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Posts Tagged ‘guitar’

This summer has seen me running my guitar workshop at a couple of really great events / venues – a bit delayed but I’ve just been sent some photos which I thought I’d share.

Firstly was a three day series of short courses at the Towersey Folk Festival – a fantastic event at any time but particularly special this year as it celebrated it’s 50th year. Here are a few shots from that:

Towersey Folk Festival Workshop

Towersey Folk Festival Workshop

The Horseshoe Barn at Towersey

The Horseshoe Barn at Towersey

Celebrating the end of the run in the camp site with a small whisky!

Celebrating the course end of in the camp site with a small whisky!

Then, in early September, I ran a three day residential course at the out-of-this-world Halsway Manor. Again, here are a few shots:

Halsway Manor

Halsway Manor

My guitar ready for action in the grounds

My guitar ready for action in the grounds

Me and the violin tutors (Dave Shepherd, Nick Wyke & Becki Driscoll)

Me and the violin tutors (Dave Shepherd, Nick Wyke & Becki Driscoll, with Anna Pack on accordion)

My group!

My group!

I’m just writing a new course (specifically aimed at the beginner guitar player) so hope to run this soon – stay tuned for more details!

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This weekend saw the second guitar workshop I have run for my local Council.

We had about 30 people over the two days – all with very different levels of playing, experience, interests etc. All in all it seemed to go very well – here’s a quick shot of one of the written ‘Action Tasks’ in progress:

Acoustic Miscellany workshop, 22.3.2014

Acoustic Miscellany workshop, 22.3.2014

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This year the arts and leisure department of my local Council have commissioned me to run another guitar workshop (22nd /23rd March), under the aegis of Redbourn Folk Club, during the council’s ‘Music City’ week of cultural activities

A cut-down version of the one I did last year for them, it promised to be a fun couple of days… if anyone lives in the area and fancies coming, do get in touch – this year it’s completely free!

A flyer featuring the event can be downloaded from here, or more details on the week can be found here >>

Here is some blurb:

Acoustic Guitar Techniques workshop with Clive Batkin

A one day acoustic guitar taster workshop run by Clive Batkin in the Old School Room, behind the Hollybush pub, Church End, Redbourn, AL3 7DU*

The course will be run on each of the following days:
Saturday 22nd March: 10.30 – 4.30
Sunday 23rd March: 10.30 – 4.30

(Coffee and lunch are available from the bar at cost, but we recommend people bring their own as refreshments / food since the pub can be very busy (particularly at lunchtimes) and this impacts into the course time)

A one day course for beginners, intermediates and improvers to explore a wider range of acoustic guitar techniques. The course will focus on an overview of different techniques that can be applied to make your playing more interesting, help break out of ruts & plateaus in your practicing or move away from conventional ways of playing.

Everyone should have a basic grasp of their instrument. It is open to both plectrum and finger-style players** and does not require one to read music. The course may also be of interest to other stringed / fretted instruments such as mandolins / mandolas.

**Please note that although all the techniques covered can be played by finger-style players, the course does not focus on finger-picking techniques, patterns or ways of playing as specific topics.

Clive is an experienced player, perform and teacher, specialising in acoustic folk / roots music. As well as the acoustic guitar he also plays mandolin, the electric guitar and bass guitars, as well as home-made instruments such as his unique ‘harp guitar’.

Space is limited to 12 per day, so early booking is advised.

Please contact Clive directly with any queries, or to book a place on the course:
clive@cbatkin.plus.com
0777 1822414

* Please double check before coming on the course as the venue may be subject to change

See also: www.redbournfolkclub.org.uk

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This weekend I played my local arts centre (The Maltings) in a night of folk music – part of a new ‘First Friday’ series of concerts.

It’s a great place to play, with fantastic acoustics and a really intimate atmosphere.

Cameras are discouraged during performances, so here are three (rather fuzzy, I am afraid) sneakily taken shots…

Starting the night was a great slot from young singer / guitarist Simon Stephenson (a graduate of the Newcastle Folk Music course):

Simon Stephenson

Simon Stephenson

Then came a couple of sets from King Alfred’s Cakes – note my fabulous new shirt!:

King Alfred's Cakes

King Alfred's Cakes

The night also featured a post-interlude set from the improvised world music jazz trio of Batkin/Roberts/Andrews:

Batkin Roberts Andrews

Batkin Roberts Andrews

All in all it was  great night and we look forward to doing it again sometime!

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(Apologies for the scarcity of posts recently – have been a bit laid up with a damnable bug over the last three weeks or so…)

Anyway, just to say that the folk trio (now a quartet!) I play in, King Alfred’s Cakes, are doing a gig at my local arts centre this coming Friday (3rd Februaru 2012) if anyone is in the vicinity and fancies popping in…

We are playing at the second of a new night of monthly folk events (“First Fridays at the Maltings“) at the Maltings Arts Centre, a great arts venue right in the heart of St Albans.

'First Fridays' at the Maltings Poster

'First Fridays' at the Maltings Poster

Click this link to download a PDF of the poster: MaltingsPoster V1>>

In addition to ‘The Cakes’ (featuring our new member Ewan Cameron on flute, whistle and clarinet!) will be a support slot from New Roots finalist Simon Stephenson (guitarist and singer), as well as a special guest appearance from Gerald Roberts & Alan Andrews for a few tunes…

Doors open 7.30 ish and the music gets going at 8.00pm. The is a very nice bar area, and of course our CD ‘The Ships’ will be on sale!

Venue address:
The Maltings Arts Theatre, Level 2, The Maltings, St Albans, Herts AL1 3HL
More details on all the artists appearing can be found from the following sites: 

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Some time back I lost one of the knurled knobs from my trusty old Ibanez electric guitar…. having failed to find a replacement anywhere, I though I’d have a go at making a new one from copper and brass – it wouldn’t look the same of course but would hopefully echo the brassy look of the rest of the fittings on the guitar, and also complement some of the other stuff I have made in and around my music equipment (like my copper guitar hanger, etc).

So, here are a series of photos showing what I did and how. . .

Firstly, here’s  shot of one of the original knurled knobs (spot the green corrosion in the knurling – horrid!):

original knob

original knob

. . . and here is the one I made by soldering a short length of copper pipe fitting onto an old 10 franc brass coin (the fitting has been cut down a bit to make it fit the height of the existing knob a bit better…). This shot shows it after just a light clean up – I polished the final thing a lot more with wire wool and Brasso before giving it a light coat of spay clear varnish)

new knob

new knob

To attach the new knob to the stem of the potentiometer, I cut a short length of inner sleeve from plastic tubing about the right diameter to act as a push fit over the pot stem, and fixed this in centre place within the body of the knob with some hard setting casting plaster (epoxy would have done just as well I guess):

inner sleeve

inner sleeve

Here it is in place (note the air bubble in the plaster – oops!). I filed any proud plaster/plastic sleeve flush with the bottom of the copper knob, and slightly chamfered the top of the inner sleeve to have a bit of clearance over the fixing nut of the potentiometer:

sleeve plastered in place

sleeve plastered in place

Here is a shot of the finished knob in place on the guitar – they look very different but somehow complement each other I think? (apologies for the rather blurry photo!):

knob in place

knob in place

One thing I’ve never been that happy with on my guitar is how close the volume knob is to the bridge of the guitar (in the above photo, this is the distance between the upper knurled knob and the brassy bridge/black pick up). I therefore wondered if, having done all this work, it was now the time to bite the bullet and try moving it…  I had a spare 10 franc coin left over, and through that this might make a nie ‘blank’ to fill in the hole that would be left by removing/moving the original volume knob.

Below is a shot of me marking out a new position for the volume knob, roughly half way between the lower tone knob and the original hole…

marking out

marking out new hole position

Here’s me drilling the new hole – the white dust is the hard lacquer rather than the actual wood:

drilling the new hole

drilling the new hole

To fill in the original hole, I superglued the 10 franc coin in place over it (just to act as a temporary guide) and scored around the rim with a scalpel to mark the position and prevent the lacquer from cracking when routed out. Then using a small routing bit with my trusty Dremel tool, I proceeded to rout out a hole of the right depth and diameter to accommodate the coin. After a  few tries, it was just about right – the shot below shows this work in progress, as well as the volume pot screwed in place in it’s new location (minus knob) .

routing the recess

routing the recess

I stained the outer edge of the hole with a black marker (just to help hide any irregularities) and, having polished and varnished the coin, glued it in place with a bit of epoxy resin glue and here it is!!:

everything in place!

everything in place!

Here’s another shot of the final thing:

the finished item

the finished item

It’s not perfect, but is now much easier to play, and always gets some interested comments when people see it. Having lived with it for a while I think I will certainly make another new knob to replace the old knurled one – they work ok together visually but would be much nicer as a coordinated suite I think!

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Last weekend the acoustic ‘jazz’ trio did a gig at the excellent Museum of St Albans. Here are a few photos of the general set up during sound check, taken by the excellent Al Rogers:

We particularly liked the shots with the ice cream van!

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