FOLK FOR ALL: From the Bury Free Press of Friday, March 11

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Some advice this week on making instruments more affordable.

Build/Convert Your Own: Make instruments you can’t afford, someone somewhere will be dumping broken guitars etc. in the skip. Salvage them Skippy, we waste good stuff despite the poverty/austerity. Give unloved instruments a new lease of life.

Motto: Mending is better than ending.

Conversion to slide: Some cheaply bought stringed instruments never stay in tune when fretted, so they get dumped. With guitars you can always raise the action – the distance between fretboard and string and use them for slide where the frets merely act as markers.

There’s something iconoclastically satisfying about taking a hacksaw to a guitar, I mean, it’s off the dump anyway so have some fun.

Customise your own – I have a McVities-tin resonator.

Remove the back and reline the entire inside with tinfoil. Fit a metallic kitchen collender inside with a twangy bean-can suspended on tension springs for that tinny effect and extra volume, then go street preaching. For slide, you’ll want to retune your contraption – open D or G, tuning DGDGBD or DGGGBD for that thumping Seasick Steve effect.

Try using thinner/thicker strings everywhere, experiment, this is no church of political correctness.

To convert into a flat steel guitar, enlarge the sound chamber by boxing in the whole area from the head to the body – it looks more like an Appallacian dulcimer. Electrify and play grass-skirt Hawaiian steel style using a heavy bar. Tuning is CEGACE, C sixth – a combination of C major and A minor – use minimal delay and/or echo, good also for country if you use the A string sparingly. Paint with acrylics then varnish with Tru-oil.


Hadleigh Folk and Music Night: Ansell Centre, 8pm.,£5 on door. £2 under 16s and floor singers. Pete Cooper and Richard Bolton. Supported by Robert Castellani. Bring own drink.

Slack Folk Piatto Cafe: Colchester, 2-4.15pm, free. Bernard Hoskin, Ken Butcher, Leon Helmsby, Dave Rado.

Erskine Centre, Chedburgh: Spring Concert. £5 on door, accompanied under 16s free. Chedburgh Community Choir. Shanties, Russian folk,gospel. Contact Teresa 01284 850073

Black Fen Folk Club: The Boathouse, Cambridge. 7.30pm. Open/guest night. Contact JulieWatson –

Ccolchester Folk Club: Arts Centre £10, £9 cons. Winter Wilson. Supported by Sinead and Friends.


Circle Dancing: Friends Meeting House, Bury. 7.30–9pm. £6 per session. Contact


Hunter Club, Bury: 8pm. Free. Open night. Everyone welcome.

Wildwood Restaurant, Newmarket: 8pm. Free. Wordz & Muzic. Speak sing, play. Contact Yvonne 07880 695839

Ely Folk Club: 8pm–11pm Jim Moray Contact Andy Wall


Wolf Folk Club: Wolfeton Village Hall. 8pm. Free. Singaround. Contact

Drinkstone Village Hall: 10am-11.30am. £5 on door. Circle Dancing.

Burwell Folk Club: Ex Service & Social Club 8.30-11pm. Contact Michael Freaney

Horningsea Folk Club: The Plough and Fleece. 8pm-11pm.

The Ole Swan, Brightlingsea: Acoustic Night. 8pm-11pm. Free.