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What's new for August, 2014?

Hello everyone!

More "cool" music and instruments are being posted and released for August. I will be uploading more files and more updates through August.

Here are the very latest updates:



A fresh, new "Song of the Month" is posted; "The Wind that Shakes the Barley". All of the details are below.

Bluegrass Guitar Volume 11 is nearing completion. I'm putting the final touches on the audio recordings and it will be ready this month.



The new 21 String Harp Guitars are finished! The initial review is below.

In addition to the 21 String Harp Guitar, there are some more new Harp Ukuleles and Fanned Fret Guitars coming this month.


"The Wind that Shakes the Barley"

Song of the Month

"The Wind That Shakes the Barley" is an Irish ballad written by Robert Dwyer Joyce (1836–1883), a Limerick-born poet and professor of English literature. The song is written from the perspective of a doomed young Wexford rebel who is about to sacrifice his relationship with his loved one and plunge into the cauldron of violence associated with the 1798 rebellion in Ireland.  
The references to barley in the song derive from the fact that the rebels often carried barley or oats in their pockets as provisions for when on the march. This gave rise to the post-rebellion phenomenon of barley growing and marking the "croppy-holes," mass unmarked graves into which slain rebels were thrown, symbolizing the regenerative nature of Irish resistance to British rule. As the barley will grow every year in the Spring time of the year this is said to symbolize Irish resistance to British oppression and that Ireland will never yield and will always oppose British rule on the island.

This is a good “first year” tune for all of the instruments. This tune is often played in the Key of D on the Fiddle. I’ve arranged a second part for the Fiddle, Mandolin and Guitar; a duet. They are interchangeable. This is nice for friends to play together or as a student-teacher duet. The Banjo remains in standard bluegrass G tuning. The arrangement is mainly melodic style in the Key of D, matching the Fiddle arrangement. The Bass is rather straight forward. There are many chord changes so, there aren’t many opportunities for bass runs. I opted to keep the bass line simple and clean this time. I’m still working on the Dobro arrangement and will have it posted later this month. There are many play-along backing tracks in the package to help keep your timing steady.

The download package is a Windows .rar. The files in the .rar are the standard mp3 and Adobe pdf. You will need a password to open the .rar It is in the August newsletter. If you have trouble opening the .rar see this link for detailed instructions.

Download:  wind-that-shakes-the-barley.rar

Hard Copy Books with FedEx

The Hard Copy Books are available again! They are being processed with FedEx. When you place an online order, the files are sent to a FedEx near you and are available the same or next business day for pickup. If a FedEx Office is not near you, they will ship to your address. This service is available for the USA and Canada.

The matching audio CDs are also available. More details are here.
fedex logo

21 String Harp Guitar

The first production models of the 21 String Harp Guitar are complete and now shipping in August!
This harp guitar is based on the 20 string Sullivan/Elliot design. I've made three adjustments to the original plans.

1. The head stock has been modified to accept sharping levers.
2. The super treble box has been eliminated to accept sharping levers and use standard guitar machines. The sharping levers used are Dragon Whispers. These levers are too large for the super treble block. I'm searching for another lever option.
3. The steel string 21 harp guitar has a standard 48mm nut width. A nylon string, classical guitar 51mm nut is also available.

If you prefer alternate, drop tunings, a fanned fret 21 string harp guitar will be available soon. Also, there will be several varieties of tone woods available for the next releases. Currently, on the bench are Sapele (pictured), Bocote, Ziricote, Claro Walnut, Granadillo and Flamed Maple. Tops can be Carpathian spruce (pictured), Sitka Spruce and Douglas Fir. Other tone woods will be added as I can secure large enough material for a harp guitar build.

Click here for 171 high resolution photos.

Click here for the materials and dimension details.

Click here for the video