10th Annual Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat
January 26, 2024
Good Morning, Y'all!
It is exciting to be thinking about - and planning for - festivals and clinics for 2024 already. Folkcraft's first big (road-trip-level) event for 2024 is next month: the Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat - hosted by Richard Ash (that's me!), Bing Futch, Guy George, and Sharrie George.
This will be the 10th annual Retreat (February 22nd - 25th this year) with the exact same instructors as the previous nine years, with the coolest venue imaginable. It isn't too late to join in the fun - full details can be found by clicking here.
Staff? Last year's photo (from left-to-right): Guy George, Sharrie George, Jae Futch, Bing Futch, Aly Ash, and Richard Ash (that's still me!).
Classes? The classes are varied: from mountain dulcimer (at a variety of levels) to penny whistle - to hammered dulcimer - to ukulele - to Native American flute - to steel drum. I'm even doing a class (hands-on, of course) on how different types of electronic pickups work in mountain dulcimers, how to use them in a PA system (both small at-your-feet amps and larger setups with multi-input mixers), and how to choose the correct pickup for a particular application. There's a lot to cover with this topic, and I'm sure the initial class will spill over into an afternoon of experimentation.
Venue? Jae rents a huge house on a canal in Homosassa, Florida. Nice grounds, air conditioning if needed (last year we spent a lot of time outdoors - I did most of my classes in the gazebo near the water), plenty of parking. Most of the guests stayed at a motel just a half-mile from the rental house, and Bing and Guy shuttled people back and forth in the golf carts (also rented for the week). It's a nice change of pace from the usual school venue or church venue. The Saturday evening concert is held in the living room, and guests are able to sit where they like - couches, ottomans, chairs, stairs, etc. - very informal, and relaxed.
On a different subject
I was visiting my Dad last night, and he had just finished practicing his LAP-JO (Folkcraft's dulcimer/banjo hybrid instrument). He'd hung it up with the strap wrapped around the neck, and it reminded me of the staff of Hermes - so I took a photo for your entertainment:
One of these wall hangers was supporting the LAP-JO® as it hung on Dad's living room wall. I have a few of these hangers in my living room, too, plus a handful of them at my desk in the Folkcraft workshop.
Crooked Fret Fixed
Last week I mentioned several repairs we were working on for customers. And I teased you with the cherry dulcimer that had a crooked 1 1/2 fret, but didn't show the finished instrument. So here's what it looked like after the fret was removed, the old fret slot was filled in, and the new fret added:
I filled the old fret slot with cherry sawdust and CA glue, so it is hard and stable. I wish the color had matched a bit better, but this is how it came out. The new fret doesn't buzz, and it plays perfectly in tune, so I'm going to count this as a major improvement.
So that's all for the shop blog this week - thanks for reading. And definitely consider signing up to attend the Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat. It is a lot of fun, and is one of my favorite events of the year.
Richard Ash, luthier-who's-already-made-plans-for-the-FGCDR-KMW-Evart-and-BMMF-and-hopes-to-see-Y'all-there!