Glenn Morgan Hammered Dulcimers and Fishbite Recordings
Glenn MorganHammered Dulcimersand Fishbite Recordings

News about my Life

Glenn's Blog is an occasional commentary on music, life and other musings.

 

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Glenn's 2013 Visit to MasterWorks

 

My Visit to MasterWorks

 

I have been selling MasterWorks Hammered Dulcimers since the early '90s and have been playing Russell's instruments since the mid-'80's. I have become convinced that Russell's shop crafts some of the best-sounding, most attractive, and user-friendly instruments available anywhere. I have to admit I haven't played every maker's instrument there is, and Russell is the first to point out that no makers' instrument is the perfect choice for everyone. But if I had to choose only one, it would certainly be MasterWorks. An awful lot of people seem to agree, as a visit to a San Francisco Bay Area dulcimer club meeting a while back amply demonstrated: all but a few of maybe 10 players were playing MasterWorks dulcimers!

 

I had not seen Russell in person for many years, and I saw the opportunity to make a minor (about 500 miles) deviation from my path on the way back to California from the Bristol Renaissance Fair in Wisconsin to visit Russell and his crew. On the Tuesday after Labor Day this past September, I left for Bennington, a small Southeast Oklahoma town about 30 miles from anything, not far from the Texas border. I spent Tuesday night in a small Missouri town and finished the trip Wednesday evening.

 

As it happened, Russell put me up in a nice little cottage by his lake, just behind his home, and, because a family emergency called him away, I settled in and took it easy. The next morning Russell texted me, “coffee!”, and I went up to the house, where he treated me to biscuits and gravy and sausage and eggs, a nice start to what would be a pleasantly long day.

 

Later in the morning, we took off for the shop "the back way”, down a long gravel road. Russell took the time to stop and introduce me to his friend and neighbor, David Lindsey, another dulcimer maker (David's Dulcimers), who somehow happens to have his shop (and annual dulcimer festival) on the same gravel track, Acorn Lane, that Russell lives on.

 

It's a small world; when we went into the shop building, following the sound of woodworking machinery running, I met, not Mr, Lindsey, but Russell's brother, who was doing some work in the shop. David came out, his arm in a cast, following what might be called an agricultural accident -- his tractor rolled over him while he was changing baling twine. David worried a bit that he might not be quite ready to play at his own dulcimer fest scheduled six weeks out, in October. But we had a nice chat and then continued down the path headed for the MasterWorks shop.

 

Russell showed me the setup in the acreage behind his shop. Everyone around there seems to be located on adjacent 40 acre parcels, and everyone has lots of tractors and farm equipment.

So, finally, into the shop.

 

Russell immediately went to work fielding questions from his employees, a few phone calls, dealing with everything from coming up with the best string gauges to apply to his new extended bass bridges, to installing a set of pickups inside a customer's instrument. He showed me around and then cut me loose to talk with his employees and poke around the shop.

 

One of the most interesting places is the “dry” room where (mostly) finished instruments are kept on padded shelves, categorized by model. I knew I was going to want to bring a couple of instruments back to sell, and was able to select from everything he had to offer. Eventually, I settled on a Pioneer Sapelli model so I would have something of quality in the lower price range, and a magnificent Russell Cook Edition with Koa end rails. On that instrument, I wanted to have the new extended bass bridge.

 

A few months earlier, I'd had Russell send me the instrument which I'd been playing as my "daily driver". It was a Bantam Weight chromatic with cherry end rails, one with a 3 note added bass bridge. That bridge, when combined with the existing 3 note “chromatic” bridge, and a little compromise –- lose the low D# and F chromatics in favor of bass notes -- gave me five new bass notes to play with. In a rather short time I realized how valuable that is.

 

When I suggested adding a bass bridge to the Koa model I'd selected, he said “I can give you seven notes as easy as six”, and produced a long continuous bridge which he lopped into a seven note configuration. Then he drilled holes for new tuning and hitch pins, and hammered the pins home. After a little careful fitting and height adjustment, I helped him hold it all together while we double-checked the fit. Then we strung it up. That becomes essentially a four-octave instrument (at least in “D”) with a phenomenal sound.

 

I was very impressed with the way Russell's shop hummed along seemingly without much intervention from him. He lets his employees pretty much do what needs doing, and his shop foreman keeps them pointed in the right direction. Beyond that, they seem to direct themselves. The two ladies “up front” deal with things like stringing the instruments and what I'd call final fit and finish, and some woodworking, too. One of my photos shows one of them working on some bridges on a spindle sander.

 

There is a tremendous amount of hand work that goes into a MasterWorks instrument. In addition to that, they also run kind of "dulcimer laboratory". They are forever experimenting with new ways to make the instruments sound and work better. The list of Russell's innovations is large, from the new bass bridge setup, to his smoothly operating damper system, the mahogany/redwood hybrid soundboards, unique bracing methods, and other techniques that produce the lightest weight, most vibrant of instruments.

 

I am happy to have had the time to get to know the man better, and have the highest regard for not only his instruments, but the person behind them. I am proud to call Russell Cook my friend.

 

 

 

 

 

Glenn's Performance History

APRIL 2015

 

RENAISSANCE PLEASURE FAIRE

Rancho Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area

Irwindale, California

http://renfaire.com

Weekends April 4-May 17, 2015

School Day: April 17

 

PIER 39

San Francisco, CA

Schedule website:

http://www.pier39.com

 

Wednesday April 8

Sets from 5:00-8:00

 

Thursday April 9

Sets from 11:30-4:15

 

Wednesday April 15

Sets from11:30-7 or 8:00pm

 

 

MARCH 2015

 

PIER 39

San Francisco, CA

Schedule Website:

http://www.pier39.com

 

 

 

 

FEBRUARY 2015

 

PIER 39

San Francisco, CA

Schedule Website:

http://www.pier39.com/home/events/live-music/

Dates Glenn is currently scheduled (may vary from Pier 39 schedule):

 

Monday, February 9, sets 4:15 on

Sunday, February 15, sets from 12:30 on

Friday, February 20, sets from 11:00 til 4:15

 

Ghirardelli Square

San Francisco, CA

Music Schedule on Website at:

http://www.ghirardellisq. com/visitor-info

Saturday, February 14 from 11 am until dark.

 

JANUARY 2015

 

PIER 39

San Francisco, CA

Schedule Website:

http://www.pier39.com/home/events/live-music/

Dates Glenn is currently scheduled (may vary from Pier 39 schedule):

 

Monday, January 5, sets 12:30-4:30 (or later),

Sunday, January 18, sets from 12:30 on

Monday, January 19, sets from 5:00 on

Friday, January 30 from 5:00 on

 

Ghirardelli Square

San Francisco, CA

Music Schedule on Website at:

http://www.ghirardellisq. com/visitor-info

Saturday, January 17 from 11 am until dark.

Saturday, January 31 from 11 am until dark.

 

DECEMBER 2014

 

GLENN RETURNS TO THE FABULOUS DICKENS CHRISTMAS FAIRE AT THE COW PALACE!

Every weekend through December 21. 10am-7pm.

http://www.DickensFair.com         Find Glenn at Grenadiers Gate.

 

 

PIER 39

San Francisco, CA

Schedule Website:

http://www.pier39.com/home/events/live-music/

Dates Glenn is currently scheduled (may vary from Pier 39 schedule):

 

Monday, December 8, from 5:00 on

Tuesday December 23, sets 12:30-4:30 (or later),

Friday, December 26, sets 12:30- 4:30,
Sunday December 28, sets from 5:00 on

Monday, December 29, sets from 5:00

 

Ghirardelli Square

San Francisco, CA

Music Schedule on Website at:

http://www.ghirardellisq. com/visitor-info

Wednesday, December 24, Christmas Eve from 11 am until dark.

 

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2014

 

Saturday, August 24, sets 12:30-4:30
Monday, August 25, sets from 5pm til 8:15

 

Ghirardelli Square

PIER 39

San Francisco, CA

Schedule Website:

http://www.pier39.com/home/events/live-music/

Dates Glenn is currently scheduled (may vary from Pier 39 schedule):

Friday, August 1, from 12:30 til 4:30

Saturday, August 2, from 12:30 -4:30

Monday, August 4, from 5:00 on

Saturday, August 24, sets 12:30-4:30
Monday, August 25, sets from 5pm til 8:15

 

Ghirardelli Square

San Francisco, CA

Music Schedule on Website at:

http://www.ghirardellisq. com/visitor-info

Thursday, August 21,

Friday, August 22,

Saturday, August 23, Thursday, August 28, Saturday, August 30.

 

JUNE/JULY 2014

 

PIER 39

San Francisco, CA

Schedule Website: http://www.pier39.com/home/events/live-music/

Dates Glenn is currently scheduled (may vary from Pier 39 schedule):

 

Thursday, June 19, sets from 12:30 to 8:00pm

Friday, June 20, sets from 12:30 to 8:00pm

 

Wednesday, July 2, sets from 12:30 to 4:30pm

Thursday July 3, sets from 12:30 to 4:30pm

Friday, July 11, sets from 5:00 on

Saturday, July 26, sets from 12:30 to 4:30pm

Tuesday, July 29, sets from 5:00 until it's too cold to play

 

GHIRARDELLI SQUARE

San Francisco, CA

Music Schedule on Website at:

http://www.ghirardellisq.com/visitor-info

 

Saturday, June 21

Tuesday, July 1

Saturday, July 12

Friday, July 25

Sunday, July 27

Wednesday, July 30

 

 

APRIL/MAY 2014

 

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA RENAISSANCE PLEASURE FAIRE

http://www.renfair.com/socal/

Irwindale, CA

Weekends April 5-May 18, 2014

School Day: April 11

Santa Fe Dam Recreation Center 10-7pm

 

PIER 39

San Francisco, CA

Schedule Website: http://www.pier39.com/home/events/live-music/

Dates Glenn is currently scheduled (may vary from Pier 39 schedule):

 

Tuesday, April 15, sets from 12:30 to 8:00pm

Wednesday, April 16, sets from 5:00-8:00pm

Thursday, April 24, sets from 12:30 to 4:30pm

Tuesday, May 20, sets from 5:00 until 9:00pm or later

Wednesday, May 21, sets from12:30 to 4:30pm

Thursday, May 22, sets from 12:30 to 4:30pm

Friday, May 23, sets from 12:30 to 3:00pm

 

GHIRARDELLI SQUARE

San Francisco, CA

Music Schedule on Website at:

http://www.ghirardellisq.com/visitor-info

Wednesday, April 23

 

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

 

SONORA CELTIC FAIRE

www.sonoraceltic.com

March 7-9
Glenn will be busking all day throughout the weekend.

Saturday, he will shut down before 4, for Second Saturday (see below)

 


SONORA SECOND SATURDAY

March 8

Glenn will play in the former Sonora Bridal Boutique 5-8pm

He is sponsored by Sharon Malone Lingerie at 146 S. Washington St.

Let them know Glenn sent you!

 

MURPHYS IRISH DAY

Saturday March 15

www.visitmurphys.com

Glenn will play on Main Street come snow, rain or sunshine!

 

 

Pier 39

San Francisco, CA

Schedule Website: http://www.pier39.com/home/events/live-music/

Dates Glenn is currently scheduled (may vary from Pier 39 schedule):

Sunday March 2 sets from 11:30 til 8:00
Monday March 17 sets from 11:30 til 4:00
Tuesday March 18 sets from 4:00 til it's too cold to play...

 

Ghirardelli Square

San Francisco, CA

Music Schedule on Website at:

http://www.ghirardellisq.com/visitor-info

Saturday March 22

 

DECEMBER/JANUARY 2014

 

Pier 39

San Francisco, CA

Schedule Website:

http://www.pier39.com/home/events/live-music/

Dates Glenn is currently scheduled (may vary from Pier 39 schedule):

Thursday January 2 sets from 11:30 til 8:00
Tuesday January 28 sets from 11:30 til 4:00
Wednesday January 29 sets from 11:30 til 4:00

 

Stage 3 Theater

www.stage3.org/

203 N. Green St, Sonora, CA

209/533-1778

TBA

 

Ghirardelli Square

San Francisco, CA

Music Schedule on Website at:

http://www.ghirardellisq.com/visitor-info

Sunday December 29

Sunday January 5

Glenn's Performance Schedule

Get Connected!

Stay in touch with me on Facebook. Find out where I am performing next.

OCTOBER, 2017

 

PIER 39

San Francisco, CA

Schedule website:

http://www.pier39.com

 

Monday, October 23

sets 5pm-9pm

 

Saturday Octoberber 28

sets 5pm-9pm

 

Monday, October 30

sets 5pm-9pm

 

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA RENAISSANCE FAIRE

Casa deFruta, Hollister, CA

http://norcalrenfaire.com

 

September 16-October 15

Every weekend, Saturday and Sunday 10:00-6:00pm

 

NOVEMBER, 2017

 

PIER 39

San Francisco, CA

Schedule website:

http://www.pier39.com

 

Tuesday, November 7

3-6:30pm

 

Wednesday, November 15

3-9pm

 

Thursday, November 16

3-6:30pm

 

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair & Victorian Holiday Party

weekends Saturday. November 18-Sunday December 17 (and Friday, November 24)

10:00am-7:00pm

https://dickensfair.com/images/eventlogos/DF17logo-square-200ppi.jpg

 

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