Tag: music-making

September 12, 2014

Returning to my “cheapest” stick dulcimer, I had a surprise tonight. As long as I have played guitar I have used standard-style hard plastic picks, either in light or medium – although I sometimes use extra light on the 12-string. When I got my first…

August 20, 2014

In January, I treated myself to a stick dulcimer from HiGuitarsUK.

A stick dulcimer, aka a Strum Stick or Strumstick, is a 3 stringed instrument, based on the mountain or Appalachian dulcimer, but made to be held and played like a guitar, rather than a lap instrument. They come in all different qualities and price ranges, but this was my birthday present to myself, so I went for a luthier-crafted high-end model, costing me 170 quid.

I’ve had a lot of pleasure out of it, and it’s turned into a minor obsession with me. So last week when I noticed a couple of other stick dulcimers on eBay, I decided to float a minimum bid. To my surprise, I got both.

So I am now the owner of 3 stick dulcimers, of varying quality. So I thought it would be a nice idea to compare them. These are the three instruments, from left to right: My birthday dulcimer from HiGuitarUK (£170); Smokey Mountain Dulcimer (£51); Strumstick by D G Clemson (£49).

August 10, 2014

I’ve had a Tenori-On for a couple of years, now: the cheap “Orange” one, made of plastic; not the metal framed “White” version. After an initial period when I couldn’t put it down, I soon found myself disappointed that the volume of the device was…

December 12, 2013

I’ve written about Justin Sandercoe before, who has several hundred excellent guitar tutorials up on Youtube. To my delight, he has now started a series of ukulele lessons as well. And by the looks of things, he can really play the uke, too. So if…

June 13, 2013
April 29, 2013
March 20, 2013

Sometimes it is nice to have a semi-random source of phrases to draw from when writing lyrics. I have been known to use magnetic poetry, and even wrote a song – Lodestone – to celebrate this method. But today I found something new – using…

March 1, 2013

Some of you more experienced guitarists may have come across this already (the really experienced guitarists may not need it!); but I recently acquired a Flexi-Capo, and I am having a lot of fun with it. It does the same kind of job as a…

December 21, 2012

So according to the NRA, the problem is that there should be more guns in schools, not less. NRA chief breaks post-Newtown silence to call for armed guards at schools (Guardian)

December 17, 2012

I’ve been frequenting the website and YouTube channel of a guy called Justin Sandercoe. Some of you will have already come across him, as he’s been getting some good press; but for those of you who haven’t, I’d really recommend taking a look. http://www.justinguitar.com/ http://www.youtube.com/user/JustinSandercoeSongs…

September 23, 2012

For most of my guitar-playing life, I have played acoustic rhythm, with occasional use of an odd thumb and index fingerpick I developed out of nowhere – it is distinctive and works quite well, but I used to yearn for a bit of variation. Over…

August 24, 2012

Coming back from London, on Wednesday, the train was busy, even though it was past rush hour. At King’s Cross, I walked down towards the end of the train, and came across a set of 6 seats, 3 opposite 3, occupied by two guys. Seated…