Forum Activity for @ken-hulme

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
02/03/21 10:35:39PM
1,819 posts

Tell us about your VERY FIRST dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Sure ocean-daughter, ask away. Best to do it in another thread, not this one.  If you Join the Dulcimer Building Group, I have a thread there called Sawn-Frame Dulcemore which details how I started the construction.  You have to Join to be able to read and write comments on the threads.  You can ask questions there if you like.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
02/02/21 07:46:18AM
1,819 posts

How is the COVID-19 coronavirus affecting you?


OFF TOPIC discussions

Hi Mary:

I'm about 400 miles south of you in Fort Myers.  Our county sucks at getting out the vaccine(s).  I'm trying to get it through our local VA, and even they haven't gotten to all the high-risk and vets 75 and up yet.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
02/01/21 07:08:20AM
1,819 posts

Tell us about your VERY FIRST dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Welcome ocean-daughter.  Bud & Donna were my intro to the dulcimer too; over 40 years ago.  I too built a kit and have gone from there.  Sounds like you're having a nice dulcimer, journey, 

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
02/01/21 07:04:34AM
1,819 posts

How to get adhesive residue off a fretboard?


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

One of those white  "kitchen erasers" should remove the residue easily.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/28/21 06:55:46AM
1,819 posts

What Are You Working On?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Kusani -- make sure that your two shapes have the same interior volume (cubic inches), even though that means they will be different sizes.  That's the only way to ensure that any tone differences you get will come from the shape not the volume. We KNOW that interior volume differences cause differences in tone -- large volumes = more bari-bass response

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/26/21 07:21:55PM
1,819 posts

What Are You Working On?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Thing to watch out with Sniff.numachi is that most often their tab is listed "backwards" by modern standards -- they list DAA for example as AAD, which gets lots of new players in trouble...   Try www.Contemplator.com for those kinds of tunes.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/26/21 07:04:40AM
1,819 posts

Any body have an idea what this is ?


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Didn't Robin Clark up in Wales do some trapezoid dulcimers?

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/23/21 10:07:02PM
1,819 posts

Jon Pickow's last performance


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

That's how his mother taught him to play.  Jean Ritchie never played and sang melody.  She invariably played soft harmonies or counter-melodies and sang the melody.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/23/21 10:03:54PM
1,819 posts

VSL, Tuning and Breaking Strings


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

"So I’ve read the recommendation to get one dulcimer in the 30” range and one in the 26” range to help this issue."

Not sure who recommended this, but IMHO it's not a useful recommendation -- Either VSL can easily give you ALL of the tunings you want with more than adequate ease of play -- simply by selecting the right strings.


"I’m pretty sure it’s not impossible to use 2 30” VSL dulcimers instead."

True -- or two 26" VSL instruments.


"I guess I’m trying to figure out how much playability I’ll lose going with two 30” dulcimers."

IMHO -- not enough to even bother thinking about 


"Is the benefit of having one shorter VSL worth making an extra effort to find one or is it splitting hairs?"

IMHO -- "Splitting hairs" is putting it mildly.   'Not worth even thinking about' is closer to reality.  IMHO there is NO benefit to having a shorter and a longer VSL instrument. 

After you've been playing for a couple years you will decide which VSL you prefer, and gravitate towards instruments of that size.  Decades ago I built and played 28" and 30" dulcimers... over time I have come to prefer short scales... these days I build and play 24"-27" VSL  dulcemores.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/23/21 08:52:20AM
1,819 posts

VSL, Tuning and Breaking Strings


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

We need to know three things to help --

1.  the VSL of the dulcimer(s) involved,

2.  the current string gauges on each instrument,

3.  the tunings you are trying to reach on each instrument   

You said " I think a melody string E is the highest note."  which makes no sense. Any string can be any open note.  It all depends on the gauge of the string.   

A string particular gauge of string cannot necessarily be any note -- notes too high for a particular gauge will break a string as you try to tune up.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/19/21 07:02:13AM
1,819 posts

Anyone with Deering dulcimer info?


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

Welcome to the world of dulcimers!  The other Ken has given you a good answer about depth of sides and factors influencing sound.  I'm going to suggest that you all take a gander at the essay I wrote years ago for new players.  It's called I Just Got A Dulcimer, Now What? .  It's an illustrated glossary of terms, so we all speak the same jargon, plus answers to many beginner questions about tuning, playing, care and feeding of your new friends...   You can find the article in our Beginner Players Group (you just have to "join" the Group), and download it free:

Ken Hulme's "I Just Got A Dulcimer, Now What?" Article - Strumelia | fotmd.com

IThe link is in the first post at the bottom of the Topic...

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/18/21 02:09:30PM
1,819 posts

Anyone with Deering dulcimer info?


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

Can't tell you what wood the side are  the top appears to be spruce.  The fingerboard and tail cap appear to be walnut.  Not sure what the fretboard and tuning head are they could be birch. 

Is she playing this as "four-equidistant"  or "doubled melody" strings?  If the latter, the melody strings are too far apart.  True diatonic fret layout -- no 6+ or 13+ fret>

A Deering dulcimer should have a maker's label inside the bottom, visible from the left (nearest) rear sound hole.  Deering instruments, including the banjos, were started by Greg Deering.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/14/21 08:41:09AM
1,819 posts

Introduce Yourself!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Welcome Nate!   As Dusty says there are ways to keep the dulcimer more stationary.  Another option besides a strap is a stand or lap-height table like a TV tray that supports the dulcimer so that you do not have to.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/10/21 09:41:59AM
1,819 posts

Hollow or solid fret boards


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

I prefer quartersawn wood, with the grain running at close to right angles to the FB. 

I also hollow using a Forstner bit, but with holes leaving 1/4" or less on either side, and nearly touching down the line, and I seldom get any warp. I've had solid boards warp in almost every direction possible.  I think a flahysawn fingerboard glued up before drilling holes helps with stability.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/04/21 06:55:34AM
1,819 posts

"Floating" Fretboards


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

Bill -- they're all glued to the top.  It's just that floating FBs have the area under the bridge separated.  IIRC floating a dulcimer fretboard does not have "significant" effect.  Whatever "significant" means;  almost no one builds floaters these days.  That was one of the post-revival ideas of Howie Mitchell I think.  These days many builders offer arched fretboards which significantly reduce the amount of FB-to-top contact while still supporting the fretboard for its entire length.

If you can find the archives of EverythingDulcimer, I believe that Richard Troughear, from Australia -- who for years had an on-going series of Experiments which he posted there -- did an experiment with the same body with different FBs including a floater.  Almost no other builders conduct true scientific investigations into various aspects of dulcimer construction; rather they give us quantitative, not qualitative comparisons -- feelings not numbers.


updated by @ken-hulme: 01/04/21 06:55:55AM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/03/21 09:26:22AM
1,819 posts

Recommendations on capos


Dulcimer Resources:TABS/Books/websites/DVDs

Best or cheapest?  You can make a perfectly adequate capo from a couple dollars worth of materials from your local DIY store -- a 1/4-20 bolt, a wing nut, a short piece of rubber/plastic tubing, and a couple scraps of wood.  Or you can spend upwards of $30 plus shipping for a capo that looks sexy and also holds the strings down.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
01/03/21 09:22:49AM
1,819 posts

Fret Markers


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

Lisa has it right.  Too many fret markers, like Matt apparently does, are no longer meaningful, merely decorative.  The  original intent of the fret marks is/was to indicate to the player significant points in the fret pattern, not just decorate the bare spaces between the frets. 

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/31/20 06:51:31AM
1,819 posts

Sad News -- RIP Ralph Lee Smith


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

R.I.P. Ralph.   
My greatest regrets as a dulcimer person are that I never had the chance to meet and know Ralph and Jean Ritchie.


updated by @ken-hulme: 12/31/20 06:52:49AM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/29/20 03:47:22PM
1,819 posts

DIY? building a dulcimer kits/plans


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


There are no plans for cardboard dulcimers.  There are only kits to put together or completed cardboard instruments.  The kits are under $100. 

You can easily make a trapezoid or box dulcimer body roughly 30" long by 5" to 8" wide by 2" deep using tape and Elmers glue. If you want anything fancier, I suggest you buy a cardboard kit.

A length of straight 1x2 pine or poplar or maple from one of the big box stores is your fretboard for only a couple dollars. 

A set of inexpensive tuners is under $20 and fretwire is under $7 from CBGitty or StewMac.

A set of strings under $8 usually from any music shop. 

The spacing for the frets you can get from WFret or the StewMac calculator or a couple other places for free.  

If you'd like any help in the construction process, join us here in the Groups area under Building Dulcimers, and we can easily talk you through a build...


updated by @ken-hulme: 12/29/20 03:48:57PM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/25/20 11:40:23PM
1,819 posts

Fret Markers


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

Back in the day I put fret markers on my builds, but not any more. As my brother Ken says, when you make and play only true diatonic fretboards, the spacing pattern tells you everything you really need to know.


updated by @ken-hulme: 12/25/20 11:40:56PM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/25/20 08:49:04AM
1,819 posts

Restoring the Delser, I accidentally erased the other.


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


Nathina said; "I am not adverse to tuning the galax to traditional but it will be for sale." 

Which is precisely the reason why I would not change it: People looking to buy are going to expect a Galax style instrument to be set up for Galax play. 

IMHO you should be "restoring" an instrument, not making it into something it isn't. 

Most modern players won't look at that dulcimer and say "Ah ha!  A Baritone".  They're going to see a traditional style instrument. 

As far as stains -- why not let the beauty of the wood come through -- use Tung oil or Boiled Linseed Oil or even satin or matte Urethane and skip coloring the wood.


updated by @ken-hulme: 12/25/20 08:51:36AM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/24/20 04:51:46PM
1,819 posts

What do you think of this one? 5 str Dulcimer with wooden tuning pegs


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

Someone did a nice job.  Are the top & back veneer?   Beautiful painting, but not nearly enough sound hole area.  Commercial violin pegs, but not everyone wants to take the time to carve their own (I don't!).  Maker's label?  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/24/20 12:48:35PM
1,819 posts

A Very Merry Christmas to all my New Friends


OFF TOPIC discussions

Eleven Years Ago this post was started!!  To all who were here then, and all the new folks since then,  Happy Holiday, which ones you celebrate!

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/22/20 04:59:01PM
1,819 posts

crosby dulcimer from wisconsin?


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

As Dusty says, nut/bridge material is up to you, the commercial ones today are usually Delrin(tm) or a harder plastic.  Most of us use a small triangular "jeweler's" file t\o cut string notches in the nut/bridge.  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/22/20 07:32:02AM
1,819 posts

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


OFF TOPIC discussions

Anniversary of sorts.  After nearly a year, including the stress of Covid lockdown (and we take it very seriously), I am still 40 pounds lighter than I was in September of 2019.  Thank you WW.  No fancy expensive foods, just watching what, when and how much I eat. 

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/22/20 07:27:48AM
1,819 posts

The Drifting Thread...


OFF TOPIC discussions

What a great musical Rube Goldberg!

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/20/20 10:16:16AM
1,819 posts

A W Jeffreys Jr.


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

The first question is -- What is the VSL of this Jeffreys dulcimer?   THAT is a major determinate as to what the gauges should be.

I went to the Strothers String Choice calculator to see what I could see...

If the VSL is about 27" and the owner wanted to tune up to Ggg, then strings around .005 and .015 are good choices.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/20/20 09:49:09AM
1,819 posts

crosby dulcimer from wisconsin?


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

Hi nik;  

I've not heard of David Cosby as a builder, but it appears that this was his second dulcimer build (#2), back in 1978. 

A series of wide and close up photos may help use better identify things.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/18/20 04:32:00PM
1,819 posts

A Henry C Desler Just came in for restoration.


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

It helps prevent confusion if we all use the same terminology when describing instruments, and the terms used for dulcimers are not necessarily the same as those used for other stringed instruments. 

Mountain Dulcimers have a head block, a scroll or flat tuning head, a tail block, two sides (usually), a top, a back, a nut and bridge (but no saddle usually) and a fretboard which may also have a fingerboard on its top. Some have feet on the back. 

A "heavy, square" tail block is not necessarily a Galax style element; many instruments from different regions have large tailbocks of various shapes.  What normally distinguishes the Galax is it's double back, it's wide (7-10") elliptical shape (not teardrop), it's extreme depth (2.5" to 3.5") and usually 3 strings of the same thin gauge tuned normally to ccc or ddd.  Check out Kudzu Patch Dulcimers -- Ben Seymore is the "king" of Galax instruments...


updated by @ken-hulme: 12/18/20 04:34:12PM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/18/20 06:58:06AM
1,819 posts

A Henry C Desler Just came in for restoration.


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

Builder's name doesn't ring any bells.    Galax style dulcimers did/do not normally have feet.  


Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/17/20 05:08:30PM
1,819 posts

A most embarrassing question


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

"zen dulcimer".  Ah.   Grasshopper must learn seal lips when play music!  When I do deep meditation and really relax, my lips, teeth, jaws, etc.  I can have the same issue.  Luckily I meditate that deeply when lying on my back, so the liquid goes in not out.  Try playing dulcimer laying on your back -- strap the instrument to your music standshruggerlipssealeddulcimer1

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/16/20 06:57:28AM
1,819 posts

Just received a John A Maxwell


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

I agree with what Dusty said...  unless you're going to make it yours, rather than 'flip' it, I would leave the tuning pegs alone and add simple fine tuner beads behind the nut if you can.  If you don't have it, a couple drops of "Peg Dope" work wonders for making pegs work smoothly -- loosen the peg, put a couple drops where the peg fits into the scroll side, then re-tighten

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/14/20 07:03:11AM
1,819 posts

Strings


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I see Terry sells string sets in 24/16/12 and 26/16/13.   The 26/16/13 set may help but i wouldn't guarantee it. 

What I suggest is dropping Terry a note and explaining to him what you've explained here.  Rather than centering your strings on D, he may recommend buying strings ideal for the key of C; that way you'd be going up one step to D, and down only one step to B...

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/13/20 09:13:34AM
1,819 posts

Information on Jim Good Appreciated.


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

Not sure he contracts with anyone to do paintings on his instruments.  Contact him and ask.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/12/20 11:52:44AM
1,819 posts

Action is too low


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

The dime sits alongside the 1st fret.  The nickel sets on top of the 7th fret.  The strings should just touch the coins.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/12/20 10:32:47AM
1,819 posts

Strings


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

What is your normal tuning on the McCafferty?  Key of D -- DAd -- I'm assuming?  If so, going down to the key of C should be easily playable with those strings.  But going down to the key of B may be borderline 'floppy' for those strings and causing issues.

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
12/11/20 04:45:41PM
1,819 posts

information on Arthur West and Henry C Dessler


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

i found West's obit. but no real information.  He passed away in 2016.  Apparently a Mountain View AR native.  The one currently for sale on EBay certainly looks like a good example of 1980s dulcimer design and appears to be good craftsmanship.

Not a word on Henry C Desler, Dessler or Dressler 

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
11/29/20 01:07:30PM
1,819 posts

Ruggs & Jackel Pre Folkcraft


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

Yes that is a legit Folk Roots label. 

Rugg & Jackel made Darn Fine dulcimers!     As Dusty says, Capritaurus and Folk Roots were two different critters however.  The Folk Roots line was more of a production dulcimer than a hand-crafted dulcimer.  Are current Folkcraft better than a Folk Roots?  Depends on your personal interpretation of better.  

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
11/27/20 11:21:40PM
1,819 posts

Action is too low


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

Don:  as long as you're not getting any buzzing the action isn't too low and you don't have to worry.  But if you change strings and then get some buzzing it may be because the new strings are a tad larger or less tight.  Buzzes usually happen when you fret.  If you get buzzes from un-fretted strings there is definitely an issue.

 
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