Forum Activity for @ken-hulme

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/07/19 05:25:25PM
1,646 posts

I am Brand New and Know Nothing


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

Welcome to the wonderful world of dulcimer!  It really is a very easy instrument to get started with.

Wooden pegs are great once you get used to them, but there can be a bit of a learning curve.  Try the Music Lessons shop on Crill Ave in Palatka.  There may be a good acoustic music shop in St Augustine, but these guys are closest for you.  They aren't dulcimer people, but can probably come up with a bottle of Peg Dope for you, and show you how to apply a drop to each peg (only rarely) and then how tighten/loosen and tune the strings. Tell them you want to tune the dulcimer to DAd (D4, A4, D5).  They will also have a electronic tuner to buy that you will use to tune the dulcimer.

Here's an article I wrote several years ago, for beginners such as yourself.  It's an illustrated glossary of dulcimer terms, plus answers to many beginner questions about the tuning, playing, care and feeding of your new friend.

https://fotmd.com/forums/forum/dulcimer-resourcestabs-books-websites-dvds/17129/i-just-got-a-dulcimer-now-what-article

I'm down in Fort Myers, on the Gulf Coast.  If there's anythng I can do to help, message me here or through Farcebook, and I'll do what I can to help you get going.  

 


updated by @ken-hulme: 12/07/19 05:28:51PM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
11/27/19 12:49:18PM
1,646 posts

Thanksgiving Menu


OFF TOPIC discussions

Well....  Red Cooked Turkey, Ham, Green Beans with Almonds, Roasted Brussels Sprouts fresh cut off the stalk, Apple & Yam casserole, fresh Cranberry Mold, Mashed Potatoes, and an Orange Cake based on a Great British Bake-Off winning recipe.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
11/26/19 09:37:59PM
1,646 posts

Newbie Seeking Help


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

Not old, not a kit.  But I can't tell you right off which of several companies

built it. 

You can certainly play in DAd tuning on that instrument, but you cannot play both in DAd (called Mixolydian Mode, with the 7th note of the scale flatted) and play in DAA the Major Scale (called Ionian Mode).    Greg is correct that you will find it easier to play in DAA, which is actually used for about 95% of the folk and pre-20th century popular music in the world.


updated by @ken-hulme: 11/27/19 08:41:44AM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
11/26/19 06:37:39PM
1,646 posts

Newbie Seeking Help


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

Photos, Robin!  Photos!!  Overall, close ups of head and tail.  General descriptions are no real help in identifying a dulcimer.  Look inside the sound holes and see if there is a Maker's Label.  Overall length and depth of the box are meaningless measurements.  Round soundholes and good birch ply do not mean a kit.  

What do you mean by "The frets are really small"???  Length?  Diameter?  Height above the fretboard?  

The string gauges you choose depend on what "open" tuning you will be using -- most folks use DAA or DAd.  Go to the Strothers String Calculator and plug in the VSL and desired open notes, and it will tell you what you need:  http://www.strothers.com/string_choice.html

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
11/24/19 10:51:13PM
1,646 posts

Introduce Yourself!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Welcome Sal-Monella!     Interesting handle you have there.

There really is no consensus as to  best book to learn any aspect of dulcimer. 

Realize, of course that there is a big difference between playing one of those stick instruments and playing a true dulcimer.  For starters the strings are 'backwards'.  Also unless you lay that stick flat on your lap, no dulcimer playing instructions are going to make any sense.  


updated by @ken-hulme: 11/24/19 10:53:06PM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
11/15/19 10:18:27PM
1,646 posts

tuning my guitar into a three string dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

If you want to build, join our Dulcimer Making Group, and we can guide you along the way.  The most critical bit is getting the fret spacing right.  There are good fret spacing calculators that will give you the diatonic frets for any VSL.   Since you're into re-sawing, you'll want boards that will be about 1/8".  Unlike guitars, dulcimers have almost no braces.  The fretboard itself is a giant eternal brace from one end to the other.  You'll want that fretboard about 1.5" wide (or a bit less) and about 3/4" tall (for finger clearance).  A simple elliptical shape is a good place to start, but if you enjoy bending thin wood, the jigs for more complex shapes are easy to make.  Here's the jig which I made recently for my interpretation of a North Carolina Holly Leaf shaped dulcimer that originated around the time of the Civil War.  The side planks here are 1/8" maple.
Burnsville Frame.jpg

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
11/15/19 08:21:39PM
1,646 posts

tuning my guitar into a three string dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

This diagram will explain the diatonic/chromatic situation.  Dulcimer Make Tony, on the FB Everything Dulcimer Farcebook page, posted this today.    Forget everything guitar... you'll just confuse yourself going back and forth.  

Diachromatic fretboard.jpg

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
11/13/19 08:18:20PM
1,646 posts

Have you met other FOTMD's in real life and become friends?


OFF TOPIC discussions

Me too -- same wacky bunch of hardcore Traditional players and builders, including David...

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
11/12/19 07:04:40AM
1,646 posts

Veterans Day 2019


OFF TOPIC discussions

Thanks guys, we appreciate it!

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
11/11/19 11:00:54PM
1,646 posts

Purpose of DAA tuning


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

As my friend Ken says, the major advantage of DAA (Ionian Mode key of D), where the scale starts at the 3rd fret, is to provide the player with three notes below the 'low do' of the scale -- a feature found in many many folk songs from around the world.  

Not everyone wants to have different notes on the same fret, so there's no "robbing" of notes.  More traditional players use the unfretted middle and bass drones -- as drones -- to provide a background for the melody being played on the Melody string(s).  The Unison tuning -- ddd -- has all string tuned to the same high d of DAd, which give a sort of "bee buzz" effect.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
11/11/19 05:10:54PM
1,646 posts

tuning my guitar into a three string dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Your conversion won't be a dulcimer, of course -- dulcimer's don't have necks that extend beyond the body.  Which tuning you choose is, at this point, irrelevant.  The first step in to do the conversion of strings as detailed by @Ken-longfield.  

You don't mention whether you are going to play your instrument upright -- like a guitar -- or flat on your lap like a dulcimer.  With the dulcimer, the strings are "backwards" to a guitar.  That is -- the heaviest strings are farthest away when the instrument is flat on your lap (if playing vertically the heaviest string is on the bottom).

As Ken mentions, if you intend to play a diatonic dulcimer, all those extra frets that make up the chromatic fretboard of a guitar will undoubtedly cause you issues when it comes to learning/unlearning fingering positions and other things on a diatonic fret pattern.   All that to say, we won't say "don't do it", but converting a guitar to three strings and trying to use it as a dulcimer may not be the "best" thing to do if you really want to learn to play dulcimer.  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
11/09/19 06:26:17PM
1,646 posts

Sears and Roebuck dulcimers


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

Oscar Schmidt was a separate label, dulcimers made by the same company that made thousands of autoharps.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
11/04/19 11:29:54AM
1,646 posts

Fair price for a 2003 McSpadden


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

All it takes to "convert from right to left handed" is a new bridge, a new nut and a new set of strings.  They sell the micarta nut & bridge for $1 each, and strings for about $5 a set.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10/30/19 07:42:39AM
1,646 posts

Identifying A Ventage Mountain Dulcimer & refurbishing.


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

Hi Bill:

I like that shape!   Some more info would be helpful -- dimensions: LxWxH, height & width of the fretboard.  And the VSL.   
What makes you say it's a bass dulcimer?  You know of course that it has no 6+ or 13+ frets.

Cleaning:  Start with blown air to clean out the pegbox. 

Then gently loosen the tuning pegs and remove all the strings (we don't often remove all, but in this case it will be a good thing).  AS you do, mark each tuning peg with the hole it came out of, so it can go back in the right place.  At this point we don't care what the original string gauges are because you're going to replace all the strings (this is why we need the VSL).

I can't tell from the photo, but the middle tuner on the near side looks like it's jammed much deeper into the holes than the others.  True?  Wipe down the tuners.  Do not sand them.  Other that the one tuner seeming set deep, they don't appear to be particularly damaged.  However, if they are, or you should want to replace them, those look to be standard violin tuning pegs which can be purchased individually or in sets, in a variety of woods, for as little as $1 per peg, to as much as $20 per peg. 

Purchase a bottle of Peg Dope.  It will last you for years!  When you get everything else accomplished, check back in and we can get you straight on setting it up with those wooden tuners.  I, for one, would not recommend replacing them with geared tuners,  

With the strings gone, you should then be able to remove the nut and bridge.  WHY do you want to remove the bone nut?  If you have to, they may be able to be tapped out sideways using a small wooden dowel as a punch.  We'll want vey close ups of the ends of the nut & bridge where the set into the fretboard.

With a water-damp (not soggy) soft cloth, wipe down the whole instrument, removing as much of the accumulated crud as you can.  Don't use any other kind of cleaning product yet.  

Look at the edge of the top and bottom where they overlap the sides.  I'll bet you'll discover that they are made from thin mahogany plywood.  At least that's what it looks like from seeing that scratch by the farside sound hole, and the nature of the wood grain on the top.

Luster:  Well, you could gently sand the whole thing down and refinish it with the finish of your choice.  But if it is made from plywood you really don't want to do that because it's too easy to go below that first "beauty"layer of ply.  

Probably the best thing is to apply a thin coat or two of wax, and buff.  NOT a furniture polish or any other product which contains silicon.  You want just wax.  Carnuba wax is good.  An automotive or bar top wax without any additives would be OK.

Strings:  The first thing you need to know is what open tuning you want.  You do not have to set this up as a bass dulcimer unless you want to, of course.   

 

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10/28/19 07:03:25AM
1,646 posts

Hog-Eyed Man playing Green River


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Don is the quintessential Fingerdancer.   Nearly always on the melody string, very smooth, fast and clean transitions between notes.  He also plays Noter & Drone style.  His instruments are invariably 3 stringed but not traditional -- they have the 6+ and 13+ frets and mechanical tuners.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10/27/19 06:56:09PM
1,646 posts

Group Contents Re-ordered???


Site QUESTIONS ? How do I...?

OK -- good to know... I thought it might be something I was/wasn't doing...

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10/26/19 11:30:14PM
1,646 posts

Group Contents Re-ordered???


Site QUESTIONS ? How do I...?

Doing it again JUST NOW. Interesting that in the Building group, Ken Longfield's post about Tuning Peg Knobs is still at the top of the list, but everything below that is wanky.

Also, I've notice lately (last month or so) that periodically I'll go to some random Discussion and if I try to create a Post, the text box flashes up and then disappears!  Not every time or every discussion.  It just happened now in the Discussion where someone is looking for a particular Bowed Psaltery.  I went in and out of the discussion 4 or 5 times and it finally gave me a text block to type in...

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10/24/19 07:10:17PM
1,646 posts

Group Contents Re-ordered???


Site QUESTIONS ? How do I...?

Not a problem, Lisa.  Will let you know if things get wonky again.  Glad to see that the issue has been forwarded and a permanent solution may be achieved...

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10/23/19 10:09:54PM
1,646 posts

General direction on tuning modes


Playing and jamming difficulties...HELP ME!

Most dulcimers are tuned to DAA or DAd because those key of D tunings, are what most clubs play in -- particularly DAd. 

It's not hard to switch between the two tunings, but you chord players have to memorize different chord fingerings for each tuning.  Since you aren't interested in traditional music and dulcimers there's no reason to go into any other detail of the stylistic differences between the two tunings.  

BOTH tunings have equally accessible chords, although the DAd people would have you believe otherwise.  Some say DAA actually has more chords available. If you can't find much information on DAA chords, drop me a PM and I can send you a copy of the definitive article on the subject, by Merv Rowley (R.I.P.). 

Of course the chords you can achieve are only those associated with the key of D.  Other keynotes (the note to which the bass string is tuned) have other chords associated with them, of course.  To reach some of the other keynotes will require different gauges of strings to prevent string breakage (notably the bass string).  Unless you go totally modern and get an instrument with a chromatic fretboard (and IMHO are no longer playing a dulcimer), you will never have every chord available at any time.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10/23/19 07:01:25AM
1,646 posts

Group Contents Re-ordered???


Site QUESTIONS ? How do I...?

HI Lisa;

FWIW, the Group discussions seem to be "dis-ordered" again... in new and interesting ways.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10/21/19 06:48:03AM
1,646 posts

The Drifting Thread...


OFF TOPIC discussions

Too bad we're the whole country apart!  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10/20/19 10:37:56PM
1,646 posts

The Drifting Thread...


OFF TOPIC discussions

How many gallons of juice have you frozen??

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10/19/19 10:27:20PM
1,646 posts

It was a defective string!


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

joyjoydulcimer

Glad that worked out for you.  One thing to look at if something like that happens again, it to make sure that the string(s) are firmly and correctly seated in the notches.  Sometimes a "violent' strum can dislodge a string minutely, giving rise to those kinds of issues...

 


updated by @ken-hulme: 10/20/19 08:18:46AM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10/18/19 06:57:45AM
1,646 posts

Group Contents Re-ordered???


Site QUESTIONS ? How do I...?

Great!  Yes -- back to "normal" according to my Senior memory.  Thank you thank you!

 

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10/15/19 08:10:45PM
1,646 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
1,646 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
1,646 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
1,646 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
1,646 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
1,646 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
1,646 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
1,646 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
1,646 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
1,646 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
1,646 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
1,646 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
1,646 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
1,646 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
1,646 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
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