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RMMGA (rec.music.makers.guitar.acoustic)


RMMGA is where the acoustic guitar enthusiasts on the net hang out. I've been reading it regularly for 5 years now, and it's a pretty friendly, informative and humourous place. Some members are now good friends of mine :-)

There's information on this page about RMMGA Gatherings (both in the UK and in the US) and also about the RMMGA CDs. There are also links to various pages connected with the NG.


UK Gatherings Details
UK1 (Wimbledon, May 1999) In the UK, the first meeting took place in Wimbledon in May 1999. 8 UK RMMGAers and Greg Neaga (all the way from Germany!) gathered for a day of guitars and guitar related fun. We had a fantastic time, and parted planning to do it again soon. Here's a picture of the participants, and another of the guitars :-)

UK2 (Chipping Norton, October 1999) In October 1999, a larger group of people met up for a weekend in Chipping Norton. Chris Rockcliffe organised it again, and did an absolutely fantastic job. As well as the playing and singing and general drooling over nice guitars that one would expect at such a weekend, we had talks from three great luthiers (George Lowden, Alan Marshall and Rob Armstrong) and a guest player, Doug Smith. Chris also invited along Ray Jackson, formerly of Lindesfarne and an old College friend - jamming with the others as Ray sang "Meet Me on the Corner" was one of the highlights of the whole weekend for me! Amongst the RMMGA participants who attended for the first time were Guy Snape, who started RMMGA in the first place, and Charles Park, who came specially for the weekend all the way from America with his wife Joan!

You can see a picture here of most of the attendees. You can also see a picture here of the very first RMMGA Band, organised by Mort for those of us less confident than others about playing in public. Mort did an amazing job in about 30 minutes of teaching us a new tune, and then helping us to play it at the Saturday night bash. Thanks Mort - you deserve a medal!

Ronan Toomey, who attended UK2 from Ireland, has produced a page of his own that includes a diary of the weekend and further pictures. You can find it here. Ronan also recorded much of the playing for us with his Sony Minidisc, including the Saturday night Folk Club, and has provided copies to all of us. Very many thanks, Ronan, for doing this for us :-)

David Kilpatrick (a keen Lowden owner) has also put together a page on the event, with a Lowden slant. If you'd like to see pictures of the 25th Anniversary Model and other stuff, nip across to David's page and take a look.

UK3 (Belper, April 2000) An even larger group of us met up for another weekend of fun and guitars in Derbyshire at an old, converted Chapel. We had an absolute blast (well, those parts I remember were certainly great fun... ;-)

As well as some welcome new faces from the UK, and the return of Greg and Elisabeth from Germany, we met some more cyber-friends from the States. Charles and Joan returned and brought Joan's cousin, Linda, and we also met Bobs and Theresa Dorgan, Al and Cea Evans and Mike Pugh. They brought with them some pretty fantastic guitars!

We had some stunning guest guitarists, including Tony McManus, Ken Nicol, Chris Newman, Doug B. Smith and Pete Howlett (who did a great blues and ragtime workshop for us). We also had guest visits from Malcolm Newton (Newtone Strings) and Roger Bucknall (Fylde Guitars).

Greg Neaga has put together a page to record the weekend, and you can see it here. It has all sorts of photos's, and some sound files too. We got together to record "Goodnight Irene", hopefully for submission to RMMGA CD2. David Kilpatrick also has a UK3 page, and you can get to it if you click here.

The next meeting is due to take place in April/May 2001, and it's going to be in Derbyshire again. If you're interested in coming, please pop across to RMMGA and just ask. It'll be an experience you're unlikely to forget :-)

UK4 (Hargate Hall, March 2001) Well, UK4 was last weekend at Hargate Hall in Wormhill (where do we find these place names??) in Derbyshire, and it was an absolute blast! :) Many thanks to Chris and Fiona Rockcliffe and to Alan Marshall for organising this one.

Gatherings just seem to get better each time :) This time we had new people from the newsgroup as well as new guests, both guitarists and guitar makers. It was a particular thrill for me to meet Simon Smidmore, who makes the gorgeous Brook guitars that I've been coveting since first seeing them at a guitar show in Birmingham a couple of years ago. Simon brought a car load of lovely guitars, and allowed us to play with them all weekend :) They were even more wonderful than I remembered. He also brought the phenomenal guitarist/singer/writer Dave Wood, whose light touch and sublimely beautiful music blew several of us right away!

Another guest builder and great bloke, this time from the USA, was Jamie Kinscherff, who came all the way from Texas with Jim Whelan. They brought two of Jamie's gorgeous guitars, which were even nicer than I'd expected them to be. That's saying quite a lot, because there are rave reviews of Jamie's guitars on the NG from time to time. They really were quite stunning.

We also had some excellent guest musicians, in a whole range of styles. Lee Collinson, Wizz Jones, Doug B. Smith, Zena Tubman, Graham Clark (fiddler) and Dave Wood were all an inspiration :)

Greg Neaga has put together a page about UK4, and he already has piccies and reports up. Check it out - there'll be more pictures to follow soon.

As always, it was great to see old friends again and to make new ones. A few old friends were missing, and they were certainly missed. (You know who you are folks - it's not the same without you.) Other than that, though, the whole thing was just enormous fun. In fact, I'm running out of words to describe the fun that these gatherings are - if you're keen on acoustic guitars, you really should come to one. I can more or less guarantee that you'll be hooked :)

UK4.5 (Hulland Ward, January 2002) On a wet, windy day in January 2002 a bunch of RMMGAers, and others addicted to guitars and festivity, gathered near Alan Marshall's workshop in Hulland Ward, Derbyshire to celebrate the arrival of Mike Pugh from the States, to collect his new Northworthy Carsington guitar.

The celebrations were protracted, and took place overnight at the Black Horse just down the road.

Here are some piccies that Alan Marshall managed to take of the evening, as it developed.

UK5 (Hargate Hall, April 2002) It's hard to believe that UK5 has come and gone already. Yet another great weekend of fun was had, at Hargate Hall in the Peak District for the second year running. Yet again I find myself at a loss for words to describe how much fun a UK NG bash is...

As well as the usual suspects, we had Al and Cea Evans again from Austin, Texas as well as Steve Hawkins all the way from Portland, Oregon! Sadly we were missing more than one stalwart of all previous gatherings (Greg, Pat and Zena - it really wasn't the same without you), but as always it was great fun to meet some new people.

There were too many great moments for me to identify all my personal highlights, but right at the top of my list of guitar related thrills was finally getting my hands on the still utterly wonderful Dave Wood's first CD, hot off the press :-) (The CD is called "Into the Light" - be prepared to kill for a copy!) Dave came again with Simon Smidmore of Brook Guitars in Devon. It's Tuesday now, and the CD hasn't been off my player since I left the building :)

I've got some photos here, and I'm hoping that Al and others will do the same when they get home. Thanks again, folks, for a great weekend. Here's to the next one :-)

US Gatherings
The Americans who form the majority of the NG have organised a few excellent gatherings of their own. The biggest to date was the East Coast Gathering (EC1) that took place in Virginia in 2001. There have also been North Californian and Alaskan Gatherings, and there's another East Coast Gathering planned for the Spring of 2002. These all sound like enormous fun and a great opportunity to meet friends from the NG, and I'm hoping to get across to one some day :-)

You can see some pictures of the American Gatherings on the RMMGA Photo page maintained by Michael Baglio, which is now located on RMMGA.org.

RMMGA CDs
CD1 Early in 1999 Bob Alman (RMMGA contributor) suggested that NG readers might like to get together to make an RMMGA CD. The idea was that the CD would be a fun project, and represent a true cross section of playing styles and abilities from within the NG. Everyone who wanted to have a go was welcome, from rank beginner to seasoned professional. In the end, about 35 of us joined in. Most of us recorded our playing at home with unsophisticated and relatively inexpensive equipment, and we all sent our offerings off to Bob in California who then turned out two master CDs. These were copied, and we sold all 500 copies within the NG! They arrived in the post just after New Year, and they're just fantastic :-)

This project was enormous fun for me. I'd only been playing again for about a year when I recorded my contribution on a Tascam 4-track in my bedroom (having taken up the guitar again after a 20 year break - I learned the basics at primary school). I wasn't sure what to play, and in the end I recorded the only tune I'd then written (which is the main reason it's called Only One). It came to me about a week before the submissions were due in California, so it's very short and simple! But it's mine, and I'd never have thought of doing it without Bob's idea and the encouragement of the other contributors :-) I'd like to thank Bob for the enormous effort he put into organising this for all of us, and for having such a great idea in the first place. I'd also like to thank the others who put such a lot of effort into producing and distributing the CDs, and especially Dick Schneiders for mailing out all 500 copies to people all over the world in the space of only about a week!

You can find more information about CD1 on RMMGA.org, including a list of all the contributors and also (I think) a copy of the liner notes.
CD2 In early 2001 CD2 was produced, and it's a lot of fun. It's a 5 CD set, with many more contributors than CD1.

I submitted a couple of tunes for this. The one I wrote myself is called "Interlude", and you can hear a copy of it if you click here.

You can also find further information about CD2 on RMMGA.org.

RMMGA Web Pages Details
RMMGA.Org RMMGA finally has its own web page :-) There's lots of information here, and links to all sorts of interesting RMMGA related places. There's information about the RMMGA CDs, including details of how to subscribe to the CD email list and contribute to one yourself :) There's also a link to the RMMGA photo page maintained by Michael Baglio, and links to various RMMGA subscribers' web pages.
Dan's Guitar & Mando Links Daniel Nestlerode's page is the most comprehensive list of link to guitar related matters that I have ever seen - it really is impressive, and lots of fun. Check it out :-)




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