Eric Schlange, proprietor of the popular Hangout sites online, is today launching his latest venture, Mando Hangout. It is powered by the same engine as his other popular sites (Banjo, Fiddle, Flatpicker, and Reso Hangouts), and boasts the same features that have brought nearly 70,000 pickers in as members of these free sites.
Like the other sites, Mando Hangout has an online forum, classified ads, a media archive of member-uploaded audio and video, and a searchable archive of tabs and mandolin lessons.
To celebrate today’s launch, Mando Hangout and First Quality Music are giving away a Michael Kelly Legacy FS mandolin. You don’t even have to join as a Hangout member to enter the drawing, which runs through the month of January.
The Hangout empire got its start back in January of 2000 when Schlange, a web designer by trade, started the Banjo Hangout. This was well before the social media revolution began, and banjo players from beginners on up to professional pickers enjoyed having an online community where other folks spoke the same 5 string language. Discussion and resources were available regardless of style, and many users have reported that the site – and the helpful spirit of the other members – was an important element in them successfully learning how to play.
Fiddle Hangout came online in 2007, and the two others followed in 2008. Eric said that he had resisted consideration of mandolin because of the dominant online footprint of Mandolin Cafe.
“Mandolin is actually a favorite instrument of mine – not that I play it well, but I’ve always loved its sound. It would have been my first choice for a Hangout, had it not been for the Mandolin Cafe website. I want to be clear – the Mandolin Cafe is a great site. It’s been around a long time (since 1995!), and serves the mandolin community very well. The owner, Scott Tichenor, is to be commended for years of hard work in building that site.
Over the years, I’ve had many members ask me to consider launching a hangout for mandolins. Some complained about not feeling welcome at other mandolin sites, others said they want a mandolin site with all the Hangout features, and still others said hey – the Mandolin Cafe is a great site, but there’s nothing wrong with having two great mandolin websites. The more I’ve thought about it, the more I realize that all of these reasons are valid ones. The Internet is a big place, the mandolin community is large, and if a Mando Hangout can help to grow the mando community and further the music, I want to make it happen.”
You can take a look at Mandolin Hangout at www.mandohangout.com, where you can also enter the drawing for the Kelly mandolin.