Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Byron Berline, October 21, 2006

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries

 

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00:00:00 - Reasons for leaving California and moving to Guthrie, Oklahoma

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Partial Transcript: --very successful musician in L.A. and many people said...

Segment Synopsis: Byron Berline talks about his decision to leave California and move to Guthrie, Oklahoma, where he opened the Double Stop Fiddle Shop in 1995.

Keywords: 1893; 1995; Buildings; Collecting; Collections; Decisions; Double Stop Fiddle Shop; Farms; Growth; Land runs; Reasons; Wife

Subjects: Bluegrass musicians; California; Guthrie (Okla.); Los Angeles (Calif.); Musical instruments.

00:03:36 - Interest in music and instruments

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Partial Transcript: Why music?

Segment Synopsis: Berline talks about his interest in music since childhood due to his father. He talks about when he became interested in collecting instruments and describes his collection.

Keywords: 1987; Berline, Lou (Artist); Collections; Collectors; Family; Fathers; Fiddles; Gibson Martin; Lou Berline (Artist); Mothers; Popular; Siblings; Violins

Subjects: Bluegrass musicians; Childhood; Families.; Musical ability in children.; Musical families; Musical instrument makers.; Musical instruments.

00:06:43 - Bluegrass music

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Partial Transcript: Why in, why in your case blue--[tape cuts]--

Segment Synopsis: Berline talks about the genre of Bluegrass and the definition of Bluegrass.

Keywords: "Country folk"; "Country people"; Audiences; Fiddle players; Fiddle tunes; Fiddlers; Fiddles; Grand Ole Opry (Radio program); Musical styles; Scruggs style (banjo)

Subjects: Bluegrass music.; Bluegrass musicians; Musical instruments.; Old-time music.

00:09:52 - Tour of the Double Stop Fiddle Shop

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Partial Transcript: Well, could I ask you to--would you mind walking us through or showing us a few--

Segment Synopsis: Berline gives a tour of the Double Stop Fiddle Shop, describing various instruments including several that are custom-made. He describes working on a film with Arnold Schwarzenegger. He describes some historical items on display.

Keywords: "Goldrush"; "Tradewind"; 101 Ranch; Arnold Schwarzenegger; Banjos; Barney Kessel; Cecil Hyatt; Christmas in Connecticut (Motion picture); Civil War; Cowboys; Custom-made; Expansion; Fiddle players; Fiddlers; Fiddles; Film scores; Film soundtracks; Films; Gibson Company; Gibson Elite mandolin; Goldrush (Song); Guitars; Hyatt, Cecil; Jim Triggs; Kessel, Barney; Luthiers; Mandolins; Movies; Schwarzenegger, Arnold; Stay Hungry (Motion picture); Steve Carlson; Triggs, Jim; Violins

Subjects: Bluegrass musicians; Musical instrument makers.; Musical instruments.; Sound recordings.; Sound--Recording and reproducing

00:21:05 - Tour of the Double Stop Fiddle Shop--Gibson room

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Partial Transcript: Okay.

Segment Synopsis: Berline continues his tour of the Double Stop Fiddle Shop, describing a room containing only Gibson instruments. He describes how Lloyd Loar changed the design of mandolins. He talks about whether he endorses any brands.

Keywords: A-model; Bill Monroe (Artist); Blueprints; Dealers; Endorsement; Engineers; F-holes; F-model; Fiddle players; Fiddlers; Fiddles; Gibson Company; Gibson F-5 mandolin; Guitars; Instrument designs; Jim Triggs; K4 mandocello; Lloyd Loar; Loar, Lloyd; Luthiers; Mandolins; Monroe, Bill (Artist); Music halls; Promotion; Round holes; Sound; Tone; Triggs, Jim; Violins

Subjects: Bluegrass musicians; Musical instrument makers.; Musical instruments.

00:27:42 - Tour of the Double Stop Fiddle Shop--Music hall

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Partial Transcript: Let's cut.--[tape cuts]--

Segment Synopsis: Berline continues the tour of the Double Stop Fiddle Shop, showing the music hall where concerts are held. He describes a picture of Pistol Pete and talks about his history. He talks about his father as a musician.

Keywords: 101 Ranch; Berline, Lou (Artist); Concerts; Eaton, Frank (Artist); Fathers; Fiddle players; Fiddlers; Fiddles; Frank Eaton (Artist); Gigs; Lessons; Lou Berline (Artist); Luthiers; Mascots; Music halls; Oklahoma State University; Pistol Pete; Shows; Tune up; Venues; Violins

Subjects: Bluegrass musicians; Musical instrument makers.; Musical instruments.

00:32:09 - Song arrangement

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Partial Transcript: I, I call progressive but I don't even hardly understand it, what they're doing.

Segment Synopsis: Berline talks about the songs his current band plays.

Keywords: Arnold Schwarzenegger; Arrangements; Fiddle players; Fiddlers; Fiddles; Photographs; Schwarzenegger, Arnold; Songs; Tunes

Subjects: Bands (Music); Bluegrass music.; Bluegrass musicians; Musical groups.; Musical instruments.; Old-time music.

00:33:12 - What qualities to look for in a fiddle

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Partial Transcript: Well, uh, when I, when I buy a fiddle I look at the workmanship.

Segment Synopsis: Berline describes the types of qualities a musician may look for in a fiddle, and what he personally looks for when buying a fiddle.

Keywords: Buying; Customers; Fiddle players; Fiddlers; Fiddles; Lloyd Loar; Loar, Lloyd; Luthiers; Mandolins; Sound; Tone; Tunings; Violins; Workmanship

Subjects: Bluegrass musicians; Musical instrument makers.; Musical instruments.; Musicians

00:36:14 - Parts of a fiddle

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Partial Transcript: Well, this is a fiddle or violin.

Segment Synopsis: Berline describes the parts of a fiddle and how they work. He talks about the types of wood fiddles are typically made of.

Keywords: Aging; Bass bars; Bass fiddles; Bridges; Chin rests; Fiddle players; Fiddlers; Fiddles; Luthiers; Maple; Necks; Ribs; Salt water; Scrolls; Sound posts; Spruce; Tunings; Violins; Wood

Subjects: Bluegrass musicians; Musical instrument makers.; Musical instruments.; Musicians

00:42:34 - Fiddle bows

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Partial Transcript: What about the bow and--

Segment Synopsis: Berline talks about the parts of a bow and the importance of a good bow.

Keywords: Bow tips; Bows; Catgut; Classical music; Eyes; Fiddle players; Fiddlers; Fiddles; French bows; Frog; Grips; Holding; Horse hair; Luthiers; Matching; Performance; Pernambuco wood; Screws; Tone; Violins; Wrapping

Subjects: Musical instrument makers.; Musical instruments.; Musicians

00:47:08 - Demonstration of various fiddles in the shop

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Partial Transcript: So the quality of the music that Joe wanted to go for and the sounds that a different violin produces--

Segment Synopsis: Berline demonstrates the differences in sound between several fiddles in his shop.

Keywords: Costa Rica; Fiddle players; Fiddlers; Fiddles; French; Germany; Handmade; Houston (Tex.); Judging; Luthiers; Romania; Sound; Violins

Subjects: Bluegrass musicians; Musical instrument makers.; Musical instruments.; Musicians

00:52:15 - Advice for aspiring musicians

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Partial Transcript: Now what advice would you give to someone who wanted to become a musician?

Segment Synopsis: Berline gives advice to people who aspire to be musicians. He talks about the importance of both talent and ambition. He talks about why many musicians self-destruct. He talks about learning from the masters but putting a unique spin on songs.

Keywords: Addiction; Advice; Ambition; Available; Bill Monroe (Artist); Bush, Sam (Artist); Careers; Confidence; Country Gazette (Artist); Cover songs; Desire; Different; Drug use; Drugs; Duncan, Stuart (Artist); Fads; Fresh; Influences; Learning; Married; Monroe, Bill (Artist); New material; Nickel Creek (Artist); Professional musicians; Sam Bush (Artist); Self-destruction; Songs; Sound; Stuart Duncan (Artist); Talent; Unique; Youth

Subjects: Bands (Music); Bluegrass music.; Bluegrass musicians; Music business; Music--Performance.; Musical ability.; Musical groups.; Musical performance; Musicians

01:01:54 - Berline's personality

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Partial Transcript: I have a--(coughs)--sort of character question.

Segment Synopsis: Berline talks about his tendency to not get stressed.

Keywords: Calm; Comfortable; Double Stop Fiddle Shop; Personalities; Stress

Subjects: Bluegrass musicians

01:03:08 - The future of Bluegrass music

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Partial Transcript: Tony, do you think, do you think there's anything we should ask, ask Byron?

Segment Synopsis: Berline talks about how Bluegrass music is changing, the difference between Bluegrass and country music, and the future of Bluegrass.

Keywords: Buck Owens (Artist); Country music; Future; Labels; Osborne Brothers (Artist); Owens, Buck (Artist); Red dirt music; Stereotypes; Traditionalists; Young musicians; Youth

Subjects: Bands (Music); Bluegrass music.; Bluegrass musicians; Music business; Music--Performance.; Musical ability.; Musical groups.; Musical performance; Musicians