Here Are Some Useful Links
My Favorite Magic Club -- I am an absolutely unabashed supporter of The Magic Circle of London. If you want to see how the new premises look, or you would just like to visit, click here for the Official Magic Circle Site.
If you dislike magic exposures on televison click here.
One of the finest manufacturers of magic props anywhere is George Robinson. He is the proprietor of Viking Manufacturing in McAllen, Texas. He manufactures the Viking products, the Haenchen products and he also owns Collector's Workshop. His products are among the best. I have used several items of his in my shows at the Texas Renaissance Festival. To view his web site, click here.
A great magical resource for tips and props is MagicTricks.Com. Check them out. One of the best pages of links I have seen is on this site.
The "King Daddy" of all the magic forums is The Magic Cafe. There is a place there for magicians of all levels. Their motto is "magicians helping magicians."
If you are a serious magician, you might want to check out
Stevens Magic Emporium.
And for some really good deals on magic, check out Hocus Pocus Magic,
You may have seen ads for Arjan's Show-Biz Centre in some of the major magic magazines. They have a really fine web site with all sorts of magic at great prices. They sell internationally, so even if you live in Bosnia, you can order from them. Check this site out.
Vintage and Collectible Magic Dealers
Kenna Thompson is one of the best of the collectible magic dealers. I have had the great pleasure of being with him on one of his forays into the wilds of Cincinnatti, Ohio, as he sought the odd item that was lurking in the nooks and crannies of an old magic shop. He goes that extra mile for you. Give him a visit.
Web Sites for People Interested in Mysterious Places
Megalithic Mysteries: a photo-guide to stone circles and other prehistoric sites with high-quality images, including many aerial photographs.
Click here to visit the site of Andy Burnham. founder of the Stone Circle Web Ring.
Another web site with mysterious, artistic information is the web site of Nancy Baumgarten, MLA ASLA. Nancy is a landscape architect turned
calendar-maker who has created a celestial calendar that shows how
we all are interconnected to Universe through the reality of our yearly
cycles. This is a truly beautiful, interesting, spiritual work of art.
Acoustical Instrument Information
If you play a fretted instrument of any kind, you must visit this site: FRETS.COM. This site is owned, operated, and maintained by Frank Ford, who has a wealth of information about instrument maintainence and repair, right on the internet, where you can easily access it. Frank is the warranty repair guy for Martin, so you know he is a knowledgeable fellow. Go there. You will be glad you did.
If you are a mandolin player, you must try a Weber mandolin. These are made by Sound to Earth. Sound to Earth is located in Belgrade, Montana. These are the same people who made the Flatiron mandolins before Gibson bought their company. For a while there, they were making the Gibson mandolins, too. Then, in a move that could be considered less than wise, Gibson moved the Flatiron plant to Nashville. They never considered that the people might not want to go, too. So now Gibson has the name, and Belgrade still has the people. The people make the mandolins--you figure it out! I have a Weber Sage 2 Octave Mandolin, which is one of the best instruments of that type that I have ever heard! They build great instruments!
Here is an addendum about the Weber mandolins. Their warranty service is excellent! I had a minor fret problem that I wanted to have them take care of. I FedExed the instrument to them, they did the work and had it back to me within two weeks! The work was not only done correctly, they added a couple of minor upgrades. What nice people to deal with!
If you have a fretted instrument, no matter what it is you must have strings. One excellent source for strings is First Quality Musical Supplies. They have a huge selection of strings and great prices!
Another web site, devoted only to strings is Just Strings. Their name speaks for itself, but just in case you didn't catch on--that's what they have--just strings. They carry strings from 35 different manufacturers. If they don't have it, it's going to be awfully hard to find!
Another source of strings is Guitar Strings and Beyond http://www.stringsandbeyond.com They offer Elixir, D'Addario and Dean Markley guitar strings at low prices with fast and free shipping. They also carry a variety of guitar picks and accessories.
Be sure to check the links in the Banjo and Bluegrass information section, also. Many of the people listed there also make, sell or work on guitars, mandolins and other instruments, as well.
If you like acoustical music, check out PeggyCarter.com. Peggy is an accomplished musician on several instruments, including hammer dulcimer. She is also deeply involved in the Houston Area Acoustic Music Society. Check out her web site.
Hammer dulcimer fans will find the site of Joshua Messick to be interesting. Joshua is one of Peggy Carter's students, and an award-winning musician.
If you are an acoustical musician, a folkie or a wanabee in any field related to that sort of thing, check out Richard Hefner's E-Z Folk Links Page. It has a comprehensive listing of this sort of thing. You will certainly find it useful.
For Beginning Guitarists (And Their Parents)
If you are a total noob on the guitar, or if you need some help and don't know where to turn, there's a new source of information in town. Beginner Guitar HQ. Here's a link to their recently updated guide to electric guitar strings.
Music Software Sites
This is for software that can be downloaded.
ChordWizard is a truly exciting new chord construction and teaching program for the PC that is quite reasonably priced. It takes up little room on the PC and teaches you the chord forms for just about any fretted instrument you can imagine. I really like it.
MusicEase is not as well-known among music publishing software packages as it should be. It produces excellent traditional notation, as well as great looking tablature. I prefer it to TABrite for writing tablature, because it allows me an immense amount of flexibility. It is also very easy to use. I use MusicEase for writing tablature. Its tablature writing method is far simpler than that of Finale or Encore, neither of which is really adequate for the purpose of writing tablature without going through the step of writing notation first. It also produces good looking music notation.
Band in a Box is an amazing program. You can turn your computer into an accompaniment machine. I've been using it since it first came out.
Banjo Supplies and Related Stuff
One excellent source of banjo parts and information is First Quality Musical Supplies. Bill Sullivan is a real expert, and has given me lots of help. I had the pleasure of visiting his shop recently. Incredible! His new facility has much more space than his old shop, and he has a full time staff of experts to keep parts, supplies and instruments going out to all of us who build, repair and play the banjo and other bluegrass instruments. During my recent visit to Louisville, KY, I purchased the engraved, gold-plated parts that were necessary to make one of my banjos look like a Granada. I left a few parts with him to have them engraved and gold plated. They turned out beautifully!
I would be remiss if I did not mention Stewart Mac-Donald Guitar Shop Supply. For years, they have supplied parts and tools to banjo and guitar builders the world over.
If you want to visit a site that has lots of banjos -- probably more than anyone else, check out Turtle Hill Banjo Company. Dave Schenkman, the owner of Turtle Hill Banjo Company keeps well over 100 banjos, new and used, in stock at all times. He is a nice guy and knows a lot about banjos.
Lee Banjos are built by Chuck Lee. These are really nice banjos.
LouZee Instrument Works, is the home of the LouZee banjo. These banjos will be making their debut at the IBMA convention in October of 2003. They were designed by Mike Longworth, Paul Hopkins and the LouZee development team.
Jack Hatfield is another well known teacher, writer and Banjo Newsletter columnist. He is also a highy reputable dealer in instruments and accessories. In addition to this, he conducts the banjo seminars at SPBGMA annually.
Wayne Erbsen is a well-known banjoist and singer who has published several instruction books on bluegrass and clawhammer banjo and also has several CD's, not only of instruction, but of Civil War and Western songs. Check him out.
Here's an interesting site -- Johnny Adams is a member of Moonlite Express, a Bluegrass band from Central Florida. His web site, called Bluegrass Music Club is located at Mugwumps. Michael Holmes has put his incredible publication on the internet. Here you will find a remarkable collection of banjo information, including dates of issue of Vega banjos by serial number, pictures of esoteric banjo tailpieces, old banjo advertising and much, much more. There is also a wealth of information about other instruments, especially vintage items. It's a nice place to visit.
I don't have many links to sites that feature bluegrass artists; however, here is one that you will enjoy if you are a bluegrass fan. The Donna Hughes web site features excerpts from some of her songs. I particularly like it, because it does not start off with music playing in the background. You actually get to choose what you listen to. All of it is very good.
Vincent Mondello's 4 string banjo web pages are a tribute to those beautiful old banjos of days gone by, especially the Stromberg Marimbaphone instruments. His father and grandfather worked for Stromberg. Click here to visit this interesting web site.
Banjo-L. This is a comprehensive site with much good general information on the banjo. There is a listing of banjo players and teachers all over the country, plus many good files on tuning, etc. This is also the home of the Banjo-L listserver.
Banjer® Productions is the home page of a fellow Houstonian who has dedicated his life to teaching and playing the 5-string banjo--Anton Ullrich. Drop by his web site and learn about his alternative system of banjo, or should I say, banjer, notation.
Gary Sosebee also makes some fine banjo bridges. To learn about his bridges, click here.
If you want to build your own banjo bridges, visit Richie Dotson's web site by clicking here. Richie also makes custom bridges. They are very good.
Kelly Emerson makes a bridge that can make a Gibson banjo sound much like a Stelling. To learn about the Emerson Power Bridge, click here.
Nechville Musical Products is the home page of the famous Nechville Heli-mount™ Banjo, which Tom Nechville invented several years ago. These are very unusual banjos. They are well made and they sound good. Some rather well known players such as Alison Brown use them. Every one of them I have ever heard has had a strong, clear tone.
Banjo Tablatures and Bluegrass Information This is Philip Mann's Tab Collection and bluegrass information site--lots more links here, too!
North West Bluegrass News What's going on in bluegrass in North West England, and some other banjo links.
For good information on what is happening in bluegrass, plus some excellent pictures and sound files, go to Bluegrass and Swing Music Magazine.
Gold Tone Banjos manufactures reasonably priced instruments. Click here to visit them.
If you like the banjo and are also interested in lots of other things that make you think, click here.
Once in a while a really worthwhile site for the confirmed 5-string banjo addict appears on the internet. This is not Banjos Anonymous--in fact, it isn't even a 12-step program. This is a site by an experienced banjo builder, Richie Dotson, who is sharing his knowledge with the rest of us. Richie has been a regular contributor to Banjo-L and AcuTab for a long time. He even shows you how to do inlay work and how to build banjo bridges. This will make you appreciate what you have, by virtue of the amount of work that actually goes into building a banjo--or even a bridge! Click here for this interesting and informative web site.
Sam Alfano -- Master Engraver. Beautiful engraving by an artist who loves the banjo.
If you want to take Sam Alfano's banjo survey, click here.
Accordion and Keyboard Sites
If you play the accordion or the keyboards, try these:
For information about my father, the co-author of the Palmer-Hughes Accordion Course and the founder of Alfred's Masterworks Series, visit the Dr. Willard A. Palmer web site.
For information about the Palmer-Hughes Accordion Course, visit the Palmer-Hughes web site.
For information about the best keyboard instruction method available, go to the Alfred Publications web site.
For articles concerning Willard Palmer's contributions to the accordion, click here.
For a wealth of accordion links, visit Accordionlinks.com.
For the largest web site in the world dedicated
exclusively to the accordion (and other free-reed instruments) in
classical music, visit The Classical Free-Reed,
For plenty of good accordion information go to the House of Musical Traditions. Wendy Morrison has written a manual concerning accordion maintenance that all accordionists must have!
For a complete listing of the tunes in the main books of the Palmer-Hughes Accordion Course, go to Michael Kozak's Accordion Appreciation Page.
I get e-mail quite frequently from people who want to hire a hypnotist, but they live in an area widely separated from where I generally work. If you live in the UK, and you need a hypnotist, check out Ray Ronson.
Unusual Links--Renaissance Crafts, etc.
You need swords? He's got swords. You need daggers? He's got daggers. Larry Smith of Brothersmith-Swords.com has all that and much, much more -- including many links to other Renaissance Festival people. Check it out. One other thing -- his prices are great!
For some wonderfully crafted gemstones and jewelry, as well as a wealth of links to people involved in Renaissance Festivals and the like, visit Crown Jewels. Prepare to stay a while--but remember to come back here when you are through!
Here's another web site with wonderful things to offer people who participate in Renaissance Festivals, either as actors or craftspeople or as patrons. They are Medieval Collectibles. They have other things besides medieval items.
For a detailed discussion of the basic myths of copyright, click here.
People who record their own playing and wish to sell their recordings, as well as music arrangers, generally look for tunes that are in the public domain--that is, those that have no valid copyright. Public domain material does not require the payment of royalties. This makes the legalities and expenses of recording such material far simpler than if you are recording things that are copyrighted.There is as much misinformation about what is or isn't in the public domain as there is about copyright, itself. For a really well-written, informative site about public domain and royalty free music click here.
For information on Cowboy Action Shooting®, a very exciting sport for the whole family, click here.
For the text of one of the most provocative speeches I have ever heard, Charlton Heston's speech to the Harvard Law School Forum, February 2, 1999, click here.
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©1997, 1998 Bill Palmer. All rights reserved. For permission to republish contact Bill Palmer at the above e-mail address.