Interview with Gallagher Guitars

As part of our ongoing Luthier Interview series, we present our conversation with Don Gallagher, chief luthier with Gallagher Guitars. MF: When you first started building guitars, what innovations or craftsmanship did you feel made your guitars different? Are those goals the same today?…

Interview with Huss and Dalton

As part of our ongoing Luthier Interview series, we present our conversation with Jeff Huss and Mark Dalton. We will follow with another interview every few weeks through the next couple of months. MF: When you first started building guitars, what innovations or craftsmanship…

Guitar Bracing

Guitar bracing performs two wildly different functions: strengthen the top of the guitar while allowing it to sufficiently vibrate to produce a warm and resonant tone. In a standard scale guitar with medium guage strings, the guitar’s top withstands approximately 185 lbs of constant…

Banjo Adjustments for Improved Tone – Rich Simmons and Colin Blair

To get the best tone out of your banjo, it helps to understand all the working parts of your instrument and how they affect tone. Banjo Part Diagram The diagram at right illustrates the major parts of a bluegrass banjo; that is, a banjo…

Alternate Tunings for the Guitar – Rich Simmons

Old timey, open back banjos produce tone in a different way. Most old time players prefer natural skin for the head. Drawbacks to natural skin include an extreme susceptibility to humidity. High humidity can result in a loose head and poor tone. Low humidity…

Digital Modeling, Facts and Fiction

A lot of new gear has been appearing lately touting the ability of digital modeling to recreate the sound of classic musical equipment. Whether they be electronic drums, microphone modelers, or even speaker systems, the results can be varied. We’ll explore the history and…

Modes and Tunings for the Mountain Dulcimer

The mountain dulcimer, even in its simplicity, holds more than a few secrets. Those who pick it up for the first time are struck with its unique droning tones and find they can play simple melodies rather quickly, sometimes within a matter of minutes….

Wonderful World of Flutes – Melanie Jones

Flutes are classified into two groups: fipple flutes and transverse flutes. A fipple flute is one held perpendicular to the floor and with the mouthpiece or blow hole at the very end of the instrument. Transverse flutes are held parallel to the floor to…

Mandolin Improvisation – Colin Blair

Most new (and even some experienced) mandolin players feel constricted by the higher register of the instrument and tend to play only in the open position. Playing or improvising in the second or third position can be a challenge, but there’s a simple method…