your music habit...
We proudly support local
artisans and are fortunate to live in
Colorado, where many master craftsmen can be found making musical
- Herb makes fine Mandolins, Bouzoukis, Guitars, and
other unique instruments. Herb is an innovative designer; among other
nice touches, his pieces often sport adjustable necks and "monitoring
ports" that allow the player to hear themselves more clearly whle
playing. He likes to say he's "not famous yet", but his instruments are
played by professionals near and far!
- OME Banjos
- OME and its predecessor ODE have been making banjos
since 1960; they are perhaps the finest maker of banjos currently in
the business. Chuck and his crew create works of art; even their "base"
models are stunningly beautiful and wonderfully crafted. Their
top-of-the-line Grand Artist series has to be seen to be believed. They
make 4, 5, and even 6-string banjos suitable for most playing styles; a
variety of scoops, tone rings and resonator/backing options are
available, and they
do custom designs for those looking for something specific.
Whistles - Gene Milligan is a relative newcomer to whistle making,
but his whistles are some of the best available. He uses precision
machining combined with careful hand-crafting to
ensure that each whistle is as responsive and fun to play as possible.
Milligan whistles come in several exotic woods, as well as Delrin and
Dymondwood (a wood/resin composite that's easy to maintain but sounds
and looks wonderful). His whistle lineup currently includes both wide
and smaller bore whistles; the wide bore whistles take a lot of air,
but they're louder than most whistles and more playable outdoors, while
the smaller bore whistles are less demanding and a bit softer.
Currently his lineup only includes higher whistles, but he is expanding
line, so check his website for updates!
- R-Harps -
Rick Rubarth has only one product in his line: the R-Harps
Merlin, a 35-string lever harp of his own design, incorporating many
advances in instrument making. Thanks to the advanced design, the
Merlin has a wonderful rich and open sound with great projection. The
harp has a
stave back that's easy on the player, and the dark mahogany finish is
definitely easy on the eyes! Rick also offers a built-in pickup option
that requires no pre-amplification and is much easier to manage than
after-market pickups. (You can read more about the Merlin up at this site as well.)
- Harp maker Dan McCrimmon worked together with Rick Rubarth to design
the Highland Harps 26-string harp - a wonderfully portable yet
rich-sounding lever harp. It is one of only a few harps of its size to
stave back, with unique sound holes that point off to the sides for
better projection - no worry about the softer sound of many smaller
harps here! Dan makes the Highland in a variety of woods and
finishes. Each harp comes with an easily attached modern-looking stand
that comes fitted
with removable wheels, making it convenient for harp therapy use and
just the right height for playing in a normal chair or stool.
- Rob Forbes is developing a following with his Delrin
three-piece Pratten style keyless flutes. These flutes have a great
woody sound without all of the maintenance requirements of a wood
flute. Visit his site to hear just how good his flutes sound. (And as
an aside, you can also hear one of Herb Taylor's bouzoukis along with
one of Rob's flutes...)
Violins and Orman
Rock Eggen is a regular at local Irish sessions, playing mostly button
accordion, but by day he is a master violin maker and repair expert.
Evan Orman is one of America's finest bowmakers. Both can be found in
downtown Denver in the same building - very convenient!
In addition to these fine instrument makers, Colorado has some
instrument and music vendors who can help you with your musical needs.
We'd like to mention a few that have been particularly helpful and
Music - Kolacny offers a wide selection of band and
orchestra instruments, including instrument rentals. But they have a
thriving side business: harps and whistles for the traditional player.
David Kolacny and his family have dedicated a room (and a workshop) to
harp sales, rentals, and repairs; they carry Dusty Strings, R-Harps,
Highland Harps, Salvi, Lyon & Healy, Harpsicle, and other brands.
In addition, they
carry a selection of whistles from Gene Milligan, Tony Dixon, Kerry,
Generation and others, and they've got a decent selection of sheet
music and CDs for harp and other traditional instruments.
and Drum - Blayne Chastain is a great local whistle,
flute, and bodhran player, and his shop at WhistleAndDrum.com is a
great place to purchase all of those - especially whistles, of which
there is a wide variety (including the locally made Milligan whistles).
He also offers online courses!
Folklore Center - The Folklore Center carries a wide
variety of instruments for many folk traditions, concentrating on
American folk instruments, but also including things like whistles.
Among their wide selection they carry locally crafted OME banjos. The
store also has a good selection of folk music.
- ITM Goodies
- ITMGoodies.com isn't a store where you buy
instruments or music - it's an online shop that sells t-shirts and
products related to Irish Traditional Music. Lots of great shirts to be
had here, both with instrument-specific designs and more general ITM
store is run by local ITM banjo player Pete Strickler.