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Gregg

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Reply with quote  #1 
I thought I'd put it to the folks that utilize the Forum, of which I barely count myself a member anymore.

From Day 1, I've had a hard time getting a lot of my constituents and friends to share on this forum.

Then when Facebook came along (which I personally resisted for some time), people seemed to migrate to that in droves.  As you know, that's where I now post "alerts" for new updates, info and my blogs (instead of this forum as I had done previously).  I know for a fact that only a small percentage of FB'ers actually go read the blogs, they just "Like" the idea that I posted a picture I guess.  Jeff Titus started a "Harp Guitar Group" there and made me an Admin, just so he could "homestead" something there (a good idea, I'm sure). As I do my own "Gregg Miner harp guitar and other news" page and the occasional Gathering stuff, I find it difficult to duplicate efforts on the FB HG group, or respond to too much of it.  Some of them are you folks, some are other friends and colleagues, and the majority who sign up I don't know or will ever know.  Which is OK, as it seems (shock!) that a lot of these folks have no idea who I am or that Harpguitars.net and Harpguitarmusic.com exist.  It is truly a Wild West out there...so much for being a niche instrument!

I also used to see the occasional harp guitar topic on the Acoustic Guitar Forum, including many from friends (and HG.net members) who were already on that forum and chose to post there rather than here.  Recently, Jeffrey Rodgers (creator/owner of it) started a new Sub-category for harp guitars.  The grateful responses seemed to show the rather ironic conclusion that my own Forum had gone unnoticed.

I get all that, and certainly bear no ill will to people trying to build better community platforms, and those who want to migrate to them.

And yes, the harp guitar has certainly become "mainstream" and now clearly has a long future independent of Harpguitars.net or the Gatherings and Foundation.

Back to this Forum: It does cost a bit, but nothing too astronomical - typically, only about $100 per year, which donations are covering.  Still, we're probably not getting our money's worth from the few of you still using it - Michael, Fred, Jon, Sean, and a handful of others.

Then there are new people like Andrew and others with a very real desire to share and brainstorm and get help on lutherie or other topics - I certainly don't want to abandon them.

Finally, this Forum - like the entire site - remains an archive. There are photos, information and links here that probably exist nowhere else.  I have no way to shut it down and keep these pages available.

Bottom line: For now, I'm keeping the Forum up until further notice, or until the Foundation closes its doors (something else that needs new, young blood). If I eventually see close-to-zero activity here, perhaps I'll revisit.

Meanwhile, it might behoove you to try posting simultaneously or instead-of on the Acoustic Guitar forum.  I've tried it (for some reason, it took more than one attempt to sign up and get approved), and will probably weigh in from time to time.  But like the FB group, I prefer to share in my own more way, through deliberate articles, blogs and comments - with colleagues, friends and readers who actually know me (or have easy means to do so).  I've never been very interested in nameless/faceless forums (note that I use my own actual name in every forum I've ever been on).

But that's just me - what's your 2 cents?

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thniels

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Reply with quote  #2 
While I can certainly see the problem of cross posting, I personally would hate to see this forum go. Not only because it is extremely easy to navigate but also because I am not on Facebook; a deliberate choice that makes it increasingly difficult to maintain a community presence :-). Since Facebook pulled the plug on RSS feeds a year or two ago, my ludite decision turned even more problematic. But hey - my fight with FB is nobody's fault but mine.

Thumbs up!

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Michael

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Reply with quote  #3 

I was not aware of the other places to worship. I checked out the AGF only to find several friends posting there. I joined. Most Harp Guitar players are primarily 6 string players so I am not surprised to see them on a 6 string forum. I guess they frequent the 6 string forum and feel comfortable sharing their HG experience there also.

I think of Harpguitars.net as the HG bible. I can understand folks may be a bit nervous to post here knowing that this site is THE ultimate HG site meant to be preserved in (near) pristine order for future generations.  I post here because I am uniquely qualified to do so (I am so humble).  I am an HG fanatic, I play, I build, I sell and when I post, I want to post something important that will help others in their quest to become a more complete HG devotee.

I have my HG hanging in my Miami store and talk about and demonstrate it to curious customers every day. I pledge to figure out ways for me to better promote this site as a friendly, welcoming, comfortable HG home. 

Thanks Gregg for creating this site.  Much kudos is nice but the work you do here is more important than that. 

Michael


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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Much kudos is nice but the work you do here is more important than that.

How very well put!

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JonPickard

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Reply with quote  #5 
For me it would certainly be a shame not to have this resource available. Less so these days, but when I first got curious about HGs I learned so much from trawling through many of the threads. Even when designing and talking with my luthier (who had HG no experience) it was useful to see if others had encountered similar issues to what we were coming up against, even before I posted about them. Without the existence of this body of knowledge of players’ and luthiers’ experiences it would have been a much harder task. It was also inspiring to feel like I was entering a world frequented by (fairly) like minded folks.

It remains a unique source of HG experience and its a shame if it is no longer being used, but I feel sure that the fact that it is there could still be a source of inspiration for other HG-curious musicians and luthiers out there who have yet to discover harp guitars.

The HG section in the Acoustic guitar forum seems to be largely (thought not totally) populated by regular guitarists who don’t really know what to make of HGs - though its hard to tell as like you say, everyone uses a codename. No surprise there, and no bad thing as it at least introduces it to them, but what I have loved about your forum is that everyone who joins and posts on it has already decided that they love the instrument - and this enthusiasm creates the unique mood here. Your forum really is for harpguitarists and that's what makes it special.

Couldn’t blame you if you mothball it though. The facebook group is used more and is more accessible than having to log on. I guess that's a pattern with forums in general - are they now anachronisms? Having said that, I’ll try to post here each time I have anything to also put on the fb group - just in case you do keep this open.

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FredCarlson

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Reply with quote  #6 
Although harpguitars.net has been and still is THE place to go for information, inspiration and true community in the harp guitar world,  it's definitely true that the Forum has been languishing.  Personally I love the Forum; until recently it was the only such thing I ever participated in on the internet...I don't do Facebook (yet...I probably can't hold out forever on that one!), or Acoustic Guitar, or any of the other luthiers or players forums...I've always been a monogamous kind of guy.

But my activity on The Forum has decreased significantly with the general waning of activity here...I just don't make enough harp guitar-type things to keep me posting stuff, although I certainly could come up with things to post if I felt like that would help boost activity here.  But when I log on to check out the latest posts, there usually aren't any...I see dates of latest posts going back several years!

I recently did actually join another online forum,  "The Banjo Hangout", as I'm currently in a banjo-building phase  (Yes, harp banjos are on the way!!).  And I've been blown away by the activity there; over 100,000 members (!), some 35,000 of them having participated actively!  The whole thing is set up more like how I imagine Facebook works; members have there own home pages, can "friend" others and so on;  it's very interactive; members can start their own groups, post blogs, archive music and video files...the works.

There's no way ( I imagine) that we could get enough members to sustain that kind of a forum for harp guitars; it obviously costs money and takes real time and work, has a working webmaster, sells advertising and so on.  So, maybe Facebook is a good alternative.
But, I'd be happy and willing to enter into discussion about what we, and more specifically I, might do to try to revitalize this Forum.  The big, big plus we have here is the direct connection to the whole, amazing harpguitars.net archives, Gregg's labor of love and certainly the biggest, greatest collection of information, history and more about all things harp guitar.  It doesn't make sense to me to shut down the Forum at this point, and it might be interesting to see if we could find ways to inject some new life into it.

I do love you all!

Fred
 

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dowlinge

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Reply with quote  #7 
 Being a junior member of this club I don't have much to contribute, but often check to see what people are up to. The forum was a lot of help when I was trying to figure out what to do with this instrument. Feel like I know some people I wouldn't otherwise. Does seem painfully quiet though. It would be a loss, but understandable.
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Reply with quote  #8 
Oh, and I meant to say, "thanks, Gregg".
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Ed
Gregg

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Reply with quote  #9 
Thanks for the show of support guys.  As Ed and stats point out, there are a lot of others using this Forum (like all of the site) as a resource.  If only all those hundreds of people would ever consider donating the equivalent of one day's lunch money for the privilege, I could really make something out of this site.
I'll never understand it - c'mon, the chance to interact with Fred Carlson alone is priceless!

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thniels

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
I'll never understand it - c'mon, the chance to interact with Fred Carlson alone is priceless!

So very true!

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Thomas Nielsen
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SeanWoolley

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Reply with quote  #11 
Hi Gregg, hi all.
I really don't understand either! As you said Gregg,  if you close this site, all this priceless information will be lost and you won't find it anywhere else.
Nowhere is there such a wide range of information concerning the harp guitar. I checked out the other forum, I'm sorry but I didn't find anything very interesting.
Facebook, I find somewhat passive, people tend to like, great, but don't share so much. Here we share and that I like. Like the rest of you I guess really love this instrument beyond reason,. I'm also happy to think that in a way I'm following on after the work of all those  builders that have so much inspired me, and that I fit in somewhere in the timeline as having tried to contribute something to this story.
I really hope that the harp guitar develops in the future and that this site continues.
So what's the solution. Free forum and members section for historical information?
Best wishes to all.
Sean
Gregg

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Reply with quote  #12 
And it's unanimous!  (I was waiting for Sean, the last of our literal handful of regulars).
OK, so as I said, I'll keep this up as long as possible. I know my site will outlive me.  I'm not sure about the Foundation (and financial support for forum from same) but we shall see.  As some have noticed, most of the users of the AG forum (like our own Randall Sprinkle and other of our own colleagues and friends) play both 6 string and HG.  There, that seems both a blessing and curse (I'm not loving all the comments I see on it) - that's another thing that sets us apart: as you say, besides loving the topic and wanting to be here, everyone has had to actually commit with that extremely nominal $10 donation.  You did it when I ran this on my own, you do it under the non-profit. That simple requirement (I know for a fact) keeps a lot of people from joining in, and though it may be rude of me to say, for better or worse it thus leaves that kind of freewheeling unrelated social media discourse to other forums (though anyone is freely able to read and absorb everything we write herein - and many do).  So, Sean - your suggestion of a solution of a free forum to make all this more "open" is a valid one.  It's what AGF does and is.  The Foundation would have to be a much larger, full-time, fully staffed and trusted organization to handle something like that happening here. 

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SeanWoolley

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Reply with quote  #13 
Dear Gregg. Thank you for waiting for me to reply. I waited, hoping that there would be more comments.
Thanks for keeping the Forum. I do see it as a life line to the harp guitar world. Keeps me going when feeling despondent. If there is anything that I can do to help the HG Foundation just let me know.
Sean.
thniels

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Reply with quote  #14 
...and in line with Sean; are there any practicalities where we can help?
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Joe_Morgan

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Reply with quote  #15 
I'll chime in as well.  While I hardly ever post, I do check the forum and the blog on a regular basis.  I checked the forum more when there was a link in the box right under the blog link on the home page.  I know I only have to scroll down a bit to get to the forum link, I just don't always remember to do it after I've checked the blog.  Interesting stuff in the forum and I would certainly miss it if it disappeared.

Joe
Gregg

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Reply with quote  #16 

Thanks, Joe. Perhaps it would behoove me to put the Forum icon back near the top for awhile?  Check it now: http://harpguitars.net/

Help?  Thanks - at the moment I can't think of anything small or large that would actually make my life easier, short of coming over and doing my laundry and housework.

One thing (that again would still require my time & involvement) I've been asking for from day 1 is contributors to the site in the way of articles. If I had the imagined interviews and profiles of builders or players on a monthly basis, perhaps there would be more perceived "real-time" value to the site. I remember it was my old colleague John Doan who actually suggested to me the "Player of the Month" idea - and of course volunteered to help, as did dozens of folks.  You can see how many they've done in the Indices.  Everyone has other commitments and priorities.
If I could get every reader to complete just one in their lifetimes, think what we could have.  You think my first 638 blogs were easy?


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Gregg Miner, editor, Harpguitars.net
thniels

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Reply with quote  #17 
You've got yourself a deal there Gregg. What kind of detergent do your prefer :-).
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Gregg

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Reply with quote  #18 
Environmentally friendly and "Scent Free" please.
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FredCarlson

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
the chance to interact with Fred Carlson alone is priceless! 


Actually, it costs $10, and for that I am willing to give out all the bad advice you can handle!  And bonus bad jokes!! (Christmas season: Why doesn't Santa Claus have any children?...sorry, this is a family site, can't answer that one...).

OK, I will write an article.  Probably something to do with harp guitars...or...oh-oh...maybe harp banjos!

You know, this is an amazing group of people we have in our harp guitar community...really!  And the Forum is a part of it; I'm glad we're not giving it up and I hope we can find ways to give it new life.

Fred

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Gregg

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Reply with quote  #20 
Thanks, Fred.  Speaking of articles...Jeff Titus promised me some years ago to do a profile on you.  Perhaps you can put some pressure on our friend...
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