The road ends, but the journey continues...

Marching to the Studio: Gearing Up – Strings

The first recording session for Swimming with Swans: the music is scheduled to begin Wednesday, April 27th.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled blog post:
When prepping for actual recording, timing is everything.  Not just in the realm of musical readiness, but also in gear readiness. Booking this session date gave me approximately two weeks to break in fresh strings. So of course that meant changing out strings ASAP; which I did.

The Prisloe - ready for string change

All set and ready to go!

Changing out strings on the Prisloe is pretty routine.  Basic procedure for me involves laying down a blanket on the living room floor, arranging all the necessary tools on it (tuner, peg turner, string pack, dust rag, jewelers’ sandpaper, string clipper) and then sitting down with the instrument to my right. All set and ready to go.
The body as a natural luthier's bench

The body as a natural luthier’s bench

This is how I’ve done it for decades on both the classical and the 12-string, so even if I had access to a cool luthier’s repair bench, I’m not sure I’d use it for this task.
Gently sanding out burrs in the guitar nut

gently sanding out burrs in the nut

Doing related guitar maintenance is often easier done during string changes. Unfortunately the ‘new’ dead spot on the 4th fret 4th string is way beyond my mending capabilities. It will have to wait until I find someone in the area qualified to do repairs on my custom Prisloe.
First string shortened before winding on peg

1st string shortened before winding on peg

Until then, I also trick-out the 1st string to accommodate an oddly unbalanced string winding on the peg.
odd but workable 1st string winding

odd but workable 1st string winding

Squashed Palmetto Bug

Interrupted by a local intruder

Last week’s string changing routine was spooked up a bit by the need to crush a curious Palmetto Bug* (he looks tiny, but he shrank after being smashed, believe me!). Ugh – how I hate anything roach related.

Now, please excuse me as I continue to dig my fingers into these fresh strings…Gotta break ’em in. My three solo selections are ready and just itching to be recorded.

*nicknamed ‘the unofficial state bird of South Carolina’, here are some funny conversations about the local critter.


  1. Jayne Bowers

    So excited for you, Laura! I have the upmost respect (almost reverence) for you and Paddy’s gifts.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you Jayne! You are my staunchest southern supporter…hugs.

  2. Lulu

    Congrats on the progress! It sounds so exciting! I can’t really conceptualize what you describe, because like a few others here, I am not very musically talented, but it sounds like an intense labor of love. I’m so glad that it is coming together! The picture of the smooshed bug gave me a shudder. Ick! So glad I just have to contend with ants and spiders. I’m definitely not a bug person!

    • laura bruno lilly

      It’s much like weaving…weavers often say that it’s the setting up of the loom that takes the most time but the actual weaving is the benefit of going through all that trouble!
      For musicians, the actual performance/recording/playing for others is the benefit of going through all the prep.
      Thanks for stopping by to say ‘hi’

  3. Jane Chesebrough

    You help me to appreciate all the preparation it takes to record and write.There just are no shortcuts if you want to do it right.Best regards, Jane

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you Jane for your kind comments. You as a photographer understand the need to ‘get it right.’ You are correct, there are no shortcuts…

  4. Deborah Brasket

    Wishing you a wonderful music-making experience. I’ll be looking forward to listening to it when you are done. Will you be able to share some here?

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you, Deborah for those good wishes. 🙂
      I’m still in the beginning stages of figuring out just how to share parts of the project and integrating it with future marketing of the release of the project as a whole…without jeopardizing that ‘big bang’ which comes from a true ‘release date’.
      It’s hard to keep myself from sharing too much, actually.
      Now, if you’d like to sit quietly during the recording sessions, you’re welcome to join me there…

  5. Janis

    As a completely non-musically inclined person (although I enjoy listening and dancing), you just described a whole different world to me. The most I ever did was to change a reed or two on a clarinet before my parents decided that I was probably hopeless and let me quit my lessons.

    • laura bruno lilly

      The world of music is vast and open for all to experience in myriad of ways. Not everyone needs to lick a reed and toot out a tune – or pluck a string for that matter, but it’s great to explore playing an instrument at least once in a lifetime.

  6. Andy

    Look forward to the new music. I love that you have a routine of preparation. Maybe this serves as a way to settle into the rhythm of your creation and focus on your project. Or am I being too Zen-like here?

    • laura bruno lilly

      Nope, not too Zen at all…While recording is a different beast than performing live, there are certain aspects of prep that overlap including strings/nails but also the day before and day of actual playing…not the least of which involves restricting java intake! HA!

  7. L. Marie

    Hi, Laura! So glad you have that recording date. That’s huge! So appropriate to see the Dance of Joy!
    I enjoyed reading about your tuning process. I’m sure there is a spiritual application in that process. 🙂
    Perhaps the bug wanted to help with the stringing. 🙂
    Yesterday, some “helpful” bees drew near while I sat outside.

    • laura bruno lilly

      It’s bee-season already? I remember that red colored cans/cups/glasses along with sugary liquids, attract those buzzing bees.
      So glad to hear you got to spend some time outside over the weekend, Linda!

© 2024 Laura Bruno Lilly

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑