Forum Activity for @ken-hulme

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
06/04/24 03:20:07PM
2,128 posts

Shifting bridge and nut


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

Both nuts and bridges are often set into slots on the fretboard.  You SHOULD be able to "switch between tuning... like crazy" without any issue.  And many of us do. 

However.  You did say it is a Roosebeck, and they are not particularly known for their precision.  And of course the VSL is the most crucial measurement on the instrument.  

Hopefully there are marks on the fretboard which show exactly where the nut was originally located.  If so, I would definitely Superglue it in place with a couple drops of glue.  If there are also marks which show exactly where the bridge was, I would glue it in place with a couple drops of Rubber Cement.  Rubber cement should be strong enough to hold the bridge in place when everything is under tension, Then I would get out my tuner and check the accuracy of the scale up and down the fretboard. Once satisfied that the scale is true, then I would use a sharp knife or awl to cut a line in the fretboard to exactly locate things again if necessary...  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
06/02/24 10:02:21PM
2,128 posts

Question about a western KY dulcimer maker/James Norris


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

Sorry to say I've NOT heard of James Norris.  Can't find any  trace of him, either -- no newspaper stories, no obituary etc. There are hundreds, if not thousands of folks who build a dulcimer or ten or twenty; he could be one of those.   

Can you post photos of the dulcimer you have?  Teardrop shapes aren't as common in Kentucky as the hourglass

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
05/20/24 06:38:09AM
2,128 posts

New Knopf Dulcimers website!


FOR SALE:instruments/music items/CDs/Wanted to Buy...

Bravo, John!   Love the new website!  Love my Thomas replica too!

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
04/22/24 05:58:21PM
2,128 posts

Something to watch


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Yes... Donate one month, then cancel it...

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
04/22/24 08:57:13AM
2,128 posts

Something to watch


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Sorry I misled you guys about that WOUB program availability.  I couldn't get it either, in spite of the fact it showed on my Passport.  I had our local WGCU Passport person check, and she just got back to me this morning, saying it's only available if you make a $12 per year donation to WOUB, watch the program, then cancel your donation before the first month is up...

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
04/19/24 09:15:51AM
2,128 posts

Something to watch


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

The Ritchie video called Mountain Born is different from the one on the series Ramblin'

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
04/17/24 10:14:39AM
2,128 posts

Question about the 6 1/2 fret


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

I have a friend who built a fretboard so that the Nut was 4 notes below the normal Open notes of DAA.  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
04/16/24 04:54:32PM
2,128 posts

Something to watch


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

If you have PBS Passport, the entire Ramblin series is available there.  Jean's episode is Season 1 episode 104.   I'll be watching it later tonight....

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
04/16/24 04:38:58PM
2,128 posts

Question about the 6 1/2 fret


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

Not sure about staple 6+ and 1+ frets but there certainly were some unusual fret patterns used by some builders, certainly!  For example fret patterns to play the Major DAA Scale from the Open fret not the 3rd fret.

1-5-8 is the numeric designation for Mixolydian Mode tunings, so yes, it was used ages  before the 6+ fret came along.  Those of us without plus frets  change tunings from Ionian to Mixolydian to Dorian or Aeolian and the other Modal tunings simply, by changing the open note of the melody string(s).   'Way back, many of the old timers tuned to either 1-8-8 (bagpipe tuning) or 8-8-8 (unison tuning with all strings the same gauge, all tuned to the same note -- a.k.a. Galax tuning.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
04/13/24 11:09:50AM
2,128 posts

Introduce Yourself!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

G -- GDG  Good on a short VSL dulcimer

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
04/12/24 09:55:37PM
2,128 posts

Does soundbox tension affect volume and tone


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

That slot at the tail end of the fretboard was, IIRC, a Howie Mitchell "thing".  Not sure it ever worked as advertised.  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
04/12/24 01:15:41PM
2,128 posts

Does soundbox tension affect volume and tone


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

I think if you had half of the string tension pulling up and half the string tension pushing down, the result is not increased tension but rather a neutralized/balance of tension not helping at all...

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
04/12/24 01:11:48PM
2,128 posts

Introduce Yourself!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Hi Beth!  Where are you in Yorks?  I have e-friends in Hawes and that part of the Dales as well as elsewhere in the UK.  My partner is from Brighton originally but has been here longer than there.   I play mostly the Child Ballads and Border ballads/folk music, using Noter & Drone style.  Three is a good number of dulcimers (although I have more) as you can  tuned in each of the main folk keys...

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
04/10/24 07:31:38AM
2,128 posts

Does soundbox tension affect volume and tone


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

Matt/Nate -- that 15 degree break angle is very close to the commonly-used-in-dulcimer-builds 12 degree break angle of strings from the nut to the tuners, and from the bridge to where the strings break hard over the back of the fretboard.  Dulcimers with sharper break angles, especially at the tail seem, qualitatively anyway, to have more volume.  I'm thinking of those which have the bridge set all the way to the rear so the strings drop almost 90 degrees to the string pins in the tailblock.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
04/08/24 08:51:47AM
2,128 posts

Geoffrey R. Johnson Dulcimer?


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

John's given you a good start.  You can also plug the VSL into the Strothers String Gauge Calculator along with the desired open note to determine reasonable gauges.   Tom & Missy Strothers | String Choice

One reason that that instrument might not be so great sounding is that the square area the soundholes seems a bit less than would be common, and there are no holes in the upper bout

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
04/02/24 08:34:06AM
2,128 posts

What's the exact difference between a dulcimore and dulcimer


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

"Duckslammer, IIRC comes from a Tom & Missy Strothers ancedote about someone mis-hearing "dulcimer".

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
04/01/24 03:03:07PM
2,128 posts

Bodhran (Irish Drum)


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Mountain Mahogany does not grow east of Colorado.  It has a Janka hardness of about 3200 -- roughly the same as the Ebonies.  Makes great noters, nuts & bridges for Mountain dulcimers, tippers for bodhran, musical bones, and similar projects.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/29/24 10:08:20AM
2,128 posts

If you could have just one dulcimer...


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

Thanx John,  Fixed it.  y new eye isn't quite up to par yet... another few days before the swelling goes down.  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/29/24 09:14:51AM
2,128 posts

If you could have just one dulcimer...


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

Hi @jazzc...  Had cataract surgery yesterday so i couldn't take any pix until today... Here are my two favorite Traditional dulcemores:   
Uncle Ed Thomas replica Kentucky Hourglass by John Knopf on the bottom. Traditionally painted flat black. 
Above is my Virginia style Hogfiddle by Bobby Ratliff
.
Both have the high-silvery sound of traditional dulcemores rather than the more mellow sound of modern dulcimers


Favs2.jpg Favs2.jpg - 62KB

updated by @ken-hulme: 03/29/24 10:07:20AM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/27/24 10:51:32AM
2,128 posts

If you could have just one dulcimer...


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

Either my Uncle Ed Thomas traditional dulcemore replica by John Knopf; or my  traditional Virginia style Hogfiddle by Bobby Ratliff,  Both with staple frets under the melody string and plain (no 6+) diatonic fret layout.  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/26/24 08:38:59AM
2,128 posts

What's the exact difference between a dulcimore and dulcimer


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

Dusty's right.  In English there were no standardized way to spell anything until some years after the Oxford English Dictionary was completely published (1884-1928) and accepted as the standard (taught in school).   Basically between WWI and WWII. And the farther from mainstream society folks were, the more those spellings seem to have varied.  

For example, my Scottish Clan name -- Home -- dates back to 1225 -- has at least 28 ways to spell Home, and people with all those different surnames are genetically related!

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/25/24 12:19:22PM
2,128 posts

What's the exact difference between a dulcimore and dulcimer


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

Three years ago this was asked by @shannonmilan  "Do you mean to say they also differ on their tuning?"    
"They"  being dulcemores and dulcimers.

Yes and no..   What I said was  " The most common tunings <for traditional dulcemores> seem to have been Unison (all strings the same gauge and same high note -- d-d-d) or Bagpipe (middle and melody strings an octave higher than the bass string D-d-d), with 1-5-5 tunings a close third."

So Yes, they do differ
-- traditional dulcemores  are/were most commonly tuned to ddd or Ddd and other key equivalents
--modern dulcimers are most commonly tuned to DAA, DAd and other Modal tunings (DAG, DAC, etc) and their key equivalents 

and No
-- in that dulcemores and dulcimers can be tuned to exactly the same tunings

.  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/21/24 10:22:31PM
2,128 posts

Can anyone out there help me with a tuner question?


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

Those tuners should have a tiny screw in the end of each knob, which adjust how 'firmly' they stay in tune.  Start with a 1/4 turn tighter and see how that works.  Need more turn a little more...  Too tight and they won't adjust.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/17/24 08:49:19AM
2,128 posts

Are two melody strings louder than one?


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

Whether tuned perfectly together or slightly apart in pitch, doubled strings should not be louder than one.  The sound waves mesh together perfectly (or nearly perfectly) like fingers interlacing.   The slight wave interferences are perceived as 'richness' of tone  not increased volume.  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/17/24 08:42:59AM
2,128 posts

Crack in the soundboard, by the sound hole


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

I suggest "superglue" -- the thin, slow-set kind, not the 10 second stuff.   Leave the painter's tape on the underside to support the crack but remove the upper tape so you can see the crack.  With the top off of the superglue (for speed), c.a.r.e.f.u.l.l.y  flex the crack open just a hair and wick drops of glue into the crack.  Then close the crack gently uad hold until the glue sets.

You could glue (with Titebond not superglue) a piece of business card across the inside of the crack and trim to fit..  But the simplest reinforcement is to add another couple layers of tape inside there... carefully trimming the edges of the tape so it doesn't show, of course.  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/13/24 07:32:46AM
2,128 posts

A W Jeffreys Jr.


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

@shannonmilan -- you do realize that this conversation is over four years old, don't you?

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/13/24 07:31:08AM
2,128 posts

Clemmer Peg head


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

@shannonmilan -- you do realize this conversation is over two years old, don't you.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
02/18/24 08:49:23AM
2,128 posts

Bodhran (Irish Drum)


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Nice Marsha!  Decades ago I played bass drum with Scottish Pipe Bands.  Then a couple years before Covid I occasionally played dulcimer along with friends in a group called Pine island Sound. The I built the  laptop Cajon below  --  a Brazilian hand beaten box drum -- that I played with them until  Covid sort of busted things up.  I more or less "tuned" the Cajon to sound good around the key of D.  It can be played soft or loud as well.  

12"x18" x 2.75"  The top is a fabulous piece of Oregon Myrtle, the sides maple and the back 'piano' Port Orford Cedar.

Can't find the pix I had of me with  the group...  



Cajon front.jpg Cajon front.jpg - 110KB

updated by @ken-hulme: 02/18/24 08:52:47AM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
02/07/24 09:55:34PM
2,128 posts

Reasons NOT To Get a Chromatic


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

@ocean-daughter.  If you tune a Bagpipe tuning:  Ddd or Ccc for example, you can play both Ionian/Mixolydian and Aeolian/Dorian modal scales *without* having to have a 6+ fret!    

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
02/07/24 09:51:29PM
2,128 posts

Richard Krueger Psaltery


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

That's a Bowed Psaltery, not a plucked psaltery.  And a very nice BP it is too! 

The BP was supposed developed in post-WWII Germany by a violin teacher trying to get his students to bow correctly.  Whatever the truth, they are nice instruments, and you don't need a full sized bow to play them.  A simple 18" or so bow will work jut fine.  Several years ago I was gifted a BP and made some simple bows to play it with, using all sorts to waxed string other than horsehair/

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
02/07/24 09:42:50PM
2,128 posts

instrument question- Stephens Lutherie/holy grail dulcimer?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

The song dates back to the 1930s at least, and does not appear to be copyright protected. No dulcimer tab I could find.  Best to sing/hum/whistle the tune until you KNOW it, then sit down and pick it out on youe melody tring and write the tab as you go...


updated by @ken-hulme: 02/07/24 09:44:27PM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
02/03/24 07:10:07AM
2,128 posts

How precisely do you tune up?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Since I seldom play with others and I'm not haunted by perfect pitch or ADHD, as long as nothing is too sharp or flat, "in the vicinity of..." work for me. 

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
02/01/24 10:39:12AM
2,128 posts

instrument question- Stephens Lutherie/holy grail dulcimer?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Like John I've not heard of Stephens Lutherie.  And I also agree with John that there is no one Perfect Dulcimer, ... there is only what YOU find best for your playing style  Having just googled Stephens, I see a guitar luthier trying to improve the mountain dulcimer... 

The "floating fretboard" you see isn't that.  That's a "discontinuous" fretboard.  99% of dulcimer have a fretboard that runs all the way from the head to the tail.  The fretboard you see is 'guitar-like' -- it stops after the last fret, then there is nothing until a block for holding the bridge in its proper location and height.   

Some people will try to tell you that having the fretboard stop short will increase the tops' ability to flex and produce better sound. Truth is such an arrangement requires a lot of extra bracing under the top to prevent string pressure from warping the top downward.  That bracing does more to dampen sound than improve it and negates almost any advantage you might gain.

  Unlike the guitar, the dulcimer simply does not have enough top area available for such a scheme to work well.  I build a number of similar dulcimers 30 or more years ago, but discontinued the process because it was a lot more labor intensive for very little, if any measurable improvement in the sound quality.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/31/24 07:15:05AM
2,128 posts

Just For Fun - sayings regarding the dulcimer or music


OFF TOPIC discussions

@shanonmilan --the vast majority of us (traditionalists and moderns) play dulcimer horizontally -- "string side up" on our laps or on a table or stand.  There are a few who play it more vertically -- like a guitar...


updated by @ken-hulme: 01/31/24 07:16:18AM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/30/24 09:54:34PM
2,128 posts

1970 M12R Signed by L. Mcspadden


FOR SALE:instruments/music items/CDs/Wanted to Buy...

The signature by L McSpadden really doesn't mean much.  It is known that the building team took turns signing batches of labels that got stock 'wherever', not that Larry made this instrument himself...

Redwood wasn't particularly rare back in the day. It is more so now tho.

The books are worth altogether about $20 tops.

Yes the instrument is in excellent condition.

Yes the case is typical of a John Maxwell quality case.  

Still, I just don't see $2000 here.  There are, as you said, equivalent McSpadden dulcimers, brand new for about $600.  Add a $200 or more for that case, and $20  for the books.  It may be 50 years old, but that of itself, really isn't worth $1000.

Just my opinion, of course.  Any dulcimer is worth only what someone will pay for it.


Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/30/24 09:38:18PM
2,128 posts

Vintage dulcimer information sought


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

*  I'm not sure either of those bridges is 'real'  -- they are both far too long and extend way past the sides of the fretboard, making it difficult to play without snagging yourself on the,
* If that first dark "bridge" is set into the fretboard I agree that is most likely the actual bridge; a simple test will prove it.
*  As Strumelia says, the top & back being wider than the sides is called a "fiddle edge" and is a common feature especially on older dulcimers.
*   The Wide and Narrow (not Tall and Short) fret spacing is a true Diatonic fret layout.  It's your dulcimer, you can of course add a 6+ fret..  But Why would you want to?  This dulcimer was obviously designed to be played in a traditional manner, not modern Chord-Melody style.  Why not appreciate it for what it is?


updated by @ken-hulme: 01/30/24 09:40:06PM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/30/24 06:37:07AM
2,128 posts

Reasons NOT To Get a Chromatic


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

If it has more than diatonic frets, or more than 3 courses of strings, technically an instrument is no longer a dulcimer, it is a Fretted Zither.  "Tomay-to tomaatoe", but diatonic fret spacing is part of what defines a dulcimer.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/29/24 08:18:05AM
2,128 posts

New instruments that I have no clue about!


Site QUESTIONS ? How do I...?

Here's my take.  The triangle is, as John sez, a Russian balalaiki.  The light topped round body is a bouzouki (either Greek or Irish).  The light rectangle is a "cigar box" style guitar.  The two hourglass instrument are indeed variations on the epinette/Applachian dulcimer. The two electric instruments are a bouzouki and a mandolin (short neck).

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/28/24 04:57:17PM
2,128 posts

John Molineux box dulcimer


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

Beautiful playing.  The instrument doesn't look like the 1880 patent, but I think it may embody the same concept -- an "extended" fretboard that allows notes below the "low do" of the normal fretboard...   

An old dulcimer building friend once built an instrument with 4 frets below the low-do on a single fretboard.  You tuned it by capoing at the 4th fret from the nut and then tuning to DAA or DAd...You then removed the capo to play.  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/25/24 12:26:19PM
2,128 posts

Dulcimer Bag Lady Dulcimer Bags


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Great heavy duty construction.  I had one of her double bags, and used it steadily for close to 20 years before the zipper wore out and the inner lining got a couple of tears.  Repairing it would have cost as much as a new bag, and I couldn't afford either at the time.  Can't recommend them highly enough..

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