Meet Our Instruments


I play a number of different recorders.

I was trying to think about where to start, and I couldn’t. I love them all for their different feels, sounds, and memories.

The 2 Mollenhauer Modern recorders are cool and unusual. They are modern reproductions that have been reworked to have a stronger, louder sound across a wider range of pitches. They also have key work to ensure the bottom notes are easy to play and in tune. I love their sound strength and versatility. The Alto is made of rosewood, while the soprano is made of Grenadilla.

The Tenor is a Kung Superior in Olive wood – I fell in love with its tone, and in many ways, I think it is my favorite.

The two Moeck recorders are both Rottenburgh models – the Soprano is Grenadilla again, and the Sopranino is made of Boxwood. You might wonder why I have two Grenadilla Soprano recorders – well, for two reasons, they sound different. The Moeck recorder is softer and ‘prettier’ great for butterfly or being a blackbird – the Mollenhauer Modern is more ‘raucous’ ready to lead a dance or run away with a jig while soaring over the rest of the band to be heard.

The rest of the recorders I play with the band are from a single set of Hopf Praetorius Renaissance recorders. I was fortunate to be able to buy all eight from Michael Lynn of Oberlin Conservatory. I don’t play the middle ones often as I prefer my modern instruments. However, the Garklein, Bass, and Great Bass are excellent and eye-catching, and I never dreamed I’d be able to afford a Great Bass. Justifying purchasing a Bass was hard enough – to find a set was a dream.

The Wazinator and my Violin are both instruments I purchased from our prior band member when she became concerned they had become contaminated with whatever it was she had become sensitive to at her old house. I am more than happy to keep them singing and playing music while she recuperates and potentially returns one day to play them again.


Roland FP-90X Digital Piano

aka Rolanda 52

I chose this particular keyboard model because it feels the closest to playing an acoustic piano. With other digital keyboards, there is a dullness in the tone that this Roland model transcends. The touch is as exciting as playing my Yamaha Baby Grand.

I am very happy while playing on this keyboard! It has tremendous capabilities for live performance, including combining sounds, splitting the keyboard into different sounds, an equalizer, ambiance choices, including a wood room, and memory for each sound design I create for our diverse repertoire. The built-in speakers are very powerful so I don’t need to plug into an amplifier for rehearsals and small house performances.

and every ounce of her 52 pounds is worth it!

Taylor Model 514ce LTD Grand Auditorium Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Rich and sparkly!  That is how I describe the sound of this beautiful guitar.

We are all pleased and impressed with the tone and responsiveness! 

Whether strumming, finger-picking, or using it as a drum, 

it adds brightness and power to our music-making.

Celtic II 34 String

The Celtic II 34 String Harp is not only rich in tone but also a work of art visually with her Celtic knot engravings, moonstones, abalone inlays, walnut and bubinga wood. She weighs 25 pounds, has an integrated pickup, a range of C2-A7, and is 52 inches high. She was made in Southern California by Triplett Harp Makers. Between Verlene and me, we have lovingly owned about eight Triplett Harps. I am calling her Luna for now, but I think there is another name that will emerge as she becomes more comfortable with being a harp. She was lovingly born in February of 2023.

Yamaha 37-Key Melodica

The melodica is a handheld free-reed instrument similar to a pump organ or harmonica. It features a musical keyboard on top and is played by blowing air through a mouthpiece that fits into a hole in the side of the instrument. The keyboard usually covers two or three octaves.

Instrument family: Wind instrument, Woodwind instrument, Aerophone, Free reed aerophone

Place of origin: Italy

Invented: 1950s

Inventor: Hohner

Related instruments: Harmonica, Accordion, Reed organ, Yu

The melodica was first used as a serious musical instrument in the 1960s by composers such as Steve Reich in his piece titled Melodica (1966). Brazilian multi-instrumentalist Hermeto Pascoal developed a technique consisting of singing while playing the melodica, resulting in a wide tonal and harmonic palette.


What’s the difference between a fiddle and a violin? Well, mainly it’s the music played on the instrument, and the technique and bowing patterns. There are some who set up a violin as a “fiddle” by using a slightly flatter bridge, but for the most part, you can use any violin to play traditional Irish music.

I have found that the violin I use for classical music is the best one to use in Gaelic Muses, with the rich variety of music genres from Celtic to movie themes, to rock and blues!

There are also some who tune their fiddles differently in order to make use of some double stops (two notes played together.) But I tune in standard tuning, from the high to the low string: E, A, D, G.

My violin is a Sebastian Klotz violin made in the 1700s. I have modernized it by using a carbon fiber bow by Coda Bow.

Nyckel is the Swedish word for “key,” and harpa is a word used for any stringed instrument before violins were used in Sweden. Like the hurdy-gurdy, the instrument has keys, but instead of being played with a wheel, it is played with a bow, like a violin or fiddle, so a nyckelharpa is a “keyed fiddle.”

The nyckelharpa has several keys that are pushed individually, moving a wooden dowel called a “tangent” to shorten the length of the string, producing a higher pitch. Each key on the modern nyckelharpa increases the pitch by one half step, making it a fully chromatic instrument. There are four bowed strings, with keys on the highest three.

From the highest to lowest, the strings are tuned to A (440), middle C, G and the octave below middle C. This low C is used as a drone or the bottom note in a chord. In addition to the four bowed strings, there are 12 chromatic strings that are set lower in the bridge so that the bow cannot reach them. These are “resonant” strings that vibrate sympathetically with each pitch. The nyckelharpa dates back to the 14th century, with a stone carving of one on the gates of Källunge church on Gotland, which is an island off the coast of Sweden. The earlier nyckelharpa was not fully chromatic and had fewer strings. The modern nyckelharpa was developed by August Bohlin in the early 1900s with improvements made by Eric Sahlström.  

My nyckelharpa was made in Sweden by luthier, Martin Westermark.

A mandolin is like a fretted violin that you pluck and strum instead of bow. The strings are tuned in fifths, the same as a violin, and they are doubled, so you have two E’s, two A’s, two D’s, and two G’s.

A characteristic sound is the tremolo which is a rapid back and forth strumming pattern on individual strings or on multiple strings.

My mandolin is a Gibson hybrid from 1939. It was likely made during a transition between models. It has a hole in the middle like a guitar rather than the F holes like those on a violin. 

A concertina is a small button accordion that has a hexagon shape. For the Anglo concertina, each button plays two different notes, one on the “push” and one on the “pull.” 20 key concertinas have two rows of 5 buttons on each side, whereas 30 key concertinas have three rows of 5 buttons per side.
The notes are arranged so that the notes Do Mi So (the 1, 3, and 5 in the major scale which are also the three notes in the tonic or “I” chord) are played when pushing, but all the other notes in the scale are played when pulling. For music theory geeks, that’s the dominant 9 or “V9” chord!

The middle row plays the notes in a C chord on the push, and a G9 on the pull. The inside row plays a G chord on the push and a D9 on the pull. The outside row is interesting – it has a few duplicate notes from the other two rows, but are on the pull instead of push, or push instead of pull. The other buttons are assigned to the other accidentals so that playing in keys with more sharps, or with Bb is possible.
My concertina is a Morse & Co. Céilí Anglo 30 key concertina.


YouTube player


YouTube player


YouTube player


YouTube player