Dusty Turtle


Location: Northern California
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Needle Case

musician/member name: Dusty T
Duration: 00:02:54
I learned this fiddle tune from a video by FOTMD member Randy Adams, which you can see at
. The tune really has two parts, but I play a variation of one as a third so this rendition resembles an AABBCC structure. I am playing a Modern Mountain Dulcimer made of lacewood and tuned DAd.
Dusty Turtle
10/18/16 04:06:46AM @dusty-turtle:

Thanks so much, Erin.  Your comment is a good reminder that I need to practice this tune and keep it part of my regular repertoir.

Erin Hussey
10/17/16 08:25:09PM @erin-hussey:

great tune and I agree, you play this well. I like the variation you added.

Dusty Turtle
04/19/16 01:39:30AM @dusty-turtle:

Thanks, Gail.  Yeah, I love this MMD; it is my favorite dulcimer for flatpicking. It has a big bass response and lots of volume.  Really low action, too.

Gail Webber
04/18/16 09:39:30PM @gail-webber:

Great playing, Dusty.  You make it look so effortless!  The MMD sounds really good, too.


04/16/16 10:36:30PM @marg:

(strumming (or picking) pattern......... vary our playing by strumming all the strings sometimes, playing two strings sometimes, and playing a single string sometimes, it is important to develop a technique)

Yes and as always thank you for help with my developing technique :-) 

I played the video again and could see you in contact with the fretboard at times and again enjoyed your playing

Dusty Turtle
04/09/16 01:26:34AM @dusty-turtle:

 Wow! Thanks so much, Charles.

Charles Thomas
04/09/16 01:03:32AM @charles-thomas:

Dusty, Love your pickin' !!! After my second listen I was calling to my wife " Honey you've got to hear this !! 

Dusty Turtle
04/09/16 12:22:25AM @dusty-turtle:

Marg, I sometimes hold the pick with a bit more pick sticking out when I'm just strumming, but pull it in to have more control when I play single notes.  And you are correct that your hand must stay closer to the fretboard for flatpicking. Watch Mark Gilston.  He anchors his hand with his non-picking fingers, which allows incredibly accuracy.  I keep my fingers touching the soundboard, but I only anchor when I play single notes. When I strum, my hand does indeed move a bit away from the fretboard.  Look at the very beginning of this song.  I am picking across all the strings at the beginning, and you can see that although my pinky is in contact with the fretboard, my hand still moves a bit. But then at 0:13 when the single-note turnaround begins, my pinky is stationary where the fretboard meets the soundboard and my hand moves very little.

Obviously, there are different styles. As I mentioned, Mark Gilston's hand is anchord.  Erin Mae (formerly Rogers), however, keeps her fingers tucked in almost in a fist, and her hand floats freely. 

To flatpick well, I think, the trick is to play slowly and steadily and develop a solid back-and-forth eighth-note strumming (or picking) pattern.  Whether you go out-in or in-out doesn't really matter so much as that you are consistent.  As you can see, I strum out-in, so if you count 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & I go out on the numbers and in on the &s. Erin Mae does the opposite.  But neither of us varies (well, occasionally, playing slowly, I will strum in on a down beat, but that's to stress the melody note in slower playing, it is an exception, and I have only started doing it very recently).

And since we want to be able to vary our playing by strumming all the strings sometimes, playing two strings sometimes, and playing a single string sometimes, it is important to develop a technique that allows us to do that.

There are some scales and other exercises that can help with this stuff.  I often play a major scale going up the melody string to the octave and then back down. But I practice it both strumming across all the strings and also only playing the melody string.  If I get a chance I'll try to post an example.

Dusty Turtle
04/09/16 12:03:38AM @dusty-turtle:

Mark, I really like your version of this tune. Whereas I rely on arpeggios a lot, you play a more varied melody.

Mark Gilston
04/08/16 10:05:36AM @mark-gilston:

Nice version Dusty.  Here's what I do with it (:

04/07/16 04:54:21PM @marg:


Very nice.

     I am watching your strum videos again to practice and also wanting to learn flat-picking,  it seems I hold the pick a bit different when I strum to when I'm going to flat pick. What am I doing wrong? Should I hold the pick like I was going to flat pick even when I strum or change a bit between the two? Also, I think I strum to wide out and would need to keep my hand closer to the fret board for flat picking. 

    I am no where ready to try anything like this song. You did it beautifully Dusty but I would like to dream and start practicing easier tunes with a bit of both strumming and flat-picking combined. Even if just at an end with a bit of a finger picking pattern but with the pick. I'm doing this with 'Ave Maria' in certain measures, using a finger picking pattern with the pick instead of strumming everything. 

Anyway, thanks for posting - I really enjoyed it.

Dusty Turtle
04/07/16 01:23:58AM @dusty-turtle:

Thanks for listening, Steven.

Steven Berger
04/06/16 06:14:29PM @steven-berger:

Very nice, Dusty!

Dusty Turtle
04/06/16 03:33:34PM @dusty-turtle:

Thank you, Mr. G.

Brian G.
04/06/16 03:23:05PM @brian-g:

Great job Dusty!


Lexie R Oakley
04/06/16 01:18:55PM @lexie-r-oakley:

No worries Dusty, I had a breakthrough in P.T. and was able to bend the knee in time with your tune...it is going good and I have learned my limits. Thanks for the bright tune!

Dusty Turtle
04/06/16 12:11:33PM @dusty-turtle:

Sam, Robin, and Lexie, thanks so much for listening and taking the time to comment.

And Lexie, don't shake a leg so much you compromise your rehab!

Lexie R Oakley
04/06/16 10:51:27AM @lexie-r-oakley:

Dusty that was real fine pickin'! Really love the tune. oma Well, I wanted to shake a leg to it! giggle2

Robin Thompson
04/06/16 07:47:33AM @robin-thompson:

Really fine flat-picking, Dusty, on this cool old tune!

04/06/16 05:22:54AM @sam:

Really enjoyed this. Enjoyed Randy's version too. I had actually found this tune doing a search for claw hammer banjo tunes. I tried it noter/drone in DAA, didn't sound very good. You've made it a beautiful dulcimer tune.