Forum Activity for @james-phillips

James Phillips
@james-phillips
08/26/20 05:02:38PM
78 posts

Assessing Tone


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

The other thing is that tone is very subjective.  Even in the same wood species, it can very.  As well, tuning can be a factor as well.  I have a dulcimer in Bagpipe tuning that is walnut and sycamore top and to me, it sounds bright and cheerful like what you expect from an all cherry.  Just my own 2 cents to add to the discussion.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
12/17/18 05:43:41AM
78 posts



I have 2 that I use, but if it was just one, I would keep my FolkRoots teardrop baritone dulcimer that I keep in G-gg-g bagpipe tuning.  That way I can play in the keys of C and G.  I just used it in a video I posted.  It took me a while to get used to it but I like it a lot.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
07/31/17 06:53:54PM
78 posts

Tune You've Had The Most Fun Playing?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

This one is a doozy but my most fun to play would either be Wildwood Flower or Ode to Joy.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
04/09/17 08:18:22AM
78 posts

What are you reading right now?


OFF TOPIC discussions

I am going to be re-reading Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie.  I saw the movie for the first time in a while a couple weeks ago and decided I would re-read the book.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
01/29/17 09:39:14PM
78 posts

Had an idea


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I had an idea  that I was thinking of earlier .   Not sure if this is the right forum  or not, but here  goes : To make it easier  to find fellow members  videos  on YouTube ,  could I suggest using Fotmd in the searth terms  people use when posting  a  clip?  It is a suggestion for whatever  it is worth, and one I will be adding onto my videos  when I get home from work on Monday . 

James Phillips
@james-phillips
10/23/16 12:23:09PM
78 posts

sweetwater dulcimers


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Paula, what you should be searching for is Sweet Woods dulcimers.  Sweetwater is an online music store that carries guitars, amps, and a whole lot of other stuff.   http://www.sweetwoodsinstruments.com/

James Phillips
@james-phillips
09/26/16 09:39:09AM
78 posts

Strings for Modern Mountain Dulcimer


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

Or, if you have your old strings, just take it to a local music store and have them measure the gauges of strings used.  That way you get the exact gauge that was used.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
09/17/16 03:41:26PM
78 posts

noter/drone 6 string dulcimer players?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Have a question and wasn't sure where to post this, so thought this would be a good as place as any to post it.  Any noter/drone 6 string dulcimer players among us?  Did you have to adapt your strumming techniques?  Any insights would be appreciated.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
04/17/16 07:52:19PM
78 posts

Looking for tabs/books devoted to old style drone & noter playing


Dulcimer Resources:TABS/Books/websites/DVDs

The other thing, which I also answered on Facebook, is that if you find a melody line tab in DAd, you just have to add 3 frets, and you can have it in any Ionian tuning you are in, like DAA, EBB, CGG or Reverse, DGd.  My own playing is strictly noter/drone, but I tune things a bit different and don't want to hijack your thread to explain.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
04/09/16 08:58:25AM
78 posts

Recent article in a local paper.


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Kevin, now don't forget us when you become famous.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
03/05/16 06:29:02PM
78 posts

Sad news- Rest in peace our good friend John Phillips


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I am sad to hear about this.  John and I talked some, mostly privately, and he always encouraged me to follow my own muse.  RIP.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
12/20/15 05:36:12PM
78 posts

New Dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

congrats on the new dulcimer!

James Phillips
@james-phillips
11/08/15 08:52:46AM
78 posts

Tell us about your VERY FIRST dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

My first dulcimer I got when I moved back the Urbana/Champaign area, where it was in a resale shop.  It was a 3 string AW Jefferey's model, with wooden friction pegs.  This was back in 1999.  I was mostly playing guitar and some autoharp at the time, but it intrigued me, so I bought it.  Even though I didn't play it, it did make a nice looking decoration in the couple of apartments we lived in.  I eventually in the mid 00's sold it to a member of the autoharp discussion list I was on to a member who also played dulcimer.  

James Phillips
@james-phillips
10/18/15 08:23:40AM
78 posts

need help with a song tab, Home on the Range


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I saw, maybe I should have clarified Ionian tuning, so I will print out one of these tabs and add 3 save for the jump to the middle string parts.  

James Phillips
@james-phillips
10/17/15 09:00:41PM
78 posts

need help with a song tab, Home on the Range


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I have a song request for a tab that I don't have in a book, or have scene on ED, Home on the Range.  If someone has a melody line tab that they could send me, I would greatly appreciate it.  

James Phillips
@james-phillips
10/14/15 05:04:11PM
78 posts

acoustic bass guitar


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Dusty, for a while I played electric bass in our church praise band, with no experience other then that I had played acoustic guitar for 8 years prior.  I found I really only used my first and second fingers and sometimes the third but never the pinky.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
10/13/15 09:06:18PM
78 posts

acoustic bass guitar


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Neat. Have fun with it Dusty, and maybe post something with it when you feel up to it.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
09/13/15 09:58:52AM
78 posts

Positive game-changers in your progress


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Mine was a variety of factors.  I am not knocking chord melody nor finger style at all, but I realized when I got back to playing dulcimer in 2013 that while I love those styles, I could not execute them well on the dulcimer to do it justice.  So instead I worked on noter style playing, using CGG Ionian tuning.  I worked on a song at a time, instead of a bunch at once.  That way I could say I could play (insert song title) very well, instead of a bunch of songs so-so.  

I also worked on my strumming technique, and started doing the alternate strumming you see in my video clips.  At first I got it down for slower songs, then started working on faster songs with it, like Wildwood Flower and Old Joe Clark.

Lastly, I figured out what tunings and set-ups worked best for me and my music.  I got into Bagpipe tuning, and use that on 2 of my dulcimers to-day.  I also have on my Bagpipe tuned instruments the 6.5, which I know some traditionalists will stick there noses up the air about, but my rational is this: If tuned Ddd Bagpipe, from the open fret I get key of D mixolydian, and if it does not dip below the scale, D major.  From the 3rd fret I get key of G major.  Like having 2 dulcimers in one.  As well, if I do a reverse capo under the drones on the first fret, I get E minor.  The flip is that I also had gotten a mean tone fretted McSpadden hourglass, no 6.5, doubled middle string, and tuned E-BB-B.  Partially because there was talk about this fretting system no doubt because of John Henry Crocker on this site, and seeing a video of someone in the UK playing a McSpadden in this set-up, I decided to bite the bullet with it.  So on some songs, I like to use this.  Another thing I figured out for me was that I prefer to play with a single melody string, as to my ears, it has a cleaner sound, so I either prefer equidistant 4 string or a doubled middle string.

 

So there you go, the long winded answer to a simple question Laugh


updated by @james-phillips: 09/13/15 06:36:33PM
James Phillips
@james-phillips
07/25/15 12:23:41PM
78 posts



Sheryl, what you do with the suction cup pickup is to plug it into the input slot on your electronic tuner, then put the suction cup part on the instrument.  I first learned about the suction cup pick years on the autoharp discussion list, and how it easily helped pick up the lower F, G and C strings on the autoharp, which some tuners would not pick up that well at all.  I did recently get a Snark tuner, but I use it mostly on my guitars, and my McSpadden dulcimer because it has a flat head as opposed to a scroll type head.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
07/25/15 10:15:54AM
78 posts



I recommend a regular tuner like a Korg, plus a plug in suction cup like this  http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/TunerPickup  They stick onto the instrument to pick up the string sound even in a noisy room.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
07/12/15 01:34:41PM
78 posts

Rebuilding an old friend


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Neat! thank you for sharing that Robert.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
07/12/15 09:52:15AM
78 posts

classical guitars?


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

I am contemplating getting a new classical guitar, and have a couple leads.  There is a vintage Goya classical guitar with a case at a local music store, which I'd tried and sounds fantastic, or an Oscar Schmidt classical guitar.  These are just a couple ideas I have in my head, but want to hear some more, and maybe some yay or nay about my leads.  Best,

James Phillips
@james-phillips
07/12/15 09:49:16AM
78 posts

Autoharp resources?


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Hello there, I can recommend a couple of people to send your autoharp to have a good going over.  You live in the same neck of the woods as Jeff Dantzler who owns  http://www.harpdoctor.com   As well, check out  http://www.autoharp.org  which is the home of Cyberpluckers, an autoharp discussion forum.  Hope this helps you on your journey with your autoharp.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
06/29/15 07:16:09PM
78 posts

Tenor Guitars


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

I must say, thank you for your clip. In a way, I feel responsible for you getting one, as I got 2 in the past winter, a vintage Harmony tenor guitar that was refurbished, and my Ibanez PFT2 - Natural, a mini dreadnought style, as opposed to the parlor size which you had gotten.  Both Ibanez' are super value for there money.  As I'd shared privately, and will say publicly, if Joni Mitchell played the Ibanez George Benson model electrics live in the late 70's and early 80's, then you know that Ibanez is a brand to be trusted.  I simply can not say enough good things about mine.

 

The one thing Cynthia and I discovered is that the best strings for these tenors believe it or not is the La Bella tenor guitar strings.  The strings D'Addorio makes supports GDAE tuning, but are way too heavy for the standard tenor tuning of C G D A.  I emailed the guy I bought the Harmony from to ask what strings he used, and he told me La Bella, so there you go.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
06/27/15 07:43:24AM
78 posts

Do You Have A 'Go To' or Favorite Dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

This is a doozie of a question for me as it just depends on what songs I want to practice.  Some songs sound better in certain keys, so I let that by my guide.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
06/21/15 01:50:34PM
78 posts

4 string equidistant Bagpipe tuning?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I wound up doing D d d d, and liking it for now, may try D D d d and will remember to widen the slot on the string guide.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
06/20/15 10:55:13AM
78 posts

4 string equidistant Bagpipe tuning?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Thanks Bob, much appreciated.  I had out the hourglass poplar I got from you back in December, and decided I wanted to get away from doubled melody but still keep it in Bagpipe, so wanted to get some ideas from the site.  Guess I'll be going to the music store a bit later in the day then for some new strings and try D D d d.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
06/20/15 08:22:14AM
78 posts

4 string equidistant Bagpipe tuning?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Got a question that I was thinking about, and wanted to find out about.  For people that play Bagpipe tuning, but have it 4 string equidistant, do you have it set up D D d d, D d d d, or how?  Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
05/29/15 07:04:56PM
78 posts

Newest Just intonated dulcimer just completed


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Nice playing and demonstration there Robert! If I may ask, why did you go with a slightly shorter vsl for the just intonated dulcimers you'd made?

James Phillips
@james-phillips
05/27/15 04:42:23PM
78 posts



If you were a little bit closer, I live in Urbana.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
05/25/15 10:42:28AM
78 posts

String sites people use


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I know re-stringing is not everyone's favorite thing in the world to do, but I decided I would restring a couple of my dulcimers over the weekend. Just finally finished the last one a bit ago At any rate, I had strings from juststrings.com, but I know people have mentioned other sites they order off, so my question is which string sites or sites do folks get there strings from?


updated by @james-phillips: 06/11/15 07:43:31AM
James Phillips
@james-phillips
05/24/15 09:26:06AM
78 posts

electronic tuners people use


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I wound up getting the Snark from a local music store when I got strings to restring a dulcimer. Works well and eliminates the need for me to use a Signal Flex guitar tuner pickup that I plugged into the Korg so it could tune in a noise environment. Thank you all for the suggestions, much appreciated

James Phillips
@james-phillips
05/23/15 08:39:50AM
78 posts

electronic tuners people use


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Good morning all,

My Korg CA30 chromatic tuner is on the fritz and I am thinking it is on it's way out. Changed the batteries, and still acting up. I am starting this to find out what electronic tuners people use and recommend. I have not bought an electronic tuner since I bought this back in mid 00's, so I have no idea what is out there nowadays.

Best,


updated by @james-phillips: 02/25/19 11:55:25AM
James Phillips
@james-phillips
05/16/15 01:20:32PM
78 posts

So if Jesus came to dinner, what would you play?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I'm going to change it to if "so and so" came to dinner as while I do play songs out of the hymnal, I am more spiritual then religious, if that makes sense. Mine would be Ode to Joy, In The Sweet Bye and Bye and Wildwood Flower.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
04/09/15 04:39:11PM
78 posts

Tunings you like to use on your dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Babs, you can play DGd tab, just use an Ionian mode tab for DAA. Same tab numbers, just will sound in G other then D.

James Phillips
@james-phillips
04/08/15 08:29:10PM
78 posts

Tunings you like to use on your dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Here is a thread I decided to start, rather then to hi-jack another thread, so here it is: What tunings do you like to use?

For me, I personally either like to use some form of Ionian tuning, or a Bagpipe tuning. Here is my list of tunings, and on which instrument:

D-d-dd, Bagpipe tuning. This is on an hourglass that I bought from Robert Schuler. It has the 6.5 fret on it, so from the open fret, I can do D mixolydian, D major (as long as it doesn't dip below the scale) and from the 3rd fret, key of G major. This, btw, is the only dulcimer I have with the 6.5.

E-B-BB, Ionian tuning. This is on an hourglass I ordered from Jack Ferguson. Nice clear, bell like sound.

DGd, Reverse Ionian. On a prototype student dulcimer from Dan Cox. To me, and a couple people people I'd played it for, it seems to have a bagpipe type sound. I know it isn't a "true" Ionian tuning, but most out of the box dulcimers these days are set up and strung for DAd tuning (which I don't use) so I personally feel that it is easier to take the A down to a G, rather then that d on down to A, because with the string gauge used for that high d going down, it will flop around like a clothesline, and sound dead.

DAA, Ionian tuning. On a student dulcimer from Dan Cox. This seems to be another that beginners would use. I don't know if it is the 155 specific scale Dan used for this, or what, but this does, like my E-B-BB tuned dulcimer, has a good bell like tone to it.

These, of course, are what I *prefer* to use, and on which instrument. Hopefully it isn't too too confusing


updated by @james-phillips: 10/27/19 12:02:25PM
James Phillips
@james-phillips
04/08/15 08:12:57PM
78 posts



Babs, personally, for me, Iplay by the numbers. I currently have four dulcimers I use, and since not a one of them is tuned the same, I just use a tab, and see what fits with what dulcimers. I won't hijack this thread with my tunings etc. To answer the question, and from what I learned over the years, Ken is right that it was around the late 60's. For example, in Jean Ritchie's The Dulcimer Book, she has everything laid out in C, but in her later teaching material, it's D.

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