Tag Archives: trips

Apple Time

VA apples are one of my top 10 favorite things, hands down. I also really like carpentry, booze, and giving gifts. What happens when you mix all three together? (Jamie’s yet-to-be-named) Hard Cider! Here’s the plan, Fran:

  1. Find the best VA apples around. This pic was taken at Saunder’s Brothers Orchard in Piney River, VA.
  2. Build a cider press worthy of being passed down to Goodin generations to come.
  3. Make and refine some ballin’ soft-cider.
  4. Turn it to a hard 11.
  5. Bottle & brand it.
  6. Give it to my friends and family for holiday gifts. #SharingIsBoss

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Appalachian Dulcimer

Appalachian Dulcimer

At the Harrisonburg Farmer’s Market three weekends ago, I came upon a baller acoustic jam session. Check out more details on Appalchian dulcimers here. #Amurka

Some highlights, via Wikipedia:

  • Number of strings: Dulcimers may have as few as two or as many as 12 strings (in six courses). Instruments with only one string would more properly be termed monochords. In the 1950s and 1960s most mountain dulcimers had three strings. The most popular variant today is four strings in three courses, with doubled melody strings.
  • Fret patterns: Until the late 1970s, most Appalachian dulcimers were made with a purely diatonic fretboard. A few years later, an added 6½ fret (and where the instrument fretboard is long enough, the 13½ fret, an octave higher) had become standard. Most makers now offer 1½ and 8½ frets as options, and the fully chromatic dulcimer is rising in popularity
  • Body shapes: Dulcimers appear in a wide variety of body types, many of which are recorded in A Catalog of Pre-Revival Dulcimers. A representative array would include: hourglass, teardrop, trapezoid, rectangular, elliptical (“Galax-style”), violin-shaped, fish-shaped, and lute-back.
  • Materials: In addition to plywood, laminates, and solid woods, some builders are using experimental materials such as carbon fiber. Dulcimers are also made of cardboard. Often sold as low-cost kits, cardboard dulcimers offer surprisingly good sound and volume. Their low cost and resistance to damage make them particularly suited to institutional settings, such as elementary school classrooms.
  • “Courting dulcimers”: One unusual variant is the “courting dulcimer.” This instrument consists of one large dulcimer body with two separate fingerboards. The instrument is laid across the laps of two facing individuals (the eponymous “courting” pair) and used to play duets.
  • “Double-Neck Dulcimers”: Somewhat the same as a “courting dulcimer”, but with both fretboards (or “necks”) facing the same direction. Popularized by performer Bing Futch, it allows for multiple tunings without changing instruments.
  • “Bowed Dulcimers”: Dulcimers that can be played with bows; in the modern era heavily modified variants have been made exclusively for bowed playing.

So, how does it sound? The combination of thumb-picking and nylon strings gave the notes a low-treble, subdued attack and the well-made acoustic body ensures a full, almost haunting ring. As pictured, the gentleman was playing in the rhythmic style of a bass guitar. This was fitting as the other instruments in the jam included banjos, mandolins, and guitars. All in all, baller.