Forum Activity for @Ken Hulme

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/25/17 06:52:38AM
1,433 posts

Glued In Frets?


Building dulcimers

I don't glue frets either -- find the right saw blade to make the proper size slot.  Fr a number of years I was able to find a scroll saw blade that was just right, and I made a tiny bow saw handle to hold those blades nice and tight.

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/22/17 05:45:28PM
1,433 posts

Your "Dream Dulcimer?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Got my dream dulcimer -- a Bobbie Ratliff Virginia Hogfiddle with Holly back and sides, Butternut top, and 1" wide unbleached Walnut fretboard.   Three strings spaced for Noter & Drone play, staple frets,  solid block Walnut scroll head holding the autoharp tuning pins and a Walnut hollow D tailblock.  

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/22/17 01:21:11PM
1,433 posts

What's fer dinner?


Off Topic discussions

Hmmmmm.  If you fried up the hash browns and arranged them in a round shape, then poured beaten egg overall, things would stick together like a crepe.  Then add the toppings of choice and put a lid on to help things cook through....  

Ever seen a Spanish Tortilla de Patata?  Sort of fried potatoes & eggs combined -- I make these for our AirBnb guests all the time:


Tortilla Sandwich1.JPG.jpg Tortilla Sandwich1.JPG.jpg - 640KB
Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/22/17 01:15:45PM
1,433 posts

6 String "No-Body" Electric


Building dulcimers

OK  -- you guys keep n9lo busy and I'll call the guys with the white coats.....

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/22/17 09:03:25AM
1,433 posts

What's fer dinner?


Off Topic discussions

Sounds good FF;  I may have to work that up as a dish.

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/22/17 09:00:40AM
1,433 posts

Tabs, Straps, & Cords


Off Topic discussions

Nice!  Really nice!

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/20/17 10:39:22PM
1,433 posts

Untabbed songs/tunes you'd like to learn


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

There's a 17th century German cavalry song I've wanted to learn called Morgen Rot (Red Morning) referring to charging into battle in the 30 Years War

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/12/17 04:01:15PM
1,433 posts

What's fer dinner?


Off Topic discussions

Sandi -- park the kids with relatives for a few days -- you and hubby NEED a break!

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/12/17 03:58:16PM
1,433 posts

Noter/drone duet books?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Some great ideas there!  Strumelia is right -- one half of the duet really has to ignore the drones!   Lisa's counter-melody is is a wonderful idea.  And I never realized Stephen had done a JTJ Harmony book.   

My student has just snow-birded back North for the summer, but I'll work up some of these ideas for when she returns...

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/12/17 06:54:16AM
1,433 posts

Noter/drone duet books?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Duet books?  There are barely any noter & drone books at all!  

Something that could be fun is to work up duets using old and new versions of tune.  For example there are 3 progressively older tunes for Auld Lang Syne, and I play the modern version as the verse and an older version as a chorus or refrain.  The two tunes are similar enough they could be played together.

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/11/17 09:59:10PM
1,433 posts

What's fer dinner?


Off Topic discussions

Remember the line from the song Jambalaya

Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and filé gumbo
'Cause tonight I'm gonna see my ma cher amio.
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gayo,
Son of a gun, we'll have big fun on the bayou.

 "Filé gumbo" is gumbo thickened with ground sassafras leaves rather than okra or a roux -- a different taste that the other choices...


updated by @Ken Hulme: 04/11/17 09:59:30PM
Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/11/17 02:45:14PM
1,433 posts

What's fer dinner?


Off Topic discussions

Try making homemade Root Beer, Robin.  Dried Sassafras ground leaves are called filé in Cajun cooking and are used as a thickening agent for stews, gumbos, etc  

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/11/17 06:53:44AM
1,433 posts

What's fer dinner?


Off Topic discussions

Come on doowwwnnn!  Kusani and his wife stayed in our AirBnb Poolside Cabana With Gourmet Flair.  They sampled my gourmet breakfasts and we played dulcimer at poolside.

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/10/17 10:33:01PM
1,433 posts

What's fer dinner?


Off Topic discussions

Tonight I made a Zucchini and Tomato Tart with Goat Cheese; with handmade Never-Fail Tart Crust.

For Sunday's lunch with Lady Sally and her Mum, I made Bison Meatloaf, Green Beans and Smashed Potatoes & Mushroom-Bisto(tm) gravy; for dessert I made my first-ever Flan which turned out fabulous.  You can read about it, and much more here at my Fooding Around blog:

http://foodingaround-kiltedcook.blogspot.com/

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/10/17 07:17:48AM
1,433 posts

A 'beginner dulcimer'


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Generally "Beginner Dulcimer" means a less expensive instrument -- perhaps with a cardboard body, or a body made from birch veneer rather than 'planks' of walnut or maple or whatever.  Also a less expensive set of tuning machines, perhaps friction tuners rather than geared tuners.  Also, the action of a beginner may not be optimized for a particular style of playing.

The important factor is the precision of the fret layout, regardless of whether the body is made from Leggos, or cardboard or the finest lumber money can buy.  If the layout of the frets is not precise, you simply will not get the proper notes, and that makes any instrument worthless.

No reason a "beginner" dulcimer can't be just part of your suite of instruments.  I have one of Harpmaker Dave's Student Models which he slightly customized for me a number of years ago.  It has a deeper sound than I prefer these days, but otherwise works as good or better than any of the other dulcimers I've owned or built.

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/10/17 07:04:15AM
1,433 posts

Right thumb killing me


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Here's the Hand Health article I put together 'way back when; from an exercise taught by my fencing master to promote wrist flexibility primarily.  I'm not sure how much effect it would have on the base of the thumb, but, as Salt Springs suggests, it might help:

http://www.everythingdulcimer.com/files/articles/28/hand_health.pdf

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/09/17 10:31:30PM
1,433 posts

Right thumb killing me


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

What style of right hand are you using -- strum, fingerpick, flatpick?  How many hours per day/week are you playing?  You say only 10 minutes a day, but if that's so, the injury is not related to your dulcimer playing.  If it persists for another few days make an appointment with at least your GP, if not a specialist.   If you are strummer, look up the Herco Thumb-Flat pick.

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/09/17 10:26:37PM
1,433 posts

What's your Favorite Finger Board length?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I really don't think you'll notice any difference between 27 and 26.5 -- look at the spacing tables, the differences are pretty tiny.  I prefer longer scales --27-28"; I've played a 32" and it was HUGE!  I've played a 20" and it was too cramped.

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/09/17 10:22:58PM
1,433 posts

How and if to add a 1 1/2 fret


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

UserNo4 said "Another problem (perhaps) is that the luthier at the string shop said the 1.5 fret was installed too close to the 1 fret; it should have been closer to fret 2."

It may be called a half fret, but it isn't exactly half way between the 1st and second fret.  The location can be calculated if you know the exact VSL (distance between the inside of the nut and the inside of the bridge).  There are any number of fret-spacing calculators that will give you the precise location if you know the VSL.  

Using your electronic tuner you should be able to tell if the existing 1+ fret is in the right position. For a given open string tuning, you know what note that the 1+ fret should be -- check it with your tuner; it should be right on or perhaps a couple cents either way.

 

 

 

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/09/17 04:35:18PM
1,433 posts

How and if to add a 1 1/2 fret


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

George, Bear Meadow does indeed have a "removeable fret system" called Flexi -fret.  It does require installing a permanent small brass channel at each fret position, into which a fret is slide when required.  You router a 3/32" groove across the fretboard at the desired location, and install his special brass channel in that groove   So if you want/don't want say the 1+ fret, there will be a flush-mounted brass channel at that position, which does not interfere with fretting until a fret is slid into that location.  Chck Dwayne's website for pricing.

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/09/17 01:53:54PM
1,433 posts

How and if to add a 1 1/2 fret


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

UserNo4:  Post your photos in a discussion in the General Group, probably.

You touched on, not off, a deeply philosophical debate (not a religious debate)  There are indeed people who buy and collect truly old (pre-1960s), truly rare and collectible dulcimers because they are what they are: a piece of musical history. Those people look at their collection (and invite others to do so) as well as play them periodically -- in the manner intended by the original builder.  They want to keep the old dulcimers original, not "tart them up" with all sorts of modern innovations like geared tuners, extra frets, etc.

Then there are others who would buy the Mona Lisa and paint a mustache on her just because they think it looks, cool and hip and modern.

My feeling is that if you like the looks of an old collectible dulcimer, but want it to have all the modern bells and whistles, you (and the dulcimer community as a whole) would be better served by finding one of the many fine dulcimer builders here or elsewhere, and have a replica of the old instrument made with all those "mod-cons" like built in acoustic pickups, geared tuners, extra frets, etc.   The replica will probably cost the same or less as a collector's item, and being new construction will take the abuse of modern playing styles much better.

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/08/17 10:23:21PM
1,433 posts

How and if to add a 1 1/2 fret


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

Post a couple photos in a new discussion and maybe we can help identify the maker(s)

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/08/17 07:20:34PM
1,433 posts

How and if to add a 1 1/2 fret


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

Hi userno4;  the price for adding a fret can vary widely as you've discovered.  The number of strings your dulcimer has doesn't matter, but who made them could.  

Do you really play that much using the 1+ fret???

Th "tinny" sound you were hearing was probably caused by that raised 1+ fret.  If he re-set the 1+ fret that probably fixed the problem.  A fret that floats can sometimes be re-set with a drop of superglue to hold it.  If it doesn't stay down, he's right that it would require removing and completely replacing the 1+ fret and at least dressing it down to the height of the other frets.

Your local "stringed instrument shop" likely didn't want to 'mess around' with a dulcimer; they aren't very common, the sh.op makes a lot more money working on guitars.  The $200 he's quoting you is for a complete fret job including dressing all the frets to the correct height, and is actually pretty reasonable, as that is not a simple job.

Measuring to the nearest 001 inch is overkill, as you can't cut wood that accurately!  $100 for a single fret installation is outrageous.  My advice is find a real dulcimer maker/luthierIf you know the maker(s) -- look inside the rear soundholes to find the maker's label -- that is the person/company most likely to "treat you right" when it comes to repairs.

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/06/17 04:42:20PM
1,433 posts

Any experience with dip joint sterling silver splints?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

D -- you just need to come over to the Dark Side!  I'll send you a noter so you can get started; it's free (and pain free), not a spendy silver wire magic ring ...

dulcimer


updated by @Ken Hulme: 04/06/17 04:44:32PM
Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/05/17 02:42:59PM
1,433 posts

Our dear John Henry is on the cover


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Poor feller;  had to whittle his first dulcimer out of a Sycamore timber so he could learn to play...

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/05/17 06:55:16AM
1,433 posts

I am SO in over my head!!!


Chord/melody modern style playing discussions

First of all you seem to be confusing Chords with Keys -- "I don't know what chords are what keys" -- you said A

Chords are associated with a particular Note -- a C chord, a G chord, and A chord, etc.  Playing the three individual notes of the chord produces the overall sound associated with that note.

Your dulcimer is tuned to a particular key  -- D, C, G etc  That is the bass string is (usually) that note and the drone strings are tuned relative to that - DAA/DAd,  CGG/CGc.  When you put a capo on at a given fret, you change the notes to which all the strings are tuned -- with DAd capoed at the 4th fret, the D becomes A, the A becomes E and the d becomes a.  From that point on the shape of the chord (which fingers go where) stays the same but that chords location on the fretboard changes

This article by the sadly deceased Merv Rowley is one of the best I've ever seen on learning Chord-Melody style, and includes Chord Charts for both DAA and DAd tunings

http://www.everythingdulcimer.com/files/articles/31/Learning_Chord_Melody_Style.pdf

 

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/03/17 10:38:33PM
1,433 posts

The Banjo/Dulcimer


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Several places on line including Musician's Friend, Guitar Center, Ebay and Amazon carry one or more versions of the Remo(tm) 6" practice drum from $12 to about $25; some are tuneable, some aren't.  You don't want just the head to make a banjimer, you want the whole drum.

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/03/17 06:44:19AM
1,433 posts

limberjack


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Lumber/Limber Jacks (tree choppers) are/were somewhat common here, but we still have fun with them.  You could always make a dancing Swagman/Bushranger/Ned Kelly!!!

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/02/17 10:54:49PM
1,433 posts

limberjack


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

You've got to make a "dancing kangaroo" limberjack!

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/02/17 10:53:16PM
1,433 posts

Poetry celebrating the beautiful music of the Mt. Dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I dunno, John, I kinda like the first version with the oddly spaced lines...  reminds me of some Nordic verse I've seen.


updated by @Ken Hulme: 04/03/17 03:17:56PM
Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/02/17 10:48:10AM
1,433 posts

The Positive Thread...


Off Topic discussions

Be careful up there, SS!  Back when I was in Forestry School in Lake City, we had a hot-shot crew that fought fires up there.

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/02/17 10:45:23AM
1,433 posts

Dulcimer tunings fitting in with key of C


Playing and jamming difficulties...HELP ME!

A 16 gauge string -- even a 16 wound guitar string is verging on too  "floppy" normally for a bass string tuned to D3.  As others have mentioned a 20 plain or wound to a 22w, 23w, 24w is the most appropriate bass string for for the common VSL dulcimers.  

Probably not a good idea to just throw on strings for which you don't know the gauge or provenance.


updated by @Ken Hulme: 04/02/17 10:46:24AM
Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
04/01/17 10:36:57PM
1,433 posts

Dulcimer tunings fitting in with key of C


Playing and jamming difficulties...HELP ME!

The solution is that you need another set of strings, although standard gauge strings for common 26-28" VSL should readily tune DOWN one note from DAA to CGG or DAd to CGc.  What gauges are you currently using??   If it's the bass string, as SKip suggests, just change it out for something on the order of .022-.024 which are the gauges usually found in the ordinary packet of dulcimer strings.


updated by @Ken Hulme: 04/01/17 10:37:31PM
Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/26/17 10:14:45AM
1,433 posts

Bar chords


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I don't play that style, but a number of years ago I had the privilege of meeting and watching Norris Bennett of the Ebony Hillbillies, a New York City string band, do his thing with a noter -- he basically used the noter across all the strings much like a slide guitar or a lap steel.  Very interesting technique when used with the right kinds of music.


updated by @Ken Hulme: 03/26/17 10:17:48AM
Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/24/17 11:24:21PM
1,433 posts

I am SO in over my head!!!


Chord/melody modern style playing discussions

It depends on the "chord chart" you have.  Is it showing one or two chords per measure of music like most guitar "accompaniment?  Or one chord for each note of the melody like most dulcimer chord tab?

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/22/17 04:33:54PM
1,433 posts

Playing in other keys


Traditional style playing- drone and/or noter discussions

My guitarist friends would say that if I tuned my dulcimer to Mixolydian CGc  or Bagpipe Ccc, and then proceeded to play an Ionian Mode tune who's scale starts at the 3rd fret, that I was playing in the key of F -- open C, D, E, 3rd fret F...  No need to capo.

Ken Hulme
@Ken Hulme
03/21/17 07:20:19AM
1,433 posts

The technician and the artist


Chord/melody modern style playing discussions

I think it's a two-handed sword.   If the left hand does not get the right note(s) held for the correct amount of time (technical), the best strum/pick rhythm/pattern in the world can't make wrong notes sound good.   But with good clean notes, the left hand can turn those notes into fabulous compositions (artistry).  It takes both a technician and an artist to make a masterpiece of music. 

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