Throughout the album, I used six primary instruments: acoustic guitar, electric guitar, my voice, harp, mountain dulcimer, conga drum, and djembe drum. I have different levels of experience with each instrument, but this did not necessarily determine how much each instrument was used.I have been playing harp for over six years, and it is my primary instrument, but it was not used often simply because it is difficult to record. For all the true acoustic instruments the biggest struggle was trying to get clean recordings through the external microphone or pickup. Because of this lack of clarity in most instruments, guitar ended up being the instrument used most frequently. It is used on almost every song, despite me only having played for two years, and records very cleanly. The other instruments I have no training or experience in, I simply picked them up one day and decided I would record with them.
The mountain dulcimer, or appalachian dulcimer, is a traditional folk instrument from Ireland. It features four wire strings, the first two of which are a course, or two adjacent strings tuned to the same note. Traditional tuning is in DAA, or DAD, but is often adjusted to fit the key signature. Since the dulcimer I was using was old, I had to detune it drastically, and ended up in BBB tuning, sometimes made minor using a capo.
The harp I used is a lever harp, meaning that accidentals and time signatures are set by levers at the top of the strings. This type of harp also has roots in Ireland, and the harp I used has 36 strings, which in its natural position (with all levers down) is in the key of E flat.
The Conga and Djembe drums are both from central to western africa. The conga drum originated in Africa, but was used primarily in Afro-Carribean music.