Saturday, July 30, 2016

Wayne Henderson Mountain Tunes (CCMC Classes)

Guitar Builder and Mountain Tune Picker of National Treasure Status
Wayne Henderson and a humble baritone uker after the last class of the week.
Wayne graciously allows me to try my bari in the class.

I have never learned a tune by sitting and watching fingers and listening. 
The fingers flickered quickly and I floundered. 
Now, a week after, as I know a bit more about Wayne's musical style,
 I have more quickly transcribed the mountain tunes.
Using a video player with a 10-second fall back is very helpful.

During the week of classes I listened to Wayne's wisdom. 
Such things as "getting notes for free" and "3-string chords" are gems.

In the class we were shown 6 tunes in 5 days. 
The class was rated level 2-4 in a scale of 1 to 5.
Most every thing was played on the treble strings.
This was my lifeline since I only have the treble strings.

So far I have one "cheat" to achieve something as close to Low C as possible.
I use a pinch of the 2010 C-chord of the 4th and 2nd strings = 2x1x. 
Since Wayne often uses the Low C as a closing chord it seems to work.
(Does any one have another idea on how to achieve on the bari?)


1) St. Anne's Reel (transcribed for bari)
2) Blackberry Rag (transcribed for bari)
3) Red Wing
4) East Tennessee Blues
5) That's All I Know (A.C. Ball)
6) Carter Family Blues

I see another song of Wayne's on YouTube that I try to transcribe for bari as well. Wayne says in the video that he plays an unusual finger style while many others flatpick. Since I mostly fingerpick this works just fine for me!

7) Steel Guitar Rag, Wayne Henderson Style

Now this will be quite a challenge to transcribe!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Kinnard Ukes || Mother Ocean Bari

One of the perks of doing the Humble Baritonics blog is that sometimes I get some early news. I have mentioned Kinnard Ukes before and just received an e-mail from Kevin showing off another Bari Uke gem from Kinnard Ukes. Enjoy the eye candy...

Hi Jeff-

John just completed a new Series 2 baritone in Tiger Maple with a Sitka Spruce top I wanted to tell you about.We call this "Mother Ocean" and it's a whimsical theme showing a mother seahorse with 3 babies. Like most families there is a mischievous one and in this case he's hiding behind Neptune's trident. The seahorses around the sound hole are ebony inlayed into the spruce and the inlay on the fingerboard is in maple. The faceplate is also ebony with the inlays in maple.

We used figured tiger maple for the back and sides and carried it over to the neck which adds to the overall look of the instrument. It has a AAAA Sitka Spruce top that really drives the tone and volume- something we strive for in a baritone. John built it with a paddle headstock and we used the Gotoh UPT tuning machines. It has a custom soundport, bone nut and saddle and an ebony "string through" bridge.

Right out of the gate it has a deep rich tone with great resonance and sustain and I can only imagine what it's going to sound like when it gets broken in! It's strung up DGBE and uses Southcoast Strings-We will be using this as a demo for upcoming shows for people to experience the Kinnard sound and build.

Hope you’re well Jeff and talk to you soon.

Kevin / Kinnard Ukes

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Barcovsky || Mister Sandman

California Coast Music Camp (CCMC) Week 2 in Foresthill, California

I have just returned from a week long CCMC music camp. It was a week away from work and cell phone communication. My friend, Janet Lenore, has been recommending that I go for about five years and finally the time was right for me.

The camp supports the string instrument community: Bass, Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin, Fiddle, and Ukulele (string instruments). I did see an accordian and I brought 2 baritone ukuleles, a steel-string Tenor Guitar (Also DoGBonE / Chicago tuning) and a stick-dulcimer from Woodrow instruments (in Asheville, North Carolina.)

There are two possible weeks of classes. Some people attend both camps. One of the main reasons I chose week two was because Marcy Marxer and Cathy Fink were instructors. Marcy supports the Tenor Guitar and Baritone Ukulele on the internet. She saw me playing my favorite Favilla bari and told me that she knew Favilla made guitars but was surprised to see the bari. She played a little tune, If I Had You, and I took a photo.

Marcy Marxer CCMC 2016

There were camp attendees from Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Iowa, Maryland, Massachussets, Michigan, Montana, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, Canada, and Australia. I believe that instructors came from all across the country as well. Marcy and Cathy are from the East Coast. There were many camp instructors and the musicianship of the entire group was astounding, in some cases, world class players -- all were outstanding. Daniel Ward returned from Europe to provide ukulele instruction.

Another reason I went to the camp is that I have had an interest in learning some flat-picking skills. After the first day orientation meeting where the instructors introduced themselves, we were allowed to meet the instructors at stations along the wall to discuss if our particular needs could be clarified with the instructor. My first class choice was Mountain Tunes from Wayne Henderson and I asked him if I could attend with my baritone ukulele. Each of the three teachers I choose were very accommodating to my request.

Turns out that Wayne is a National Treasure, a master picker who has had the likes of Doc Martin over to his place! I tell ya that Wayne is a national treasure of a person. With his pedigree making world class guitars for 52 years including one for Eric Clapton. He also has an annual flat picking Wayne C. Henderson Music Festival & Guitar Competition on the 3rd Saturday in June. The man is full of great music and old-time rascally humor! (If you see him ask him the brass rat story!)

Wayne Henderson CCMC 2016

In 5 days, Wayne played 6 tunes in "to speed" and "turtle speed" and I clearly struggled to keep up. In fact I never really got anything playable during the class time. I was almost a failure. But I recorded all of the sessions and videoed all of the songs. After the day's events I would go back to my minivan music camp tiny home, set-up my cooler as a desk, squint at my telephone screen, and transcribe in a spiral bound notebook. I was not going to loose such a great opportunity with a master!

MiniVan Tiny-Home for CCMC

MiniVan amongst the pines near Claar House

I found that this camp expertly creates a supportive environment for all people at every level. Many "campers" come year after year for the comraderie and musical development. I took the maximum 3 classes with 5 days of instruction each. I also attended some slow jams, coffee house concerts, barbecue, dance, teacher concert and student concert. I found Cathy Fink's class on practice to be very enlightening. 

I would like to thank each of my instructors: Lissy Abraham (slow jams, Square Dance, and East Coast Swing), Roger Ferguson (flatpick and musical theory), Wayne Henderson (Mountain Tunes), Paul Kotapish (slow jams), and Cyd Smith (Intro to Swing Guitar & Ukulele)

I already look forward to attending next year.

(It is not so close to the coast, new inland location just North of Sacramento.)

Friday, July 15, 2016

Monday, July 11, 2016

Ken Middleton || New Custom Pereira Baritone Ukulele & Review

Ken's choice of woods are spectacular. The tiger stripe maple is one of my favorites.

Of course, the Pereira bari is strung with Ken's Living Water Strings. Ken has flourocarbon bari string sets in both high-D and low-D. I have a set of his high-D strings on one of my bari's. I mostly play low-D so I'll be ordering a set or two of low-D's soon.

Ken also has some great tutorials. Here's one on RIGHT HAND technique.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Naima Shalhoub || Adduka Al-Mayyas (Arabic Classic)

I have always wanted to share music from all around the world...

The Oct 24, 2013 episode of 'Arabology' includes a live interview with Lebanese American soul singer Naima Grace Shalhoub who discusses her hit 'Herstory of Soul' and sings, live, her amazing version of the Arabic classic 'Adduka Al-Mayyas.'

Naima Shalhoub || Borderlands

Naima Shalhoub | Sonder Sessions

Naima Shalhoub is a musician and performance artist who has taken her love for music and her deep understanding of the world as a platform to empathize, educate, and empower others.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Gabriela y Rodrigo in Concert

The July 2016 Issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine discusses playing with nylon strings. As part of their feature topic there's a section called Nylon Notes (10 essential non-classical nylon string guitar albums). Gabriela y Rodrigo were listed. Gabriela's guitar playing is amazing. Her strumming is out of this world...

Fletcher Instruments || Tenor Guitar Beauties

I regularly read the writings of Tanner Llewellyn on his blog Six Water Grog. He plays the tenor banjo which is also a 4-stringed instrument but tuned GDAE. All strings are spaced in 5th's. Lanny shares a lot about his musical interests, playing a lesser known instrument, musical theory, and has a unique perspective that I feel a personal resonance to.

Tanner is a very independent spirit and prefers to play melodies over strumming chords. I prefer to fingerpick more so than playing chords. I came across his blog when he posted some music on his wife's baritone ukulele

While reading today, I came across a post which had crossed into tenor guitar and had some beautiful instruments made by Flecther Instruments, there's more, take a look: