Friday, April 13, 2012

Getting Jammed

My annual spring music party has been scheduled, and I was talking with my brother about it the other day. We thought it would be cool to get to know a few of each other's songs ahead of time so we can get a better jam going. He plays the guitar, and I play the mountain dulcimer. So I sent him a couple of my songs, then he sent me some of his. I checked my book of chords for the dulcimer, checked alternate tunings, and I'm missing at least one chord for each of the three songs he sent me to learn. This is very frustrating to me, because I have been a big fan of music jams for years, and it's one of the main reasons I wanted to take up an instrument.

And then my printer died, so I couldn't print out the lead sheets even if I wanted to. This is not what I wanted a month before my party. So much for the internet making things easier! We will have to get together and see what songs in his songbook match up with my chord charts and go from there. It will be good to get together and play a bit anyway. But this brought to my mind the limitations of my instrument. Now I absolutely love the mountain dulcimer, but the local folk music jammers are mostly guitarists. Naturally I have to consider taking up the guitar, again, but maybe the third time will be the charm. But at the moment all my fun money is going into the Dream Autoharp Fund, so there is nothing left over for yet another instrument. I seriously started weighing the options...autoharp or guitar...guitar or I laid in bed last night not sleeping.

Pros for the autoharp:
  • I played it for two years and I was getting pretty handy with it - short ramp up to playing more songs!
  • A chromatic autoharp can play in multiple keys - just give me the chords and I will be good to long as they are the I IV and V chords and relative minor.
  • In keeping with my "all zithers all the time" music theme
Pros for the guitar:
  • It's fully chromatic and can play in any key
  • Lots of other guitarists to jam with and learn from, including both my brother and my sister
  • I love the sound, they are beautiful
  • A good guitar is less expensive than my Dream Autoharp by half...
OK, that last "pro" on the guitar is what really has me jammed. What to do?! I had almost decided to get the guitar instead of the Autoharp...almost. After more tossing and turning, I decided the best thing to do is to get a less expensive Autoharp this year, and then get a guitar next year. This is a Big Decision for me, but when I compared the D'Aigle TLC to the Desert Rose, I realized that it has all the features I was looking for. I really don't think I'll notice the difference in woods between the two, because it's still a big upgrade from my old Oscar Schmidt Appalachian model. So unless donations start pouring in over the next few months, I'll be putting down a deposit on the Desert Rose this Summer.

It will be wonderful to have an autoharp again, I can hardly wait! I'll still leave the TLC as my dream harp until I'm ready to place the order. Who knows, I might get lucky and come into an extra grand in the next few months! Hey a girl can dream can't she? Even if that means dreaming about having a dulcimer, kantele, autoharp and a guitar to play. We'll just blame it all on Becca, the multi-instrumentalist who inspired my original autoharp purchase in June of 2009. So I have figured out how to get un-jammed so I can continue to jam with all my guitarist friends. Life is good!

No comments: