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Dan 04617

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Everything posted by Dan 04617

  1. Having demonstrated the limitations of my American experience, it's interesting to see the Irish respond and expand my horizons. Thank you all. St. Pats is celebrated widely here, but I'd actually never heard of Bridget until a year or so ago. St. Bridget's Day seems much more forward looking in the year, with that touch of paganism still there. St. Patrick's Day seems more of an excuse to drink for those who feel they need excuses.
  2. Okay, so my ancestors were Dutch, but... I just don't see why all the fuss about St. Patrick. His parents were English and Italian. Whereas the other patron saint of Ireland, Bridget, is actually Irish, but hardly acknowledged at all.
  3. Gretchen, I bought it in a department store in Hong Kong in '91 for $20US. I was just passing through, but the place seemed to cater to locals. The banjo is cast aluminum body, bamboo nut, and poorly attached neck. The frets stand about 3/16" tall off the face of the fretboard, and are not evenly spaced to form any sort of regular intervals no matter how it's tuned. It has four strings and cheap machine tuners. There's a cast aluminum butterfly guard/rest projecting over the top of the drum head. It's really more ornament than instrument. Dan
  4. Okay, I'll sound off. I once knew a guy who collected swords. His appartment was full of them from machettes to claymores. I was impressed, but I'm just not that militaristic. I didn't play much, but decided I should start collecting musical insturments on a low budget. So I have a small acoustic guitar, a cheap strat, a strange chinese banjo, a D penny whistle, a marine band harmonica, a snare drum, a toy piano, this and that. About ten years ago I got a small raise at work and quickly blew it for a couple months on a Hohner D-40, which of course is the cheapest of the cheap in 20 button anglos. Like most of my collection, I played with it more than I could be said to actually play it. It mostly sat on the shelf. I never showed the dedication to really learn to properly play any of the things in the collection more than learning a couple of guitar chords. Then at Winter Solstice, my wife (who aquired me not long after I aquired the hohner) got me the Mad for Trad tutorial CD as a shot in the dark, as I'm horrible to buy gifts for but already had the instrument. The CD did a couple things for me. First, it gave me a performance and sheet music to follow along on, so that I started to learn to read music. Second, it gave me a few simple tunes to get me started on playing. After the first couple weeks I got bored with the stuff on the CD, because it's just a few tunes and the Hohner and I aren't good enough yet to do the more advanced stuff. But since I'd learned to read music just enough (at least in C/G) I was able to find more things to play on line and that's kept me amused and I continue to practice things daily. I've made particular use of http://thesession.org. They have lots of sheet music for various tunes. My opinion is that the Hohner is a poor insturment. It leaks air. Buttons stick. The air button is positioned such that if my fingers are on the other buttons, my thumb would need to be an inch longer to press it. It has a 12 fold bellows to make up for some of it's shortcomings, but not all of them. And it's a 20 button. When you cast about for music, you often try to play things you are familiar with. I tried to play Jethro Tull's Bouree once, and found that the sixth note of the piece is a sharp that I don't have. Even for noodling about, I think it would be nice to have a 30 button, even if it was of no better quality than the D-40. But I have what I have, and I can't see running out and buying a performance quality instrument (or even a cheap 30 button) when my history is to play with something for a few months and then shelve it. So my plan is to get as good as I can get on the Hohner. (Maybe I'll try to tinker a lever to press the air button from a more ergonomic point. Maybe not.) If I can show myself that I'm going to stick with it, then in six or eight months, maybe I can get a better quality 30 button insturment. Boy that Morse Ceili looks cute. Dan
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