Ray Edenton

Following the Michael Simmons track about the Osborne Brothers Bluegrass/Tiple connection I felt on a great Nashville artist and one of the rare great recorded tiple players.

Ray Edenton started his career in radio in 1946 and playing bass fiddle with the Crazy Joe Maphis early 50's  group the "Corn Crackers" .
Later he became a major country music and bluegrass sideman guitarist  in the Nashville studios from 1953 to 1991, with 15,000 sessions on the clock he had time to experiment different instruments and tiple was one of those.
At the end of the 50's bluegrass producers search for new sounds and instruments melted flavors: mouth harps, pianos, accordions and sometimes tiple follows the slide guitars and the sacred  "banjo mandolin fiddle guitar" combinations.
Between 1959 & 1962 he's credited on tiple for 3 sessions :
 in 1959 with the Osborne Brothers , then for the 1959 Mac Wiseman "Great Folk Ballads" album and in 1962 again with Wiseman for "Bluegrass Favorites"

On two of the Osborne Brothers tunes the tiple is well recorded, nice open playing reveal the typical sound on songs intro and counterpoint , Ray is obviously an accurate tiple pick player playing arpeggios and clean chords rolls.

"I Love You Only" :

"It's just the idea" :

 Thomas Goldsmith talk about the Osborne sessions in "The bluegrass reader":

On Mac Wiseman "Great Folk Ballads" in a more "high" mandolin sound and playing he echoed and counterpoint the two guitars, one  played with nice middle tones embellishments probably by Chet Atkins  .

"When It's Lamplightin' Time In the Valley" :

"Little Moses" :

On "Bluegrass Favorites" it's quite hard to sift out of the mix the tiple parts, Benny Williams the mandolin virtuoso is clearly in front of the band for most of the tracks.



  1. Skeeter Davis's second solo recording from 1957 I'm Going Steady With A Heartache (RCA Victor 47-7084)features a tiple. I'm not sure who's playing it. It could possibly be Ray Edenton or maybe her producer Chet Atkins.

  2. Multi-instrumentalist David Sebring often played the tiple on dates with the Nashville Jug Band in the 1980s and 1990s. This is Tommy Goldsmith, who usually played guitar. We had Sam Bush or Blaine Sprouse on fiddle and Brent Truitt or Roland White on mandolin, so David, who played all of those instruments, picked up the tiple to add even more different sounds. Also had banjos, percussion, Ed Dye's dobro, etc. The tiple had a great sound, and David played it great. It was hard to keep in tune, as I recall. It's pleasant to see more and more attention played to the tiple. Beats the heck out of the omnipresent ukulele.

  3. What makes the tiple superior to the ukulele?

  4. Same type of tuning, but it's hard to compare, very different instruments,
    Tiple with metal strings is a plectrum instrument more in the mandolin family sound-wise.... personally, I love both the uke and the tiple, but it's obvious that the uke is omnipresent (top of the 3rd ukulele "wave")
    and the tiple cruelly ignored...