Archive for the ‘Instrument Shows’ Category

The 2016 Northwest Handmade Musical Instrument Show

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Musical Instrument Makers’ Show at Marylhurst University

We had about 80 makers exhibiting at Marylhurst again, this year, and about 800 visitors over the two afternoons that weekend (April 30th/May 1st). It was a very positive experience, though physically and emotionally exhausting.

Ann took a few photos the second day, mostly before the visitors began showing up, so you are seeing the exhibitors setting up.

 

 

 

Our table

Our son Brian’s table.

 

Doc’s Banjos…his kids were watching Seth Kimmel set up his Bass-making exhibit.

 

 

Another bass-maker…all the way from Seattle.

 

Traditional Latino Instruments

 

Flamenco guitars

 

Classical Guitars

 

Other instruments

 

Modern Ukuleles

 

Every kind of guitar imaginable.

 

Flutes and Drums

 

Violins

 

More violins and/or fiddles

 

Violins, violas, and a cello

 

And Bows!

 

Pochettes and fiddles.

 

Visitor test-driving one of my violins

Obviously there was much more to see. I stayed pretty close to my table virtually all the time, and was very busy, so I missed seeing all the great work people did. For three bucks, that show is the best deal of the year, though. Plan on attending next year, if you can come. It is the last weekend of April every year.

Thanks for looking.

 

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Myrtle and Port Orford Cedar Oliver 5-String Fiddle; and an upcoming Show

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New Five-string Fiddle

Myrtle Wood and Port Orford Cedar

Some time ago, a friend (Cliff Stansell, of the Pistol River Trio) asked me to build (strictly on speculation) an Oliver five-string fiddle of Oregon Myrtle wood (for back, sides and neck) and Port Orford Cedar (for top and bassbar). He prevailed upon his brother (Les Stansell, a maker of Guitars and Ukuleles, using those woods) to donate the wood for the experiment. This is the result:

New 5-string fiddle

New 5-string fiddle

Back view

Back view

 

Front view

Front view, hanging up

Back view hanging up

Back view hanging up

What about Sound?

Well, quite honestly, it has been strung up for less than 12 hours, and, though I have spent some time playing it, and adjusting the soundpost, etc., it is really still too early to be sure how it will sound.

So far, I feel pretty positive about it. I know the arching and graduations are good, but I have never used this combination of woods before, so it is hard to be sure what is a product of the wood, and what is a product of the luthier.

It feels heavier to me, quite naturally, simply because Myrtle is a harder, heavier wood than Maple. But that may be OK. I know that Bubinga (even harder and heavier) is regularly used for five-string fiddles, and I actually have some Bubinga to try someday soon.  The Koa I used for the 5 string fiddle last year was also very hard and heavy, and it turned out to sound very good. So I am hopeful that this one will too. It already sounds good…but I want it to sound Great!

(Update: by the next morning the sound had improved remarkably, as new instrument frequently do: I had adjusted the soundpost just before calling it quits for the night, and such adjustments frequently take a few hours to “settle in”.)

Marylhurst Show is coming up in two weeks.

For anyone interested, the Annual Marylhurst Musical Instrument Makers’ Show  (click the link for details) will be April 30th and May 1st this year. I hope to see you there. Come and test-drive this fiddle and the others.

Thanks for looking.

 

 

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2015 Marylhurst Musical Instrument Makers’ Show

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Instrument Makers’ Show

Well… I didn’t get much done this year… but I did manage to get one new fiddle built and dragged a bunch of my previous work to the show.

I saw a few old friends there, and met a lot of new folks.

Here are some photos…maybe you’ll see people you know:

John Hill with his work
John Hill with his work

Lynn Berg with his Hardanger fiddles
Lynn Berg with his Hardanger fiddles

Scott Ackley with his guitars
Scott Ackley with his Guitars

John Greven with his guitars
John Greven with his guitars

Sharon Thormahlen with a Thormahlen Harp

Sharon Thormahlen with a Thormahlen harp

Ken Altman, with his violin, viola, cello and bass bowsKen Altman, with his violin, viola, cello and bass bows

Jeff Manthos with his work (Recognize the master maker visiting with him?)Jeff Manthos with his work (Recognize the master maker visiting with him?)

Jon Franke with his table

Jon Franke with his table

Wes Peabody, his lovely wife, and his guitars

Wes Peabody, his lovely wife, and his guitars

Mark Moreland at his table

Mark Moreland at his table

My table…(my wife hid when she saw the camera coming… ) 🙂My table...my wife hid when she saw the camera coming... :-)

Left side of the room, facing the entry…only the makers present, so far.
Left side of the room, facing the entry...only the makers present, so far.

Right side of the room, from the same vantage point. Notice the guy with his thumbs in his ears? A friend of mine, Ken Pollard, and his wife Monica, who is hiding her face. He is a great fiddler and a great maker.Right side of the room, from the same vantage point.

Here he is close-up. 🙂
Here he is close-up. :-)

And, here’s the room right up the center:Center of room

It was a good show all around. there were about 80+ makers, and probably in excess of 500 visitors.

 

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2014 Musical Instrument Makers’ Show at Marylhurst University

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Marylhurst University Musical Instrument Show

For those who missed it:

The following photos were all taken before the public was allowed in, so the tables are not fully set up, but you can see the size of the room, and some of the instrument displays. I believe there were 80 tables, and each table had one or more makers exhibiting, so probably in the neighborhood of 100 makers. Possibly ten were violin-family makers. One was a maker of wooden flutes and drums. Usually there is an orchestral harp maker there, but he was not there this year. There were several mandolin and ukulele makers, some makers of middle-eastern or South American instruments, one or two banjo makers, and all the rest were either guitar-makers or vendors selling materials to makers.

Once the doors were open, I am told we had about 300 visitors the first day, and 500 the second day. I don’t know how accurate those numbers are, but it definitely seemed more crowded the second day.

 

No sales at our table this year, but lots of interest, and several good players. A good weekend all the way around. The one-piece-back cello, of Oregon Big-leaf Maple was very popular, as was the five-string fiddle and the Lion-head Viola.  I did not have a double bass there this year, but several people asked, so I intend to do so next year.

We had a very pleasant visit from violin-maker Kenneth Pollard and his lovely wife (who took the photo below), both of Nampa, Idaho. He and I have corrresponded in the past, but this was a first “face-to-face” meeting. Hope to see them again sometime…maybe at the next show, if not before.

Ken Pollard and Chet Bishop at the 2014 Marylhurst Musical Instrument Makers’ Show

 

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Back view of Oliver 5 string fiddle

5-String Fiddle Finally Complete

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Five String Fiddle completed…just in time for the Show!

The Maryhurst University Musical Instrument show is this weekend,  Saturday and Sunday, the 3rd and 4th. Admission is only $3 … this is a really good deal, and a great “peek” at up-and-coming makers, as well as the more well-established ones.

Last year there were two banjo-makers, three or four mandolin makers, one double-bass maker, one maker of traditional Persian instruments, one maker of electric Kalimbas, one maker of traditional Mexican instruments, three or so Ukulele makers, possibly  ten makers of violin-family instruments, a couple of cigar-box ukulele makers, one orchestral harp maker and probably fifty to sixty guitar makers, of all varieties.

Handmade Bluegrass fiddle took months to complete

I have had more discouraging setbacks on this instrument than in any instrument of the last ten years, probably. I got sick early in the making, and was very busy with work as well, so that slowed things down. Twice I made errors and had to scrap the neck and start over. (Boy, is that frustrating!) Then I somehow got a serious muscle spasm in my back, and could hardly walk for several weeks.

However, perseverance pays off, and I finally completed the five string fiddle last night. There are still some spots to touch up on the varnish, and some other cosmetic issues, but for purposes of practicality, it is complete– and playing very well.

Oregon Bigleaf Maple and Sitka Spruce

The maple wood is from the same log  from which I made last year’s five string fiddle. The flame is not quite as spectacular, as it came from a different portion of the log, but still definite eye-candy–the back looks like a cloudy golden sunset in the right light.

If you’d like to try it out, please come to the Marylhurst show this weekend. Meanwhile, here are some photos:

Front of Oliver Five String Fiddle

Front of the fiddle– colors are close, but in person it is more brown/red…less yellow.

 

Back of Oliver 5-String Fiddle

The back looks pretty good, but it is better, of course, in person…you can see the flame better.

Close-up of Oliver 5-String Fiddle Back

Here is a closer view of the grain of the back. It really requires the changing angle of the light, to get the best view of it.

Back of Oliver Five-String Fiddle neck

Here’s the back of the scroll. I really like the flame in the neck.

Side View of Oliver Five-string Fiddle scroll

And, finally, the side of the scroll itself. Not much flame in the wood, but I like the way it turned out, anyway.

Come and try it out at the show. I’ll hope to see you there.

 

 

 

 

 

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2013 Marylhurst University Musical Instrument Makers’ Show

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2013 Marylhurst Musical Instrument Makers’ Show

Here are some photos from the 2013 Marylhurst University Musical Instrument Makers’ Show: (Most were taken before the show was open to the public– these people are all the makers and vendors.)

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It wasn’t all guitars and fiddles, as you can see. This couple makes Persian instruments called “Tars” (the larger ones) and  Setars, (not “Sitars”, which have 30 strings…traditionally, a Setar has three strings, but apparently about a century ago, a tradition of four-string setars began.) That little thing to the right of center is a setar.

There were also two banjo makers, several ukulele makers, mandolin makers, an orchestral harp maker, and, yes, even a few fiddle makers. And every kind of guitar imaginable.

The table in the next photo was mine…I was sharing it with my son, who makes guitars. That worked out well. We had someone at our table nearly constantly.

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In the picture above, Brian, my youngest son, had not yet arrived. In the one below, his girlfriend was helping set up his display.

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There were approximately 500 visitors each day…it was a pretty encouraging weekend.

The five string fiddle (left-most in the rack) sold, so that was nice, but unfortunately there were not very many cellists in the mix…only two stopped and played the cellos, but they really liked both of them. The five-string was the real star. 🙂

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