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 present.

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? 



"Mockingbird" Stringed instrument Lessons

  (978) 838-2344 or E Mail us at!


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 teacher.  No 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 In!!!!!!

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 Charlie!!!      

Thanks to all who participated, you all did a wonderful job and we look foward to next years entries! 



Vintage Instrument News:

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.


New Instrument News:

We 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!

The 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 visit our "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 Markley amps.


"Mockingbird" 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.

Bluegrass Magic
The Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival's combination of high quality music and laid-back attitude makes it an unbeatable summer music gathering.

by Danielle Dreillinger


Earl Scruggs's 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 primo entertainer.

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.

The 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 sincerity.

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 Salmon.

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.  


Band Doctors
Where out-of-tune instruments go when they’re sick

By Brian Goslow

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.


"Mockingbird" On The Road:

This 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 Grey Fox 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.



We 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 Photoshop.

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.

© 2000 MockingBird Music Company. All Rights Reserved.

"Play what you want !" is a trademark of MockingBird Music Company

This website was designed & developed by Barbara Nelson in collaboration with
WebHed Design and Brandon Websites