Forum Activity for @Ken Hulme

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/24/17 11:24:21PM
1,396 posts

I am SO in over my head!!!


Chord/melody modern style playing discussions

It depends on the "chord chart" you have.  Is it showing one or two chords per measure of music like most guitar "accompaniment?  Or one chord for each note of the melody like most dulcimer chord tab?

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/22/17 04:33:54PM
1,396 posts

Playing in other keys


Traditional style playing- drone and/or noter discussions

My guitarist friends would say that if I tuned my dulcimer to Mixolydian CGc  or Bagpipe Ccc, and then proceeded to play an Ionian Mode tune who's scale starts at the 3rd fret, that I was playing in the key of F -- open C, D, E, 3rd fret F...  No need to capo.

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/21/17 07:20:19AM
1,396 posts

The technician and the artist


Chord/melody modern style playing discussions

I think it's a two-handed sword.   If the left hand does not get the right note(s) held for the correct amount of time (technical), the best strum/pick rhythm/pattern in the world can't make wrong notes sound good.   But with good clean notes, the left hand can turn those notes into fabulous compositions (artistry).  It takes both a technician and an artist to make a masterpiece of music. 

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/21/17 07:13:55AM
1,396 posts

How does humidity affect a mahogany dulcimer?


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Putting humidifiers in a closed case isn't such a good idea in dry climates (or any climates) as you've seen majajog.   Keeping a dulcimer in its case anywhere is not particularly good for them, either.   When you're in a dry climate like Arizona (I lived there for a number of years)  the best thing is room humidifiers, even if it's just a sponge in a bowl of water sitting on the coffee table. 

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/20/17 10:37:31PM
1,396 posts

How does humidity affect a mahogany dulcimer?


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Having lived in hot-humid climates worse than Hawaii, and currently living on the water on the Gulf Coast of Florida, I can say this -- when you move from wherever you are now, you dulcimer will adjust to the new local humidity over the span of a few days to a week.

 There may be some minor issues -- I had a fret raise a bit when I moved from dry Colorado to ultra-humid Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific just north of the equator.  When I played my dulcimer in my air conditioned living quarters it sounded fine, but when I went outside, after a bit that one fret would rise and I'd get buzzing.  I eventually took it to the island hobby shop which had the fine tools necessary to pull and re-set that fret.

That's the problem if you live in the tropics and insist on deep chill air conditioning (which also de-humidifies the air) -- when you move from indoors to out (and back again) you really need to give your instrument time (at least half an hour) to adjust to the new conditions.  Keep your AC around 78-80F and those transitions are much less -- both on your dulcimer and on your own body.  Most Americans set the AC 'way too low -- 68-75 is 'way too low.  Learn to live closer to your natural environment and you and your instruments will be a lot healthier!

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/19/17 06:02:30PM
1,396 posts

Fret Material


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

There are quite a few good luthiers here a FOTMD who might be willing to take on your re-fret job if you ask.  Start a new thread in the General or Building categories with a tile something like "Looking For Luthier to Re-fret Dulcimer and in the body of your message tell them what kind of dulcimer you have and re-iterate what you've said here...

Dusty -- a lower action wouldn't necessarily reduce fret wear if the play has "white knuckles" from pressing down too hard, but if the action is high, lowering it would certainly help the issue.  

From experience, I'm not sure that the average person could hear the difference between nickel-silver and stainless steel frets, or even bronze.  The material of the nut and bridge do affect the sound, but again, only if you have very sensitive ears.  Those sorts of changes readily show up if you use acoustic metering equipment to look at the sound waves produced, but often are barely, if at all discernable to the ordinary player.  The differences would be only a "cent" or two on a tuner, less than a tenth as much as say the difference between an F and a F#.


updated by @Ken Hulme: 03/19/17 06:13:57PM
Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/18/17 10:35:37PM
1,396 posts

Fret Material


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

There are hundreds of luthiers who use a variety of fret materials, you don't have to have McSpadden replace the frets.  Ask around and see who uses stainless, and how much they would charge to re-fret your dulcimer. 

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/18/17 11:59:00AM
1,396 posts

Am I hearing an echo? Great silkie


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

The Irish rune that I know as The Great Silkie is not the same as She Moves Through The Fair; although if the meter is right you could probably sing on with the other -- like people who sing Amazing Grace to House Of The Rising Sun...

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/16/17 08:51:54AM
1,396 posts

Stand-Up Stands


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Well, I gave the stand it's inaugural use last night at Open Mic -- by our standards it was chilly too!  Anyway, the stand worked great even though the plank floor where we play isn't nice and even!  Everyone remarked on how much easier it was to hear the dulcimer, how much better the sound was.  I'm always miked, but opening up the back to vibrate just gave a much better sound.  From my viewpoint (now much higher since I'm standing)  interaction with the audience was much better too.

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/14/17 06:06:31PM
1,396 posts

noter/drone 6 string dulcimer players?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

What Folkcraft says about their six-string is:

"When we string up six-string instruments here in the shop, we use two .011 strings for the melody course, two .013 strings for the middle course, and one .011 and one .024W string for the bass course". 

"The melody strings are tuned in unison, the middle strings are tuned in unison, and the bass strings are tuned one-high (same as the melody string) and one-low (one octave below the melody string)."

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/14/17 02:29:07PM
1,396 posts

What are you reading right now?


Off Topic discussions

The Mediterranean Diabetes Cookbook by Amy Riolo, published by the American Diabetes Assoc that Lady Sally picked up at a recent diabetes conference she attended as part of her PharmD Continuing Ed.

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/13/17 10:39:42PM
1,396 posts

Blizzard in Northeast/March 14th 2017


Off Topic discussions

Strawberry Lemonade for me -- it's going to be sunny and 70s down here...

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/13/17 03:02:31PM
1,396 posts

Stand-Up Stands


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Ireland and Scotland both seem still VERY tied to their "folk" traditions, much more so that England and America.  Conversely, we seem to take great pride in smashing a lot of that "ethnic rubbish" as Ronnie Brown of the Corries once called it!

I stopped by a local restaurant supply place today and got the dark walnut 38" high tray stand locally for the same amount I would have payed for it through www.webstaurant.com, and didn't have to wait.  First impression is that this playing stand-up is going to be a fun experience!

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/13/17 07:16:53AM
1,396 posts

Stand-Up Stands


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Marg-- these are similar to a luggage stand (we have one for our AirBnb rental cabana) but much taller -- at least the height of a conventional table.

Val -- Thanx, I will try to get it recorded.   It's interesting to see how the wording and tunes changed as they wandered around Great Britain, across The Pond, and from place to place across the eastern US.  I'm going to give histories of, and perform one version or another of, Child #1, 2, 81, 84, 95, 204, 293, and Roud #2 and 140 plus A Newe Northen Dittye of ye Ladye Greene Sleves, which is not, a ballad, of course. 

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/12/17 11:11:33PM
1,396 posts

Stand-Up Stands


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

So...  I'm putting together a presentation/performance on the history of Dulcimers and the Child Ballads in Americana, which I'll be presenting at our local Americana Community Music Association.  I've been thinking lately about the "presentation" part for that, as well as the Open Mics I attend, and I'm thinking I want to perform standing up, without slinging the dulcimer around my neck like Robert Force.  I know at least a couple of dulcimer-related woodworkers make custom adjustable stands, for custom prices, but I wanted something workable for under $25.

Then Lady Sally and I went to dinner today, where the waitress brought the food for the table on a giant tray -- which she placed on a folding stand! The light bulb began to dimly glow...  I do this "chef thing"  why hadn't I thought of these before??

A little Internet research, and I discover that you can buy these folding stands, made of metal tubing or wooden bars, which stand 28" to 38" tall, and vary in price from $12 to $50.  For reference, a regular table stands 30" tall, but I want something taller on which I can put my Possum Boxes (the carrying boxes I build from Poplar, which double as Possum Board amplifiers).

 I found a really nice looking wooden stand, 38" tall, for $19.99, plus $8.89 shipping.  If you want to spend more money, you can get cloth covers in various colors to hide the wood/metal.  The picture shows the one I just ordered from www.webstaurantstore.com -- one of the most respected Internet restaurant supply sites.

 tray stand.jpg


updated by @Ken Hulme: 03/12/17 11:16:24PM
Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/10/17 11:03:09AM
1,396 posts

Just intonation and limitations


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

True dat, Robert!  He probably would end up with ET, since a tuner is usually set for A=440.

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/10/17 07:15:46AM
1,396 posts

Just intonation and limitations


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Yes, a string and a tuner will work well to set the fret positions.

If you advertise a JI scale dulcimer as "may not play well with others" and an explanation of what JI is, then it should sell readily to folks who appreciate the JI scale but may not be able to build, or who play only for themselves without other instruments around.

If you build Equal Temp, then it will sell to any tom, Dick or Jane who likes the look of your work.

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/10/17 07:00:38AM
1,396 posts

Fine Tuner Beads -- a Primer Needed!


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Laurel -- when I google "dulcimer tuning beads", your avatar photo here shows up!!

marg:  between the Bridge and end of the dulcimer, the strings slope downwards. If you have a bead on that string, and push it towards the end, it will slightly tighten the string.


Tuning Beads_edited.jpg Tuning Beads_edited.jpg - 22KB

updated by @Ken Hulme: 03/10/17 07:02:38AM
Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/09/17 05:06:48PM
1,396 posts

Just intonation and limitations


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Bob - no one but a custom builder would make a you a pre-slotted JI fretboard, certainly not Folkcraft.  I had DanC make me a JI fretboard with staple frets for my last build.  There's a JI calculator here on FOTMD to create your own JI pattern for any VSL you want.

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/08/17 09:58:23PM
1,396 posts

Just intonation and limitations


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I play mostly by/for myself, and love the JI dulcimer I built last year.

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/08/17 09:55:50PM
1,396 posts

Finger patterns for playing chords - beginner question


Chord/melody modern style playing discussions

We hold this truth to be self evident: there is no right way or wrong way to play the dulcimer -- just the way that works for you.

Don't get hung up on one "school" or another; there are no Style Police here when it comes to how/where to place your fingers if you are playing Chord Melody style.  Use what works most conveniently for you -- in some positions a thumb may be most handy, in others finger tips.  Barre with whatever is handiest when you need to barre.  The dulcimer is a very personal instrument, much more so than guitar, mandolin, banjo, etc.  do what works for you.

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/07/17 04:27:30PM
1,396 posts

Most inspiring live workshop/lesson you've ever had?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Fifteen or so years ago, at the Southwest Dulcimer Festival in Dewey, AZ, I had an impromptu "lesson" with Robert Force, Alan Darveaux and Stephen Seifert at some picnic tables under some trees at the Bean Tree Farm.  My first dulcimer festival, and here's wacky old Noter & Drone Ken, picking and grinning with one of the dulcimer gods and two other fabulous players!  

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/07/17 06:58:41AM
1,396 posts

Recommendations for new strings and new a bridge?


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Cripple Creek, to the best of my knowledge, never uses stains on their woods -- almost no one in the dulcimer building world does unless they are making something wacky like a blue or green instrument.

The rule of thumb we use for bridge height is called the Nickel & Dime rule:  Lay a dime next to the first fret, and adjust the bridge height such that the strings should just touch the dime.  When that's just right, set a nickel on top of the 7th fret (not the 6+ fret), and adjust the bridge height again, so the strings just touch the top of the nickel.  You can adjust height by filing the notches deeper, but the preferred method is to remove the bridge, sand the flat bottom on a piece of sandpaper setting on a flat surface, and re-install -- repeat as necessary.

If you don't know what the 6+ fret is, refer to my article I Just Got A Dulcimer, Now What? here: 

 


I Just Got A.pdf - 1MB

updated by @Ken Hulme: 03/07/17 07:10:00AM
Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/06/17 09:23:45PM
1,396 posts

Galax dulcimer for sale


FOR SALE:instruments/music items/CDs/Wanted to Buy...

To send messages to each other, you first have to "Friend" each other.

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/06/17 05:45:43PM
1,396 posts

What's your favorite FOTMD smiley?


Off Topic discussions

The Dancing Man always reminds me of Mr. Bojangles.

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/06/17 05:42:07PM
1,396 posts

Recommendations for new strings and new a bridge?


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Dusty's got the string gauges right, that's for certain; or as right as anyone can be without knowing the VSL of your instrument(s).  There is a right way and wrong way to install strings, depending on the kind of tuners.  

As far as bridge materials, many of us use hard woods -- at least as hard as Maple, I prefer even harder woods like Lignum Vitae.  You can buy small (3/4" x 3/4" x 5" pieces of exotic hardwoods which are marketed as "Pen Blanks" on Ebay -- I see a number of very hard wood blanks for under $3 each.  Folkcraft and others have Corian or other hard plastic bridges with the notches already cut.  You can also make bridges from bone -- buy a piece of de-greased bone from a pet shop.  Send me a PM if you'd like more detail.

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/05/17 08:53:19AM
1,396 posts

What's your favorite FOTMD smiley?


Off Topic discussions

dulcimer  Not that I use this that often, but it is my favorite; wish there was a way to use it other places!

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/02/17 03:52:01PM
1,396 posts

Fine Tuner Beads -- a Primer Needed!


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Tuner beads DO work, even in a short area (depends on the size of the bead and angle of string slope.  Flat sided beads are best.  You can even carve tapered wedges similar to a reverse capo to fit between the bridge and the place where the string breaks over the end (or meets the pin).

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
02/27/17 04:14:11PM
1,396 posts

Dulcimer Searching..


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

There are only a handful of mentions of Bert Berry dulcimers, here, of ED and on Facebook.   The last interaction I can find is 2013, when member Bill Mosely here, wrote about learning dulcimer building from him.   There is no website, and no Facebook page.

 

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
02/21/17 04:00:27PM
1,396 posts

who to buy strings from ?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I buy their bulk Guitar (for ball end) or Loop End strings -- 12 in a sleeve IIRC, of a specified gauge and end type (ball or loop)  -- plenty  long

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