Getting set up

Posted on: 4th August, 2015

Category: Music

Contributor: Mark Holland

Getting your instrument set up can be something close to a revelation. So many of us have instruments lying around at home that have never done it for us. They may have been a disappointment, we may have disappointed ourselves by never having made progress with them, or the kids may have tried, persevered for a while, and then just left them and moved on to something else — and it could be just that these instruments never made sweet music.

Music, even in its raw form, is sweet. If you are just practising scales on your violin, attempting to be Ed Sheeran on your guitar or Beethoven on whatever the hell it is he used to play, if it doesn’t sound right its just wrong. And if it sounds wrong, it could be as simple, as how the instrument is set-up.

Instruments are just organic things, made out of wood or metal (I can’t really think of any stone instruments). They shift and change, develop as they are played and stored and are dependant on the ambience of the environment in which they live. Hot (medium) or cold, damp (medium) or dry. For all we talk (give out) about the weather here, it is actually medium. Most modern domestic environments in this country are actually ideal for instruments. Countries with warmer climates can have a much higher humidity; and colder ones can be very dry — an equally challenging environment for the delicacy of an acoustic guitar, violin, etc. They need to be maintained to get the best out of them, same as your car, not with the same frequency or with the same potential dire consequences, but with a little tender loving care, from time to time.

A luthier, by definition, is a maker of stringed instruments and few of them do because it’s a hard way to make a living, but there are a few of them around, and they are in business to adjust, care for and set up your instrument to suit you.  A piano tuner or a flute tuner is a different person, but just as relevant, and just as important.  A good one will, quite quickly and cheaply, work on your instrument and reveal both its and your full potential, for satisfaction and joy.

It’s impossible to debate, does a cheap or expensive guitar, violin, banjo, piano, flute, ukulele (the list is long) deserve more attention?  The expensive instrument will, with its solid woods, precise tuners, high quality nut and bridges, reveal itself with custom tuning. But the cheaper instrument will double its value, to you, the player, often with just with the most minor adjustment, making a €100 guitar or violin sound like it cost twice as much.

Have a look around, these guys that set instruments up are probably much closer to home than you might think, there are certainly plenty of them around West Cork, and if you are looking but can’t find one, pop in to the shop and I’ll give you a few numbers.

Hope you are all enjoying the summer.

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11th October, 2017  ·  

Submarines, American Sailors, and the Underwater War in Irish Waters, 1917-1918
by Dr John Borgonovo in The Parish Centre, Clonakilty
on Thursday Oct 26 2017 at 8.30 pm

In 1917, unrestricted submarine warfare by German U-boats brought the United States into WWI and created a crisis in Britain. To defeat the submarine menace, an American naval fleet was dispatched to County Cork, bringing about 10,000 sailors with it. This talk will explain the circumstances of this extraordinary event, and how Cork residents dealt with their unexpected American guests.

Dr John Borgonovo is a lecturer in the School of History at UCC. His publications include Spies, Informers, and the 'Anti-Sinn Féin' Society: The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1920-1921; The Dynamics of War and Revolution: Cork City, 1916-1918; Exercising a close vigilance over their daughters: Cork women, American sailors, and Catholic vigilantes, 1917-18; Something in the Nature of a Massacre: The Bandon Valley Killings Revisited (with Andy Bielenberg). His latest publication (with co-authors John Crowley, Donal Ó Drisceoil and Mike Murphy) is the highly acclaimed and magnificient Atlas of the Irish Revolution. In July of this year, he organised a very successful conference on Winning the Western Approaches - Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and the US Navy in Ireland 1917-1918.
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Apple Juicing Day in Clonakilty next Sunday Sept 30th. All welcome to bring their apples from 2-6pm to the Clonakilty Community Garden (on entrance road to Clonakilty Lodge).

Building on the success of its inaugural 2016 event, local voluntary environmental organisation Sustainable Clonakilty invites people to bring along their apples and press them to extract their own juice to take home, using the group's Apple Press.

Volunteers will be at hand to assist in the procedure. Bring along your apples washed; clean containers to freeze your juice (milk/juice bottles or cartons, plastic bottles with caps); clean, sterilised glass bottles to pasteurise with swing caps or suitable for 26 mm diameter metal cap.

A limited number of new 3 litres juice bags that are suitable for freezing and pasteurising, can be purchased for a nominal fee on the day also.

This is a free community event and donations will be welcome to cover costs.

For further information, please contact Xavier at xavierdubuisson@gmail.com or text at 086/0476124.
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26th September, 2017  ·  

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Lecture by Aileen Crean O’Brien & Bill Sheppard

In May 2016, Kerry man Tom Crean, along with Ernest Shackleton and four other crew members, landed the James Caird lifeboat on the rocky isle of South Georgia. The navigation of that small boat, across 1500 km through icy winds and towering seas, is regarded as the greatest ever feat of navigation. They then trekked across the forbidding and inhospitable mountains and glaciers of South Georgia to seek help for the rest of their crew, who were left behind on Elephant Island after their ship, the Endurance, was crushed by the Antarctic ice.

One hundred years later, Crean’s grandaughter, Aileen Crean O’Brien, set off with her sons and partner to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps. Join Aileen and Bill to hear of their adventures (and misadventures) on the Southern Ocean and the island of South Georgia.
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7th September, 2017  ·  

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