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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13th April, 2018  ·  

An evening on the 'Balance of Feeling Good' by Clonakilty Gaa Club Health and Wellbeing Committee followed by Guest Speaker, Cork GAA Chairperson, Tracey Kennedy.

Paddy Duggan, former Principal of Clonakilty Community College, will be MC on the night, facilitating a discussion on getting the balance of feeling good.
Contributors on the night are Colm Sheehy, Conor Murray, David Lowney, Denis Murphy, Eoghan Deasy, Sean McEvoy, Thomas Clancy and Treasa O'Brien.
Topics covered will range from awareness and responsibility to yourself and others to the benefits of exercise and nutrition.
The evening is suitable for everyone aged 16 and over from players, members of the community, parents of young and adolescent children, etc.

This is a public event, free of charge and everyone is invited and very welcome to attend.
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12th April, 2018  ·  

The Cast of Harold Pinter’s ‘No Man’s Land’ are on their way to the All-Ireland finals, having won 26 awards, including five best of Festivals, at the Amateur Drama League of Ireland annual three act festivals. The play ‘No Man’s Land, by Harold Pinter, the Nobel Prize Winning Author is directed by Jennifer Williams.

One last opportunity to view this multi award winning play at Skibbereen Town Hall, on Saturday 14th of April, before the finals.

Having met by chance in a pub, two aging writers continue a long night of drinking and reminiscing in a stately London home. As the night wears on, their conversation wanders through memories long forgotten or invented. Is their encounter real or a delusion? Are they strangers or do they share a past history? When unexpected guests intrude upon an increasingly surreal evening, the atmosphere quickly changes from friendly to threatening, and the encounter becomes a game of survival.

Tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance by emailing

For more information please contact
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9th April, 2018  ·  

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