Duet with National Mt. Dulcimer Champion Joe Collins in the background using his great CD “Looking Ahead”. Joe gave his permission for me to use a few of his songs for this purpose. Thank you Joe! I absolutely LOVE this CD! I’m playing a tenor bowed psaltery tuned chromatically to the key of D (C# and F#s are moved to the right side and Cs and Fs were moved to the left. This way all notes can be played on the right side!
I’ve been working on a new secret project – actually several of them. Only have one
finished so far, but thought I’d share photos of this one.
The psaltery is 2-5/8″. The bow is 2″ The pins are cut from the tiniest nails I could find – 1/4″ after cutting. Only 1/8″ of each pin sticks up above the wood. Really hard stringing this thing.
The bow strings are 14/0 black fly tying thread – super fine and 8 strands.
I plan on turning some of these into tac backed pins with the pinch type backs like tie tacks.
Also plan on turning a few into pendant necklaces. Some will just be miniatures. Cost will be $50 a set (psaltery + bow) plus $3 shipping (anywhere in the world) if anyone is interested and that is a bargain. It took a full 7 hours to string one, not including a half day for adding pins, and many more hours to make the body of the psaltery and bow and add 5 coats of lacquer to the wood (plus sanding). I tried adding rosin to the bow to see if I could hear any sound, but didn’t. Could just be too high for me to hear.
A friend and I had a booth at the Morris folk music festival. It was a great weekend of music and we introduced a lot of folks to the bowed psaltery who had never heard of it before. After seeing for themselves how easy this instrument is to play, many bought instruments and books.
Donna had small and large bowed psalteries made by another friend, Tish Westman.
We had the instruments on one table.
We had patches, t-shirts and books on the other table. Donna let me put my new book (the paper copy) out on the table. There it is in the front corner of the table. So cool to have it out where people can see it and browse through it!
I had the greatest time!
I became the resident teacher in the booth. As people came through the booth and asked “What’s that?”, I would put one in their hands and show them how to play the first line to Amazing Grace.
For people who had never played an instrument (dragged along spouses) and those who had only recently picked up an instrument, they were pleasantly surprised to be able to pick up a tune so quickly. I even taught a few young kids and the look of accomplishment on their faces was priceless!
Being in face-to-face retail like that was new and out of our comfort zone for both of us.
In a booth like that, not only is your product on display but you are also. Playing the instrument to entice people to stop in and look. Answering questions. Showing people how to play the bowed psaltery. It felt very much like being on a stage all day.
The author of a blog post I recently read said he’s started many blogs. The ones he’s kept going for years have been where he was passionate to learn about the subject.
This makes so much sense. If you have a project that keeps you enthralled, you can’t wait to get back to it.
The how-to book I’m writing is very much a passion for me. I spent a lot of time discovering information when I was teaching myself to play the Bowed Psaltery. I dug deep into the Internet because I just had to know as much about it as I could find.
Then when I decided to write the how-to book, it practically wrote itself because it was a continuation of that same passion. The book is almost finished. I’m so excited to be able to share it. Just a little bit longer….