Forum Activity for @dusty-turtle

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
06/24/22 12:30:04PM
1,579 posts

Left handed playing


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

@kristinrichmond, you've received good advice so far.  The first thing to figure out is if your daughter wants to play lefty.  Have her play a little right-handed for a spell and then flip the dulcimer around and have her play left-handed.  See which way she feels most comfortable.  Some lefties play right-handed with no problem. Both hands are involved, after all.  But others find that the strumming or picking hand should be the strong hand.

If it turns out your daughter does want to play lefty, then you can just reverse the bass and melody strings, although as Noah and Ken explain, the melody string might buzz a little bit. There are some ways to "MacGyver" that issue short of getting a new nut and bridge, so if that's an issue chime in here again.

I wouldn't bother putting on a new nut and bridge until you determine that your daughter really wants to play lefty, that the strings are buzzing or the intonation is off, and that she is going to stick with it for a while. And if that's the case, perhaps her grandfather oldman will buy her an instrument build for lefties and you won't have to lift a finger!

By the way, that old man smiley is an exact portrait of @sam, isn't it?


updated by @dusty-turtle: 06/24/22 12:30:17PM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
06/20/22 10:02:44PM
1,579 posts

Removable Magnetic Pickup for Dulcimers


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

gwvwadc: Has anyone tried this one? https://www.clingon.co/clingon-pickup

I've been eyeing that Clingon pickup for a while, but I am skeptical about one thing.  Watch the installation videos.  You have to get a magnet on the inside of the soundboard in the exact spot where you will put the pickup.  That might be really hard on dulcimers (or any instrument) with small soundholes.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
06/18/22 01:37:48PM
1,579 posts

For Sale: Bill Taylor custom select quilted maple


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


To help pay for household renovations, I am parting with perhaps the most visually beautiful dulcimer I own.

It is an elegant Bill Taylor dulcimer made of select quilted maple.  The VSL is 28 inches.  An internal pickup is installed.  I am asking $700 or $800 with hardshell case.  I am willing to drive up to 100 miles for a physical drop-off (I live in northern California) or I’ll split the shipping & insurance with you to anywhere in the continental U.S.

This dulcimer is unique, as it was custom made for special clients who collected beautiful tonewoods and had two luthiers make numerous instruments for them. I obtained this dulcimer from an estate sale when those clients passed away.

Inside the left sound hole, written directly on the back of the dulcimer, it reads “Taylormade Dulcimers” followed by Bill Taylor’s signature.  Inside the right, it reads “Custom artist model/Select quilted maple, walnut & cocobolo/Specially crafted for Al and Fleur Martini.”

The intonation on this dulcimer is spot on, and the sound is very balanced across all the strings.  One interesting feature that used to be more common is a small brad nail on the side of the fretboard by the nut.  This allows you to keep the instrument strung with four strings, but to loosen the fourth string and “hide” it along the side of the instrument when not being used.

Bill Taylor quilted maple.jpg

close up of back:

Bill Taylor back.jpg

I’ll be happy to take more pictures if you wish, but pictures do not do justice to the quilted maple and the fine lacquered finish.  The wood is more golden than yellow with brownish patterns in the wood that match the cocobolo, but somehow in pictures it all comes out lighter.  When Al Martini died (roughly ten years after his wife passed), fifteen or twenty Bill Taylor dulcimers were auctioned off.  This was one of the two prettiest and the only one with an internal pickup.  I am convinced it basically sat in its case for years since it shows no evidence that it was ever played.  It is in pristine condition.

Bill Taylor was a well-known musician and luthier.  He died last fall.  You can find an obituary in KnoxNews and might also be interested in this 2005 interview in Dulcimer Players News .  Although it has no bearing on the value of this dulcimer, Bill wrote “Emma’s Song” when his daughter was born, and 15 years later the two recorded it together, with Emma on flute, for the first volume of the Masters of the Mountain Dulcimer CD.

I used this dulcimer for a couple of SoundCloud posts: The Wind that Shakes the Barley and The Rose of Aranmore . Both of those recordings were made by plugging directly into a Zoom H4N, so you can hear the pickup in action.  And here is a video of me playing The Last Time I Came O’er the Moor .  Make sure you listen/view long enough to get to the second version of the tune higher up the fretboard.  The pure and balanced tone of the dulcimer really shines in the upper octave.

I have considered selling this dulcimer several times in the past, but whenever I take it out of the case I play a few tunes and fall in love with it again. It is not my main playing instrument, however, and deserves a more loving home.  And I also need some cash .

Please let me know if you are interested.  Send a personal message here and we can exchange email or phone numbers.

P.S.  I am also selling a Dusty Strings D35 hammered dulcimer and a Seagull Coastline 12-string guitar.  Let me know if you're interested.  I won't bother posting ads here for those instruments, but if I sell them to another FOTMD member, I'll make a contribution to the site.


updated by @dusty-turtle: 06/18/22 01:39:34PM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
06/13/22 09:44:16PM
1,579 posts

Warren May Hourdrop Question


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


A .024 wound bass string for a dulcimer of that scale length will not be a problem. You could probably even go to .026, but most people (other than myself) wouldn't do that.

As a general rule, I think hollow fretboards are preferred.  Since there is less wood against the soundboard, the sounboard is able to vibrate more freely, creating more volume.  And although it may not be of interest to noter players, hollow fretboards are also more responsive to your fingers, so left-hand techniques such as hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides are easier to perform, or rather are easier to perform without a significant loss of volume.

That looks like a beautiful instrument.  Congratulations!


updated by @dusty-turtle: 06/13/22 11:56:46PM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
06/13/22 08:21:57PM
1,579 posts

Somewhere Over the Rainbow


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Tull Glazener sells tab for his arrangement of that tune as an instructional CD with tab .  It's a really nice arrangement, too.


updated by @dusty-turtle: 06/13/22 08:35:24PM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
06/10/22 01:25:50AM
1,579 posts

My latest and greatest mountain dulcimer!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Congrats on your new baby! The two Ron Gibson dulcimers that I've played were both really fine instruments.

And Mike Casey's book is probably the most comprehensive dulcimer technique manual around.

Enjoy!

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
06/08/22 01:30:22AM
1,579 posts

Table for Mt. Dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Melvoid: I just thought "How do I get this dulcimer to stay level?" seemed like a good question :-)

It's a great question, @melvoid, as you can see from the thoughtful responses.  I only moved it because the "Site Questions" Forum is for questions about how to use this site, and this discussion will be more easily found in the future if we group it with questions about dulcimers.

When I first started playing the dulcimer I only played on my office chair since I could vary the height considerably, lowering it enough to get a nice flat lap. I also used to lower the arms to kind of lock the dulcimer in place.  But I realized that I needed a solution that would enable me to play elsewhere, so I put strap buttons on and immediately found I had more control over the dulcimer and did not rely on a flat lap as much.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
06/07/22 02:48:29PM
1,579 posts

Table for Mt. Dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions


A cheap suggestion would be an ironing board.  They can be adjusted to any height.

By the way, I moved this discussion to the "General Mountain Dulcimer" category since the "How Do I" Forum is specific to questions about how this site functions.


updated by @dusty-turtle: 06/07/22 02:50:53PM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
05/28/22 01:31:24AM
1,579 posts

Four string spacing pros and cons?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions


Most dulcimers made nowadays have notches in the bridge and nut so that you can string them with four equidistant strings or with three courses and a double melody.  You can switch back and forth and don't have to choose!

There is a group here devoted to playing with four equidistant strings .  You might consider joining that group and perusing the discussions to see the variety of ways people tune with four strings.


updated by @dusty-turtle: 05/28/22 01:32:45AM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
05/25/22 11:50:43AM
1,579 posts

Kevin Roth interviews Howard Rugg


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Having met both Kevin and Howard at the Redwood Dulcimer Day, I can say they are both kind, friendly folk.  Howard is always tickled to meet someone who plays one of the old Capritaurus dulcimers.  (Of course, he likes new orders, too!)

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
04/28/22 10:41:26AM
1,579 posts

baritone guitar


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

jost: Thanks for the explanation Dusty, so any guitar could be retuned like this? The Sound is lovely

Jost, in theory you could tune any guitar like this, but I am using a guitar specifically made to be a baritone.  It has extra heavy strings and extra bracing and a strong truss rod to be able to handle the extra tension.  I would be wary of just stringing any old guitar like this.  Without that extra bracing, you might do some damage.  I am certainly no expert on instrument design, however.  The strings mine came with range from .016 to .070.  They are pretty big and give my fingers a workout.  

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
04/27/22 12:51:12PM
1,579 posts

baritone guitar


Adventures with 'other' instruments...


jost: What's the difference to a normal guitar? The tuning?

Yes, a baritone is tuned a 4th or 5th lower than a standard guitar.  So the low 6th string of a standard guitar is the same note as the 5th string of a baritone.  A standard guitar is tuned (from low to high) E-A-D-G-B-E whereas a baritone is tuned B-E-A-D-F#-B.

It's basically the same difference as that between a standard and baritone dulcimer.


updated by @dusty-turtle: 04/27/22 12:52:27PM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
04/26/22 11:15:53PM
1,579 posts

baritone guitar


Adventures with 'other' instruments...


Just got a baritone guitar!  Does anyone else play a baritone guitar?  What styles of music or specific songs seem to work well?

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
04/24/22 01:42:21PM
1,579 posts

FOTMD Chat Room!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Thanks, @robin-thompson for that link. sun

@jimws, please note that the Forum to which Robin points you, How Do I . . .   is the best place for asking questions about how the site works.

You also might consider joining the Technology/Software/Amplifying Group .  There are several discussion there on MobileSheets.  You cannot see all the responses without joining, but the price of membership is very affordable. happys

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
04/23/22 11:55:28AM
1,579 posts

Teaching Advice


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Lorilee,

I'm no expert on autism, but if you think math might be the key to getting your granddaughter interested in music, there are lots of places to find it.

Right hand strumming is all a matter of fractions.  Does your daughter already know about note duration?  If we start with a tune in 4/4 time, then a whole note gets one strum to last the whole measure, but we can cut that in half and get half notes, so you strum twice in that measure, we can cut each half note in half and get quarter notes and strum four times in a measure, we can cut those quarter notes in half and get eighth notes, in which case we strum eight times in a measure, and so forth.  And we can mix and match those strums, with the understanding that all those fractions have to add up to 1 for each measure.

The left hand is all about math, too, but at least on the dulcimer we don't work with fractions but integers.  If your granddaughter is going to be playing other instruments--likely if her elective is band--then I would stress not the numbers of the frets but the intervals between notes.  So the root or tonic is the 1st, the next note of the scale is the 2nd, the next note is the 3rd, and so forth until you get to the octave, the 8th note.

I would have her start by playing in a drone style (she can use her fingers rather than a noter, I would think) and show her a simple melody, noting the intervals involved.  You might even make a game of it, playing the first notes of a song and asking her to figure out what the interval is.  Twinkle Twinkle begins with a 5th.  Here Comes the Bride begins with a fourth.  My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean begins with a 6th.  Show her those intervals on the fretboard and see if that piques her interest.

Having said all that, you might also just put the dulcimer on her lap, show her a simple melody, and see what she does on her own.  Some children with autism have the ability to very quickly learn pretty complicated pieces of music, and it might be that the mathematical patterns of music are more easily understood by people with autism than they are by the rest of us supposedly "normal" people.  I think if you are attentive to your granddaughter, you might find she takes quickly to music without you having to point out the math behind it.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
04/08/22 05:43:57PM
1,579 posts

12 String Guitar


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

jost: An understandable sentiment. I love finger-style guitar (listening and playing) and this is just not possible for me with the 12 string. On the other hand the 12 string is great for songs with heavy strumming (Eg Star of the county down, The Blacksmith etc).
 

It is perfectly possible to play fingerstyle on a twelve string.  Leadbelly did it.  So did Leo Kottke.  Check this out.


The real problem with 12 strings was expressed by Pete Seeger: You spend half your life tuning your guitar and the other half playing out-of-tune.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
04/08/22 02:14:38AM
1,579 posts

Composition in G minor


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I would transpose to Bm. Then your chords would be Bm, D, and A.  You'd be all set in either DAd or DAA.  No need for a capo.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
04/07/22 01:26:30PM
1,579 posts

How do we indicate the extra fret in tablature


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

6+ is exactly right, @melvoid.  We use the + for extra frets so that someone with a true diatonic fretboard and someone with extra frets can still refer to frets using the same numbers.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
04/07/22 03:03:10AM
1,579 posts

12 String Guitar


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Just noticed this post, @jost.  How's the 12-string been treating you?  I have a 12-string guitar made in Canada by Seagull that I bought several years ago, just before I discovered the dulcimer.  It's fun to play something with such a full sound, isn't it?

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
03/31/22 02:33:45AM
1,579 posts

For Sale Modern Mountain Dulcimer


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

It's a beautiful dulcimer.  I love my MMD and have long thought about getting a baritone.  Alas, NH is a bit of a drive for me.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
03/30/22 10:58:21AM
1,579 posts

Confusion over Rueben's Train


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Well the bluegrass version is a lot faster, certainly, than @jessica-comeau's version, and fiddle players generally play a lot more notes than do dulcimer players, but those two versions sound like the same tune to me.  The underlying chord progression and basic melody seem the same.

I often find it hard to arrange tunes for the dulcimer based on fiddle versions of tunes.  They just play so many notes that the basic melody is often hidden in an overgrown forest of chromatic notes.

There are tons of dulcimer versions of this tune on YouTube.  I would watch about a dozen of them and then you'll get a feel for what parts of the song are essential and what parts are up to individual interpretation.

One thing is clear, though: you will want to tune to DAC or use a capo at 1 to get the minor tone of this one.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
03/27/22 08:21:52PM
1,579 posts

Introduce Yourself!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Welcome to FOTMD, @canadian-dulcimer-boy, and congratulations on your find.  The best dulcimer journeys begin with a unique discovery like yours.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
03/26/22 04:58:12PM
1,579 posts

International Appalachian Dulcimer Day


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

It was so fun to wake up here on the west coast and find so many people had already been posting such good music on the first ever IADD. Thanks @robin-thompson, @ariane, @gordon-hardy, and @slate-creek-dulcimers, for sharing good tunes on our favorite instrument.


updated by @dusty-turtle: 03/26/22 04:58:52PM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
03/26/22 04:18:38PM
1,579 posts

International Appalachian Dulcimer Day


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions


My online dulcimer club met today. We were over 20, and several mentioned that they had already posted something for IADD. We played 5 songs together: Green Grow the Lilacs, Harlequein Air, Marche Nuptiale, Rickett's Hornpipe, and Southwind. 

And separately I also posted a cover of a Lucinda Williams tune: Lake Charles .

Here's a screen shot one of the participants sent me:

Happy IAD DayappreciatingDusty.jpg


updated by @dusty-turtle: 03/26/22 04:52:49PM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
03/25/22 03:38:16PM
1,579 posts

capo to Em


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Hey Carolyn, the standard for fret numbers with a capo on a dulcimer is that all the frets retain their original number except for the one with the capo.  So if you capo at 1, that capo-ed fret is referred to as 0, but the next one up is 2 and then 3.  If you capo at 4, that fourth fret becomes 0 and the next one up is 5 and then 6.

This is different than guitars and banjos, which causes a lot of confusion. At least it did for me when I first started on the dulcimer.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
03/25/22 12:29:52PM
1,579 posts

International Appalachian Dulcimer Day


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

It's so cool that this is taking off.  Tull Glazener will be posting as well and just sent out an email with @steve-c's poster and offering tab for an original composition, available only on IADD!

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
03/25/22 10:29:23AM
1,579 posts

How to Read tab for Shady Grove


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

@Strumelia, don't you mean Suzette should tune to DAC?  Your link mentions "aeolian," after all.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
03/24/22 07:37:18PM
1,579 posts

How to Read tab for Shady Grove


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Suzette, in the drone style, you never fret the bass or middle strings. They are always left to drone, and you will play the melody on the melody string.

You will sometimes run across tablature that places the melody across all the strings.  That tab is just not for you, so ignore it.  But whenever the melody can be played solely on the melody string, you can ignore the chording indications on the bass and middle strings. Over time you'll discover that a lot of traditional tunes sound great in that style, but some more modern pieces don't.

Make sure you join the Old Style Noter & Drone Group . You'll find lots of guidance there. 

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
03/24/22 07:20:21PM
1,579 posts

How to Read tab for Shady Grove


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

This is not the easiest tab to read, so don't feel bad.

The song is given in two sections.  In each there are three lines.  The top line refers to the bass string. The second to the middle string.  And the bottom line to the melody string.  So in that first section, you start by playing 1-1-1, meaning you fret the first fret on all three strings.  You end that line playing 3-3-5, meaning the third fret on the bass and middle strings and the 5th fret on the melody string.

However, if you are a beginner or if you want to play in the traditional drone style, tune DAC and only play the bottom line (melody string) of each section, letting the bass and middle strings drone.

The description on the page indicates how to read note duration, but if you know the melody, I would just follow the rhythm in your head.

For the record, there are plenty of examples of tab for this song that are easier to follow, so if you can't figure this out, I'm sure people can help you find other tab to use.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
03/23/22 01:01:55PM
1,579 posts

International Appalachian Dulcimer Day


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

To explain the confusion, I turned Leo's Word file into a pdf and posted it in his thread.  I was trying to be helpful smile , but this appears to have caused enormous confusionshrugger .  Just call me an agitator nahnah (or maybe a gremlin).


updated by @dusty-turtle: 03/23/22 01:04:32PM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
03/23/22 01:46:27AM
1,579 posts

Strings for banjammer


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

Hi Linda.  Congratulations on your new hybrid baby.

By all means, put steel strings on the banjammer.  I would offer to do that for you, but if you sent it to me you might never get it back!  Those gauges you list are about right.  You can buy them at any guitar shop.

If the floating bridge is in the right place now, then just change one string at a time without moving the bridge.  If it's not, then my suggestion is to put on the middle string first and adjust that one.  Guess where the bridge should be and tune up the middle string using a tuner.  Then fret that string at the 7th fret, which should be about halfway between the nut and the bridge. You should get an octave. If it's off, you need to adjust the bridge by moving it further from the nut if the octave was sharp and closer to the nut if it was flat.  Once you have the middle string done, do the same for one of the other strings, but this time instead of moving the entire bridge to adjust it, angle it, keeping the middle of the bridge where it was when you set the middle string.

This sounds harder than it is. Just take your time and use your head and you can figure it out.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
03/22/22 04:59:55PM
1,579 posts

International Appalachian Dulcimer Day


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Hey Gregg, I'm glad to hear there will be a live celebration of the first annual International Dulcimer Day! Make sure you take a picture or maybe a video and share it with us.
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
03/17/22 03:49:35AM
1,579 posts

International Appalachian Dulcimer Day


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

The IADD stickers arrived today. The coloring came out significantly darker than I had expected, but they're perfectly fine otherwise.  The yellow lettering is easy to read against the background, but you have to look closely to see that the background shows the soundholes and fretboard of a dulcimer.

If anyone wants one (or a few), contact me by PM.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
03/14/22 01:35:56AM
1,579 posts

Hearts of the Dulcimer podcast in 2022


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I am looking forward to the latest episode, Patricia. joyjoy

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
03/09/22 03:28:29AM
1,579 posts

International Appalachian Dulcimer Day


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Of course, @robin-thompson.  I'm sharing the image specifically so that others might make use of it.


updated by @dusty-turtle: 03/09/22 03:29:04AM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
03/08/22 05:37:06PM
1,579 posts

International Appalachian Dulcimer Day


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions


I just ordered some square stickers using this design. Shipping costs may prevent me from sending them around to everyone, but feel free to download the image yourselves.


IADD for stickers.jpg IADD for stickers.jpg - 144KB

updated by @dusty-turtle: 03/09/22 03:28:47AM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
03/08/22 10:49:41AM
1,579 posts

Looking for a Small Dulcimer


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

I have one of Ron Ewing's baritone dulcimettes and I absolutely love it.  Tight construction, low action, crisp, clear sound.  However, it is tuned usually to G or A rather than D, and the VSL is only about 21 inches, so it may not be perfect for this case.  That's why I recommended a McSpadden Ginger.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
03/08/22 01:37:29AM
1,579 posts

Looking for a Small Dulcimer


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

The McSpadden Ginger is the obvious choice.  The VSL is just over 23 inches.  McSpadden will set it up either to tune like a standard dulcimer to the key of D or a 4th or 5th higher to G or A.

Susie mentioned the " Little Dulcimers Little List " that I put together several years ago. It needs to be updated, since some of those luthiers are no longer active and there may be some new kids in town.  But it's still a good place to start.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
03/06/22 02:16:00PM
1,579 posts

Fret necessary?


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

Randy makes a good point.  Diatonic frets create bumps just as much as chromatic frets do, and decent noter players seem to adjust just fine.

When you slide with a finger--which flatpickers and chorders do all the time--those bumps also exist.  But what's cool about the technique is that our ears play a trick on us. Instead of hearing each of the notes that correspond to each fret, our ears hear those slides as genuine slides, filling in all the microtones as thought there were no frets at all.  That is why a hammer-on sounds so different than a slide.  For example, when you slide from 3 to 4 and when you hammer on from three to four, you are just playing two notes.  But when you slide, our ears hear an infinite number of tones in between those two.  (Having said all this, one can slide in a precise and deliberate manner to approximate the sound of a hammer-on or pull-off, but now we're getting into nerdy nuances.)

As a flatpicking and chording player, I use extra frets all the time and wouldn't want it any other way.  But I understand the history of the instrument and respect deeply those who play truly diatonic instruments in the traditional ways.  That alone is a reason not to add extra frets.  The argument about "bumps" is less convincing to me, for I think you can adjust when you want to slide over the frets you don't need in a particular passage.

1