General mountain dulcimer or music discussions
@amairano, there aren't a whole bunch of us playing Rick's dulcimers. I think he only makes a few a year. I think of his dulcimer as two dulcimers. The box is plenty large and the bracing plenty sufficient to allow it to be strung as a baritone as well as a standard dulcimer. If you compare my videos, you'll notice that I am playing in two tonal ranges with my Probst dulcimer. Rick's dulcimers have such a distinctive sound that I don't think wood choice will have a profound effect. I would choose wood based on looks. Mine is made of figured cherry with a Carpathian spruce top.
I think some of the Sunhearth dulcimers used to have fine tuners as well. They were smaller than the ones on this dulcimer, but they worked in the same basic way.
Sorry, I never heard of Mr. Titus. I do know where Edith Street is, though. It's by MLK Middle School where I once heard Ricky Skaggs perform but which is better known as the school where the kids maintain a garden that sells fresh veggies to Alice Waters and Chez Panisse.
That's a beautiful looking dulcimer. I can see why you guys chose bocote wood. How special is that!
By the way, I do the same thing with my pinky. I tend to anchor it when I'm doing really tough flatpicking stuff, but I let it move around on the soundboard when I strum. On one dulcimer with a red cedar top I put on a clear pickguard so you can still see the wood grain underneath. I also try to keep the nail on that one finger super short. That pinky scratching seems to show up more on cedar than on spruce.
Just a quick comment here that fretboard width and string spacing are two different things. My personal preference is for the strings to be no further than 1 inch from bass to melody (on a 3-string instrument), but I still like a 1-1/2" fretboard since that provides more room for bending strings.
Cherry and butternut sounds like a nice choice. I think I agree with others who suggest that wood choice has much less of an effect on sound than many other aspects of building. I usually choose wood based on looks and the builder based on sound.
It's a tastefully done video. My daughter and I watched it together a few times yesterday. We both appreciate how it moves to the exact beat of the song, doesn't try to do too much by adding meaning that is not there in the audio, and how it captures the sad tenor of the lyrics. It's so nice.
My understanding is that Graham Nash had proposed to her and she declined ("I made my baby cry") leading to an end to their relationship ("I made my baby say 'Goodbye.").
Several songs on the Blue album are just so honest and personal. It feels a little awkward to know those emotional details about someone I've never met.
I've been so busy at work that I've been unable to check out the Musical Advent Calendar each day, but that means what a treat I've had today, the first day of our holiday break, when I could just sit back and enjoy almost two dozen delightful tunes. So much dulcimer love, so much wonderful sharing of music from around the world.
I do want to point out the wonderful tone Mary Ellen Lousberry gets out of her dulcimer in #7. That's the sweetest amplified dulcimer sound I think I've ever heard. Just delightful. Soft and round and clear.
Thanks to all the performers and to Ariane for donating her time to make this happen. What a treat!
Lucky Dave, that's really wrong of UPS. Very disturbing.
And I'm not in North Carolina, but Northern California. Only about 3000 miles away!
I saw a video once which I can't seem to find now that showed the boxes the New Harmony Dulcimer Company builds to ship their instruments. They use a wood frame inside the box, and in the video, someone stood on top of the box with the dulcimer inside, demonstrating how strong it was. The box design was similar to but less bulky than 's very carefully designed boxes.
That's a Ukrainian tune called Фриендс оф тхе Моунтаин Дулкимер.
No not at all. I'm joking. It sounds Celtic to me, too, but Ken may be right that there are pieces of a couple of tunes there. Part of it is a melody I know, and I may pop in in the middle of the night when I remember it's name. But I don't recognize that descending ending/turnaround.
By the way, that Cyrillic up above just says Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer.
Having just bought a penny whistle from Susie, I can attest that she packages stuff up with enormous care. Your NAF will be well cared for.
Sunhearth dulcimers are indeed special. They were the direct ancestors of the Bear Meadow dulcimers and are known for their exquisite intonation and warm tone. Although my personal preference is an instrument with geared tuners and a 6+ fret, I would not suggest making any major changes to that beautiful dulcimer. It looks to be in great shape.
Ken, maybe I am misunderstanding something. appears to be tuning to a G ionian, which would either put him in the baritone range or in the ginger range. Ken H concluded that studentofrhythm was tuning to a "high Gdd," meaning the G below middle C and the D above middle C. I could obviously be wrong. It has happened before.
In any case, it appears you and I don't really disagree on the appropriate string gauges; we are just not sure how studentofrhythm has his dulcimer set up.
Hey , the first thing I would ask is what gauge strings you are using and what the scale length (measurement of the bridge to the nut) is. Tuning GDD is common for baritones and some 3/4-size instruments such as the Ginger. But it's not common for standard dulcimers. So let's make sure the string gauges are right for the scale length and tuning. Longer brad nails might be OK, but let's figure out string gauges first.
I just caught up with the first four days. What a treat!
Calvin, I assume this is the song you're referring to. It was made famous by Glen Campbell, but Carl Jackson wrote it.
The bad news? The song is under copyright, so you won't find free tab anywhere.
The good news? The song is definitely do-able on a dulcimer with a diatonic fretboard.
The version I link to above is played in the key of E. My advice would be to tune your dulcimer to EBe. You will still be in a 1-5-8 tuning, so all the chords and fingerings you know for DAd will still work. Then you can play along with the song. Once you have the basics of the song down, you can tune back to DAd and play it just the way you had been.
You can probably find chords and lyrics by searching the internet. I just did a quick listen and the chords in the key of D are D, G, Bm, and A. The structure of the song is simple, with a verse and a chorus. The melody seems to have no accidentals, so you'll be able to get it on the dulcimer.
If we could meet down at the pub, I'm sure we could figure it out together.
There might be two kinds of "soreness" we're talking about here. One is a function of the friction of the metal wire against your skin. The second is muscle soreness from having to push down on the string.
For the first kind of soreness, I would suggest first that you use new strings. New strings are softer and less like hard wire. Second, I would suggest turning your thumb sideways a bit to use the edge of your nail. Using your nail will allow you to slide up and down the string much like a noter and won't cause any pain.
If you are playing mainly in a drone style, though, I would suggest using either a noter or your fingers. Either of those techniques will allow you to play faster and also avoid the soreness that seems to be a hurdle for you now. (I sometimes use my thumb like a noter in the way it appears you are trying to, but I am a chord player who sometimes just breaks into drone style for a verse or two. It is not my primary playing style.)
P.S. I also have a 12-string guitar with a cedar top and it sounds great.
Hey Paula. Traditionally, dulcimers were usually made entirely of local hardwoods and there was no difference between the sides, bottom, and the top. A lot of people still prefer dulcimers made entirely of walnut or other woods. But more modern makers began using soft tone woods such as spruce, cedar, and redwood on the top to produce a softer, more guitar-like sound.
Most guitars have a spruce top. Spruce is a little harder than cedar and resists scratches and nicks a little better. But cedar produces a similar sound and usually much quicker. What I mean by that is that it sometimes takes a while for spruce to fully open up, which is a main reason guitars getter better with age. Cedar usually gets that sound much earlier in an instrument's life.
I have dulcimers with spruce, redwood, and cedar tops and they are all great. The sound differences between them are due more to other aspects of instrument design. Don't shy away from a cedar top if the rest of the dulcimer has what you're looking for. It's a highly respected tonewood.
Sally is a tough one to get on diatonic fretboard. It's a haunting melody, though.
Some years ago I learned a version arranged by Steve Eulberg. He uses a DAA tuning with a capo at 1, but the 8+ fret is still necessary. I couldn't even tell you if that was aeolian or dorian.
At the last Quarantune 5 concert yesterday, there was a nice tribute to Bill. Tull Glazener changed his avatar screen so it was a picture of Bill and then when the concerts were over Stephen Seifert led a short jam that centered on Bill's arrangement of Rock the Cradle Joe.
The Knoxville Area Dulcimer Club has a whole page dedicated to tab donated by Bill and his wife Barbara. You can find it here .
That's so sad. I know Bill was not only a great luthier but also an important part of the dulcimer scene in Tennessee and generously shared tablature arrangements.
I have a stunningly beautiful Bill Taylor dulcimer. It's not my main playing dulcimer, so I periodically think I should sell it. But then I take it out of the case and fall in love again.
Positive? Maybe not. Mildly funny? Perhaps.
I recently bought matching stands for my dulcimer and guitar. The instructions for how to attach the base to the arm read:
"Do not overtighten. You can crack the wood. Maybe not a job for a drummer."
And similarly, the instructions for attaching the hanger to the arm read:
"Do not overtighten. You can strip out the insert. Keep the drummer away from this."
For the record, the assembly went very well. Clearly dulcimer players are more gentle creatures than are percussionists.
For what it's worth, , position dots are not really necessary on a diatonic fretboard. The pattern of fat and skinny frets tells you everything you need to know. It's very different than a guitar or mandolin where all the frets look the same.
The Folkcraft kits are very good. Even their cardboard kits make pretty darn good dulcimers.
Thanks for those lyrics, John. It's amazing to see how many songs have used that melody.
I am pretty sure, however, that George Washington was a drinker. I had read somewhere that well into the revolutionary war he used to drink a toast to George III, and I don't really know if that's true or not, but when I looked into it I found a lot about old George's drinking habits. Check out this website , which explains that he was partial to madeira wine and porter beer.
There is no option called a "comment back" but there are two ways to accomplish the same thing. This is how things work on a pc. It may be slightly different on a mobile device.
One is what I did above. I just wrote your username complete with the @ symbol, which does two things. One, it creates a hyperlink so anyone can click it and get to your homepage. Two, it sends you a notification that someone has mentioned you. Of course, it also indicates clearly to whom you are responding.
The second way is to directly quote someone:
To quote someone, hover your cursor over their comment and you will see an icon appear in the upper right of that box that looks like the speech bubble from a cartoon. Click that and their entire comment will appear in quotation marks in a new comment box. You rarely need to quote an entire post, so most of us then edit the quotation to include only what is necessary.
I hope that helps. If you need further instruction, ask your limberjack.
Here's one on Ebay with an asking price of $700 . Of course, that's just the asking price. No one has bought it yet.
I am (very slowly) working on an arrangement of the Irish Gaelic air "Song of the Books" or " Amhrán na Leabha." It's a haunting melody. I found some sheet music for the penny whistle, which provides the basic melody. But I've been listening to this vocal version and altering the basic melody to capture a small fraction of the nuances of the singer's voice. The big task will be deciding on the harmonic accompaniment. Lots of minor chords, obviously, but beyond that I've yet to figure it out.
Once I've tabbed out the melody and decided on the chording, then I'll have to actually sit down and play it a bunch to see how it all fits under the fingers. More revisions to follow then.
You can rest assured I'll be listening to this tune non-stop for many days to come.