Forum Activity for @james-phillips

James Phillips
@james-phillips
03/27/21 12:04:12PM
85 posts

How is the COVID-19 coronavirus affecting you?


OFF TOPIC discussions

Dusty Turtle:

I went to Home Depot the other day, and as I was walking towards the entrance, I saw another gentleman walking up as well.  We both saw each other and said "Oh, crap" (or something similar) at the same time.  Neither of us were wearing our masks, and seeing the other guy reminded us of that. So we both turned around and got our masks out of the car.

The CDC is saying that vaccinated people can gather unmasked in small groups with other vaccinated people. But since my wife and daughter have not been vaccinated yet, I'm not risking anything.

At least you weren't Karen's and not masking Dusty and both realized at the same time and went back.  What has struck me in this is how entitled and brazen some people are thinking that they don't have to mask up or that they are above the law when it is mandated.  As I have said countless times on my personal FB page, if you can't throw on a mask for a quick shopping trip, then don't go.  We have to wear one at my job for nearly 8 hours a day save during break when having lunch.  Enough of my rant and roll on masks and not wanting to cause a stir - just sharing my own take on it.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
03/27/21 08:19:02AM
85 posts

How is the COVID-19 coronavirus affecting you?


OFF TOPIC discussions

We finally, after running through a bunch of brick walls to get an appointment (odd as with working for Dart, we fell into Phase1B of IL's rollout of the vaccine) had the first appointment on Thursday.  I am a screamer for the most part with getting shots, and warned the nurse, and she understood.  She cleaned the area, and we made small talk about her working for Carle, which was the hospital doing it, and she then said "All done".  Did not feel a thing.  I felt a bit tired and irritable yesterday, so nothing to be afraid of.  With regards to how it is affecting me, even though before all this it was becoming a real hassle to get to her house every Sunday, we had not gone to my Mom's in a year for our Sunday lunch and Scrabble game after.  I do miss it as well as just visiting.  I was never a huge traveler so it didn't phase me as it did others.  The most into Champaign I actually have gotten was when I went to the Carle facility doing the Covid vaccine, otherwise I for the most part stay in Urbana save for going to the music store for guitar and ukulele restringings and supplies.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
01/07/21 07:25:31PM
85 posts

I got a new ukulele


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

You are kindly welcomed Ken.  I took a bit of a chance, and was glad that the chance paid off.  Even with the goof up, the owner after I emailed him emailed me back and said, you were right, and agreed to partially refund the difference between what I had originally ordered and had gotten.  I'll eventually take a picture of mine, after I take it to the local shop that I have do my restringing for me.  This was sent already in low G ukulele tuning, but with D'Addario unwound low G and I prefer Fremont blackline ukulele strings.  Got turned onto those by someone on a ukulele forum and they are the cat's meow as far as I am concerned for strings.  But to each there own nod

James Phillips
@james-phillips
01/07/21 07:21:02PM
85 posts

A moment of reflection


OFF TOPIC discussions

To echo what Robin said, I appreciate this posting, more than you probably know or realize.  It is a testament to this site, you and the moderators to try to keep things going in a friendly, inclusive environment.  We all come from different backgrounds, but what unites us is our love of music and the mountain dulcimer (even though we all can not agree on what style or tuning is right LOL.)  I have always appreciated that fact, and that in theory we should be able to put our political differences aside at the door.  My best.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
01/07/21 06:00:03AM
85 posts

I got a new ukulele


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Dusty, I get it.  I am stretched between playing a few instruments, so I have to take time for specific instruments.  Example was I had out my Kala tenor guitar for the first time in a while the other day.  So I am juggling between playing dulcimer, tenor sized ukulele, 6 string guitar and 4 string guitar.  Even before the whole pandemic I hardly went out, and the fact is we don't have cable tv - just basic Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime, so I'm not beholden to practicing at a certain time.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
01/06/21 08:55:16PM
85 posts

I got a new ukulele


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

I got it yesterday.  It was actually supposed to be the carbon gold model, but there was a boo-boo and they sent along the wrong uke, but you know, I like this translucent color.  I emailed them earlier and told them I would take store credit or something and use it for a shirt or some stuff from there merchandise page.  Another company I had heard of was KLOS guitars that also does ukes, and they do black colored carbon fiber travel guitars and ukes.  I went with Outdoor just because I wanted to see what this all was about, as I actually have 2 Kala tenor ukes that I really like.  Plus with this being so durable and having good tune, it is a perfect take to a park instrument.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
01/06/21 07:14:31PM
85 posts

I got a new ukulele


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

I wound up getting a ukulele yesterday from Outdoor Ukulele, a site I had never really heard of until I saw an advert in the side column on Facebook.  I got the tenor size, moonshine gold model.  For being of man made material, this really sounds great, and something to check into if thinking about the time when it is safe to jam with people in person again.  It didn't sound fake, had good projection and good action.  Here is a link to there site for anyone wanting to learn more https://www.outdoorukulele.com/

James Phillips
@james-phillips
08/26/20 05:02:38PM
85 posts

Assessing Tone


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

The other thing is that tone is very subjective.  Even in the same wood species, it can very.  As well, tuning can be a factor as well.  I have a dulcimer in Bagpipe tuning that is walnut and sycamore top and to me, it sounds bright and cheerful like what you expect from an all cherry.  Just my own 2 cents to add to the discussion.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
12/17/18 05:43:41AM
85 posts



I have 2 that I use, but if it was just one, I would keep my FolkRoots teardrop baritone dulcimer that I keep in G-gg-g bagpipe tuning.  That way I can play in the keys of C and G.  I just used it in a video I posted.  It took me a while to get used to it but I like it a lot.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
07/31/17 06:53:54PM
85 posts

Tune You've Had The Most Fun Playing?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

This one is a doozy but my most fun to play would either be Wildwood Flower or Ode to Joy.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
04/09/17 08:18:22AM
85 posts

What are you reading right now?


OFF TOPIC discussions

I am going to be re-reading Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie.  I saw the movie for the first time in a while a couple weeks ago and decided I would re-read the book.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
01/29/17 09:39:14PM
85 posts

Had an idea


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I had an idea  that I was thinking of earlier .   Not sure if this is the right forum  or not, but here  goes : To make it easier  to find fellow members  videos  on YouTube ,  could I suggest using Fotmd in the searth terms  people use when posting  a  clip?  It is a suggestion for whatever  it is worth, and one I will be adding onto my videos  when I get home from work on Monday . 

James Phillips
@james-phillips
10/23/16 12:23:09PM
85 posts

sweetwater dulcimers


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Paula, what you should be searching for is Sweet Woods dulcimers.  Sweetwater is an online music store that carries guitars, amps, and a whole lot of other stuff.   http://www.sweetwoodsinstruments.com/

James Phillips
@james-phillips
09/26/16 09:39:09AM
85 posts

Strings for Modern Mountain Dulcimer


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Or, if you have your old strings, just take it to a local music store and have them measure the gauges of strings used.  That way you get the exact gauge that was used.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
09/17/16 03:41:26PM
85 posts

noter/drone 6 string dulcimer players?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Have a question and wasn't sure where to post this, so thought this would be a good as place as any to post it.  Any noter/drone 6 string dulcimer players among us?  Did you have to adapt your strumming techniques?  Any insights would be appreciated.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
04/17/16 07:52:19PM
85 posts

Looking for tabs/books devoted to old style drone & noter playing


Dulcimer Resources:TABS/Books/websites/DVDs

The other thing, which I also answered on Facebook, is that if you find a melody line tab in DAd, you just have to add 3 frets, and you can have it in any Ionian tuning you are in, like DAA, EBB, CGG or Reverse, DGd.  My own playing is strictly noter/drone, but I tune things a bit different and don't want to hijack your thread to explain.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
04/09/16 08:58:25AM
85 posts

Recent article in a local paper.


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Kevin, now don't forget us when you become famous.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
03/05/16 06:29:02PM
85 posts

Sad news- Rest in peace our good friend John Phillips


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I am sad to hear about this.  John and I talked some, mostly privately, and he always encouraged me to follow my own muse.  RIP.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
12/20/15 05:36:12PM
85 posts

New Dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

congrats on the new dulcimer!

James Phillips
@james-phillips
11/08/15 08:52:46AM
85 posts

Tell us about your VERY FIRST dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

My first dulcimer I got when I moved back the Urbana/Champaign area, where it was in a resale shop.  It was a 3 string AW Jefferey's model, with wooden friction pegs.  This was back in 1999.  I was mostly playing guitar and some autoharp at the time, but it intrigued me, so I bought it.  Even though I didn't play it, it did make a nice looking decoration in the couple of apartments we lived in.  I eventually in the mid 00's sold it to a member of the autoharp discussion list I was on to a member who also played dulcimer.  

James Phillips
@james-phillips
10/18/15 08:23:40AM
85 posts

need help with a song tab, Home on the Range


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I saw, maybe I should have clarified Ionian tuning, so I will print out one of these tabs and add 3 save for the jump to the middle string parts.  

James Phillips
@james-phillips
10/17/15 09:00:41PM
85 posts

need help with a song tab, Home on the Range


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I have a song request for a tab that I don't have in a book, or have scene on ED, Home on the Range.  If someone has a melody line tab that they could send me, I would greatly appreciate it.  

James Phillips
@james-phillips
10/14/15 05:04:11PM
85 posts

acoustic bass guitar


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Dusty, for a while I played electric bass in our church praise band, with no experience other then that I had played acoustic guitar for 8 years prior.  I found I really only used my first and second fingers and sometimes the third but never the pinky.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
10/13/15 09:06:18PM
85 posts

acoustic bass guitar


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Neat. Have fun with it Dusty, and maybe post something with it when you feel up to it.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
09/13/15 09:58:52AM
85 posts

Positive game-changers in your progress


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Mine was a variety of factors.  I am not knocking chord melody nor finger style at all, but I realized when I got back to playing dulcimer in 2013 that while I love those styles, I could not execute them well on the dulcimer to do it justice.  So instead I worked on noter style playing, using CGG Ionian tuning.  I worked on a song at a time, instead of a bunch at once.  That way I could say I could play (insert song title) very well, instead of a bunch of songs so-so.  

I also worked on my strumming technique, and started doing the alternate strumming you see in my video clips.  At first I got it down for slower songs, then started working on faster songs with it, like Wildwood Flower and Old Joe Clark.

Lastly, I figured out what tunings and set-ups worked best for me and my music.  I got into Bagpipe tuning, and use that on 2 of my dulcimers to-day.  I also have on my Bagpipe tuned instruments the 6.5, which I know some traditionalists will stick there noses up the air about, but my rational is this: If tuned Ddd Bagpipe, from the open fret I get key of D mixolydian, and if it does not dip below the scale, D major.  From the 3rd fret I get key of G major.  Like having 2 dulcimers in one.  As well, if I do a reverse capo under the drones on the first fret, I get E minor.  The flip is that I also had gotten a mean tone fretted McSpadden hourglass, no 6.5, doubled middle string, and tuned E-BB-B.  Partially because there was talk about this fretting system no doubt because of John Henry Crocker on this site, and seeing a video of someone in the UK playing a McSpadden in this set-up, I decided to bite the bullet with it.  So on some songs, I like to use this.  Another thing I figured out for me was that I prefer to play with a single melody string, as to my ears, it has a cleaner sound, so I either prefer equidistant 4 string or a doubled middle string.

 

So there you go, the long winded answer to a simple question Laugh


updated by @james-phillips: 09/13/15 06:36:33PM
James Phillips
@james-phillips
07/25/15 12:23:41PM
85 posts



Sheryl, what you do with the suction cup pickup is to plug it into the input slot on your electronic tuner, then put the suction cup part on the instrument.  I first learned about the suction cup pick years on the autoharp discussion list, and how it easily helped pick up the lower F, G and C strings on the autoharp, which some tuners would not pick up that well at all.  I did recently get a Snark tuner, but I use it mostly on my guitars, and my McSpadden dulcimer because it has a flat head as opposed to a scroll type head.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
07/25/15 10:15:54AM
85 posts



I recommend a regular tuner like a Korg, plus a plug in suction cup like this  http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/TunerPickup  They stick onto the instrument to pick up the string sound even in a noisy room.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
07/12/15 01:34:41PM
85 posts

Rebuilding an old friend


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Neat! thank you for sharing that Robert.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
07/12/15 09:52:15AM
85 posts

classical guitars?


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

I am contemplating getting a new classical guitar, and have a couple leads.  There is a vintage Goya classical guitar with a case at a local music store, which I'd tried and sounds fantastic, or an Oscar Schmidt classical guitar.  These are just a couple ideas I have in my head, but want to hear some more, and maybe some yay or nay about my leads.  Best,

James Phillips
@james-phillips
07/12/15 09:49:16AM
85 posts

Autoharp resources?


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Hello there, I can recommend a couple of people to send your autoharp to have a good going over.  You live in the same neck of the woods as Jeff Dantzler who owns  http://www.harpdoctor.com   As well, check out  http://www.autoharp.org  which is the home of Cyberpluckers, an autoharp discussion forum.  Hope this helps you on your journey with your autoharp.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
06/29/15 07:16:09PM
85 posts

Tenor Guitars


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

I must say, thank you for your clip. In a way, I feel responsible for you getting one, as I got 2 in the past winter, a vintage Harmony tenor guitar that was refurbished, and my Ibanez PFT2 - Natural, a mini dreadnought style, as opposed to the parlor size which you had gotten.  Both Ibanez' are super value for there money.  As I'd shared privately, and will say publicly, if Joni Mitchell played the Ibanez George Benson model electrics live in the late 70's and early 80's, then you know that Ibanez is a brand to be trusted.  I simply can not say enough good things about mine.

 

The one thing Cynthia and I discovered is that the best strings for these tenors believe it or not is the La Bella tenor guitar strings.  The strings D'Addorio makes supports GDAE tuning, but are way too heavy for the standard tenor tuning of C G D A.  I emailed the guy I bought the Harmony from to ask what strings he used, and he told me La Bella, so there you go.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
06/27/15 07:43:24AM
85 posts

Do You Have A 'Go To' or Favorite Dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

This is a doozie of a question for me as it just depends on what songs I want to practice.  Some songs sound better in certain keys, so I let that by my guide.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
06/21/15 01:50:34PM
85 posts

4 string equidistant Bagpipe tuning?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I wound up doing D d d d, and liking it for now, may try D D d d and will remember to widen the slot on the string guide.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
06/20/15 10:55:13AM
85 posts

4 string equidistant Bagpipe tuning?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Thanks Bob, much appreciated.  I had out the hourglass poplar I got from you back in December, and decided I wanted to get away from doubled melody but still keep it in Bagpipe, so wanted to get some ideas from the site.  Guess I'll be going to the music store a bit later in the day then for some new strings and try D D d d.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
06/20/15 08:22:14AM
85 posts

4 string equidistant Bagpipe tuning?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Got a question that I was thinking about, and wanted to find out about.  For people that play Bagpipe tuning, but have it 4 string equidistant, do you have it set up D D d d, D d d d, or how?  Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
05/29/15 07:04:56PM
85 posts

Newest Just intonated dulcimer just completed


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Nice playing and demonstration there Robert! If I may ask, why did you go with a slightly shorter vsl for the just intonated dulcimers you'd made?

James Phillips
@james-phillips
05/27/15 04:42:23PM
85 posts



If you were a little bit closer, I live in Urbana.

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