I've always been I guy with strong opinions, about some things anyway. I'll express some of them in this category from time to time, because they do generally have something to do with how my philosophy concerning various aspects of of everything I do have been formed. The initial spark of an idea, or answer to a question, many times started with an opinion. But the Key thing about this category is that if my opinion differs from yours, it is NOT that I don't respect yours as just as valid.Read more
Working on it.
Pick Direction – Rules of Engagement
Everyone has heard great guitar flatpickers. This is a very developed art among guitar players, and the folks that teach it I’m sure have more complete rules on how pick direction is determined than what I know. These rules would apply to flatpicking the dulcimer as well. I would love to talk to an expert guitarist about this, and if I do I may expand or change some of what I’m about to write. But until then, here is what I have learned from my own development of the style concerning pick direction. I know…Read more
Cross Key Scales
The past 10 years or so I have been arranging and playing a lot of tunes in keys other than the open tuning my dulcimer is in. With the addition of the 1.5 fret on a standard dulcimer, and a cross string flatpicking style, there are a wealth of scales, both major and minor, and thus a wealth of songs that can be played cross key without retuning, and without a capo. Even without a 1.5 fret, you can play in some cross keys. I’ve included a resource Tab here that I hope you find informative. It is in both Tab…Read more
I am not a Mac user so I’ve relied on others to tell me what they do when they get gibberish when trying to open these TablEdit files with a Mac. It appears that my web design program cause a glitch in how Tab from my site interacts with Macs. Macs also add a .txt extension when trying to download TAB from my site. I will be trying to resolve this with the software company. Until then, if you are a Mac user, I would be happy to email you the TablEdit file. They seem to work fine that way. Or just do one of…Read more
Just What Is an Udu?
The udu is a vessel drum originally from the Igbo people of Nigeria. Traditionally it was a water jug with another hole in the side, played by women for ceremonial music. The udu has become a very popular instrument in the West, and can be heard at least once a week on a television or movie soundtrack, if you know what to listen for.
Traditional udus are very hard to come by, but there are scores of contemporary makers in North America alone. Pictured is a traditional udu made from a porous clay. Although…Read more
Since I compose about 95% of the music that I play, it is common for me to hear comments like, “How do you just pull notes out of the air?” or “You have a rare and special gift.” The fact is we all have a special gift, a bit of genius, and the ability to give birth to music that is uniquely our own. It is not magic, but it is magical. I don’t read music or understand much theory, but I have learned what it takes to access the music that is inside me.
Composing your own music can be one of the most…
Chord Arpeggios for Melody
Here is information about Chord Arpeggios for Melody I put together for the Mel Bay Dulcimer Sessions. CORRECTION: Since writing this article I have changed and improved my picking style. When reading, if it references pick direction, such as "next string to pick is away from you, then pick away from you"...please consider ignoring it. I now use almost exclusively the Alternating Pick Method. See the explanation of it in "Pick Direction, Rules of Engagement" also in my Writings tab.
How I Got Here
Born in Tulsa Oklahoma, I grew up in a family of athletes. My father was a multi sport standout in college, and played Semi Pro baseball after. He even played competitive fast pitch softball until he was 55 years old. His sons, Gary, Les, and Don, not only took turns being bat boy for one of the 3 simultaneous teams he played for, but spent much of their recreational time in the back yard throwing the football around, having batting practice, or boxing lessons. As competitive as he was, Dad always was a…Read more