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Showing posts from August, 2014

A Bridge Too Far

There just seemed to be something missing. Or maybe I'd just grown bored of its sound. But one way or another I wanted to make a change to my banjo. That change was a new bridge.

For a while, I was using a half-inch, no-top cheap Grover bridge, and I really liked the sound. When I changed to using heavy nylon strings, however, the lower bridge no longer worked. The only other option I had lying around was a thicker 5/8-inch bridge, which just sounded muddy to me. I tried to modify it by cutting off the middle foot to make a two-footer, which I prefer with nylon strings, but my hack job didn't really work.

About two weeks ago, I decided to try something new. I'd heard of Bart Veerman's bridges through the Banjo Hangout for some time, and a friend had recently installed one of Bart's bridges on a banjo that he let me try out. Having liked the sound, I decided to go for it.

Thinking back to that cheap Grover, I ordered a 5/8-inch, two-foot, no-top "mystery wood&q…

Postcards: Raccoon County

Raccoon County Music Festival Is Coming Saturday to Burton, Ohio

So my favorite local festival is this Saturday. If you are local to Northeast Ohio and a fan of banjos, old-time and other roots music, I strongly encourage you to attend the Raccoon County Music Festival in Burton, Ohio.

The annual event takes place from noon to 8 p.m. on the grounds of the Century Village Museum. Like Hale Farm, Burton's Century Village is a living museum with restored buildings and demonstrations of our pre-modern world. The festival features two stages for live music ranging from old-time and bluegrass to polka and blues, as well as workshops and jam sessions.

Workshops will include beginning and advanced old-time banjo taught by Glory-Beaming Banjo favorite Mark Olitsky, beginning bluegrass banjo taught by Rick Campbell and clogging taught by Laura Lewis Kovac. There will be kite flying in the afternoon for children. And a square dance will end the day, with all dances taught on the fly — no experience needed. Spontaneous jamming will sprout up all over the f…

'Touched With Fire' Update

Remember back a year and a half ago when we talked about an upcoming documentary about the Highwoods String Band? At the time, the film was slated to be released in the spring of 2013. However, here we are in the summer of 2014 and still no movie.

This is not to disparage the filmmakers in any way. As a reminder, "Touched With Fire: The Highwoods String Band Story" is being produced by Horse Archer Productions, a two-person, self-funded company that relies on fundraising to complete its projects. This will be the third film by the company that focuses on old-time music, joining "Why Old Time?" and "The Henry Reed Legacy," which are still available for $20 each.

As one of the people who pre-ordered the Highwoods documentary, I was curious what was going on with the project. And having possibly led some of you to invest in the film, it seemed like my duty to provide an update.

According to the company's website whyoldtime.com, the company was trying to …