I'm with Gypsy. I *love* my Lee Spears hammers but they took about 9 months to get last time I ordered some (so I ordered 4 pair!). This is another reason I wish I had made it to your session in Ireland, Dick. I brought about 20 different pairs with me to demonstrate how different they feel and sound in my workshop down in County Kerry. I brought Lee Spears, Masterworks, Bob Bedard's Joyful Noise, some aluminum hammers, etc. While I almost always prefer my Lee Spears, I'll use the others in limited contexts.
I always tell people that once you start playing the HD you are now on the quest for the perfect hammer. I think it really depends on the person and the style of playing. The length, the total weight, the weight of the head, the type of wood (or other material), all effects the way hammers feel in the hand, the sound they make when they strike and the speed at which you can play with them. We spend a big part of my workshops talking about and trying out different hammers.
Post by Dick Glasgow on Aug 3, 2007 11:13:57 GMT 1
I brought about 20 different pairs with me to demonstrate how different they feel and sound in my workshop down in County Kerry. We spend a big part of my workshops talking about and trying out different hammers.
Jeanne's tool kit! ;D
But seriously Jeanne, I meant to ask about your Kerry Workshops. Did many Hammered Dulcimer players attend? Did any of them actually live in Ireland? I'm hoping there are a lot more here, than I know about.
Hi Gypsy, I like the aluminum hammers more than I thought I would. My pair are a little heavy in the hand (with large grips), but have really light heads so I get quite a bit of bounce off of them. I haven't noticed any increase in volume with them though--just a different sound.
Dick, Did you take that photo at my workshop? I see you have both my wooden hammers and my aluminum hammers represented there.
As for the workshop...since it was a Bodhran festival I wasn't expecting any HD players there and I was right. I only had a half dozen attendees, one from Italy, one from Spain and the others from Ireland who are interested in getting started. One of last year's bodhran finalists (who didn't make it to the workshop) joined us for a pint in Galway and he picked my brain about the HD because he's looking to get started. Also Sandeep Ravel, a world class percussionist and performer at the festival hunted me down for info because *he's* really interested in the HD, too. I think the instrument is finally starting to grab attention from top notch musicians, so it was cool to be the HD ambassador there.
I've been meaning to tell you, though, Dick--when we performed at the Ulster American Folk Park we ran into a family with one musician from Belfast. They were very taken with the HD and we spent a lot of time talking and letting him try his hand at it. I just received an email from the mom saying she bought two HD's--one for herself and one for her son. She lives in England, but the son lives in Belfast. I'm going to send him your contact info and let them both know about the BB here to help them get started. So it looks like there's one more HD player in your area now. Hope you two can make contact! Jeanne
i'm gonna wind up trying a pair.........they sure intrigue me. Glenn Morgan gave me a pair of Lee Big Jerry hammers, which are a Lee Spears knockoff. They are a little heavier, and give a brighter sound. The wood seems to be harder, almost brittle. Pretty nice hammers. But when i am doing a contra, out comes the Spears, that are so light you can play all night with them...........
The other set are the Walnut ones from this page: Walnut
They are a little longer than my other three sets of hammers, & the heads are a little larger, but hey, isn't it amazing how quickly your hands & eyes adapt to the different lengths of these little dudes!
Anyway I've now got five sets of Hammers & I had such fun today practicing some of my tunes twice through, with each set of Hammers & as you all know, they all make the tune sound just that little bit different.
It's great to have the extra options now.
Only trouble is ..... I can see how I could now become addicted to Hammer Buying!
So ! at last it seems my computer accepted to send you guys photos ! so, just to compare : from left to right : Chinese Yang Qin hammers, Appenzeller hackbrett hammers, 2 sets, Salzburger hackbrett Hammers, and Roger Frood HD hammers...
Well, the thing with hammer's length is you get really much used to it . I manage easily if the lenghts is just a few centimeters difeerent, one or two cm, but longer, it's really harder. I tried playing with HD hammers, specially to get the "bounce" typical for HD music, but I'm so used to the length of my hammers, I keep missing notes with the shorter ones... so I managed a technique to have the bounce with the hackbrett long - and very supple - hammers. But it's quite difficult, I must say, and doesn't work all the time . and with Yangquin hammers the bounce is impossible : they're made of very thin bamboo, you can actually bend them to a complete circle ...
Post by Dick Glasgow on Aug 11, 2007 23:26:50 GMT 1
Aye, I suppose it's all a matter of practice. I'd love to try out all those different Hammers & I'm sure I'd find at least one piece of music which would suit each type of hammer.
Of course I'm still getting used to my new Hammers. Couple of times, at a gig in Belfast tonight, the Hammer Heads got a little tangled up, mid-tune, but fortunately we were only playing background music for a Wedding reception & nobody noticed. Well, there were 5 of us, after all.
Hi Gipsy I'm so used to grip my hammers between first and second finger (and not thumb and first, as with HD) that they're very natural for me : position of the wrist is more vertical, I think - but that's hypothetic - that I get more control on rolls than with the hd grip. but again, I think it's more a habit than anything else : the Chinese do amzing things with long rolls (well, they really do crazy technical things anyway : I have a Chinese Yangquin tutor book, and I thought for years the tunes were written for 2 instrumment - till a chinese friend translated the text to me, and I found out it was for solo playing... ), and they grip between thumb and first...
My mentor, Glenn Morgan, holds his hammers like you do. Then uses his little finger to flick the tail of the hammer. Sez he gets much more control that way, but i can't do it. Little does he know that he must be a secret Hackbrette player!