Bill, I forgot to mention a good way to keep your MD on your lap. Just cut a piece of non-slip shelf paper to size and put it on your lap. That will keep your MD from sliding or moving around. It's EZ to store....just roll it up. Just a word of caution, though. When it gets really hot outside you may not want to use the shelf paper. I discovered that heat has a tendency to leave an imprint of the shelf paper on the bottom of your MD. I learned that the hard way and had to clean the bottom of my MD very slowly and gently so I wouldn't ruin the walnut. Took me forever to get the marks off....not fun!
Bill, initially (way back in the 90's), I bought a "stick-on" transducer mic and a small, battery operated Pignose amp to help boost the sound of my dulcimers. Both were inexpensive but I never got what I considered to be a "pure, clean sound". So I saved up my money and in 2010, I had Tom Yocky build me a custom big box hourglass MD with a built-in pick-up. I bought a good patch cord and a Roland Micro Cube portable amp and I was all set. I play outdoors quite a bit during the summer. So this combination has worked well for me so the sound of my finger picking doesn't get drowned out by the loud sound of a fast-moving river or creek. I also use the Roland Micro-cube during play practice and, especially, when I'm recording music. You'll find that being able to hear your mistakes during the playback of a recorded song will also help you to become a better player. Are you recording your practice sessions? If not, then you may want to consider recording your songs. Recording music, even your practice sessions, makes such difference in your playing. The music recording software graph shows you exactly where you're making mistakes. And that's what you want....to be able to identify and correct your mistakes and where you need more practice so you can give your playing a smooth, even sound and tempo. Once I learned how to record, review and edit my songs. I never looked back. You've got a wonderful amp in the Roland, Bill. IMO, it's probably the best, most affordable portable amp that I've ever found. And the sound is SO clean. And so what if it amplifies your mistakes. Now, you'll be able to hear and correct your mistakes, rather than hide them. And that's going to make you a better MD player in the long run! Be sure to keep us posted your progress and how the pickup and Roland amp are working out for you.
Well I've gone and done it. I have electrified my MD. I purchased a Roland "Cube" amp, a good pickup, and some cable, and it works! Trouble is, I have discovered that it amplifies my mistakes as much as everything else. I thought if I just paid enough money, I would become a good musician. Dang!
I still have not figured out how to post a new message, so I'll try this.
Does anyone know if it's possible to use a guitar as a dulcimer? I know . . . too many frets, and how could you ever hold it on your lap? Despite that, I have a perfectly good classical guitar that I cannot play anymore due to arthritis, and if I could lay it horizontal and play it from above -- well, that's kinda like a dulcimer, no?
Welcome to FOTMD Bill. It is good to have you aboard.
"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
Thanks to all <<<Handshake>>>.
Keep pickin' and strummin' . . .
Welcome Bill to Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer. No need to do this alone. You have many friends here to encourage you and help you along. Glad you joined. Best wishes on your dulcimer journey.
Hey Bill, welcome aboard. Glad ya found us.
HI Bill, and welcome to the wonderful world of the Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer. It's a good place to come, spend some time, learn about the dulcimer, and to meet some good people.
Welcome, Bill, to this little corner of dulcimer heaven. Hope you enjoy it here.