Whistles, Flutes, and Fifes! Oh My! – Melanie Jones

Whistles, flutes and fifes are all members of the simple system six-hole flute family. They are tuned so that when all holes are covered, the lowest playable pitch is heard-the first scale note of the key. They have all been used in a variety…

If it Looks like a Mandolin….

Or, maybe it’s a mandola? Or could it be an octave mandolin? Or even a cittern? Let’s try to clear up the mystery here… Descended from the lute family of instruments, the modern mandolin was born during the early stages of the Renaissance. The…

Guitar in the Early Jazz Age – Rich Simmons

In the dawn of the jazz age, the guitar was not a player. The generally accepted instrumentation in New Orleans in the earliest 20th century was trumpet or coronet, clarinet, trombone, and a rhythm section of banjo, drums, and either bass or tuba. The…

All That Twang, What is That Thang? – Steve Meier

Though many people think that the banjo is the all-American instrument, born and developed in the good ol’ U. S. of A., they’re only telling you a partial truth and a very small part of the whole story. What they are thinking of is…

Tone Woods Commonly Used in Guitars

When searching for just the right tone and response in a guitar, knowing what differing tone woods offer is a key step. Combining that knowledge with a good understanding of your own playing technique and most common musical style can help you find the…

Classical vs. Flamenco Guitars – Joe Bigham

With the rise in popularity of acoustic music within the last decade, many older styles of music have been gaining attention in more mainstream music. For instance with “Latin Boom” heralded by artists like Ricky Martin and Enrique Englasias, Spanish and Afro-Cuban music has…

A Solution to the Harsh Facts of the Music Industry – Lindsey Smith

Throughout the second half of the 20th century, the typical dream for songwriters and musicians alike was to write and perform amazing music, get signed to a major record label, and make millions of dollars. Unfortunately, even platinum selling records and lavish worldwide touring…

A Mountain Dulcimer Primer – Rich Simmons

The mountain or Appalachian Dulcimer is a fretted instrument of the zither family and was originally found in Southern mountain cultures. While some music scholars think the mountain dulcimer may be a descendent of the European zither brought to the United States by German…

Hammer Dulcimer History and Construction – Carole Bryan

“Honey, if I can do it, you can do it.” That was my first exposure to the hammered dulcimer! My husband and I had taken our daughters to the Lincoln exhibits at New Salem, Il, and I spent some time listening to a woman…