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Messages - Karl Ahrens

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Suggestions / Re: Suggestion
« on: July 22, 2019, 01:38:03 pm »
Hi, VTTrish, I'm glad you have asked about this.  My desire is to promote a community of people --you all-- who'll help one another to grow musically.

With this in mind, creating a video-based self-learning music curriculum for Coda has been in the plans for a long time, but more pressing issues keep getting in the way. As my beleaguered mom used to say when trying to keep up with my three brothers and me, "I only have two hands!" :)

However, as the Coda project advances, I am slowly able to add hands. Recently, we hired an audio/visual expert to work with me part-time to make the Coda Curriculum a reality. So far she's had to work on packing orders, drilling Codas, preparing silencers, etc., but this afternoon we meet to go over my plans for the curriculum.

Since we plan to roll out the video curriculum gradually, we're hoping to begin providing support to beginners this Fall.

Suggestions / Re: suggestion
« on: July 09, 2019, 12:18:48 pm »
That's a great idea. For a while, I too was bound and determined to have a sliding mouthpiece.  In fact, I created and tested a few types of sliding mouthpieces a while back.  I'm almost certain that I sent one of my prototypes to Ubizmo for testing and feedback.  (Ubizmo has given me a lot of wise, thoughtful advice and feedback through the years!) 

After testing and carefully considering a sliding mouthpiece versus a "solid-state" mouthpiece, here's what we decided.   (I include all the detail so you can follow our thinking on this.)

After some practice, we found that switching chambers on Coda's present solid-state design was just as fast as on the slide design. Seriously!  The slide was faster at first, but it came with several drawbacks. Since switching chambers on the solid-state Coda will become quite automatic, a slide mouthpiece seemed more like an unneeded crutch that you'd be better off without in the long run.

Also, the solid-state was more portable and much less fragile.  Since everyday carry is super important to me, a longer, more fragile nose on Coda did not make the cut. The world is full of instruments that require coddling, that you usually leave home because they are too fragile and/or awkward to carry.  That's not what I love or what I make. I'll leave that to other folks.  For instance, on recent trips to Maine, Texas, and the Berkshire mountains in Massachusetts (not to mention my frequent trail runs), I've had some really wonderful experiences playing Coda alone and for others.  On all the trips mentioned above, no one else ever played an instrument because everyone else had left their instrument at home. My tiny, tough, light instrument, however, was right there, clipped to my front pocket or to my belt where it usually is.

Besides being more fragile, adding a slide to Coda would have made it much more expensive for you to buy because of the manufacturing challenges.

Finally, giving you the option of being able to conveniently clean or polish your windways from time to time was really important to me. (One of my slide mouthpieces was even detachable and re-attachable with powerful magnets so that you could remove it to access the windways: talk about complex!) A solid-state design makes accessing the windways much easier.

Ultimately, we felt that the simpler design was simply better. 

Questions and Answers / Re: Other Coda colors
« on: July 09, 2019, 10:32:37 am »
About the future of translucent blue, here's a short answer. I started to write a long, detailed explanation of some of our challenges and why it would be difficult to have translucent Cobalt blue again in the short-term, but the answer was getting too long, so I deleted it.

A few of you know that we had custom-color translucent cobalt-blue Codas at first. They were cool. (And it let you glimpse a little bit of Coda's complex inner chambers.) I hope to have cobalt blue again at some point, but I can't be sure when. Thanks to your feedback :), I have put it back on my to-do list.

Coda News / New pages? Seriously?
« on: June 06, 2019, 02:45:25 pm »
Hi, things have been VERY busy lately. Nothing new. I probably start most of my posts complaining about how busy I am. (I'm not sure because I'm too busy to read my own posts!)  If you've never owned a small business, it might be hard to imagine the endless tasks and challenges that you face, especially when you create and manufacture your own products. (Many small businesses just resell other people's stuff!) The days are just not long enough.  On the bright side, I just hired a couple of new part-time employees, so things should get easier over time.

By the way, I know that some of you wish that I could re-introduce Mountain Ocarinas, etc.  Believe me that if I could snap my fingers and do that, I would have done so long ago! For now, my plate is a bit full, and I ask for your patience. One thing at a time. I can't make predictions. Really!

However, I did want to tell you about a couple new pages on our website that I'm excited about.

1st, after quite a prototyping phase, and then another phase of working out how we were going to produce them, we have the new Coda Silencers. The Silencers allow you to practice very quietly, practically whenever you want to: .

Here's a little anecdote that demonstrates why I find the Coda Silencers so useful and so much fun. My wife, Susan, and I recently celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary in beautiful Northern Maine.  At one point, there was a crisis on the home front, so Susan had to speak on the phone for a quite a while. Meanwhile, I was in the same room, practicing some new songs on Coda with the Silencers installed. It didn't bother Susan in the least. In fact, I was even able to listen in on the conversation and offer my invaluable sage advice from time to time.  Try that without Coda Silencers!

But wait!  There's more. ;)  We also just posted the new Seriously? page: .   Around here, we like to laugh a lot, so I can't help but think up possible Coda "marketing" images from time to time, some of which are on the wacky side. Then I collaborate with my friend and colleague Roderick or a graphic artist to make them look more professional.  Frankly, most of the stuff doesn't really seem suited for a "dignified" website like ours, but some of it may produce a chuckle or two.  If you like something, let us know.  If not, please send all constructive criticism to www.404.error .  (Just kidding!)

General Discussion / Re: Silencers
« on: May 23, 2019, 08:42:41 am »
Do the new "silencers" work in the "old" mountain ocarinas?
Good question. Alas, they do not. I designed them specifically for Coda, so they don't fit other instruments (unless by accident).

General Discussion / Re: Silencers
« on: May 22, 2019, 01:02:50 pm »
I've tried my best to be annoying while playing with the silencers in, but I couldn't get anybody to tell me to stop, so they're a success.
tnelsond, picturing that made me laugh!

I really enjoy using the Silencers and find them surprisingly useful.  They have become a big deal for me.

Of course, there is the obvious usage. One member of our household works the night shift, and people have different sleep schedules, so the Silencers allow me to play more late in the evening or early in the morning.

Even more importantly, I've become aware of just how shy I feel about practicing new material in front of others. When other people are in earshot, most of us tend to focus on songs that we already play well. (Recently I spoke to a professional musician who struggles with exactly this issue.) It's a little embarrassing to air our dirty laundry notes in public, and we hate to invade the listening space of others with repetitive or disagreeable sounds. For that reason, the Silencers are becoming a real aid to my growth as a musician. I can now play that new air, or jig, or just those 2 tricky measures, to my hearts content, practically wherever or whenever I want, without bothering a soul. It's very stimulating and liberating!

Suggestions / Re: Karl, remember when.....
« on: May 21, 2019, 11:26:09 am »
MedicineMan4040, yes, I really need to do some quality music videos along the lines of Variations on Greensleeves.  The sound quality on the Coda videos so far is rather mediocre.  Hopefully that will change over the next few months. I have hired a new employee who should start on May 31st. She is an excellent fiddler, guitar player, and audio visual expert.  If everything works out, we're hoping to make a few good collaborative performance videos, as well as a series of teaching videos.  I've long been wanting to create a video music curriculum for Coda to help beginning and intermediate musicians to grow in skills and confidence.

I also look forward to the videos from some of you guys!

Coda News / Re: T-Shirts, Mugs?
« on: May 21, 2019, 10:15:31 am »
Hi, D102, first of all, thank you for wanting a Coda t-shirt!

Here's why they aren't available in the UK.  Amazon has two quality designations for their t-shirts: Standard and Premium. Unfortunately, the Premium Quality t-shirts only seem to be available for the USA market. Elsewhere in the world ( and, the only option for our t-shirts is Standard Quality. Since I always like for people to get a high quality product, I've chosen to only sell Premium Quality instead of Standard. It isn't about money. We'd earn a bit more if we offered the Standard Quality t-shirts. It's about people being happy with their purchase and feeling proud of their good-looking t-shirt.

Am I doing the right thing? I'm not sure, but it's what I'm comfortable with. From what I've read, the standard amazon t-shirts are good. However, the premium t-shirts supposedly are made of a little better fabric and also have seams on both sides of the t-shirt instead of on one side, which tends to make them fit a little better. 

Maybe Amazon's t-shirt offerings will change in the future. When they do, we'll be able to offer t-shirts in the UK. I've just put it on my calendar to check again in 3 months.

Coda News / Re: T-Shirts, Mugs?
« on: March 27, 2019, 02:35:43 pm »
How about selling them via  "etsy"or "cafe press"?

Hi, CODAina, up until last night, I was ready to go with your suggestion.   However, we finally got the issue resolved with Amazon Merch. 

Although only 2 designs are live now, in a few days there will be five designs in all. The five designs are various combinations of the Coda Logo and the Coda Compass Rose on either the breast or back or both. 

Each of the five designs comes in five colors and in five sizes. Correction: I got a little carried away typing the number five. The t-shirts actually come in about any size you can imagine, unless you play center or power forward in the NBA.

To find the t-shirts available so far, search for Coda EDC T-Shirt.

General Discussion / Re: Prototype curiosity
« on: March 16, 2019, 03:11:41 pm »
Jerobobo, that is an interesting idea! Honestly, it's also a little overwhelming to think about right now with all I have going on.  However, we've made a note of this one, and I agree that it would be fun to post pictures of Coda during its many stages of development at some point.

Coda News / Re: T-Shirts, Mugs?
« on: March 16, 2019, 02:55:40 pm »
Well, we ran into a little problem with amazon merch t-shirts that set us back some weeks. 

After initially accepting our t-shirt designs, they began to reject them out of fear that we were borrowing someone's copyrighted designs. They were protecting us from ourselves :), which is good but was also frustrating. As a result, I had to appeal and demonstrate that my designs were, if fact, "my" original designs.
(I say "my" because here is how I handle graphic arts projects. With the acception of our logo, which I designed personally in a CAD program, I start by first drawing the idea myself. Next, I work closely, via skype screen-sharing, with a skilled graphic artist, like our friend Adolfo, to get a more professional result.  Ideas almost always improve when you collaborate, and the process is tremendously stimulating! Along the way, I'll seek valuable input from my wife Susan, my friend and virtual coworker Roderick, Cliff, and anyone else who might be handy.  No doubt, I'll be asking you all on the forum for your input more and more. And many thanks for the T-shirt feedback you've provided in this thread!!!)

Anyway, Amazon is now convinced that we are who we say we are, so our t-shirts will soon be available.  They only let you upload one new design a day, but we'll soon post a link to the t-shirts when a few more are available.

Jesse, T-shirts will be available in about every imaginable size--for humans, at least.

(To be proactive, we are still researching options for customers from outside our solar system. Amazon Intergalactic is a possibility, but I don't think they offer Prime Shipping to other galaxies. This should come as no surprise to anyone since their clearly stated mission is only to be "earth's most customer-centric company." I guess everybody else can go jump in a lake.;)


To view or download a complete fingering chart
or a mobile-friendly version (like below), go here:

General Discussion / Re: Finding Karlo
« on: January 29, 2019, 01:20:00 pm »
Quick Update on Quiet Coda.

It looks really promising for a Quiet Coda sooner rather than later.  I just played a few tunes three feet from my wife while she was carrying on a conversation with our daughter-in-law. It didn't bother or interrupt them. Codas entire range is soft, audible, and musical to me, but it didn't interrupt their conversation.

When asked for feedback, Susan, said, "Wow, that's nice, babe. It's really quiet..." For the record, Susan is always very positive about my playing, but then I never try to play regular Coda while she's conversing in the same room. (Well, hardly ever! ;)

So you can absolutely play Quiet Coda in one room without bothering people in the next, or in an apartment with thin walls, etc.  Yet QC is musical and tuning is good.

Again, this is not a flute to record or perform with, but it is fun, productive, and satisfying practice in preparation for playing and performing with regular Coda. And for beginners who feel shy, or anyone who doesn't wish to bother or wake others, it let's you practice in private.

If you are still reading this post, I have to anticipate your next question: Can you post some audio or video?

Well, in order to stay on task, I won't be sharing video or audio yet. It's one thing to make a few prototypes. The challenge is to get Quiet Coda into a finished, manufacturable form that we can offer to those who would benefit from it. I'll post something within the next several days.

General Discussion / Re: Finding Karlo
« on: January 27, 2019, 10:58:11 pm »
I hear you, Harp Player, and I appreciate your suggestion. I believe I've studied pretty carefully all the sound reducing systems and tweaks out there. Maybe not, but I've certainly done many hours of homework on the web, and many more hours of experimentation.

Mr. Mute is a wonderful device for single ocarinas that I wish I could endorse for Coda. However, by studying their literature carefully, you see that it doesn't work at present for wider-range double-chambered vessel flutes like Coda, which have two blowing entrances to switch between. (This is not to mention the problem with the width of the mouthpiece, etc.) Also, according to their literature and my experiments, Mr. Mute addresses the airstream before it enters the windway, so the tuning gets flatter as you make adjustments to quiet the instrument. I personally favor addressing the airstream within the windway so that proper tuning and more consistent blowing pressure can be maintained. Of course, Mr. Mute is a brilliant solution for a device that is designed to slide onto the mouthpieces of many different instruments. In my case, I'm focusing on the optimized silencing of just one two-octave flute: Coda.

Similar things could be said about many of the traditional tweaks that have been done to quiet recorders, tin whistles, and ocarinas with varying degrees of success (e.g., "quiet" whistles are often quite loud in the 2nd octave). I'd love it if they worked well in this application, but they don't. Alas, I have no wish to reinvent the wheel. I just want to provide a super quiet practice instrument that is satisfying to play across Coda's two chromatic octaves. Let's see if we can do this in the short-term.

Suggestions / Re: Business Card Fingering Charts
« on: January 27, 2019, 10:09:21 pm »
Well, I have 5,000 of the fingering Chart cards, and they are beautiful. My quick phone photos may make them look blurry, but they aren't.

The fingering chart is very easy to read, so these are a very useful thing to slip in your wallet if you are learning the sharps and flats. They're also a nice thing to hand to someone who shows interest when they hear you play. And of course, you'd be helping us to spread the word about Coda, for which we would be very grateful.

These cards will be included with all the Codas sent out from now on.

If you live in the USA and would like some of these cards, just send us your name, address, and card request to [email protected]  We would be delighted to send you some.

For those of you at addresses outside of the USA, I'm afraid we can't afford to send you the cards (unless I can convince my family to skip a few meals to pay for postage. ;)) Sorry! I know it's not fair.

P.S. If some of you really want to print cards yourselves, let me know. The type of printing affects the format though...

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