Breeding Your "Own Strain"
by Gary Tom

First published in the Pacific American Singer newsletter, volume 4, number 3, July 1997.

Contrary to what has been printed nationally, I believe each and every fancier over the years will develop their own strain from the foundation stock they initially purchased. With an addition of mid-west or east coast blood, a swap or two or purchase locally and perhaps an out cross to Roller, Border, Waterslager or Timbrado. (Yes, there I said it! It is the unspoken truth!) Each and everyone of us has different likes and dislikes. Lower, higher, faster, slower, more rolls, more exotic notes, or wild bird notes. Perhaps it's a penchant for a particular color (some of us do have favorites) or a sentimentality about a certain bird for some reason. All these factors combine to create our "own strain," a look, a sound. They won't all be cookie cutter looking or sounding for a few years, but eventually with diligent culling, you will arrive at your own strain.

I defy those who feel you must create your own strain from "scratch." No longer are there Seifert Rollers or the Borders of 60 years ago. Would you use then Fifes? Were these truly the Border of yesteryear?

It's really quite exciting here on the West Coast because from my few years in American Singers, no one here has yet achieved a sound or look for themselves. Everyone is still scratching around looking for the elements of a sound or else trying to blend and replicate.

The West Coast sound is embryonic and unlimited. I look forward to the passing of a few years so I can look back at this writing and smile with a great sense of knowing where we went.

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