Ain't Heavy".

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