Forum Activity for @john-keane

John Keane
@john-keane
02/06/19 07:52:37PM
184 posts

Luthiers - Cedar Creek?


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

I do not.  A sweet lady in Kentucky bought it from me at a festival a few years ago.  My needs and preferences had changed, so it was a good deal for both of us.  We still drop by the main store on Hwy. 76 a couple of times a year, and we've performed there in the past as well.

John Keane
@john-keane
02/06/19 02:50:20PM
184 posts

Luthiers - Cedar Creek?


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

I know dozens of people who experienced their first exposure to the mountain dulcimer through the Cedar Creek kiosk at Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO (including my wife and myself).  My first real dulcimer came from there as well.  They are quality people and make everyone feel welcome.  The Cedar Creek folks are true ambassadors when it comes to introducing the general public to the mountain dulcimer.

John Keane
@john-keane
11/23/18 07:16:16AM
184 posts



Like so many others on this thread I am blessed to already own the dulcimer that I would choose...Bigfoot!  It is a Folkroots model by Folkcraft with a pick-up and a Galax back making it ready for any situation.  I have literally played hundreds of dulcimers from dozens of makers and have never loved the sound or feel of another dulcimer like I do this one.  Bigfoot is also very stunning in a visual sense with the zebrawood and ebony/sugar maple inlay work.  I am often asked about the inspiration behind the design.  The concept is a nod to the Rugg brothers (Howard and Mike) of early CapriTaurus and Folkroots fame.  They still own the original building in California where those early instruments were made as far back as the sixties, but it is now the Bigfoot Discovery Museum where Mike Rugg serves as the curator.  

HeartsBigfoot.jpg

John Keane
@john-keane
09/23/18 06:33:48AM
184 posts

The Positive Thread...


OFF TOPIC discussions

Dusty Turtle:

I run a dulcimer group that meets monthly.  Today, at the end of our session, just as we were breaking for some snacks, one of our regular members gave me a present: a BlueChip flatpicksun  In a discussion of flatpicking technique several months back I had mentioned that I use inexpensive Dunlop Tortex picks but once tried a BlueChip pick that Erin Mae Lewis shared with me.  I loved it, but since they cost like $35 I would never buy one.  I guess he remembered and got one for me -- with the right-hand bevel and everything.  How cool is that!  Now I just have to be careful not to lose it.nailbite

That's VERY cool!

 

John Keane
@john-keane
08/25/18 04:53:06PM
184 posts

Wind Instruments????


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

I'm a weird (or lucky) duck on this topic.  I'm an instrumental music education major, so I can technically play any orchestral brass, woodwind, or percussion instrument.  Honesty compels me to report that I would only consider myself competent enough to perform in public on seven or possibly eight of the brass and woodwind instruments (but any of the  percussion instruments...let's go) lol.  I also do penny whistle and Native American flute.  The cool thing is that new and wonderful challenges are still lurking around every corner.  I've been blessed to do okay as a tuba major/percussion minor.  Learning musical instruments is fun!  

John Keane
@john-keane
08/02/18 07:18:33AM
184 posts

Intermediates


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

The topic of level "labels" has been a source of interest to me since the time I filled out paperwork to attend my first dulcimer festival years ago.  This was a long time before Karen and I had any notion of traveling the country performing and teaching workshops.  We were just professional musicians (on other instruments) wanting to learn how "not to stink" on this wonderful new instrument that we had discovered a few months earlier.  We both figured out rather quickly that the level labels didn't really work for us at all.  Even though we had less than a year of experience on the mountain dulcimer, we had a lifetime of musical background.  We found that, as we looked through the course offerings, we seemed to fit (in most cases) anywhere from novice to advanced (depending on the class).  The selection process and trying to declare a level label for ourselves was excruciating UNTIL we changed our perspective.  We decided to approach the selection process in a "where do we want to be" manner rather than the "where are we" fashion.  This decision literally changed our lives.  Yes, it was scary.  Yes, we were sitting in classes with students who had been playing for many years as opposed to our few months.  Yes, we understood that the instructors wouldn't wait for us to "get it" before moving on to the next topic.  With all of that said, we had a look at the payoff part of the dulcimer journey.  We learned skills and tricks that we couldn't do well at the time, but we could go back home and practice them.  We learned that the mountain dulcimer community is very helpful and accepting, and we met people all of those years ago who have become some of our best friends on this planet.  ALL of this happened by changing our perspective concerning level labels and totally eliminating the frustration.  I tell students all of the time that perspective is a weird and wonderful thing.  Some might marvel at how people can come from all over the country yet sit down and instantly make beautiful music together while others might complain that all these people do is sit in a circle and play the same twelve tunes for a week.  It's all about the perspective of the observer.  We cannot control labels developed by others and where we fit (or not) into these categories, but we CAN control the perspective at which we view these labels and approach them in a manner that will benefit us (as players) the most.  Sorry about the novel, but this is a topic near and dear to my heart.  Please don't be afraid to venture into a workshop that a label declares is too difficult for you.  The information will benefit you greatly if you take it and develop the skills at your own pace.   

John Keane
@john-keane
06/15/17 12:17:27PM
184 posts

Tune You've Had The Most Fun Playing?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Dusty Turtle:
John Keane: Karen and I both keep coming back to John Stinson's #2 because there are so many cool things to do with the chords.  We usually keep the same song structure each time, but we make subtle voicing and chord changes pretty much every single time that we play it.  Bing Futch taught me that tune a few years ago in Palestine, TX.  I'm really glad that he did. 

 

And I learned that song from your videos, John! Thanks so much!  It is indeed a fun one to play; the rhythmic possibilities alone are remarkable.

Thank YOU!  There's always a trail behind the path a song takes to people.  My introduction from Bing went something like "You should learn this tune...we're playing it on the set Monday."  This was on the Friday night before lol.

 

John Keane
@john-keane
06/15/17 07:20:37AM
184 posts

Tune You've Had The Most Fun Playing?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Karen and I both keep coming back to John Stinson's #2 because there are so many cool things to do with the chords.  We usually keep the same song structure each time, but we make subtle voicing and chord changes pretty much every single time that we play it.  Bing Futch taught me that tune a few years ago in Palestine, TX.  I'm really glad that he did. 

John Keane
@john-keane
03/20/17 06:40:30AM
184 posts

Fret Material


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

A few years ago, Karen and I found ourselves having to have frets dressed and/or replaced every few months.  We use low action and we don't have a particularly heavy touch, but we were absolutely wearing frets out.  We spoke with Richard Ash at Folkcraft and decided to try an experiment.  Karen swapped to EVO frets, and I switched to stainless steel frets on our main performance instruments.  Any change in tone is negligible, but neither one of us has had to address fret wear since.  We admittedly play the instruments more than the average mountain dulcimer hobbyist, but changing fret material made a huge difference for us.  My understanding is that the stainless is a pain for luthiers to work with (more time, tough on tools, etc.), but it holds like a champ.  The EVO is apparently easier to work with for the luthiers, and it also lasts well.  Both materials have a higher cost, but when you compare the cost to frequent maintenance costs it actually saves money in the long run.  Just something to ponder. 

John Keane
@john-keane
02/22/17 06:53:22PM
184 posts

Native American Flutes


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Susie:

 

 

John, I'm not considering the contra, just the condor bass Em. Just can't decide between the standard bore and the 1" bore. But, it sounds like the standard bore would be just fine for me. Do you guys have a standard bore condor (not contra) bass?

 

We have "regular" Condor basses in various keys (even the smaller bore size).  Once you get used to the extra stretch beyond a smaller flute stretch it's really no big deal.  Have fun and enjoy the process!

John Keane
@john-keane
02/22/17 06:39:57AM
184 posts

Native American Flutes


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

The only thing that I would caution about would be a Condor Contra Bass flute.  My wife (Karen) has been a professional flute player and teacher since the 1980s.  The holes are so large that her fingers go straight into them without stopping to seal the holes.  The spread between the holes can also be a challenge for people with smaller hands.  I haven't run into many folks who have this problem with the regular Condor Bass series, but I know that some like the smaller bore better for comfort reasons.  Here's a video that starts with me using the contra bass.  You'll probably be able to tell that I'm working pretty hard to manage the beast, but they have such a wonderful low voice. 

John Keane
@john-keane
02/18/17 10:25:38AM
184 posts

What songs were you taught in kindergarten/grade school?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Here's some that we do right now! 

John Keane
@john-keane
11/17/16 05:10:24PM
184 posts

Offering sympathy to our dear John Henry


OFF TOPIC discussions

My deepest condolences to the entire Crocker family.  Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.

John Keane
@john-keane
09/18/16 05:26:55PM
184 posts

1880 Appalachian Dulcimer on Antiques Roadshow


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Cool stuff, Patty!  All of us with that particular spelling are related somewhere down the line (or so I'm told).

John Keane
@john-keane
08/18/16 07:19:38PM
184 posts

Tinwhistle / penny whistles


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Patty from Virginia:

JK, Forgot about Possum Cafe, LOL. I just want to see you playing the tuba. I miss Carrie. Please tell her I said hi next time you speak with her. Thanks!

We talked to her last night and she is doing great.

 

John Keane
@john-keane
08/18/16 07:18:30PM
184 posts

Tinwhistle / penny whistles


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Strumelia:

Lots of great info coming up here- thanks everyone!

 

I did order a couple of pennywhistles, since I'm learning the tabor pipe which seems to have a somewhat similar setup (in some ways).  Maybe taking on more than I can manage, but at least I won't go broke doing it.  dancetomato   flute

I really think that you will enjoy it!

 

John Keane
@john-keane
08/18/16 07:16:21PM
184 posts

DulciFlute Book


Dulcimer Resources:TABS/Books/websites/DVDs

I'm sorry that I'm just now seeing this.  Maria did a great job of answering the questions (thanks Maria).  As far as putting the book together, each tune is an original tune written specifically for this project (DulciFlute).  The book contains a conversion chart that makes flutes of various keys and other accompaniment instruments a possibility, but we had to pick one for the actual sheet music so we picked a B minor flute with mountain dulcimer accompaniment since these are two instruments that we work with and teach a lot.  There is a fingering under every flute note, and a dulcimer chord chart explaining the fingerings of each chord used.  We really enjoyed putting it together, and the feedback has been very positive.  Thank you for your interest, Susie.

John Keane
@john-keane
08/17/16 09:43:53PM
184 posts

Tinwhistle / penny whistles


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Patty from Virginia:

John, if you and Karen play dulcimer with a tuba I would love to see that. Yes I would!!!happys

Check out the Possum Café sample.  http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/johnandkarenkeane

 


updated by @john-keane: 08/17/16 09:44:20PM
John Keane
@john-keane
08/17/16 06:27:10PM
184 posts

Tinwhistle / penny whistles


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Strumelia:

John, do you mean in high D? (not low D)

 

John, can you outline the differences between Native American flutes and pennywhistles, assuming two that are in the same or similar key/size ?

Yes...high D.  I played a low D that Guy had and loved it, but we went with getting two high D's for what one of the low D's would have cost.  They are great whistles.  The major scale vs pentatonic minor scale is definitely a big difference between whistle and NAF.  Another difference is tone.  The Native flute tends to be a much warmer/darker sound and less shrill.  Both tones have a place in folk music, but either can be better suited for specific settings.  There is also a notion out there that Native flutes cannot play a major scale, but they can if you learn a few fingerings above the standard/basic fingering charts.  Hammered dulcimer player supreme Ilace Mears asked me to play a bass NAF on a Celtic tune she was performing at Evart a few weeks ago because she really wanted that dark sound.  No one protested so I guess that it went over okay lol.  Like so many parts of folk music, there is a place for just about anything.  The key (to me) is just to pursue the sound that is rolling around in your head.  Karen and I have even used tuba and didgeridoo with mountain dulcimer in the past, so we're pretty open to trying stuff lol.  

 

John Keane
@john-keane
08/17/16 07:08:43AM
184 posts

Tinwhistle / penny whistles


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Karen and I recently picked up a couple of Sweetheart D whistles from Guy George.  They aren't inexpensive, but they are incredibly awesome.

John Keane
@john-keane
08/06/16 07:38:27PM
184 posts

Native American Flutes


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Strumelia:

Question: are all NAFs in minor keys?  If so, is that because Native American music tends to be in minor keys?

Just wondering.

Nowadays they are mostly in pentatonic minor.  The b minor is particularly nice when playing with dulcimers playing in D major (b is the relative minor of D).

John Keane
@john-keane
06/21/16 02:46:45PM
184 posts

The "I have small hands" idea


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

Kandee:

Nothing beats practice and patience.  Nothing.

Amen!

John Keane
@john-keane
06/19/16 05:49:00PM
184 posts

The "I have small hands" idea


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

Lisa, I'll put up.  My reach measured like you did is 8 1/2 inches.  Unfortunately, I can't really rely on my pinky in playing due to nerve damage.  Just for fun, I checked the measurement from the tip of my ring finger to my thumb and found it to be the same.  In other words, my hands are pretty small for someone my actual size.  nod

John Keane
@john-keane
06/18/16 11:15:25AM
184 posts

The "I have small hands" idea


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

To me, there are a ton of valid points made by Rob.  I think that it is also important to consider what you plan to do with your dulcimer in terms of playing style.  Most makes of mountain dulcimers will have a little more volume (and deeper tone) with a longer VSL due to more string to vibrate.  If I were to have a dulcimer dedicated solely to noter playing I would want a 29-30 inch VSL for that reason.  Having owned and played dulcimers ranging from 22-30 inches in VSL, I made some discoveries that may or may not be unique to me.  For daily chord/melody playing a 27 inch VSL seems to fit me better than anything else.  It's comfortable and I don't have to think about it.  I played (quite vigorously) 28+ and 29 inch VSL dulcimers for three years or so before giving the 27 inch a try and have never looked back.  The first time I tried it I knew it was right for me.  I tried a 26 inch VSL instrument for a few weeks prior to that and felt it was a tad cramped for me.  With that said, I find that an even smaller VSL is more comfortable with a chromatic dulcimer due to the lack of forgiveness for finger placement as opposed to a "standard" fret board.  If you prefer a smaller VSL, there are things that can be done to increase the resonance of the instrument like adding a Galax back or possum board.  I think Rob's suggestions work well in TWO ways rather than one:  Try things outside your comfort zone, but also try things to discover what your true comfort zone actually is. 

John Keane
@john-keane
06/10/16 07:13:57AM
184 posts

Kentucky Music Week 2016 KMW


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Jan Potts:

For anyone eating suppers out, the Stephen Foster Restaurant  at 503 W. Stephen Foster Rd.

That's our main place to eat in Bardstown!

John Keane
@john-keane
06/08/16 03:19:22PM
184 posts

I need help, too, with performance description


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Dusty Turtle:

roots/americana is a good one.

And Rob is kind of a living logo, isn't he?

Well said.

John Keane
@john-keane
06/08/16 03:12:49PM
184 posts

I need help, too, with performance description


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Rob, I may be WAY off base here but to me (and I'm sure to many others) it's who you are and what you do that sets you uniquely apart.  If you need a particular genre as a description of your music you could just say "Roots/Americana" or something, but the respect that you gained from me years ago was as Rob, not any kind of gimmick or phylum.  With that said, if you need a logo I can hook you up! 

John Keane
@john-keane
06/07/16 09:50:55AM
184 posts

Kentucky Music Week 2016 KMW


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Ken Hulme:

Bells, eh?  Taken up Cajun Morris Dancing, have you John?

It's a gift.  winky

John Keane
@john-keane
06/07/16 08:42:12AM
184 posts

Kentucky Music Week 2016 KMW


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

We'll be there with bells on (well...maybe not bells, but you get the idea).  We're at the Parkview.  Lookin' forward to seeing y'all!

John Keane
@john-keane
06/07/16 08:37:15AM
184 posts

A new podcast about the mountain dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Thank y'all once again for all of your tireless hours spent promoting this wonderful instrument.  It is always a pleasure and an honor to participate in your projects.

John Keane
@john-keane
05/29/16 07:05:17PM
184 posts

John E. Wood 1930-2015


OFF TOPIC discussions

I first met John Wood online here at FOTMD and later at the Homer Ledford festival in Kentucky in 2014.  We enjoyed a lengthy visit concerning FOTMD, NFL football, and whatever else we strayed off into.  He was a tremendously wonderful man, and I am greatly saddened to hear of his passing.

John Keane
@john-keane
05/27/16 03:34:42PM
184 posts

Have you met other FOTMD's in real life and become friends?


OFF TOPIC discussions

Karen and I sincerely hope to see some FOTMD friends on the road this summer! We'll be in Benton, Arkansas June 2-4 for Arkladulcifest, Kentucky Music Week (Bardstown) the last week of June, Folkcraft Instruments in Woodburn, Indiana July 9 for the Second Saturday Workshop and concert, Evart, Michigan for the ODPC Funfest July 14-17, the Oaks of Louisiana in Shreveport July 29, the Homer Ledford Festival in Winchester, Kentucky over Labor Day weekend, back to Folkcraft in Indiana for the Indiana Dulcimer Festival September 17-18, and a few other festive places along the way. If you are in (or plan to be in) ANY of these areas at those times...let's hook up! We are performing and teaching at each of those events and we hope to see YOU there!

John Keane
@john-keane
04/28/16 06:59:16AM
184 posts

Rod Westerfield


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Rod was one of the first people to welcome me into the dulcimer world.  He is truly missed.

John Keane
@john-keane
04/02/16 10:10:33AM
184 posts

How did you first discover the mountain dulcimer?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Wow...this thread was originally started right after Karen and I discovered the mountain dulcimer.  Like so many, we first saw it at Silver Dollar City.  It's nice to read this thread and remember some of the posters who have come and gone over the years, and to take a moment to really miss a couple of folks who are no longer with us.  We made a little mini-documentary about our dulcimer discovery that pretty much tells it all. 

John Keane
@john-keane
03/07/16 09:09:00PM
184 posts

What do you aspire to with your music?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Terry Wilson: John, what you wrote was inspiring and thought provoking.  I could never say it that way, but that's very much how I feel, and I am sure there are others just like me.  Your description of life and music is a blessing.  And I'm not just trying to buddy up to you, no reason to,  just being honest. 

Thank you much,

Terry

 

Aww...thanks Terry!  That's a very sweet thing to say.  It just kinda revolves around perceived frustration.  When we (in general) start asking ourselves about what we're getting out of this little musical endeavor, we need to also inquire as to what we are putting into it.  Fulfillment and effort seem to go hand in hand.

John Keane
@john-keane
03/06/16 06:32:14PM
184 posts

What do you aspire to with your music?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I guess that I have a rather nerdy thought process, but I usually think more along the lines of "what does my music aspire for me to do?"  I have always had the feeling that as long as I respect the musical journey, that same journey will respect me.  Respect for the journey includes things such as practice and participation for sure, but also the mindset that music is a powerful entity.  It can evoke inner feelings and emotions at will.  Music also brings people together to share a common experience (both musically and socially).  If I look at my relationship with music over the years (both childhood and adulthood), it is best described as a two-way street...as long as I love and respect my musical pursuits (and share that love and respect with others), music will always fulfill my human spirit when I need it the most.  That is why I strive to KEEP IT FUN and KEEP IT GOING!  

 /