Forum Activity for @greg-gunner

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
05/28/22 09:42:22AM
132 posts

Four string spacing pros and cons?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Why not give yourself both options.  As Dusty Turtle has pointed out, many builders are slotting the nut and bridge to allow either four equidistant string spacing or the double melody string option.  So there's no need to limit yourself to one of the options.  You can have both if you want them.

With that being said, I prefer a three string instrument for the majority of my playing.  I do, however, own a couple of four string dulcimers that are slotted for both four string equidistant spacing or four string double melody spacing.  The extra bridge and nut slots are barely noticeable.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
04/30/22 04:49:08PM
132 posts

Naomi Judd Passes Away


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Rest in peace Naomi, and condolences to Ashley and Winona.  

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
04/30/22 10:31:31AM
132 posts

Introduce Yourself!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Teddy, Welcome to FOTMD.  It sounds like you have successfully navigated your way through a serious illness.  Playing the mountain dulcimer is very therapeutic.  I have dealt with colon cancer on an ongoing basis since 2010.  The mountain dulcimer has helped me maintain a positive attitude.  

Similar to you I once played the bagpipes, although, in my case, my instrument was the Irish uilleann pipes.  Multiple surgeries have left me unable to wear the belt holding the bellows in place, so I returned to the mountain dulcimer, and it didn't disappoint.  My mountain dulcimers have provided me with many years of enjoyment.  I'm sure your dulcimer will do the same for you.

A bonus is the type of people drawn to the mountain dulcimer.  You will not meet a friendlier bunch of people.  Enjoy your instrument and don't hesitate to ask for help if and when it's needed.  FOTMD is a warm welcoming group, we are pleased you have chosen to join us.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
04/29/22 10:06:59AM
132 posts

Stanley Hicks / David Love dulcimer


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

Most of the dulcimer makers in Watauga County, NC can be tied together in some manner.  The interconnections through a common practice of the late 19th and early 20 centuries (marriage of first cousins) makes family ties a complex web of who's related to who.  I'd estimate that 90-95% of Watauga County's dulcimer makers can be traced back to the common ancestors James Andrew Presnell and Susan Hartzel Benfield.  They had at least nine known children.  The descendants of those nine children make up the bulk of Watauga County's known dulcimer makers, including all the Hicks, Presnells, Wards, Glenns, Harmons, Testers, Proffitts, etc.  The dulcimer traditions of Watauga County, NC are truly a family tradition.


updated by @greg-gunner: 04/29/22 10:08:45AM
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
04/28/22 04:57:01PM
132 posts

Stanley Hicks / David Love dulcimer


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

David Love's full name was Joe "David" Love.  Like many mountaineers he used his middle name as his given name.  He learned dulcimer and banjo making from Tom "Stanley" Hicks, more commonly known as just Stanley Hicks.  The dulcimer containing maker labels for both was very likely a collaboration between the two men.  David Love was a skilled woodworker, one who made dulcimers, banjos, and guitars, as well as wooden toys.  He sold his handmade crafts through a small shop at his home.

David Love's father, Edward Miles Love, was the son of General Miles Love, who was the half brother of Millard Colfax Oliver and Smith Talbert Oliver, two names frequently mentioned when discussing the origins of the Beech Mountain dulcimer traditions.

General Miles Love was known as an abusive husband and father.  He was shot and killed by his father-in-law and brother-in-law in 1932.  The two Presnell men were defending the wife of General Miles Love, Matilda Mae Presnell, and her children from a drunk and angry General Miles Love.

There is no evidence to suggest a dulcimer connection between David Love and his grandfather's half brothers, Millard and Smith Oliver.  The available evidence suggests collaboration and possible mentorship between Stanley Hicks and David Love.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
04/23/22 03:18:25PM
132 posts

Fret addition?


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

Think of the "Bum" strum as a quarter note.  The "Ditty" strum is two eighth notes.  So when Ken says he's a syllable strummer, he is using the "Bum" strum for a single syllable of a quarter note duration and the "Ditty" strum for two syllables of an eighth note duration each.  

To play two eighth notes (double syllable) in the same amount of time as one quarter note the strings are strummed on both the outward and inward movement of the pick.  For the quarter note (single syllable), the strings need only be strummed on the outward motion of the pick.

Like Ken has stated, strumming well is not a matter of incessantly repeating a pattern, but rather matching a tool box of strums to the melody as reflected in the way the syllables fall in relation to each other.  Further complicating the matter are "fill notes", which can be used to extend the duration of notes longer than quarter notes.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
04/23/22 09:02:43AM
132 posts

Fret addition?


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

As KenH has already told you, strumming in both directions is not mandatory.  However, being able to strum in either direction is a great skill to have in your toolbox.  Your strumming hand creates the rhythm, and strumming is a combination of out and in strums.  Begin slowly strumming in one direction only (Bum Strum).  When you can do this without difficulty, strum out and in and strike the strings on both the out and in strum (Ditty Strum).  Then alternate the two strums (Bum-Ditty Strum).  Finally, try different combinations of the Bum and Ditty strums to match the rhythm of the time signature.

4/4 Time

Bum - Ditty - Bum - Ditty etc.

Bum - Bum - Ditty - Ditty etc.

Bum - Ditty - Ditty - Bum etc.

and so forth

3/4 Time

Bum - Bum - Bum etc.

Bum - Ditty - Ditty etc.

Bum - Ditty - Bum etc.

and so forth

The key is to not keep repeating the same pattern over and over, but rather to freely change the pattern within the song to create variety and interest.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
04/20/22 09:57:50AM
132 posts

Wanted Lisa Glenn Thompson's Dulcimer Instruction Book


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

In the 1990s Clifford Glenn's daughter, Lisa Glenn Thompson, self-published an instruction booklet for the mountain dulcimer.  If anyone has a copy they are willing to sell, I am interested in obtaining a copy.  Alternately, if you have a copy that you don't wish to sell perhaps you'd be willing to make a xerox copy for me.  If you are able to help or wish to sell your copy of the instruction book, you can reach me by e-mail at:

gregory52gunner@gmail.com 

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
03/23/22 05:47:05AM
132 posts

Strings for banjammer


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

Unless the vibrating string length is excessively short or extremely long you should be able to use standard dulcimer strings:

Melody Strings = .010 -.014

Middle String = .012-.014

Bass String = wound .022-.024

If you plan on using hammer on and pull offs, then a lighter gauge will have more flexibility and be easier on the fingers.

Locating the bridge is not too difficult.  Measure the distance from nut to 7th fret.  The distance from the 7th fret to the bridge should be approximately that same distance.  If the notes go flat as you ascend the scale (fretboard) move the bridge a little closer towards the nut (small increments).  If the notes go sharp as you ascend the scale (fretboard) move the bridge slightly farther away from the nut.  Once you have located the bridge to get decent intonation all the way up the fretboard, mark the bridge location on the banjo head with a pencil.  This will enable you to locate the bridge quickly in the future.

And, as you have already been advised, slanting the bridge slightly will sometimes improve intonation on the middle and bass strings.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
03/08/22 08:43:50AM
132 posts

Looking for a Small Dulcimer


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

Ron Ewing makes finely crafted instruments in a variety of shapes and sizes.  His dulcimers are worth a closer look.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
02/21/22 06:22:19AM
132 posts

Wormy Chestnut for dulcimers - Clifford Glenn


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


Interesting dulcimore for sure.  I wasn't aware of the fact the Glenns may have helped Stanley Hicks fill orders for dulcimers.

The Glenns apparently made several dulcimer models:

1. A Teardrop Model (1950s)

2. Their Standard North Carolina Model (Based on a dulcimer made by Leonard Glenn's grandfather, Eli Taylor Presnell, in the 1880s.)

3. Their Standard Kentucky Model ( Based on one of Homer Ledford's or Jethro Amburgey's dulcimers.)

4. A Nathan Hicks Model (Based on a Nathan Hicks dulcimer taken to Leonard Glenn by Nathan's son, Lewis Hicks, with a request for two copies for Hicks family members.)  This pattern was used to make dulcimers for Frank Proffitt.

The dulcimer in the picture appears to be made in pattern 3, the Standard Kentucky model.  It would be interesting to know the explanation for the Stanley Hicks label in the interior.  If I had to guess I would say Stanley saw an economic opportunity at a time when he was not yet building the instruments commercially.  Stanley was known as an entertainer and often had to be talked into building an instrument.

Incidentally, Paul Dolce ("Slingerland") purchased all of the Glenn dulcimer patterns from Clifford Glenn after he retired from actively making the instruments.


updated by @greg-gunner: 02/21/22 06:26:25AM
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
02/20/22 08:55:01PM
132 posts

Wormy Chestnut for dulcimers - Clifford Glenn


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


Richard, I'm still looking for a Stanley Hicks dulcimer at a reasonable price.

Regarding the traditional dulcimer builders on TTAD, the list begins with Bobby Ratliff, Dan Cox, and John Knopf.

Bobby builds traditional Virginia style dulcimers and a replica of the McKinley Craft hourglass.

Dan can build just about anything you want.  His reproduction dulcimers include the Praetorius scheitholt, the 1608 hommel, a Ben Hicks dulcimer, a Frank Linney Glenn dulcimer, a dulcimer based upon a picture contained in the L. Allen Smith book, and a traditional style dulcimer of his own design based on historic dulcimers.

John Knopf builds excellent reproductions of the Uncle Ed Thomas dulcimer, the Will Singleton dulcimer, various Russell and Melton dulcimers, and the 19th century Tennessee Music boxes.

If you've got a traditional dulcimer in mind, one of the three builders above can probably make your dream a reality.

In addition, TTAD members Ken Hulme and Ken Longfield have been known to build traditional instruments if asked.


updated by @greg-gunner: 02/20/22 08:59:17PM
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
02/20/22 06:21:00PM
132 posts

Wormy Chestnut for dulcimers - Clifford Glenn


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

Most of the dulcimer builders who grew up in the tradition tuned their instruments for just intonation to sweeten the blending of the melody and drones.  Modern dulcimer makers use a different intonation (equal temperament) which blends more readily into triads (3-note chords) to facilitate modern chord melody styles.

The older, traditional "just intonation" gives the most traditional dulcimer sound with the bass and middle drone strings ringing out a constant 1-5 drone against the changing melody.  Leonard and Clifford Genn, Edd Presnell, Homer Ledford, A.W. Jeffreys, and a few others continued to use the just tempered scale, and their instruments were made with the drones in mind.

To get one of those sweet sounding "just intonation" instruments like the Glenns made, you need to find one of their instruments in the used marketplace or purchase an instrument from one of a handful of traditional builders.  You will find them in the The Traditional Appalachian Dulcimer (TTAD) forum.  They build beautiful traditional dulcimers based on the tried and true techniques of the Glenns and others.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
02/20/22 06:25:23AM
132 posts

Wormy Chestnut for dulcimers - Clifford Glenn


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

Regarding string gauges to use on a Clifford Glenn dulcimer, I have found that standard string sets sold by GHS or other manufacturers will work just fine for D-A-A tuning.  Bass = .020-.022, Middle = .012, Melody = .012.

If you have trouble with peg slippage in D-A-A tuning, lowering the tuning one whole step to C-G-G may solve the problem.

If you want to use D-A-d tuning, I'd recommend a string gauge of .011 or .010 for the melody string(s).

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
02/20/22 06:11:44AM
132 posts

Wormy Chestnut for dulcimers - Clifford Glenn


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


To loosen the pegs try tapping them lightly on the end (tip) of the peg shaft that protrudes through the peg hole.   The idea is to reverse the process used when tuning wooden pegs.  To get the peg to hold its tuning we force it into the peg hole to create more friction.  To "unstick" the peg we tap it back out from the opposite side.

For pegs that keep slipping, you can use a product called Ardsley Peg Drop Compound.  Usually a single drop on the area of the shaft that rests inside the peg hole is all that's needed.

For pegs that are sticking you can use a product called W.E. Hill Peg Compound.  It comes in a tube very similar to a tube of chapstick in appearance.  Remove the string, rub some of the W.E. Hill Compound on the shaft, and reinsert the peg into the peg hole.  Test the peg to make sure it is no longer sticking, restring, and you are ready to go.

Both products (or something similar) can be purchased online or directly from a music store that sells and services violins.

If you play a dulcimer with wooden pegs, these two products should be part of your dulcimer maintenance kit along with wire cutters, fingerboard oil, etc.


updated by @greg-gunner: 02/20/22 06:14:30AM
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
08/20/21 08:18:07AM
132 posts

Black Rose Dulcimer by Bill Todd


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

The second or Galax false bottom is nothing more than a permanently attached "possum board" with the purpose of letting the bottom of the soundbox freedom to resonate.  It goes by several names, and it is most common in Galax style instruments.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
07/25/21 06:47:17PM
132 posts

The Joy of Sharing Dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions


One drawback to using string instruments in large groups of children is getting past issues of tuning multiple instruments quickly.  Imagine trying to tune 30 dulcimers before everyone is "in-tune".  The typical elementary music class is about 30 minutes long.  Trying to tune an instrument in a noisy room can be extremely difficulty.  Trying to tune 30 dulcimers in a  room of 30 children is nearly impossible.

Add the tuning issue to the cost of purchasing and maintaining multiple dulcimers helps to explain why the recorder is the choice of most schools.  It is much less costly and is ready to play right out of its pouch.


updated by @greg-gunner: 07/25/21 06:48:40PM
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
07/22/21 07:47:52PM
132 posts

DAA on a McSpadden


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

Yes, you can play your McSpadden in D-A-A without changing the bridge.  The compensated bridge improves intonation slightly, but it is not essential.  In fact. most dulcimers do not have a compensated bridge.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
05/05/21 09:18:50PM
132 posts

Wanted Lisa Glenn Thompson's Dulcimer Instruction Book


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

I have begun to collect dulcimers and related items associated with Watauga County, NC.  I am interested in obtaining a copy of the dulcimer instruction booklet published and sold by Lisa Glenn Thompson,,the daughter of Clifford Glenn.  Lisa was selling her instruction book through Dulcimer Players News in the 1990s for $11.00,  if I'm not mistaken.  Contact me if you have one to sell.

Greg Gunner

gregory52gunner@gmail.com 

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
05/05/21 08:59:10PM
132 posts

Do you feel limited by the diatonic scale?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Suffice to say, the diatonic scale fits the diatonic fretboard just fine.  If you want to play notes not found in the diatonic scale you can try an alternate tuning or add frets.  There is no "right" way to play the dulcimer.  Many dulcimer players are satisfied with a basic diatonic scale without additional frets.  If you want or need more notes, try an alternate tuning or add some frets.  Neither choice is more correct than the other.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
06/03/20 01:15:50PM
132 posts

Changing setup from left to right handed


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

If my MMD is typical of David McKinney's work, his nut and bridge should be able to be rotated 180 degrees to convert a left-handed set-up to a right-handed set-up. Neither the nut nor the bridge has been modified for intonation purposes. The nut has a flat top with slots for the strings. The bridge rises to a peak where the strings pass through the string slots. Rotating both 180 degrees should not change the VSL.

Of course, my experience in playing a MMD is limited to the single instrument that I purchased used. However, both nut and bridge appear to be original to the instrument. If my instrument is representative of all MMD, there is no reason the nut and bridge should need modification. Simply rotate both nut and bridge so the bass string slot is reversed.
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
05/29/20 05:54:20PM
132 posts

Carved headstock and end piece.Maker?


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

After taking a second look, it appears that I mistook the tail end for the peghead. Like John K. states , you can't tell if it's coming or going.

So it looks like I've taken two posts to say "I haven't the foggiest idea."
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
05/29/20 05:49:12PM
132 posts

Carved headstock and end piece.Maker?


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

I don't recognize the peghead shape, but Kerry Rapp in Myerstown, PA runs the strings through holes in the peghead and attaches them to the tuning peg shafts on the underside of the peghead. It looks like this dulcimer does the same. Rapp sells some dulcimers on Etsy under the name Divergent Lutherie. Is there any kind of identification mark. Rapp's typically have a "DL" stamped in the strum hollow area. However, in all honesty, I haven't a clue as to who made your dulcimer. Probably a one-off by someone unknown.
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
05/19/20 09:02:39AM
132 posts

Please tell me your very favorite love song...


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

As far as a traditional song that I do play on the dulcimer, it's hard to beat the Child ballad, "Barbara Allen". I prefer the Madison County, NC version sung by the family of Sheila Kay Adams
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
05/19/20 08:56:54AM
132 posts

Please tell me your very favorite love song...


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I began listening to music seriously in the 1960s. The song that introduced me to the beauty of acoustic music was "Suite Judy Blue Eyes", Stephen Stills' expression of love for folksinger Judy Collins.
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
05/16/20 12:03:42PM
132 posts

Tips what do you bring when traveling with your dulcimer?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Screwdriver for Tightening Tuning Pegs
Wire Cutters for Trimming Excess String
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
05/16/20 11:46:25AM
132 posts

The EverythingDulcimer website has returned. Whooopie!!!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Thank you for the correction, Lisa. Perhaps we need a chronology of online dulcimer discussion forums.

Was the Sweet Music Index that Jason started the first? Followed by Bruce Ford's Everything Dulcimer site? Or was it Lisa's (Strumelia's) FOTMD that came next? Now we have Bobby's TTAD (The Traditional Appalachian Dulcimer) and the new Everything Dulcimer site, not to mention the Everything Dulcimer Facebook group.
What is the correct sequence of these groups and what have I missed?
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
05/16/20 10:07:11AM
132 posts

The EverythingDulcimer website has returned. Whooopie!!!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Please remember, Bruce Ford provided a great service for all Appalachian dulcimer players. But he did not create/originate Everything Dulcimer. If I remember correctly ED was created by "Jason (?)" Bruce Ford stepped forward when someone was needed to keep the website up and running, and we should all be thankful that he did.
The new website moderator should be given every opportunity to get ED back up and running.
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
05/02/20 09:54:54PM
132 posts

What's your favorite tune or dulcimer to play this month?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I've been playing some old ballads on my just intonation hogfiddle built by our very own Bobby Ratliff. There's something special about just intonation and 1-5-5 tunings. And Bobby knows how to fret them just right.
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
03/23/20 04:33:02PM
132 posts

Rest in peace, Maddie MacNeil


OFF TOPIC discussions

Sad news. Maddie was a treasure.
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
02/12/20 08:48:37PM
132 posts

Introduce Yourself!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

At the top of the Home Page click on "Groups".  Then scroll down to the "Dulcimer Making" group and click on that.  You can join that group by clicking the "Join" button.  Once you are a member of the group, you can post your questions to other members of the dulcimer making group for discussion by clicking on the "+ sign" in the upper right-hand corner and creating a topic for discussion.

If you want to discuss deceased dulcimer makers, you can join the "Dulcimer History" group in the same manner and post your questions there.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
01/28/20 11:54:15PM
132 posts

My dulcimers stay out all of the time


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

A couple of questions for those up north and in the Midwest who keep their instruments out all the time.  Don't you have a problem with the instruments drying out and cracking when the furnace is running and the air in the house dries out?  Isn't that why a lot of musicians keep humidifiers in their instrument cases?

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
01/17/20 08:43:11PM
132 posts

Changing tuners on a Warren May dulcimer.


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

KenL - Keith Young used to put the fine tuners on his dulcimers.  They went on the string between the bridge and the tail-end.  Slide the tuner toward the tail-end to increase the pitch ever so slightly,  Slide the tuner back toward the bridge to lower the pitch.  The fine-tuner is basically a wedge, with a hole for the string to pass through, that is wedged between the string and the fingerboard.  They work like a charm.  I still own one of Keith Young's teardrop dulcimers with hand-carved wooden pegs and his homemade fine-tuners.   Tuning is no problem at all. 


updated by @greg-gunner: 01/17/20 08:45:12PM
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
12/27/19 05:51:56PM
132 posts

Fair price for a 2003 McSpadden


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

Congratulations on the Christmas gift from your mother-In-Law and wife.  It's always good to see a dulcimer going to a good home.  The best part is you only have to give it some attention on a regular basis to fully enjoy it.  No feeding, watering, daily walks, or cleaning of the litter box is necessary.  

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
12/21/19 09:34:11AM
132 posts

Purpose of DAA tuning


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Playing chords is really no mystery.  The vast majority of chords you will need are triads (three-note chords).  If the three required notes are available on three different strings (so they can be played simultaneously) and within reach of the thumb and fingers, then the chord can be played on the mountain dulcimer.  If a complete triad is not playable on the mountain dulcimer, it is normally because one or more notes of the triad cannot be played due to an unreachable finger stretch or due to that particular note's unavailability in the chosen tuning.

Since the mountain dulcimer is not usually chromatically fretted, it is often necessary to retune the dulcimer to make certain notes accessible.  Both D-A-A tuning and D-A-d tuning (with a 6 1/2 fret) optimize the availability of notes required to play in the key of "D" major.  In D-A-d tuning, the added 6 1/2 fret enables the musician to play the C# note that otherwise would not be available on the melody or middle string.  

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
12/15/19 02:24:27PM
132 posts



Not sure if it's been mentioned yet, but a dulcimer capo placed on top of the fretboard and the strings down near the tail end of the dulcimer can hold the strings in place on the tail pins (and keep them from coming off the tail end pins) while you wind the other end around your wooden friction pegs.  Kind of like having a third hand keeping everything in position until things are tightened up.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
12/08/19 01:49:15PM
132 posts

Purpose of DAA tuning


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

The good news is that the Key of "D" major and its various chords are the same regardless of which tuning you choose as your primary tuning.  If you play from tablature, the fret numbers will be different, but the musical notes won't be different.  Two people, one tuned D-A-d and the other tuned D-A-A, can play together rather easily.  However, if you play from tablature or chord diagrams, you are better off sticking to one tuning in your early stages of learning.  

If you decide to play without tablature or chord diagrams, you won't even have to change your tuning to match those with whom you play.  As long as you both are playing in the same key, you will sound just fine.  After all, guitars, banjos, mandolins, dulcimers, etc. can and do play together without being tuned exactly the same.  In each case, the musician is using his/her knowledge of their instrument to play in the specified key.

Just sit back and enjoy the tuning you have chosen.  If you decide to explore different tunings at some point in the future, your skills will easily transfer.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
12/06/19 11:49:31AM
132 posts

America's Musical Heritage


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions


www.TheGreatCourses.com has issued a twelve lesson DVD course on the musical heritage of America.  Although it does not appear to deal with the Appalachian dulcimer, it may be of interest to some on this forum.  The instructor is Anthony Seeger, curator and Director Emeritus of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.  

The description lists the following twelve lectures/lessons:

1. Inheriting America's Musical Instruments

2. American Revolutionary and Wartime Music

3. European Empires and American Music

4. Minstrel Shows and Variety shows

5. Music of American Movement and Dance

6. Hymns, Spirituals, and Chants in America

7. Brass Bands, Powwows, and Folk Festivals

8. American Music of Politics and Protest

9. the Banjo: An African Gift to American Music

10. The Roots of Country Music in America

11. American Piano, Ragtime, and Early Jazz

12. The Musical Gumbo of New Orleans

 

In essence the DVD course is an overview of America's music, and as such, it may be of interest to some on the forum even though it doesn't deal directly (as far as I can tell) with the Appalachian dulcimer.

Priced at $199.95 retail, it is currently on sale for just $39.95 for the complete 12 DVD course.  Enjoy!

https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/americas-musical-heritage.html

 

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
11/26/19 08:39:03PM
132 posts

Newbie Seeking Help


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

From your picture, it looks like you have traditional diatonic fretting on your dulcimer.  In practical terms, that pretty much eliminates D-A-d tuning for playing a "D" major scale.  To play a major scale in D-A-d tuning, you would need a 6 1/2 fret (an extra fret not available on your dulcimer).  If you had that fret and tuned to D-A-d, the "D" major scale would begin on the melody string at the nut and go up the fretboard one fret at a time skipping the 6th fret and using the 6 1/2 fret instead.

Your diatonic fretboard will work best with D-A-A tuning.  In D-A-A tuning the "D" major scale would begin on the melody string at the 3rd fret and proceed up the fretboard to the 10th fret.  No extra frets are needed in this tuning.

D-A-d tuning could be used on your dulcimer to play in the Mixolydian mode, but as a beginner you are better off staying away from modes until you can play several tunes on the dulcimer that you have.  Modes can be somewhat confusing for beginners.  When you are ready to try out D-A-d and other alternative tunings, you can have a luthier install a 6 1/2 fret on your dulcimer, if you like.

1