Forum Activity for @ken-hulme

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
04/01/20 10:44:55PM
1,699 posts

15 string mini lap harp


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Well, poop!  That helps -- and it doesn't.  Is there a maker's or brand name inside the sound hole or anywhere?  I've only been able to find one "lap harp" in that zither/psaltery shape, but without song cards.

Back to square one.  Do you have an electronic tuner so you can determine what notes the various strings are tuned to?  

I can "teach" you how to play; it's really very simple.  Each string is one note of a scale and there are two scales on the instrument -- from the longest string to shortest they should be:   do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do', re', mi', fa', sol', la', ti', do'.  Just like that scale we learned in school, or the song from The Sound of Music "Do, a deer, a female deer; re a drop of golden sun..." etc.  

We number those strings/notes from 1 to 15 starting with the longest string.    Where the electronic tuner comes in is that we want those notes to be accurate, and start with some real world note like a C or G or D.   But if you don't have a tuner you can probably just jump right in and see what happens...

Take a simple song like Frere Jacques.  You know the tune.  So do I, and zillions of other folks.  For several reasons, it's a good song to use to start teaching yourself how to play this instrument.  It is simple and repetitive.

The tab numbers for Frere Jacques start with the 3rd string from the left and are

Fre-re Jac-que
3-4...5-3

Fre-re Jac-que
3-4...5-3

Dor-mez Vous
5-6...7

Dor-mez Vous
5-6...7

Son-nez les mar-tine-s
7-8...7...6-5-3
Son-nez les mar-tine-s
7-8...7...6-5-3

Ding-ding-dong
3-0-3
Ding-ding-dong
3-0-3

  

 

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/31/20 11:02:54PM
1,699 posts

Fun with new Cardboard dulcimer kit


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

IMHO, unless you've got really sensitive, perfect pitch type ears, I doubt you'll hear much if any difference between Delrin and horn, bone or wood for the nut & bridge.  There really is no "ultimate nut and bridge material", it's personal preference.  I personally dislike bone/horn because it stinks when you're working it.  Metal vs a softer material does make a sound difference.  I like various hard woods or pieces of thick-walled bamboo for nuts & bridges.

Wood choice is also very personal.  You'll get people who will tell you 'this wood sounds better than that' yada, yada.  There are hundreds of factors which go into the 'sound' of a dulcimer, and wood is fairly far down the list, actually.  A decent luthier can tweak any woods to make an instrument that sounds the way you want.  

When you're ready to jump into building, join the Dulcimer Building Group here, read a bunch of out posts, and ask your questions.  We've talked a number of new builders through their first or fifth build.  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/31/20 10:51:06PM
1,699 posts

15 string mini lap harp


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Do you mean like the instrument in the picture?  That is a Nepenenoyka -- a simple psaltery, not a harp. And they aren't at all easy to play when resting on your lap, either.   Thousands of these have flooded the market from several 'Stans -- former Soviet states like Uzbekistan, Belarus, Ukraine, etc.  

FYI, harps do not have strings which go across the surface of the soundbox; harp strings come out of the sound box and go to a tuning bar.

I've never seen tab for Nepenenoyka.  There are "slide under the strings" tune charts which show when to hit which string; but that's about it. 


Nepenenoika.jpg Nepenenoika.jpg - 52KB

updated by @ken-hulme: 03/31/20 10:52:06PM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/29/20 04:01:42PM
1,699 posts

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


OFF TOPIC discussions

We've been doing broccoli sprouts in a quart jar.  

 

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/27/20 06:57:52AM
1,699 posts

"Generations": Will Singleton replica dulcimore


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Beautiful work, as always, John.  Is that from the instrument we saw -- and you measured -- two years ago in Lexington?

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/26/20 11:27:10AM
1,699 posts

Dulcimer String Anchor Pins


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

No reason you couldn't use guitar bridge pins; but they do take up more space than simple metal pins.  Make room for 4 pins though.  Two strings on a pen is no better than 4 on a peg.  Single pegs are not good.  Multiple smaller pegs tend to look too crowded though .  There are other tailpiece solutions but not ones that would readily retro-fit to a McSpad and look aesthetically pleasing.

There just isn't any real selection of sexy metal pins out there to choose from for making string pins.  I just use small finishing nails; others use escutcheon pins, or dedicated string anchor pins like those from Folkcraft, StewMac and other 'parts' places.  That's about it.


updated by @ken-hulme: 03/26/20 11:33:13AM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/24/20 07:12:36PM
1,699 posts

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


OFF TOPIC discussions

Dusty -- your last paragraph sounds like the plot for the Brit TV series Fortitude which we watched on Amazon (and it's still there if you need something to binge watch).

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/19/20 08:26:03AM
1,699 posts

Creating a new group


Site QUESTIONS ? How do I...?

I don't think the State groups here have ever had much activity; I've followed a couple of them.  Periodically someone will post a general Thread asking if anyone is from XX or YY, and that seems to work as well as any way to find others.  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/18/20 11:37:10AM
1,699 posts

Creating a new group


Site QUESTIONS ? How do I...?

Whew!   I'm just a member here.  But with 54 Groups already, I thought dang near every subject was covered.  What Group are your interested in creating Don B?  

IIRC Lisa, the Site Owner, has to create a Group.  She, or one of the Admins will be along shortly to give you details, I'm sure.


updated by @ken-hulme: 03/18/20 11:41:09AM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/17/20 07:05:51AM
1,699 posts

How is the COVID-19 coronavirus affecting you?


OFF TOPIC discussions

I'm retired, but Lady Sally still works as a Clinical Pharmacist for our local VA.  Other than that we don't do a lot of going out.  As Hurricane Preppers (i.e we live in Florida) we always have a far amount of canned goods; and we get most of our veg from a local farmer's co-op (order on-line and either go to a pickup location or they also deliver).  

Lots of projects to work on in my "copious free time" as Tom Leherer once said.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/16/20 07:09:49AM
1,699 posts

What's the deal with Aquavinas?


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

Heard of it in passing, on one of the Farcebook pages and thought it was a joke at first.  But someone thought it sounded neat.   Sounds just a bit too cumbersome for the ordinary player -- something you'd want on a stand rather than your lap I suspect.   I'd certainly listen to a recording, to hear these, but I would never personally build one.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/13/20 07:32:05AM
1,699 posts

The Positive Thread...


OFF TOPIC discussions

Lisa -- your salmon & egg tacos with salsa verde sound.  I make my own salsa verde too.  My trick is to include a whole lime -- skin, pith, seeds, everything; and juice of a lemon.  It all gets pureed anyway...  Then following my Mexican chef friends, I "fry' the sauce is a large blisteringly hot skillet, stirring madly for about 10 minutes to marry flavors and tighten up the consistency.  

I make soup weekly -- often based on one of the winter squashes -- Acorn, Butternut, Spaghetti; but also eggplant, or red bell peppers.  Posole of course. And the famous Florida speciality Chez Suzanne's Creamy Romaine soup.  In the hot season I make chilled soups like white and red gaspachos, Ajo Blanco (almonds and garlic), chilled lettuce soups and several ceviches.


updated by @ken-hulme: 03/13/20 07:44:25AM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/13/20 07:14:12AM
1,699 posts

The "I have small hands" idea


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

For decades many of us have used the phrase "There is no right way, or wrong way to play the dulcimer; there is just what works for you."  A statement attributed to Ohio dulcimer player Missy Strothers, one half of the "Tom & Missy Strothers", who also gave us the Strothers String Choice Calculator and the Strothers Diatonic and Chromatic Chord Wizards. 

Unfortunately there are still quite a few "dulcimer police" teachers and players who try to enforce the idea that their way is The One True Way -- be it small hands vs large hands, Chord Melody/DAd playing as a style, or specific aspects of playing like how to finger chords, whether or not to use the edge or ball of fingers,  or anything else which they categorically state "...you must...

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/10/20 08:58:26PM
1,699 posts

Paste-on fretboard markers


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

I haven't used them, but a couple of my guitar player friends use them for marking certain chords in unusual tunings.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/08/20 02:47:47PM
1,699 posts

What's fer dinner?


OFF TOPIC discussions

Real comfort food!

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/07/20 11:06:56PM
1,699 posts

What's fer dinner?


OFF TOPIC discussions

I made an upscale version of a British classic comfort food called Bubble & Squeak (from the sounds you get when cooking it).  The basic recipe is a bit of diced onion, smashed cooked potatoes, and chopped cabbage with salt & pepper. 

It's sorta what hash browns would like to be when they grow up!

My upscale version adds some minced garlic and subs Brussels Sprouts for regular cabbage.  Even more upscale would be the addition of bacon crumbles (but we're pescatarians).

You saute the onions first, then mash everything together in a skillet as the cabbage cooks.  Then form it into 1" thick cakes, and fry until seriously crispy on both sides.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/07/20 02:35:08PM
1,699 posts

Hondo HD2 - peg problems, worn finish


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

Dusty is spot on about the string pop sound!

Yes anyone who can use a screwdriver can change tuners -- especially a set on a bar.  You just need to make sure the new set has the round gear oriented towards the body of the dulcimer, not on the outward side.  This helps the tuners work properly; otherwise they can slip and not stay in tune.

You will need a very thin-bladed screwdriver though, so you don't strip the heads of those teenie screws.  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/07/20 12:25:24PM
1,699 posts

Hondo HD2 - peg problems, worn finish


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

I would just replace the tuners.  You can get a pair of cheap 4x4 mandolin tuners (4 tuners on a plate) for $15-$25 on Ebay.  Make sure you use the 'stick' which has the round gears on the body side, like the ones you show in the photo.  

Finish -- I would use a rub-on urethane (no rattle-can)

Strings winding neatly -- I always go through the hole, around the peg, and back through the hole as I pull the string on.  Then I  take a quarter turn or so of the knob to bring the string up in tension.  After I get to the note I need, I trim the ends of the strings close to the tuner shaft.  No sense in winding around the tuner shafts multiple times.  No matter where a string breaks, you'll never be able to shorten it and re-use it!

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/06/20 10:51:27PM
1,699 posts

Where to Purchase Tablature Music for the Dulcimer


Dulcimer Resources:TABS/Books/websites/DVDs

Literally hundreds, if not thousands of sources for FREE dulcimer tab in every genre you can think of.  Far too many to start listing.  I suggest you start with a Google search on phrases like "Dulcimer Celtic Tab", "Dulcimer tab Blues"  or "Dulcimer Tab folk music".  Also search on specific song titles.

Realize that virtually all "modern" music (anyone writing/recording since say 1940) is protected under copyright, and those things you will have to buy.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/06/20 07:02:16AM
1,699 posts

TAB for Mambo Italiano


Dulcimer Resources:TABS/Books/websites/DVDs

If you are a Chord-Melody player, you can use the guitar SMN or Tab to give you the chords you need at which points in the song.  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/05/20 10:52:19PM
1,699 posts

TAB for Mambo Italiano


Dulcimer Resources:TABS/Books/websites/DVDs

That's still under copyright protection -- gonna be hard to find tab for that.  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/04/20 11:37:43AM
1,699 posts

Hair line crack bottom back of walnut McSpadden


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

As Bob says -- it "ain't broke" so don't try to fix it.    Especially since you don't know what Cyano Acrylate "superglue" is --  you'd be apt to glue your fingers together shakeNo !  You need to ask McSpadden what they use for "varnish" -- it could be any number of things like polyurethane, varnish, shellac, various oils.  

As Bob says too, those truly do not look like cracks, they look like grain going around a knot.  Since you say there's no light coming through cracks, gluing would not help.  Those marks could have been there since the beginning, and you're just noticing them.  I don't even see any evidence of the "varnish" cracking there.

It NOT as if McSpadden, or anyone who builds dulcimers goes deliberately out of their way to hide imperfections, as your luthier suggests!  That said, darn few of us builders can afford to just cut the back off and scrap the instrument or replace it.  If there had been real cracks, McSpadden would not have sold it.  Or they would have fixed the cracks and then sold it as a defect instrument.  

Word of advice -- do not take your instrument to any old luthier for work unless absolutely necessary.  Always talk to someone who is a dulcimer builder/luthier.   Dulcimer are NOT guitars, they are not built the same way, they don't make sound the same way as guitars. mandolins and such like; and they are not 'set up' like those other instruments either.  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/04/20 07:02:06AM
1,699 posts

Hair line crack bottom back of walnut McSpadden


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

Not much McSpadden can do:  replace the instrument is about it.  If they put  new back on it will probably wipe out the "unbelievable tone".   

They could dribble some very thin CA "superglue" into the cracks; let that dry, and then cover with additional "varnish".  But you can do that at home just as easily and just as well.  That's what I would do.  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
03/02/20 01:21:37PM
1,699 posts

Leveling of frets - why?


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

Not particularly indicative of an on-going problem.  Vagaries of heat and cold and humidity, and differing expansion and contraction rates of wood and metal can occasionally cause a fret to be pushed up slightly out of its slot.  A fret that is too high can cause all sorts of strange noises that are not "sweet music". 

Long ago I was living high and dry in Mile High Colorado.  I built a dulcimer for a customer who lived in sea level Alabama.  When the instrument left Colorado the frets were perfectly level.  By the time it arrived in Alabama two of the frets were raised.  Ship it back to me and the frets were level again.  Rinse and repeat.  The customer had to have the frets leveled down there at sea level; then it played perfectly for as long as it was owned. 

Doesn't happen often, but it does happen.  

Also, some people press down on the strings/frets very hard and the strings will wear notches in the surface of frets made of inferior metal. 

That's why sometimes frets have to be leveled or "dressed".  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
02/23/20 08:39:12AM
1,699 posts

Take a guess on who made this dulcimer


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

ANY dulcimer that sits for more than a few days in the wrong environment can get frets popping up.  Especially if coming from a very dry climate to a very damp one.  I remember building a dulcimer for a lady in Alabama, when I was living in Colorado.  Action was perfect hen I shipped.  By the time she got three or four frets had raised as the change in humidity forced the frets up...

Action height will also affect whether frets need to be adjusted too.  Lower actions are more sensitive as it were to slight differences in fret height.  Luthiers can be more or less sensitive to whether frets need adjusting than customers as well.

It's all part of the "game" really.  The game of setting up a dulcimer to the way you like it, not the way it was necessarily presented to you.  Just like changing strings, you really should learn to do simple things like setting the action height yourself... all it takes is sand paper, a nickel, a dime, and time.  

 

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
02/22/20 09:53:34AM
1,699 posts



There are quite a few "bowed dulcimers", played upright between the knees.  Ken Bloom of Pilot Mountain, North Carolina is the major builder and promoter of bowed dulcimer.  It  is a very old traditional style of playing. 

I have dimensions and photographs of a bowed zither/dulcimer originally made in 1865, in a museum in Pennsylvania, and will be building a replica in the near future with the blessing of the museum curator and staff (I already built another instrument from their collection by the same builder).


updated by @ken-hulme: 02/22/20 09:54:37AM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
02/22/20 09:47:52AM
1,699 posts

Dancing!...(feet as instrument)


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Check out any of Aubrey Atwater's youtube vids.  I've seen her fiddle and clog and sing -- an "all in one" performer.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
02/21/20 04:03:30PM
1,699 posts



Well, you can't really hold the dulcimer in an "autoharp hug", but you can play it "upright" like a guitar; either seated or standing.  Google any of the videos of Robert Force; especially his teaching vids forthe songs Did You? and Wellyn as well as any of his performance videos. He and his late partner Al D'Ossche sort of invented the "guitar style" fifty years ago.

Aussie, eh!@  That explains "vaulted" whistlehappys   What state are you in?  You lot don't have maple but you have some fabulous woods for lutherie down there.  Do you know of the builder Richard Troughear?  How about a player named Anne Bowman?  

Any reasonably hard wood 6-12mm thick will do for a possum board.  The board can be rectangular or sawn to the shape and size of your instrument.  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
02/21/20 08:00:49AM
1,699 posts



Here's a simple possum board with one of my dulcimers on it.  The plank is 1/4" maple (but you can use whatever wood you choose), and the "stand offs" are pieces of 1/2" x 3/4" pine.  


Possum Board 2.JPG Possum Board 2.JPG - 222KB
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
02/21/20 07:58:02AM
1,699 posts

Airline Travel With a Dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

OK -- here's a photo of my sono-tube cardboard dulcimer case with the jig for my Holly Leaf dulcimer next to it, for scale.  Just a tub, two 1/2" plywood disks for top & bottom, some duct tape and a piece of nylon strapping for a handle. This carries 2 dulcimers, one of which is 39" from end-to-end.  I roll them up together in small-bubble bubble-wrap until I get a squeeze fit, then tape on the ends.  Have used this technique to ship dulcimers all over the place@

Pardon the messy workshop/garage...

 


Sonotube case.JPG Sonotube case.JPG - 254KB
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
02/21/20 07:10:43AM
1,699 posts



Yep -- what Matt said.  You could put in a soundpost (and some of the pre-Revival era builders did) but it wouldn't do any good if you play it in your lap because any added vibration on the back is muted by your lap.  

The easiest way to get more un-amplified sound is a Possum Board.  Basically it's a thin plank the length of your dulcimer, with a couple 1/4" square dowels glued across it near the head and tail end of where the dulcimer will sit.  If you ask over in the Dulcimer Making Group, we'll be happy to help you put one together from a board that you can get at Home Despot or Lowe's.  

BTW -- most of us don't call that a "vaulted" fretboard; we refer to it as an Arched fretboard.


updated by @ken-hulme: 02/21/20 07:15:47AM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
02/20/20 11:05:15PM
1,699 posts

Airline Travel With a Dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

It's 11 PM and time to hit the sack.  I'll see about getting a pic of my tubular case in the AM.  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
02/20/20 03:27:22PM
1,699 posts

Airline Travel With a Dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

It's not TSA you have to worry about, it's the particular airline.  Last year, flying from Florida to Kentucky for the Berea Traditional Dulcemore Gathering, Allegiant made me check my handmade case because they said "it didn't look like a musical instrument case", and there was no recourse but to put it in the belly of the beast.  On the way home on American, they let me have the same case in the cabin where the crew keep their goodies.  

BTW, the case was a 40" length of 8" diameter, 1/2" thick hard cardboard "sonotube" used as a form for casting concrete pilings.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
02/20/20 07:21:19AM
1,699 posts

Any banjo players out there?


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

I got my banjo playing buddy a new tuner for Christmas --  Acme Wirecutters!!~!

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
02/17/20 01:20:07PM
1,699 posts

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


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Don -- once you're a Group member, you don't "sign on" to that group.  You'll find the Groups you are a member of listed under your name when you hover over it with the cursor.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
02/17/20 01:17:51PM
1,699 posts

Trying to get in touch with member


Site QUESTIONS ? How do I...?

PMs here are found under your name on the right-top of the page.  Hover over your name to see the drop-down menu.  That's also how you access groups that you are a member of.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
02/14/20 04:23:04PM
1,699 posts

Epinette


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

The so called Pennsylvania scheitholt isn't really a scheitholt.  It was called by its builders and players a zitter or zither.  The term scheitholt is/was limited to a very small region of the Tyrolean Alps -- a smaller part of the country than the area in America where a dulcimer is called an Indian Walking Stick.  Why Michael Praetorious identified the scheitholt as such in his 1618 book De Organographia we will never know.  But most American dulcimer players who see tha sketch automatically assume that that instrument is the ancestor of the dulcimer.  

Hobbyhorse is right -- his instrument is an Epinette, one of several varieties of epinette.  The distinction has nothing to do with who drew up the plans.  There are structural differences between an epinette and a scheitholt and a fretted zither.  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
02/12/20 10:31:21PM
1,699 posts

Introduce Yourself!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

@Appalachiandreamer -- We've talked quite a few new builders through their first dulcimer in that Group.  We can get you going with designs, materials, hand-holding help... whatever you want/need.

I see you're from North Carolina.   You might be interested too see  that I build a pretty rare North Carolina dulcimer style called a Holly Leaf shape.  The original was built in Burnsville, NC around the time of the "recent unpleasantness" -- 1860s.  It's a traditional dulcemore  -- that is it's not suited for playing modern three-finger chord-melody style, but rather for traditional noter & drone style playing.  


My Burnsville.JPG My Burnsville.JPG - 307KB

updated by @ken-hulme: 02/12/20 10:35:09PM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
02/11/20 08:14:42AM
1,699 posts

Finger picks that don't sound like finger picks!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

IIRC there are plastic ones, which should sound less metallic and more finger-y.  

 /