Music, Instruments, Art, Life, and other Cool Stuff
Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project Yes Virginia, there was music before iPod -- even before vinyl. And thanks to these folks at U.C. Santa Barbara, here are thousands of downloadable music files copied from early 1900s phonograph cylinders and digitized to MP3 and WAV format --jazz, ethnic, Hawiian, vaudeville, classical, pop. Find something old and really different to work up for your next gig--or to listen to on your iPod.This is just about the coolest site anywhere.
The Sterner Capo Museum This is the perfect cheap date for these tough economic times. Did you know there have been more than 130 capo patents since 1850? You didn’t? Here is an online museum with amazing pictures of 232 capos of all designs.
The Mandolin Cafe Mando news, chat boards for players and builders, and the best classified ads anywhere for buying and selling mandolins and other stringed instruments.
Mandolin Chords, Scales, Tabs Here’s a great site that aggregates links to mandolin chords charts, tablature, scales, etc.
Mandolin Chord Finder This link is included in the site I’ve posted just above, but I’m listing it separately here so you can go to it directly because it is especially cool. Also be sure to check out the tabs at the top of the site because it has lots of other neat stuff, e.g., Guitar Chord Finder, Guitar Scales, etc.
The Mudcat Cafe A folk-based discussion forum, digital database of lyrics to more than 9,000 folk songs, links to festivals, performers, instrument forums, and much more.
Chordie.com Chords and lyrics for thousands of songs. And how cool is this?... you can select the key of each song along with chord diagrams in that key -- and then you can select the chord diagrams for your choice of of instrument-- guitar, mandolin, banjo, ukulele
Chord Voicings If you mess with alternate tunings and then hit the wall of “now what do I do?” Here’s the answer. This interactive web tool can find multiple voicings of virtually any chord in any tuning for any stringed instrument. Some suggested chord forms won’t lend themselves to human hands -- but how do we know everyone on the web is human?
Brad’s Page of Steel Just about everything you ever wanted to know about lap-steel guitars.
The links below are specific to ukuleles, ukulele music, and performers. But also be sure to look at other links on this page for sites that are also handy. For example, on Chordie.com (above) you can specify ukulele chord diagrams to be included in the song you’ve chosen.
Tuning a Ukulele
Ukulele Chords, Song Collections with Chords and Lyrics, etc.
Ukulele Boogaloo -- Chords, lyrics, and its not-to-be-missed Ukulele World with photos of ukes visiting the four corners of the world, the seven seas, the seven pillars of wisdom, the smokerings of your mind...but I digress.
I list these here because in my booklet Ukulele 101 I use two chord song as a way to get started playing real music from the get-go. Here are 70 or 80 more songs that use only two chords. Who knew?
On-line, Must-See Ukulele Performers
George Harrison – The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea
George, Paul, Ringo
My Little Grass Shack
I don’t know who these guys are, but you don’t see an act like this these days
My Little Grass Shack (Andrews Sisters)
My Little Grass Shack (Arthur Godfrey)
Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
If you click no other link on this page, click this one
Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo’ole
The Jimi Hendrix of Ukulele (or maybe Jimi Hendrix was the Jake Shimabukuro of guitar)
The billionaire investor, not to be confused with the billionaire chief Parrot-Head
Here are some lyric and chord sites for a few of my favorite performers.
Townes Van Zandt lyrics and chords-- Here are lyrics and chords to most of Van Zandt’s songs -- If you don’t know Townes, you probably know at least a couple of his songs thanks to Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson and others. Maybe “Pancho and Lefty” or “White Freight Liner” ring a bell. Also check out this site, which has no chords but has lyrics by album, many of which are edited and sanctified by his last wife, Jeanene.
Ok, so how about Bruce Springsteen lyrics and chords. I know you’ve heard of him.
Here are links to friends who are visual artists.
Valerie Borgal is a graduate of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, School of Art and Design. She is a talented and prolific artist whose works in watercolors and pen and ink drawings range from coastal seascapes and New England landscapes to portraits and close-up studies of flowers and wildlife. She works from her studio in Lowell Massachusetts.
Neil Wilkins is a Fine Arts graduate of Montserrat College of Art, and also holds a Masters in Fine Arts from Salem State College (Massachusetts). Neil’s work in acrylic on canvas and wood explores visual applications of organic circular patterning. In Neil’s words “Circles are universal; they emerge as the first recognizable shape drawn by children from every culture and remain intricately woven through our experiences.”
Building a Better World
Friends of Rauscher Farm -- Guess what -- the big guys don’t have to win; neither does city hall. Here’s how we -- meaning my wife Gloria and her band of leafleteers, sign carriers, letter writers, graphic designers, a volunteer printer, and other outspoken citizens saved 60 acres of open space from becoming little boxes made of ticky tacky.
Vietnam Veterans Against the War -- Who’d have thought, after all these years, there’d still be a war to be against.The men in black rain coats used to take our pictures at demonstrations outside Fort Devens. Now it’s these guys’ turn -- Iraq Veterans Against the War -- to roll the rock up the hill. Hang in brothers and sisters; it ain’t soldiers who make wars.
Snakeroot Organic Farm -- This is my friend Tom’s farm up in Maine. We had overlapping paper routes once (remembrer paper routes? ... rememember newspapers??), went to high school and some of college together. Now he’s a farmer. Go figure. I guess he didn’t want to build ukuleles like everyone else.
Instrument Building Supplies and Information
String Tension / Fret Position / Bridge Compensation Calculator This downloadable tool calculates neck tension based on neck length, string gauge, and tuning -- but wait there’s more -- it also calculates fret positions for any scale length (saddle to nut) you enter. And for the truly obsessive it can calculate saddle compensation.
More links coming soon. Come back ... bring a friend,