Lucretius (lucretius) wrote,

Vacation: emptying out

So, down to the last couple of weeks before I go back to work, so have to recivilize and get working at a minimal level to prep for my courses.  Emerson / Thoreau, which I've been reading for in a desultory fashion, and American Lit post 1865, which I've taught before, and will have to cut to local standards for summer courses.

So, here's what I've done over my minimonth of break.

Wrote and presented an iffy but entertaining (to me) and well-received semi-academic paper.
Attended Whitman's birthday party in Conroe, Texas (with lots of Texas poets and a few other cool academics of my acquaintance)
Saw a deer suddenly startled out of a marsh in a park near my house.  First ever. Walked endlessly.
Read a fair amount of transcendentalism, and nothing much else.
Played obsessively the following instruments
  • Martin LXM all-high-tech-countertop-and-stratabond guitar (I unconditionally recommend this instrument--ask if you want further info)
  • Yasuma tiple (a 10 string glorious rare monstrosity)
  • Nastily-finished octave mandolin (wow, tuning in 5ths sort of makes sense)
  • Gut-strung fretless gourd banjo (my primitive cred probably went up)
  • Etc., etc., et f*n c.--had an instrument in my hand most of the time
Got my thumb in order for ragtime playing, sort of, and listened to a /lot/ of odd and wonderful music (ask if you want reccs).
Bought a fabulous chair, a nice used rug, mostly re-covered an ottoman, and otherwise had halfassed adventures in decorating.
Watched dozens of bad horror movies. I need to write a ghost novel, but may not until I am old, gray, and insane.
Made a character on a MU* and played him once or twice
Drank a fair amount, had practically no social contact
Continued half-assedly with my sledgehammer-centric workout. Got better muscles in my shoulders. Lost about 5 pounds (lost 8, gained 3 back due to tasty soup recipes).

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...first deer EVER?
I second this first-deer incredulity!
Clarification: first deer in the city limits of the new town. The park is right in the middle of the town--albeit it's a town that's right in the middle of a forest.
I LOVE MANDOLINS. I wish more bands used them.



June 28 2007, 17:04:49 UTC 10 years ago

hi, stumbled on your post looking for info on a 10-stringed tipel from yasuma. can you tell me anything about them? could a mandolin player or a guitar player play this instrument? any info would be appreciated. windy
Hey. I'd say, if you've played mandos and guitars, you'd be in good shape for the tiple. The intervals are mostly like the four highest strings on a guitar, and it includes paired and tripled strings (the top pair, I think, which are doubled with no octave strings, could be played like a mando). It's a great strumming instrument, though a little hard to do fast lead on, just due to the novelty of picking around mixed-octave pairs and triple courses. I fingerpick it with only a little frustration.

The tone is very rich for its size, and it makes a good rhythm instrument, with a little of the zing of a twelve string, and more low end than most similarly-sized instruments. Its most notable use, by the jazz band 'Spirits of Rhythm' really showcases that (and has some decent single-note jazz soloing, too).

Yasuma makes a great Martin clone (the tiples are in particularly supposed to be better built than the original Martins they're modeled after). A poorly set-up tiple would probably be a nightmare, but mine is quite good for staying in tune and being as playable as anything with tripled strings can be.

Intonation is pretty good, though I find that I have to be a little careful with left hand finger pressure, to keep the high-octave strings from going a bit out of tune when you press the three-string courses down. A smart luthier might be able to make up a compensated bridge, which could help as well.

The one thing that's both cool and frustrating about it is the lack of great players of it. Martin-style Tiple has only had a few players (like the guys from Spirits of Rhythm) and no virtuosi. So a lot of the techniques kind of need to be thought through.

On the other hand, you're very likely to be the best tiple player anyone's ever heard, no matter how badly you play it.

Have you got a line on buying one? I'd say 'do it'--there aren't many around. I picked up mine (the spruce-top model) for a little over 300, and consider it one of my best instrument purchases.