The Jim Richter Mandolin Camp for the Rest of Us will celebrate its 10th year in 2023. The camp is scheduled from Wednesday July 12th through Saturday July 15th and is again held in Bloomington Indiana at the Grant Street Inn. Don Julin, masterful writer of Mandolin for Dummies, returns as a featured instructor. Don has instructed at our camp for 7 of its past 9 years and has been instrumental in shaping the camp into what it has become. Joining us for 2023 is Mike Compton, a modern mandolin master gifted at tastefully incorporating rural, roots-based lead and rhythm mandolin styles into modern Americana music who is an incomparable instructor and organizer of the Monroe Mandolin Camp. As the existence of this camp directly springs from Mike’s kindness and mentorship of Jim, it is only proper that Mike join us to celebrate 10 years of this unique camp.

Though the Richter Camp focuses on rock and blues, the camp also intends to address “beginner-itis,” or the dreaded disease effecting those mandolinists who never seem to move beyond beginner status.  If your goal is to win Winfield next year, this may not be the camp for you.   But, if your goal is to learn to better enjoy the mandolin both in your practice and playing with others, this most definitely will be your mandolin camp. It should be noted that Jim and Don LOVE bluegrass. This camp is meant to create a protected space for all mandolin voices, ensuring that one doesn’t need to be steeped in bluegrass to benefit from the camp.

This camp has many individuals who travel across the country each year for its very special and singular approach to mandolin instruction pedagogy.  The camp is a dedicated program that all students attend, engage, and interact in.  There are no level systems, concurrent classes, etc. This is an opportunity to develop a student cohort that will ensure the best outcomes of this type of camp.

2019 saw the introduction of Bourbon Tasting at our opening night Meet & Greet.  It was a blast that year and have kept it an annual event for our first night meet and greet.  We have continued that tradition, typically adding a new WhistlePig Boss Hog each year, in addition to Weller, Blantons, and other rare bottles.

The curriculum, which is in final development, will cover:

  • Blues
  • Rock
  • Jazz
  • Other Traditional Styles
  • Arrangement
  • Basic music theory (especially pentatonics)
  • Technique (especially right hand)
  • Practice routines
  • Jamming
  • Instrumental construction

However, as in all previous years, attendees always help refine the curriculum by completing the questionnaire that is a part of the registration form. Let us know what you’d like to learn and we’ll do our best to work it into the schedule.  We are also very sensitive to the needs of students in the moment and will always consider shifting the schedule to accommodate.

Also, 20 minutes of individual instruction per student is a standard part of the camp. This will be scheduled for the student.

Structure of Camp

Wednesday Evening: Meet and Greet, Bourbon Tasting, Jamming

Thursday: Individual Instruction, Classes, Evening Jamming

Friday Day: Individual Instruction, Classes, Faculty Concert, Evening Jamming

Saturday Day: Individual Instruction, Classes, Student Concert, Evening Jamming

Cost: Tuition for the workshop is $425 per attendee ($440 if paying via Paypal). This covers camp instruction, printed materials, individual instruction, and the faculty concert. It does not include dining or lodging.

Housing: For out of town folks, you are encrouaged to use the Grant Street Inn as it is the center of activities and is offering a great discount for our group. Just tell them that you are booking for the Richter Mandolin Camp to ensure the $119 plus tax rate per night. 812-334-2353. Reduced rates are available for each night of the camp (Wednesday through Saturday nights).

Food: The Grant Street Inn provides an incredible breakfast for those who stay at the Inn. Lunch and dinner are on your own. The Grant Street Inn is in the heart of Bloomington’s renown food district and there is no shortage of international and college pub cuisine. Additionally, snacks/drinks will be served at the Wednesday night meet and greet and will be out through the week. Wednesday night’s meet and greet is also the bourbon tasting and there will be a great assortment of bourbons available.

Lesson Plan/Special Topic signups: Once all registrations forms are returned, curriculum will be determined and schedule finalized. As much as possible, the camp attempts to address the unique needs/wants of those attending.

Registration: You can email Jim Richter ([email protected]) for questions or to hold on a spot for you.  You can register through the online registration form.  All registrations will be done online.  However, payment can be done either via check or PayPal.  If you choose to pay by check, please let Jim Richter know.   Thanks!

COVID-19 Protocols:  It is strongly encouraged that all attendees be vaccinated and boosted.  For those that are not vaccinated, it is strongly encouraged that masks be worn.  We will follow official county/state protocols in effect at time of the camp.

About Jim Richter
Over the last 15 years Jim Richter has built a reputation as a solid blues mandolinist who draws heavily from classic electric blues guitarists, such as Freddie King and Hollywood Fats. Due to his extensive background as a blues-oriented rock guitarist, he has garnered respect and notoriety for his mandolin renditions of tunes by Hendrix, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin. This respect also extends to mandolin instruction, as he has become one of the more visible blues mandolin instructors, including maintaining the rock/blues mandolin instructor spot at Mandolin Camp North in the Boston area in 2018, 2019, 2022, and again in 2023 (COVID-19 forced the cancellation of that camp in 2020 and 2022).  2012 saw the release of Jim’s iPad interactive mandolin instructional book Richter Mandolin. In terms of recent discography, 2013 saw the release of the dual release In-Tuition Mandopoly and Blues, containing mostly original tunes and special guests from artists such as Mike Compton, Gordon Bonham, the Forecasters, Will Kimble, and others.  Will Kimble and JimI were also on The Road Home/Butch Baldassari Tribute CD and Gordon Bonham and Jim were on The Tribute to Yank Rachel CD.

About Don Julin
Don Julin is one of Michigan’s premier instrumentalists and the nation’s foremost mandolin educators. From jazz to folk, gypsy to avant-garde, Julin is loved for his talent and fluidity. 2012 saw Don release his CD Vibe, as well as the much acclaimed Mandolin for Dummies, a much needed addition to mandolin instruction. 2014 will see Don’s release of Mandolin Exercises for Dummies.  Don has achieved national acclaim for his original compositions from his cd’s Tractor and Mr. Natural. Don has won national songwriting contests and his music is often heard on NPR’s radio magazine All Things Considered. Don performs thoughout the United States and Europe and has been a featured performer for the Classical Mandolin Society of America including other international events.  Don’s performances with Billy Strings over the last two years have shaken up the old time and Americana worlds. The last half dozen years as seen Don rally multiple mandolin instructors together to contribute to Don’s “Mandolins Heal the World” instruction site.

About Mike Compton

Befriended and mentored by Bill Monroe, the acknowledged Father of Bluegrass Music, Mike Compton is one of today’s foremost interpreters of Monroe’s genre-creating mandolin style. Mandolin students from around the world make the pilgrimage to his annual Monroe Mandolin Camp, where Compton and a select handful of other experts teach everything from the basics of bluegrass mandolin to the most intimate details of Monroe’s endlessly inspiring mandolin style.

Compton’s mastery of mandolin is at once effortless and exceptional. A compelling entertainer either alone or with a group, his skills as a singer, arranger, instrumentalist, composer and accompanist also make him in-demand as a band member and ensemble player at festivals, clubs and concert halls, recording sessions, music workshops and as a private instructor. With more than 140 albums in his discography, including work with Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, and Patty Loveless, Compton has helped keep mandolin a cool, relevant sound as the modern musical styles ebb and evolve to reach an ever broadening audience.

When A-list Americana producer T-Bone Burnett needed experts in authentic rural musical styles to anchor the landmark O Brother, Where Art Thou? movie project and subsequent tour, he called upon Compton’s unique knowledge and signature mandolin style to authenticate the Soggy Bottom Boys’ rootsy sound. That Grammy Award Album of the Year -winning album went on to sell seven million copies and sparked a global revival in old-time and bluegrass musical styles.

Equally skilled in bluegrass, old-time string band music, country blues, rootsy Americana styles, and much more, Compton soars beyond easy categorization as an acoustic mandolin player and singer.

Gifted at tastefully incorporating rural, roots-based lead and rhythm mandolin styles into modern Americana music, Compton’s unique musical skillset allows him to entertain audiences ranging from rockers and urban hipsters to die-hard country, folk and bluegrass fans.