Forum Activity for @ken-hulme

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10/15/19 08:10:45PM
1,625 posts

NDD (New Dulcimer Day) Thread - Let's See Them


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Most of us just post a separate thread when we acquire or make a new instrument, rather than having a single thread of new dulcimers. 

But here's my newest build.  This Holly Leaf is shape based on one of two Civil War or earlier instruments known to have been made in this recognizable pattern -- one in North Carolina and a similar but different holly leaf shape made in Virginia by a different builder.  Great minds think alike and all that.

Mine is not an exact replica of the one which was built in Burnsville, NC.  Rather,  I 'softened' the original rigid straight lines by curving the shoulders and tail.   Walnut and Maple.  Rosewood tuning pegs.  Staple frets for the melody string only.  Width 7.5", Length 34.5".  Side height 1.5".  Fretboard 1" high x 1.125" wide.

Strung.JPG  


updated by @ken-hulme: 10/16/19 07:04:38AM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10/14/19 10:55:23PM
1,625 posts

Group Contents Re-ordered???


Site QUESTIONS ? How do I...?

The Wall comments I never did see out of chronological order.  But the Group discussions are completely disordered.  I understand that they 'should' have most recently responded to discussions at the top of the list. But in Beginners and Making Dulcimers and Noter & Drone (that I follow a couple times a day) I can't find the discussions that were "current" at the top of the lists.  In each of those Groups,  there were discussions that were being currently responded to which are now somewhere in what seems to be a randomly ordered stack of discussions.

Hope that helps.  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10/14/19 10:19:32AM
1,625 posts

McSpadden Possum Board Volume


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

You're right John -- we need to establish acoustic characteristics of a Dulcimer Standard Lap and how far individuals deviate from the standard.  I'll get right on that!

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10/11/19 10:43:00AM
1,625 posts

McSpadden Possum Board Volume


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

Possum boards (regardless of wood type) do increase volume.  How much?  No one has yet designed an experiment to test the concept (variables would include number and height of feet or standoff, Janka or other hardness rating of the p-board material, and some sort of quantitative measure of both lap an p-board loudness values.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10/10/19 10:54:17PM
1,625 posts

Anyone heard of "B.F.M. Music" stick dulcimer?


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

You tune a stick more or less "backwards" from a dulcimer.  Holding the stick in guitar style playing position, the top string is the bass string and the bottom is the melody string; middle of course is the drone.  I would say most sticks are tuned DAd, some are tuned DAA, as are most dulcimers (or CGc/CGG if you like a lower key). 

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10/10/19 12:26:03PM
1,625 posts

Anyone heard of "B.F.M. Music" stick dulcimer?


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

Not heard of BFM and can't find anything on-line about them or their instruments. 

It depends on what you mean by "old"... but none of these stick instruments (not really dulcimers) are much more than 10-20 years old.  


updated by @ken-hulme: 10/10/19 12:27:10PM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10/09/19 08:30:42PM
1,625 posts

Two mode/tuning/notation questions.


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Dissonance is what Locrian Mode is all about!!  Stick with D-Ab-Bb!!

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10/09/19 06:44:55AM
1,625 posts

Your Three Favorite Songs


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I prefer Hal-an Tow as a group a capella "chant" rather than an accompanied tune.  What would be perfect is to do this one with my Anglo-Saxon Lyre.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10/08/19 01:21:24PM
1,625 posts

Tabs or Tutorials for Jigs and Reels


Dulcimer Resources:TABS/Books/websites/DVDs

Maire's Wedding is a great, easy tune.  Here's a link to my old friend Steve Eulberg's Dulcimer Crossing tutorial on the tune.

https://dulcimercrossing.com/mw/dc_mw_md_dad_pre.html

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10/08/19 08:39:38AM
1,625 posts

Randy Wilkinson tab book for Elizabethan Music


Dulcimer Resources:TABS/Books/websites/DVDs

Welcome DivergentLuthier!  I'm another one who would be very interested in a copy of Elizabethan music!

 

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10/06/19 08:24:47AM
1,625 posts

Weird Foods You’ve Eaten


OFF TOPIC discussions

As a semi-professional foodie, I'll try almost anything  -- Uni, sushi of any kind, monkey brains, menudo, dried grasshoppers  -- you name it.  Lots of those things I'd eat again readily.  But....  I just can't take raw oysters.  It's a texture thing.  Breaded & fried, sure.  Likewise oyster stew.  But not raw. 

Massive dislike of boiled okra for the same reason -- slimy texture.  Love 'em breaded/fried or split and fried with Amchur in the Indian style.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10/05/19 10:56:30PM
1,625 posts

Weird Foods You’ve Eaten


OFF TOPIC discussions

I've had them sliced thin, and cut into pieces.  I suspect they may be like calamari or gator -- overcooked and you have rubber; cooked properly you hve nirvana on a plate.


updated by @ken-hulme: 10/05/19 10:57:05PM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10/04/19 09:30:43AM
1,625 posts

Who made this dulcimer?


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

Filing those new slots will not affect the value of the dulcimer.  Just use a small triangular file, not a saw.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10/02/19 11:08:24AM
1,625 posts

Who made this dulcimer?


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

Good price. Especially considering that includes case, books, spare strings...

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10/02/19 07:22:48AM
1,625 posts

Group Contents Re-ordered???


Site QUESTIONS ? How do I...?

Hi Lisa:

Just got here for my morning scan of things, and noticed that the Wall contents of the three Groups I follow most commonly have been completely and randomly re-ordered -- and current threads have been misplaced somewhere in the many pages of threads. 

Specifically the Groups are Beginner Players, Dulcimer Making, and Old Style Noter & Drone.  


updated by @ken-hulme: 10/14/19 02:30:25PM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
09/29/19 05:52:10PM
1,625 posts

Dulcimer Project (Reasonably) Complete!


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

Two kinds of metal strings -- loop end and ball end.  Which you use depends on how your dulcimer is set up.  There are plain steel strings and wound strings.  Type of string is irrelevant, brand of string doesn't matter -- the gauge is the most important factor.

Some people have used gut or nylon strings.  Unless the dulcimer is built ultra-light, they tend to make too soft of sound.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
09/29/19 11:27:16AM
1,625 posts

Introduce Yourself!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Send me a PM here, as I said before, and I will give the file to you directly.  You need a free PDF Reader app on your Android or regular computer to open and read the file.  

If your Android won't download it there is something wrong, but not with the PDF.  Get a highschool kid/grandchild to help you confusey   callme

TTAD is the best site on the Internet for Traditional dulcimer builders and players to exchange information.


updated by @ken-hulme: 09/29/19 11:27:43AM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
09/28/19 11:24:27PM
1,625 posts

Dulcimer Project (Reasonably) Complete!


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

@cbrown said "...of course early on the name [scheitholt] was widespread enough in Germany..."  

This is simply not true.  The name was NOT widespread in Germany.  This is the "great mis-information" which has been accepted and promoted over and over again by dulcimer players who aren't interested in checking facts. 

The term scheitholt is specific to the Tyrol, a small part of Austria, not Germany, even in 1619 when Pretorious wrote about it.  Tyrol is analogous to Appalachia -- a large area of barely accessible mountains with a small and widely scattered population, whose inhabitants made and played an obscure musical instrument for self entertainment.  

Tyrol has an area of about 4800 square miles -- about the size of Connecticut -- and back in the 17th century it had a population of 30-40,000.  And of course, the scheitholt was not played by everyone; perhaps less than one in one hundred.

Pretorious' De Organagraphia was not a best seller in Germany or anywhere.  It was an esoteric scholarly treatise really only read by musical scholars.  Perhaps only a few thousand copies were originally printed in 1619.  

Even today Tyrol only has a population of about 700,000 -- about the same as Bucks County, Pennsylvania scattered over an area nearly 8 times the size of that county.  


Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
09/28/19 05:13:40PM
1,625 posts

Introduce Yourself!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Pretty much what Greg said -- the Modes are built into the diatonic fretboard (as long as you don't go adding any extra frets).  One of the pieces I want to give you is called The Uncontrite Modal Folker.  It's a discussion of Modes and Modal tunings on the dulcimer (not guitar or anything else).  Modes are scales on a single string.  It's that simple.   Different Modes start at different locations on a diatonic fretboard. Some of those scales are more minor than others.  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
09/28/19 08:14:06AM
1,625 posts

Dulcimer Project (Reasonably) Complete!


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

Truthfully, I would like to get away from the "scheitholt" terminology all together, but I realize I am fighting a losing battle there.

You and me both, brother! 

Most folks have no idea of what defines a scheitholt or how little used that word is/was outside of very narrow geographic areas.  They seem to think it's a European-wide generic term when it wasn't.

The term Scheitholt for a fretted zither was almost more geographically limited than the phrase Indian Walking Cane for a dulcimer  Scheitholt only in the Austrian Tyrol and Bucks County PA; and Indian Walking Cane in the Ozark region of Missouri/Arkansas

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
09/27/19 04:09:32PM
1,625 posts

Introduce Yourself!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

As Greg says, there aren't any real dulcimer specific resources for Child Ballads and the like; just scattered its here and there.  Greg has given you a number of good printed sources.   One of the best online resources that I know is www.contemplator.com.  She has audio recordings of the Child Ballads and much more.  There are also a couple of folks who have recorded many, if not all, of the Child Ballads on YouTube (guitar mostly).  

You are going to want to teach yourself how to create tab by ear.  

If this is the kind of music you are passionate about, you really do not need 4 strings and a 6-1/2 fret.  A 3-string,  traditional, true diatonic instrument tuned and re-tuned appropriately is going to be most useful.  That kind of instrument will give you the high silvery sound that goes so well with that kind of music.  It took awhile, but after 30 years of playing I finally figured that out  -- about 10 years ago.  

Anytime you want to "talk shop" about that kind of music, drop me a PM here and we can swap email addresses.  I can also point you to some beginner resources that I created years ago...


updated by @ken-hulme: 09/27/19 04:11:17PM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
09/27/19 07:31:21AM
1,625 posts

Dulcimer Project (Reasonably) Complete!


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

Ken; his original post -- down at the bottom -- has photos which show a dulcimer made with a Howie Mitchell cut-away tailpiece and an arched fretboard, which the Poster calls the "scheitholt component" of his build.  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
09/27/19 07:27:34AM
1,625 posts

Introduce Yourself!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Welcome truethomas!  I've been specializing in the Child Ballads and Scots/English traditional music on the dulcimer for most of 40 years.

Can't say I've heard of Thunderclap Drones dulcimers, and can't seem to find anything about them on-line, except a few sales blurbs on ebay and such; and one video that mostly should a lady struggling to open a shipping box.  What little I could find says made in the USA.  Not even a website for Thunderclap Drones, which in this day and age is not a particularly good sign.

For a first instrument, IMHO, you'd be better off with a Student model dulcimer from a known builder rather than an Ebay or Piccclik sales pitch from an unknown.  If price is an issue, a cardboard dulcimer is about $75, and they sound really good because the important part is how well the fretboard is made.  I recommend the Student model from Dave Lynch of Sweetwoods Dulcimers:  www.sweetwoodsinstruments.com  I've owned and played one for a number of years and find them perfect for those just starting out.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
09/26/19 07:32:50PM
1,625 posts

Dulcimer Project (Reasonably) Complete!


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

"...that bridge pier design of the scheitholt component... "

Actually, we call that an arched fretboard.  It's not a "scheitholt component".   A scheitholt is a specific kind of trapezoidal zither found primarily in Pennsylvania, and its ancestors found in the Tyrol part of Austro-Germany.  A scheitholt does not sit on top of a sound body -- it is a distinctive musical instrument having integral frets, tuners, etc without a raised central fretboard.

Arching is one of two ways to lighten the mass of the fretboard; the other being hollowing the underside. 

Some epinettes (not scheitholtz) -- notably the Epinette des Vosges -- use a constructed fretboard on top of the sound box, instead of the solid fretboard board normally used today.  -- a top and two sides, with two end pieces -- to make it a closed box.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
09/25/19 06:12:57PM
1,625 posts

It’s about your neck...


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

One basic string height setup that we often use is known as the Nickel & Dime technique. You can lower the strings even more, but this is a good place to start:

Place a dime next to the 1st fret and see how close the strings are to the coin.  Sand the bottom of the Nut until the strings just touch the dime. Now balance a nickel on top of the 7th fret, and check the height of the strings.  Sand the bottom of Bridge until the strings just touch the nickel.  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
09/25/19 07:22:35AM
1,625 posts

It’s about your neck...


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

Point of terminology, Phroedrick --- dulcimers do not have necks.  Dulcimers have fretboards, with or without fingerboards.  Necks extend beyond the soundbody, fretboards do not.    Also, dulcimers seldom have a saddle.  The vast majority have a bridge set on fretboard, or in a slot in the fretboard; even dulcimers with dis-continuous fretboards seldom have a saddle.  Instead they use a banjo or violin style tall bridge.

In your discussion you mention both fretboard straightness, and bow.  Dulcimer fretboards, especially old dulcimer fretboards, were often made with a distinct bow from say 3rd fret to 12th or thereabouts.  The bow is/was intended to accommodate the elliptical nature of vibrating strings, being deepest near the 7th fret and shallowest at either end.


updated by @ken-hulme: 09/25/19 07:27:38AM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
09/24/19 03:02:02PM
1,625 posts

The Drifting Thread...


OFF TOPIC discussions

I saw that too, Ken.  Sad to hear that Jennifer has passed.  She was a vital part of downtown Monrovia, and will be sorely missed.

I made her a dulcimer once upon  time...

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
09/23/19 03:46:17PM
1,625 posts

Anyone know who this is?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

If what you bought is a Hughes dulcimer, there are no parts available and haven't been for decades; you'll just have to make your own nut and bridge.  A long shot is that you might find a long un-assembled Hughes kit on Ebay, or an assembled one you can scavage for parts.  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
09/21/19 09:01:14AM
1,625 posts

Dulcimer Project (Reasonably) Complete!


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

Tied frets (a la Lute) will be 'way too soft with metal strings, and they'll cut the frets.  If you want to use wooden frets, as Salt Spring suggests, use bamboo or ebony or Lignum vitae -- again, anything softer just won't work well; I know.... I tried.

A "removeable" fingerboard on top of that fretboard just isn't going to work.   99 and 44/100th percent of dulcimer builders decide well before hand what kind of fret setup they are going to use. 

Installing conventional "mushroom" frets involves sawing really thin, undersized slots in the fretboard and then hammering the frets into the slots so they stay by friction.  Installing traditional staple frets involves drilling pairs of teenie holes (.035" or so) and then bending large staples from oversize wire and hammering them into the holes.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
09/21/19 08:51:11AM
1,625 posts

Ukulele Tuners


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

If you're going to sand the pegs, use a VERY fine sandpaper -- 800 or 1000 grit.  A TINY change in diameter makes a huge difference.

Better yet, take the pegs and dulcimer to a violin shop and ask them to correct the peg fit.


updated by @ken-hulme: 09/21/19 08:52:16AM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
09/20/19 10:23:49PM
1,625 posts

Dulcimer Project (Reasonably) Complete!


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

I was wondering that too Irene.  Fretting a fretboard that is already installed is a major problem.  Even if you use staple frets, all that hammering can do a LOT of damage...

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
09/20/19 10:21:49PM
1,625 posts

Ukulele Tuners


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

No reason they won't work.  You may have to enlarge the holes a bit -- it depends on the diameter of the shaft relative to the diameter of the hole.  Check the specs on those Grover 8Ns for shaft size.

A few minutes work would have made those wooden tuners work just right...

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
09/19/19 10:16:59PM
1,625 posts

Best Fix?


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

Yeah.... if it were me, I's just make a new saddle and bridge. Better than trying to fudge something together that will look jury rigged...

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
09/19/19 01:44:47PM
1,625 posts

McSpadden --- wax


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I just got off the phone with Jim Woods at McSpadden.  One of our dulcimer friends has an old McSpadden -- 1967 vintage; and was told by Lynn McSpadden not to put anything else on there.  Well, 50 years later, that dulcimer is just a bit dusty and in need of refreshing!!

Jim told me that "back in the day" they used "furniture wax" -- carnuba wax, that is -- on those dulcimers.  So if you've got an oldie McSpad that needs a facelife, hunt up some carnuba wax and get polishing!


updated by @ken-hulme: 10/15/19 11:30:21AM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
09/17/19 07:03:30AM
1,625 posts

Healthy Living- healthy eating, exercise, weight loss, veggie gardening, etc.


OFF TOPIC discussions

Saltsprings!   Look around and see if there's a Produce Co-op in your area.  We get 98% of our veggies these days from the SWFL Produce Co-op.  Great quality veg and MUCH cheaper than Publix!  We're both Pescatarians (fish/seafood once/twice a week) and eat a LOT of veggies.  I spend $30-40 at the co-op for what would cost me twice that from Public or any of the megamarts.

Check out my weekly Fooding Around With The Kilted Cook food-blog.  I have hundreds...thousands of great, easy to prepare vegetarian and other recipes that I've posted over the past five years.  Just yesterday, among other things,  I posted a recipe for Mexican-flavored white bean burgers that are really simple to make and outstanding great flavor

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
09/12/19 10:17:20PM
1,625 posts

Value of this instrument or maker


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

There have been a number of complaints about the Seagull Merlins not having correct fret spacing and very few frets.  Seagull makes decent guitars but whoever is making the stick instrument Merlins for them is apparently not doing particularly well.  Definitely what I would call a "try before you buy" situation!

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
09/11/19 12:59:13PM
1,625 posts

Value of this instrument or maker


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

I think it was a decent buy for $50.  Very strange setup, that for certain.  Not "old style fret placement", just a plain Diatonic layout, but with a HUGE blank run at the head from the Nut to the break over the edge of the tuning head!! 

Almost looks like the wrong fretboard was installed on the body.  Or the wrong VSL scale was used to cut the frets -- that board could have a much long VSL...  Maybe the strum hollow was cut and the frets installed from the wrong end.  The sound holes are a strange mishmash too, with the trefoil between two round holes.

The body appears to be mahogany veneer, and heavily braced inside.   

I take it there is no maker's label visible through the holes.  I'd say YES it's a commercial build, probably from Asia (just a hunch) or at least somewhere that did/does not understand how the fretboard is supposed to be on a dulcimer.


updated by @ken-hulme: 09/11/19 01:10:41PM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
09/11/19 06:58:37AM
1,625 posts

What’s your favourite playing style and why?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I play, nearly exclusively, Noter&Drone, with a bit of Fingerdancing (a.k.a. Melody Drone) when I'm picking out a new tune and writing my own tab.  Why?  It is the old traditional 'high silver' sound with drones that I fell in love with 40 years ago.  Something about the drones "strikes a chord" in me, as it were!

No need to try and find or remember a bunch of complicated chord shapes, the melody is right there as I walk my finger or Noter up and down the melody string.  Left-hand wise, I strum more or less of the three strings depending on the mood of the tune -- usually to the rhythm of the words rather than some metronomic fixed beat.

I play mostly American Roots music and the Scots/Irish/English folk songs that those tunes derived from -- Shady Grove and the ancestral tune it derived from, Matty Groves a.k.a. Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard, for example.  

FYI -- in the dulcimer world we don't talk about "scale length".  We use the term Vibrating String Length -- VSL.  


updated by @ken-hulme: 09/11/19 07:01:12AM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
09/09/19 10:14:38PM
1,625 posts

Removing a fretboard


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

IFF you used Titebond (or hide glue) in the glue-up, you may be able to use a heat gun, aimed at the fretboard/top junction along both sides, to soften the glue (even after years) and gently pull the fretboard off.


updated by @ken-hulme: 09/09/19 10:15:12PM
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