Forum Activity for @ken-hulme

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/25/20 07:06:16AM
1,674 posts

Duet Dulcimer Music?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Look on Lois Hornbostel's website, and on Mel Bay.  I've seen at least two "dulcimer duet" books.  In fact -- just ghoogle "dulcimer duets" and you'll find a ton of books, tabs and websites...

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/24/20 02:09:07PM
1,674 posts

Everything Dulcimer - Closing Down.


Dulcimer Resources:TABS/Books/websites/DVDs

I  agree with Lisa here.  I was, and still am, put off by the copycat nature of the New ED -- right down to Discussion Titles.   I wish them well, certainly.  But there was a dulcimer site that started last year and basically died within a couple months because hardly anyone was contributing.  

The thing that keeps me from joining the New Everything Dulcimer is the secrecy of the site-owner/administrator.  That just doesn't sit well with me.  Having been burned on a few dulcimer things, I'm taking a "wait and see" attitude for now.  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/23/20 07:28:38AM
1,674 posts

e-bow


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

The ebow is an interesting concept, certainly.  From doing some digging, I see that it will work, however temperamentally, on non-amplified acoustic instruments but very quietly; with sufficient experimentation to find one or more 'sweet spots' where it works best. 

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/21/20 03:29:13PM
1,674 posts

My Husband Has Become Interested...


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

The signature means virtually nothing.  I understand that the employees take turns signing batches of instruments.  It's not like the signee actually built the dulcimer.  

That's a good price, certainly and it appears to be in decent condition.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/18/20 08:30:56PM
1,674 posts

New to me, Q’s on nut/bridge fit and strings.


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

.00001 or .00002 …  rounding up/down the 5th decimal is not really relevant.  String gauge recommendations are not set in stone.  Going up or down a gauge or two is very, very common.  There are no String Gauge Police!   We all start with some recommendations, and then go up or down experimenting to find what works best for your on a particular instrument.

For example,  I build and play traditional dulcemores, and do not use wound bass strings at all.  The Olde Tymers didn't use wound strings -- that is a mid-20th century "guitar" affectation more or less, which makes the overall sound less "high silvery" than a traditional sounding instrument.  

Remember too that string gauges vary with the VSL of the instrument.  26" VSL dulcimers use different gauges than a 29" VSL instrument to reach the same tuning.  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/17/20 10:00:20AM
1,674 posts

Changing tuners on a Warren May dulcimer.


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

The fine tuners you might use depend on how much string length you have between the bridge and the turn over the end or string pins, and how high/shallow the angle of the strings are.  If you have a long distance and fairly high angle, you can often fit violin fine tuners.   You can also make fine tuners by slipping a large-ish glass or metal bead on each string behind the bridge and before the string pin or turn over the end.  You then tweak the tuning by moving the bead back and forth.  the photo below shows long white beads between the bridge and the turn over the tail:

Image result for fine tuning beads

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/16/20 07:18:18PM
1,674 posts

Dulcimer hangers


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I once made a Shaker Peg Coat Rack sort of thing for a player -- a piece of 1x4 with Shaker pegs from a Hobby shop spaced about 6" apart.  The one I made was about 24" long, and held 4 dulcimers.  It attached to the wall with sheet rock anchors.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/16/20 08:08:29AM
1,674 posts

Berea 2020 Traditional Gathering Registration Now Open


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

We are now accepting registrations for the 2020 Gathering, to be held at Berea College, Berea, KY May 14th -- 17th

Send your Contact Information to:    berea.traditional.gathering@gmail.com   

Registration Fee -- $20 -- applies directly to your dorm lodging.  If you are not staying in the dorm, the money goes into our Coffee & Snack Fund so we can buy a pot and coffee and snacks for folks to share...   Send Registration via Paypal or by paper check.  PM me for the addresses...

Please do not respond here....


updated by @ken-hulme: 01/16/20 07:20:59PM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/15/20 07:29:26AM
1,674 posts

New to me, Q’s on nut/bridge fit and strings.


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

The nut/bridge position could be an issue with sharpness; but it is more commonly from bending the strings down from a very high action when fretting.

You could be seeing minor inaccuracies, Or you could be experiencing the "golly-gee that's neat" phenomena of using something more accurate than a tuning fork!! poke

A few cents sharp here and there are no big deal, really; and only someone with perfect pitch will be able to hear it.  Sharp pitches will slack slightly during play anyway as the strings stretch from being used.

Some of us, myself included, tune everything a tad sharp.  With traditional violin type wooden tuners I find that that works best.


updated by @ken-hulme: 01/15/20 07:31:07AM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/14/20 07:59:00AM
1,674 posts

New to me, Q’s on nut/bridge fit and strings.


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

The wedged in nut and bridge which lean into the center are NOT "standard stuff".  They don't have to be 'hammered-in tight' or glued in place, but should not need wedges to hold them either.  Neither should the lean in to center, although the tops can be angle cut so that they are thinner on the outside, and may appear to be leaning... Looking at the photos -- that poor of workmanship in the fit of the nut and bridge is not something that Bill would allow out of his shop!  My guess is that someone (naming no names) lost the original nut and bridge (perhaps by replacing all the string at once instead of one-by-one) and what you see are improper replacements... 

You might call or email Bill,  give him the model number of the instrument and explain the situation.  Give him the slot measurements and ask him to send you a new nut and bridge.  His contact info is on his website:
https://mountainmademusic.com/

The wooden dowel is what we call a Noter and is used to fret the melody strings in the traditional style of dulcimer play called Noter & Drone.

On a 5 string setup, it is not uncommon for the bass couplet to consist of a Dd pair rather than a DD pair.  The octave bass couplet gives a richer overall sound.  Although I would have used another .010 string rather than a .008 and I believe that is what Bill uses.  Perhaps your friend broke the thin bass string and replaced it with what he could find.  Overall the other gauges seem fine for that tuning. 

No reason you can't change over to a 4-string setup.  Just don't put a string on the outer-most of the melody couplet tuners.

Action -- a generally good place to start with the action is what we call the Nickel & Dime.  Lay a dime next to the first fret and lower the strings (by sanding the bottom of the nut) until the strings just touch the dime.  Then balance a nickel on top of the 7th fret and this time lower the strings by sanding the bridge until the string just touch the coin.

Fretboard 'bow'?   I don't see enough there to be an issue as long as it doesn't cause any fretting issues.  Most folks don't play as far up as fret 14 anyway!


updated by @ken-hulme: 01/14/20 08:14:09AM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/13/20 02:00:01PM
1,674 posts

Modern Sheet Music/Tab?


Dulcimer Resources:TABS/Books/websites/DVDs

There are probably thousands of books out there now which have tab for a wide variety of musical styles; in particular Celtic. Mel Bay publishes a ton of tab books.  Individual artists also make and sell tab books on their own websites.   Old jazz standards and blues tab for dulcimer is going to be much harder to find.  You can always contact Stephen Seifert directly, and Bing Futch for jazz.  

Most of what you mention are not particularly suited for beginners, however.  We find that often the best beginning tunes are those which you have imbedded in you since childhood.... tunes you can sing/hum/or whistle on demand.  Learning to pick out those sorts of tunes is an excellent way to learn what your dulcimer is capable of.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/12/20 10:23:20PM
1,674 posts

A Treasure Trove of Old Ballads


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I've just downloaded it and will give it a good viewing.  You may find recordings of some of those tunes on the Contemplator website:  www.contemplator.com  Tons of old tunes and lyrics. 

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/10/20 09:29:22PM
1,674 posts

Pick noise


Playing and jamming difficulties...HELP ME!

Pick click comes from a couple of things.  Thinness of the pick; how deep the pick goes below the plane of the strings; and your wrist action together with how you hold the pick. 

Thicker pick with less of it sticking out of your fist (and not going deep below the string plane) usually go a long way towards solving the CLICK.  

Still, your hand/wrist action is an important part of controlling the sound of the pick.  If you are holding the pick rigidly upright like this: |   as you strum across the strings, the drag as the pick passes each string and releases it -- causes the dreaded CLICK.  If instead, you rotate your wrist and the "attack" of the pick, you'll get a lot softer sound.  As you strum outward and inward, rotate your wrist a bit in each direction so that the pick slips or brushes across strings rather than digging into them.  Like this:  /outward and this:  \inward only even flatter angles...  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/07/20 04:05:02PM
1,674 posts



I've gotten pegs from both these, and been very happy. 

Here's a source for inexpensive pegs of various sizes.
http://www.newarkmusical.com/index.php?cPath=322_25_332

A little more expensive, but good selection of woods:
https://fiddlershop.com/collections/violin-pegs/product-type_pegs

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/07/20 10:38:35AM
1,674 posts

Would like info on my new to me dulcimer.


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

Never heard of the man, but that's a fine looking dulcimer, certainly.  Hopefully it sounds as good as it looks!

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/05/20 08:47:42AM
1,674 posts

Practice tips


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Patrick --  many folks consider the traditional dulcimore (no 6+ or other added frets), as well as the noter & drone style that I play,  as "limited".  I've always considered that challenging -- how to get the most bang for your buck as it were.  I'm glad to see you on this dulcimer journey.

I wholeheartedly agree that a person's perception of reality and their limitations define their reality.  IMHO it applies to EVERY endeavor in our lives.  Only you can limit what you can achieve.

For more than 30 years (since the first time I heard them) I've wanted to learn cauld wind Border pipes, but they're so expensive... and at age 71,  I can't justify that kind of expense...   Oh well.  We can talk about pipes someplace other than here.

 

=Ken 

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/04/20 11:10:53PM
1,674 posts

Practice tips


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Patrick -- GHB, Small Pipes, or  Cauld-Wind?

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/03/20 07:08:25AM
1,674 posts

What's fer dinner?


OFF TOPIC discussions

For New Years I made a big pot of thick, unctuous,  black-eyed pea soup with mushrooms, onion and charred red bell pepper.  Neither Lady Sally's nor my family ever had any New Years food tradition.  But we both love black-eyed peas as soup or in veggie burgers.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/03/20 07:03:49AM
1,674 posts

Practice tips


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I never practice, I just play.  Practice is work! Dull and boring repetition without context.  Playing is fun, challenging, and interesting.  I'd rather have fun.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/30/19 03:53:13PM
1,674 posts

Intonation


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Warren uses more or less Warren Intonation, not a perfect Just Intonation.  If he says an instrument is "better in DAA", you'll get the best results tuned in DAA!!

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/28/19 08:08:12AM
1,674 posts

Tuning a Banjo into a mountain dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Paula -- it can be done, as Robin suggests.  Probably better with a banjolele or other short-necked version than a full size instrument.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/27/19 07:11:30AM
1,674 posts

Fair price for a 2003 McSpadden


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

@staylor -- sounds like Santa was good to you.  If you have any questions. just ask.  We enjoy helping folks on their dulcimer journeys.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/25/19 11:01:22PM
1,674 posts

Introduce Yourself!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I had the great honor and pleasure of doing a minor repair on one of Merv's personal instruments for him, a year or so before he passed away.  He was a great builder and promoter of chord-melody in DAAS as well as the 1-3-5 tuning...

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/20/19 10:44:20PM
1,674 posts

Rebec


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Hobbyhorse -- your Lyre looks really nice, as do your othere builds.  I build a few lyres myself.  My favorite small lyre is the Cologne pattern from Michael King in England, and my mist recent is an Oberflacht pattern, also his, with kalrose carving on the soundboard.   If you search the Photo section on "Lyre" you'll see pix of mine.

I've followed Paul Butler at Rutgers for many years. He has done some amazing builds!!  


updated by @ken-hulme: 12/20/19 10:46:28PM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/17/19 11:42:43AM
1,674 posts

You know your dulcimer has a hold on you when...


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I recommend Liquid Skin or NuSkin.  Burns like anything at first but protects cut fingers reaaaally well and helps them heal faster.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/14/19 08:55:31AM
1,674 posts



Times like this, I'm glad to be a Luddite.  I have  a perfectly good flip phone to  make calls with (and that's all);  a superior digital camera to take photos with; and a laptop and tablet for accessing the Internet.  I have no real desire to have everything crammed into one shell with a too-small screen to be comfortably read by my  not-getting-any-younger eyes.  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/10/19 07:09:56AM
1,674 posts

Holiday Music Recommendations


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

My all time favorite Christmas album is the Chieftains Bells of Dublin.  It has those old English carols that John Henry loves too, plus others.

My favorite single is Jackson Brown's Rebel Jesus.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/07/19 05:25:25PM
1,674 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
1,674 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
1,674 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
1,674 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
1,674 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
1,674 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
1,674 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
1,674 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
1,674 posts

Veterans Day 2019


OFF TOPIC discussions

Thanks guys, we appreciate it!

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
11/11/19 11:00:54PM
1,674 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
1,674 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.  

 /