Growing up in the Appalachian mountains in Pennsylvania, I encountered Pennsylvania black bears fairly frequently when hiking or fishing.  Only once was there any altercation when a couple of cubs decided we hikers looked fun to play with.  We hikers took off running downhill just as fast as we could and kept doing it until we reached a creek swollen with snow melt. We plunged into that stream and quickly decided we'd rather face the bears. Two or three steps and our feet and legs were frozen! Fortunately, the cubs had given up their interest in us and Mama's only interest (as ours) was keeping us away from her cubs. Pennsylvania black bears eat mostly berries and grubs. They tend not to be aggressive and there's little cause for fear.

Hunters swear that they see mountain lion/puma/cougar in Pennsylvania and Virginia woods, though our departments of environment say there aren't any. I suppose the trail cameras must be lying, as certainly the government agencies must know best.  I have seen bobcats, which are a smaller wild cat. I've even had one that used to come quite often to yell at a racoon that lived in a maple tree outside my bedroom window. I don't know what that racoon ever did to the bobcat, but that bobcat surely gave the racoon a piece of his mind with monotonous regularity. I'm not sure if you've ever heard a bobcat scream, but it sounds like what I'd imagine a young woman would scream like if one were to pull her legs off. It's an absolutely horrifying sound, extremely loud, and the bobcat was literally five or six feet away from my bedroom window. There was no sleeping until the racoon was sufficiently chastened.

Timber rattlesnakes are more of a problem in Pennsylvania and Virginia. They tend to inhabit the big piles of leaves that collect at the bottom of cliffs alongside the better trout streams. They are the primary reason that I took to wearing waders moreso than protection from the water, as trout streams make for cool and pleasant wading in the summer. 

I did have a small grizzly bear wait his turn for my fishing hole in Alaska once. My fishing partner and I were swapping fishing pools bank fishing alongside a river in western Alaska. I had just leapfrogged my partner and started to fish a nice pool where I was taking some good rainbow trout who were gorging themselves on salmon eggs. The king salmon were spawning, and so were protected from fishermen at that moment. A shame as the king salmon were enormous. We contented ourselves catching large rainbow trout. My partner's pool stopped being productive, so he walked past me to the next pool.  When he got there and looked back upstream to me as a regular safety check (always know where your fishing partner is when in back-country), he said very casually, "Oh hey. There's a bear."  Our guide looked over to see a grizzly sitting on the beach watching me cast to the trout. It seemed patient, but we nevertheless got in the boat and went to midstream to watch what the bear would do.  Once we had left, he waited a little while, then went into the river right into the hole I had been fishing.  The king salmon were not protected from grizzlies (as if there were protection from grizzlies in any situation), and it proceeded to grab and eat four or five large salmon as daintily as a socialite nibbling on shrimp at a cocktail party.  I, for one, was grateful that the bear's mother had taught him manners and patience. It was a fairly small grizzly.  The guide guessed that this was its first year away from its mother (which would make it three years old, I believe). 

We also saw an enormous grizzly walking the opposite bank of a different river we were fishing. It crossed the river well up from us and walked up a tributary to do his fishing.  We later walked up the tributary to check out his foot prints and they were at least 10" across.

The socialite grizzly.

We were also chased off the lake shore by a moose. It is little known, but moose kill more people in Alaska annually than do grizzly.  They are very territorial, absolutely enormous, and entirely unstoppable once having set its mind on an objective (such as disemboweling flyfishermen).  We left everything - tackle, lunch, spare gas, etc. - on shore, got in the boat as quickly as we could, and shoved off.  Fortunately, this particular beach had a very steep drop off.  Only a few feet from shore the water was well ever 10' deep.  Fortunately, I had not yet moved my camera out of the boat, so I was able to get some photos.

Ornery Moose

I was also attacked by a tern to whose nest I must have walked too near.

Arctic Tern

100's of these were caught. All fish but for one pink salmon that was unfortunately hooked too deeply to release safely were released. The pink salmon was eaten for lunch.

My best rainbow ever - 23" long.     

Bluestone is one of my favorite songs.

As for songs about places, yeah. I like them. It's good fodder for song writing.

My friend Kent and I wrote a song Bony River about a creek that had just enough water to float our kayaks some of the time. I which I could remember it.

I'd like to write songs about Harper's Ferry, WV and Sandstone, WV - or at least Diane's campground there in.

As for songs written, Almost Heaven, Nashville Cats, Lodi, Rocky Mountain High, and James River Blues all stick out as good ones. And Walking in Memphis. That's a good one.     

Welcome back, Chris. We've missed you.     

Though he didn't make it to a formal Chordiestock, it was all the fun you had during a visit from Tubatooter that kicked off the idea for you. And Baldguitardude made it one year.  I was just thinking of Toots last night. What a nice man he was.     

I'd agree that specific brands and types and sizes of accessories depend upon the type of guitar and style you're trying to play. But "extra strings" is universal. So here are some broad-based recommendations for accessories I think beginner players should be looking to acquire over time. The list is in no particular order.

Picks / plectrums.  Dunlop vinyl picks are good for beginners in any style but classical. Classical players usually use their fingers.
Clip-on tuner that uses vibration of the instrument. The most popular is probably the Snark tuner, but there is a wide variety.
Spare strings for whatever your guitar requires. Ask at the shop.
Good quality capo. Like a G7th or a Kyser.
String winder.     


(8 replies, posted in Chordie's Chat Corner)

My kids want a kit. I would like to buy an electronic kit, and I keep my eyes on Craigs List and eBay and Facebook trade. I haven't come across anything as awesome as what you found, though.     


(8 replies, posted in Chordie's Chat Corner)

That's a heck of a score!     

topdown wrote:
Zurf wrote:

I love the picture Topdown. Please send me a high or medium res of it so that I can print it and put it in my office.

The best I can do is grab the photo from the CS VI facebook event page. Sorry, I no longer have it in my phone.

I'll try v to download and print small.     

I love the picture Topdown. Please send me a high or medium res of it so that I can print it and put it in my office.     

Dirty Ed - Dad did enjoy Rich Kid Doctor. He especially liked the line about kissing a picture.

I bet that did feel good Dirty Ed.

I'd have had to include you in my sets. I get requests for Rich Kid Doctor at campfires here.     


(8 replies, posted in Chordie's Chat Corner)

TIGLJK wrote:

Who is Roscoe Jones - I could not find anything onhim.  I found a Roscoe Holcomb  that played with Bill Monroe.. Is that the same guy ?

Roscoe Jones is snowbird that lived near Topdown and Southpaw over the winter. He showed up at the open mics. He was a "utility rhythm guitar" player who has played with nearly everyone, and he was an original Tennessee Mountain Boy. We used to play the game "Stump Roscoe" by throwing out old country names to see whether Roscoe had played with them. When we tossed out Bill Monroe, the generally taciturn Roscoe gave us a dissertation on the early days of bluegrass. He was in his late 80's and early 90's when Topdown and Southpaw knew him.

Dirty Ed stumped Roscoe with Eddy Arnold, but when he tossed out George Jones, Roscoe's reply was, "Oh Lord yes. I gave him his first guitar and taught him a G chord. George is my nephew."

Mostly though, he was just a heck of a nice guy, and always smiling. He taught a bunch of young(er than him) bucks a little bit about enjoying life.

I'll see if I can drop a link in from SouthPaw's Facebook. … 091131234/

And a still photo of me on the left, Roscoe in the middle, and Roger Guppy on the right. I expect this picture was taken somewhere between midnight and 2AM on Topdown's back porch. Beamer gets credit for taking the photo. … e=5CC30C61

emiliaweber wrote:

thnanks.. i love the " I Wanna Be Sedated" most... smile

Me too. It is how I generally approach the Christmas season. Not sedated, but with the desire to be.

Welcome to Chordie Emilia.     


(5 replies, posted in Chordie's Chat Corner)

Classical Guitar wrote:

Don McLean has always used  a thumb pick, and in this interview he is also using finger picks too. Does any one else use them on a steel string?
Here is a link to how you can see his finger picks:

I've tried several different varieties. I just can't get used to them. The Alaska Picks were the closest to something I could see myself using regularly. There was a neat wire based design I ordered. I didn't know they were coming from China! It took quite a long while for the package to arrive, and when it did... well let's just say that my fingers appear to be a good bit larger than the Chinese fingers the picks were designed to fit. A shame.     


(8 replies, posted in Chordie's Chat Corner)

topdown wrote:

Score is right! Very cool. Would love to see the picture of Roscoe on that album if you don't mind texting it to me.

I'll see if it will scan.     


(8 replies, posted in Chordie's Chat Corner)

Before auctioning everything off, we kids are siphoning off the things we want from Dad's estate. Mom loved Country music and I have scored some of her excellent CDs. If you aren't interested in old Country, stop reading now.

Some of the titles: "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash," "Chet Atkins - the RCA years," "Bill Monroe Country Music Hall of Fame Series*," "Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs & The Foggy Mountain Boys," "Sons of the Pioneers Country Music Hall of Fame Series," "Red Foley Country Music Hall of Fame Series," "Willie Nelson Healing Hands of Time," "Patsy Cline Walkin' After Midnight," and "Merle Haggard Good Old Country." As a special bonus, "Neil Diamond Tennessee Moon" 

* Includes our dear old friend Roscoe Jones (in a big white hat) playing with Vassar Clements and Jimmy Martin! None of the songs he co-wrote though. 

TIGLJK wrote:


Sara is awesome
that cover of Dock of the bay is fantastic !
That led me to watch about 5 other videos of her. She is awesome.
Elton John said her cover of Yellow brick road was the best he had ever heard.
Thanks for sharing

She does have some originals too, and I think she wrote or was involved in writing them, but not having the liner notes to check I'm not sure.
"King of Anything" and "I Choose You" are the ones I think she's had the most commercial success with.     

I like story telling songs that have a good story to tell.

I like melody with a tight rhythm group and a bass groove. Even mellow music, which is primarily what I listen to, should have a bass groove if I'm going to like it. The better the groove and tightness of the rhythm section, the less I need the lyrics to tell a poignant story. The ultimate example of this is that I love Tower of Power's instrumentals.

I don't need the performer to have written the music. There are many good covers out there (example: I prefer Jose Feliciano's version of Light My Fire to The Doors version and I prefer Joe Cocker's version of She Came In Through The Bathroom Window to The Beatles' version), and there are some excellent song-writers I'd just as soon not listen to (Leonard Cohen comes to mind) and some excellent performers who don't write their own music (Randy Travis' big hits early in his career were written by Paul Overstreet).

Much modern Pop music does not have these features, and so I don't much care for it. Vanessa Carlton and Sara Bareilles are two current "radio" pop singers whose music I do like - or at least some of it. However, the music has the features I've mentioned.  Here's a cover by Sara Bareilles where she just knocks it out of the park, in my opinion. She is the rhythm section and bass, but still... … TvnL1jWNao     


(11 replies, posted in Electric)

Ibanez' G10 line of electrics are in your price range and are well made guitars. Only putting your hands on it will let you know whether you think it's comfortable and you can relate to it.     

Here's another that I play. It's also from John Denver.  It is typical of me that I recognize that the math only works in narrowly defined circumstances.     

Dirty Ed wrote:

Here's one I play every Christmas. Originally recorded by John Denver, I like this version.


That's one of the few Christmas songs that I play. Here's another that breaks my heart every time I listen. I play this too, but without the grace, skill, or aplomb of Mr. McCutcheon (a Charlottesville, VA fellow).  There are two lines that really get me "these sons and fathers far away from home," and the second one is in the second to last verse. Listen to it and I think you'll know which it is if you know me at all. It ends with the word "sights".  I guess the very last line of the song also gets me right in the feels, too.


(18 replies, posted in Chordie's Chat Corner)

beamer wrote:
Tenement Funster wrote:

Looks like you two had a blast, Beamer ... you're obviously "into it", but Paul looks like he's about to doze off ... funny how a pic can capture a moment in time like that. Hope you guys enjoy many more great gigs together.

Yea i was telling him he needs to work on it. because he looked and sang bored.
he was nervous and did not want to admit it to me.and his stance is what i am working on.  It is NOT singing a song from a TV, thats for sure! stage presence.  At first I was nervous but once I started playing i was good.     

Thanks Chordiestock! big_smile

That's exactly what I'm working on right now. The difference between playing and performing. Awesome that you are getting that across to him - now get it across to me.

Or, as Miles Davis said, "It's 10% musicianship and 90% the attitude of the person playing."  Miles Davis did not use the word "person". His quote had a distinctly more Samuel L. Jackson vibe to it.     


(18 replies, posted in Chordie's Chat Corner)

Dirty Ed wrote:

I have the opposite problem Scott.  I play at home, with a dry signal and even prefer to record with a dry signal, but some of the open mic venues I play at a couple times a month add effects until it sounds like I'm singing from the bottom of a well............ Come to think of it maybe most folks would prefer I sing from the bottom of a well. sad 

Last week I was in Florida visiting one of my daughters and her family (also attended my oldest granddaughter's college graduation). The Days Inn we stayed at had a bar that hosted an open mic on Mondays.  It was a strange set-up with a band (drums, bass, guitar) that expected you to play songs they knew so they could play along. It seemed like some sort of "live" karaoke to me so I passed.

You should have done the "follow me - a standard I, IV, I, V in G" and gone ahead with whatever you had in mind.     


(18 replies, posted in Chordie's Chat Corner)

TIGLJK wrote:

what is a wet signal ?

All I can imagine is you spilled your beer on the amp, and I know that's not right.




(18 replies, posted in Chordie's Chat Corner)


Now do more. The way Jets60 keeps telling me to do open mic nights and I don't.     


(3 replies, posted in Chordie's Chat Corner)

Thank you Mojo. May your Christmas and New Year be blessed and all your pickles rhyme.