My nephew began as my new apprentice in March of this year. He had spent the last sixteen years in Japan as an English teacher. His name is Matthew Balaam Long and is my brother's son. I have been slowing down my production in preparation for retirement, or what I call "semi-retirement". For years I had been wanting to pass on my knowledge of building and playing bowed psalteries. Matthew was always my first choice in my family, but I thought that he was settled into staying in Japan. All that changed with me finally offering him the opportunity of an apprenticeship late last year. He arrived here in March and we began working together with him as my apprentice. He started out making bows, which he sells on eBay and Etsy. He completed his first psaltery build in late April. It is a Tenor psaltery with a different body design than the ones that I build, but it only has a slight body shape modification. It was a prototype, but a great success. Great look with the tone and volume that I insist on in my work. He has just completed his first three to sell and they are great! I am the ultimate quality control inspector and see to it that they have the same quality that I strive for in my builds.
I just finished building a brand new website that we will both share. New technology forced me to use a new site-building software so the site will work properly on mobile devices plus be a secure site for all internet browsers.
The site is www.ringingstrings.com
It is still under construction with plans to add much more new content. There will be some free instruction to help all bowed psaltery players. This will be through video, pictures, and discussion. The first video planned is on "Tuning Your Psaltery". Part of this will be a song that I wrote a few years back called "Psaltery Workout".
I'm anxious to get started with that, but the main purpose for this post today was to let you know there is a new psaltery builder getting started. I know there are very few of us out there now and a few that I know have retired or stopped building.
Rick Long (Psalteryman)