Change out friction pegs?
General mountain dulcimer or music discussions
I agree with John, If you want that traditional look go with Perfection geared violin pegs. Simple to install.
I agree with John, If you want that traditional look go with Perfection geared violin pegs. Simple to install.
Flint-Hill is indeed an Educational Working Farm in Lehigh County, PA. No mention on their site of Ken Rice (or any other individuals for that matter).
The strings should be just fine as long as they haven't spent a decade in a coastal/island salty air environment. In the photo you posted, the top/sides/head&tailblock seem just fine. Are the bottom planks too short? If so, make that a sort of feature -- glue a short bit of contrasting color 1/8" plank to each end and give it a special "look".
Yep! That's an oldie but a goodie. All original goodies. As John sez, heat gun and gently pry the joints apart, let it cool and dry, and re-assemble. Save the booklets for posterity. Whatever's missing, I know you can make...
I hear there are tens of dollars to be made in dulcimer magazines and websites.
I'm pretty sure she explored every avenue before deciding to close the doors. Things today aren't what they were when DPN started as a mimeographed newsletter all those years ago. Today you need not just writing/editing skills but serious computer saavy. The costs of printing small run publications, especially in the color with the quality we expect today have gone out of sight and subscribers are dropping off as the popularity of electronic media has risen, and the remaining subscribers are less and less willing to pay the costs of production, honoraria for writers, and something approaching compensation for the editor.
The other issue is that a magazine needs in-depth quality material to print, and fewer people these days are doing so. People today seemingly would rather start random "sound bite" discussions on the plethora of dulcimer social media sites.
DPN might... just might... survive as a sort of subscription-based "contributory blog" -- an electronic magazine. Think of a website, similar to FOTMD, where you would pay a monthly or annual fee to read articles, watch short videos, and see photos, but not comment on them except for a thousand words per month (like a letter to the editor). There are already a number of scholarly journals operating on this basis -- JSTOR and Academia.edu come to mind immediately. Subscribers would receive notification emails whenever a certain amount of new material was published. Articles could be read on line or perhaps downloaded for personal use only.
Folks who have interesting things to report about the dulcimer, its use, history, etc, etc. would upload articles with illustrations/photos or video clips (all in appropriate electronic formats) to the editor. The editor would do his/her editorial magic and upload the articles to a website where subscribing readers can access them. Contributors would get paid via Papal or Zelle. There would be paid advertisements interspersed with the articles.
Here again, the question remains whether there would be sufficient interest -- advertisements and people willing to pay a monthly/annual subscription fee -- to support someone doing all that writing, editing, and electronic manipulation, plus support the massive bandwidth and computer resources, etc.
Nate -- there is always the "archive" on issuu.com -- see the link a couple posts below here....
Interesting instrument. IIRC there were several biblical era lyres which used a skin drum as the resonator chamber. Can't really see what you've built, from that vid. Had to go looking.
I found Dennis Havlena's how-to article which, like most of his other homemade instrument DIYs is pretty comprehensive.... Is that what you used to build from?
Hondo dulcimers were pretty good 'offshore' instruments. I've seen and played a number of them. That strange head with it's divots with pins to given the strings a good clean break on a straight stick, was a signature item which some other copied, and others should have done (!). They had pretty decent action height IIRC. A great instrument for a beginner player, and something you can experiment with Wally!
HELP!! I just has someone asking me to help find a post by Richard Lattimer on Everything Dulcimer. . Of course the link she had didn't work because the discussion was on the original ED and the link was a dead end.
I know there were two or three folks who made copies of all if the contents of ED (not just the Tab files) as archives of all the wonderful discussions we had, but I remember who they were, and can't find where I put those links... Anybody??
Marg -- measure the diameter of your peg holes, and Richard will be able to tell you the diameter of those he has for sale...
Gosh -- I'd forgotten about Sweet Music listserv!! Those were the days!
Tom Strothers, creator of the String Choice Calculator and Diatonic and Chromatic Chord Wizard apps passed away suddenly Monday morning 13 February, from a brain hemorrhage.
RIP old internet friend...
Dusty -- the strings are only attached to the fretboard not the body, so the body would not have stress on it from baritone tunings.
All of the cardboard dulcimers I've seen have very precise fret spacing. With Folkcraft kits you don't have to cut the fret slots yourself (the critical part), just tap the included frets into place the pre-cut slots.
None of the cardboard dulcimers are available with chromatic frets, you would have to calculate, mark, slot and install the extra frets yourself. To make a 4 equidistant string dulcimer all you need is a jewelers small triangular file and file a shallow Vs at equidistant marks on the existing nut and bridge. Baritone dulcimers are all about buying the right strings and tuning correctly to a baritone tuning; nothing else.
As Ken sez, a little ordinary or thin superglue will work just fine. Ideally you'll find a fretwire source with a given tang width and buy a fretsaw with an appropriately thin blade. Before I switched to staple frets I often used a jigsaw with an appropriate blade.
Shootrj2003 -- If you want a "true" dulcimer dating to 1840s there are a bare handful of photos of originals. "True" in this case means having a central raised fretboard -- a major distinguishing characteristic which separates dulcimers from the ancestral Fretted Zithers of the Pennsylvania "Dutch" -- Germans -- who were there in PA long before 1800.
The fretted zither plays basically the same as a dulcimer, but has a very low "staple board" on the straight near side of the body. The photo shows a replica of one which I built from dimensions and photos supplied by the Mercer Museum in Doylestown, PA. The instrument I replicated was made by a man named Jacob Gross, who built it sometime before 1865. It has a traditional diatonic fret spacing, three strings, the VSL is 24", overall dimensions 4" wide and 37" long and a maximum of 3.5" high. John and several other of our Traditional builders saw and played my replica at a Traditional Dulcemore Gathering we held in Kentucky a few years ago.
The short answer is YES.
But if you've ever watched Robert Force perform you have to ask yourself "Why". Why, if someone can do the Magic that he does with an ordinary diatonic dulcimer, why go to the expense of having a chromatic instrument built. Better to spend the time really learning the instrument you already have.
There's also this to ponder... When asked about a dulcimer with “extra" frets, Jean Ritchie replied “In a strict sense it has a different finger board, it’s not quite a dulcimer anymore.”
If you can play better than Robert or Jean, then yeah... go ahead and spend the money.
30+ years as a science and technical writer creating documents large and small!
Adobe Acrobat is, of course, the quintessential PDF manipulation software. You can get a free trial version of Acrobat Standard, which may be all you need to disassemble and reassemble several large PDFs. Or You can buy it for $12.99 per month and cancel within 14 days for a full refund.
Back in 2004 I set the then world record for creating a single large file -- 1.3 terabyte! A project recording all of the re-fit upgrades to the vessel and its science and technical suite of a Missile Range Control ship called the KRS Worthy based on Kwajalein Atoll.
Thankful for friends & family who survived Hurricane Ian whether they lost everything else, or nothing; thankful the dulcimer which has brought me so much joy over the years; and thankful for having been alive for nearly seventy-five years and having seen the changes, good and bad which have taken place around the world.
I believe John does put feet on, and he would certainly do so by request. Freeing up the bottom of the dulcimer to vibrate acts as a natural natural amplifier, giving you a noticeably louder voice... I love Darlin' Corey!
Michael -- John is being modest. he is one of the top five or six replica/traditional instrument builder out theretoday. His Uncle Ed Thomas Kentucky hourglass dulcimers are very sought after!
John's TMBs are very traditional and have a great voice. The big difference is that John's TMBs are made to be played traditionally -- with the melody string only being fretted -- so they have frets only under the melody string. Gibson's TMB isn't very traditional and has frets all the way across the fretboard.
Almost all dulcimers have 3 courses of strings -- Bass, Middle Drone and Melody.
Each course can have 1, 2 or even 3 strings. Traditionally dulcimers had only 1 string per course. However today we see 4-strings with a doubled Melody course, 4 strings with doubled Bass course, and once in awhile 4-strings with doubled Middle Drone course. We also commonly see 5-string dulcimers with doubled Melody and Bass courses. Of course the 6-string setup, sometimes called a Church dulcimer, has all three courses doubled. ALL of the above are played as if they have only 3 strings -- strumming, flatpicking or fingerpicking both strings of each course as if it were a single string.
Gibson makes a very nice TMB. They have a big voice.
Use the Strothers String Gauge calculator to tell you what gauges to purchase.
Tom & Missy Strothers | String Choice
Plug in the VSL and the Note you want to tune a particular string to, and it will tell you the gauge.
Can you hear the off-ness or is it just a few cents on the tuner? Is this instrument supposed to be fretted Just Intonated, or Mean Tone or something else. Most people who play ordinary dulcimers with groups of folks don't order a JI fretted instrument because JI instruments don't sound quite right when played together with conventionally scaled instruments.
Call the builder. Tell him your issues. Tell him what you've told us. Have him listen to you play the scales.
Like John, I do not see any "issues" with the placement of the 6+ or 13+ frets. Play it. Play the scales. If the scales sound right and read right on your electronic tuner, they ARE right. Photographs can be deceiving.
As Dusty sez -- Join the group to see the responses... And your dulcimette is really a 3-course dulcimer with two strings on each course... so there is a TON of music out there it depends on which genres you like to play! I have a short VSL dulcimore made by Bobby Ratliff, on which i play (in Noter & Drone or Fingerdance) mostly Americana and Celtic folk music and ballads).
That's a nice find @gail-a, but Howie's HD book is another thing entirely. Not the same as the Mountain Dulcimer book and recordings we discussed all those years ago on ED. Both book, by modern standards, are somewhat outdated in their approach to building. Many things Howie was explaining how to calculate, for example, are commonly found today or easily acquired from on-line calculators etc.
It shouldn't need much, if any 'setup". Just perhaps a new set of strings, wiping with a damp cloth, and a couple drops of Peg Dope to make sure the pegs work smoothly.
The links do not work because the original www.everythingdulcimer.com no longer exists. The current site called that is nothing like the original. Gosh -- I haven't been in any contact with David for at least 8 years. Haven't any idea if he's even still alive.
There are a couple of archived versions of ALL the conversations we had on ED, but I don't remember who has them posted on-line. Perhaps someone else will have that link. The discussions there undoubtedly have David's contact information although it might not be valid any longer.
Sorry I can't be of more help.
I've never heard of Robert Bryan as a North Carolina builder. But with over 400 builds he had some superior building skills. The veined, leaf shaped tuning pegs, the laminated layers of light wood between dark on the tuning head and fretboard, and skillfully cut sound holes are nice touches. Probably built in the 1970s or 80s -- no 6+ or 13+ frets common to many post-Revival instruments. Or perhaps he just liked the older ways of playing.
I'd suggest keeping it "as is" rather than trying to retrofit 6+ and 13+ frets. Playing Chord-Melody style tuned DAd would not be easy unless you are willing to re-tune. Probably best to tune to DAA or even CGG and learn to play Fingerdance or Noter & Drone style.
Have you tried finding the builder's obituary on line? "robert bryan dulcimer raleigh" should be a good google search string. An obit will often give you interesting information, likewise listings in Ancestry and similar sites may gain you more data.
Welcome Mivo! You have a fabulous journey ahead... enjoy every step.
I thought it interesting that you said "... I also believed it was just for accompaniment, not for solo instrumentals,..." when in fact it has nearly always through its history been a solo instrument rather than an ensemble member.
As a new player I'll suggest you take a look at the essay/booklet I write a number of years ago for beginning players. It's called I Just Got A Dulcimer, Now What? . It's an illustrated glossary of dulcimer terms (so we all speak the same jargon) plus answers to many beginner questions about the tuning, playing care and feeding of your new friend. You can find it here:
Ken Hulme's "I Just Got A Dulcimer, Now What?" Article - Strumelia | fotmd.com
Feel free to copy and print it as much as you want.
Drop Howard a note. He's usually glad tohelp with dating their insruments.