Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions
Modified a Spider Capo to use on a hogfiddle. A couple of washers were needed to help it close a little tighter.
I added strap buttons to the possum board. Not for a strap but to use rubber bands to hold the instrument onto the board as it was rocking and sliding a little bit.
Mountain dulcimer for me is my newest instrument. Until then I played chromatic fretted instruments, guitar, banjo, mandolin, etc. So my first thought when I got a dulcimer was that I would not find much versatility with it and would eventually want extra frets added. But I've since come to the belief that it's diatonic for a reason. It's a, dare I say, "simple" folk instrument created to be played by anybody. Hence adding frets takes away from the simple folky charm of the instrument to the point where it won't be a dulcimer anymore. Mine has no added frets and I don't miss the "missing" frets. I work with it in the way it was intended as far as the fingerboard is concerned, capo, change tuning, etc. Just sayin'.
Thank you Ken. The cradles that hold the dulcimer aren't exactly perfect so the instrument wobbles just a little when I play making a clunking noise. The cork kinda helped that I think.
I made a possum board using the lid of an old wooden violin case. I cut and attached a couple pieces of wood to the ends to support the dulcimer and used pieces of cork gasket to pad them. It works pretty well.
Sorry so late w these pics of my capo.
Yeah, it's a bit heavy, but I'm pretty careful with it. I added a leather pad to the wood that presses down the strings to keep the strings from getting marred, particularly the wound D. I tried the 1/4-20 bolt with wooden discs, but it seemed to slip a little loose.
I stitched the leather pouch to keep the capo in.
I'm still new to the dulcimer, but I've found that I like the way a D tuning feels on my fingers than a C tuning. My fingers like the stiffer tension of the strings as they are easier to pick and ring a bit brighter. I don't sing much with the dulcimer at this point so that doesn't affect me as yet.
So maybe part of the reason has to do with D being maybe a little more resonant for instrumental playing than C. Also, in today's musical world, we seem to have a need to be in a specific key with specific pitch frequency. However, A was not always 440 htz as it is today.
At this point I like 1-5-8, DAd, but as I said, I'm still new to the instrument. I'm finding however that the beauty of the dulcimer is that its seeming diatonic simplicity actually makes it a very easily versatile instrument.
I started playing guitar in my teens and along the way picked up harmonica. Many years later I picked up banjo and mandolin. At about 40 I started playing violin/fiddle. Mountain dulcimer is pretty new to me, barely a year. For my own personal enjoyment I like fiddle and dulcimer the most. There is also a very lonely (and cold) piano in the garage. And a zither of some kind (looks like an autoharp w/o keys) that is unplayable at this point that I may yet get to.