Adventures with 'other' instruments...
The piano is easy. Push a button and a nice, clean tone comes out. The fiddle is tough. You have to practice for a year just to be bad at it.
I don't own a Ron Gibson dulcimer, but I've played two. One was a Barbara Allen baritone of which I posted a video fingerpicking a quick medley . The other was a used Jenny Lind model that I encountered in a music store. I played a couple of tunes on it and went back the next day to buy it but was too late; it was gone.
Ron's dulcimers look and sound great. His prices are very reasonable for the quality of instrument.
Looks like you have a solid plan, Dave. I hope you get a good turnout.
Looks like a really nice dulcimer; I hope it finds a loving and appreciative home. I've played two Ron Gibson dulcimers, and both were exceptional.
At the risk of coming off like a dulcimer nerd, I feel obliged to point out that what you indicate as the 9th fret is actually the 8-1/2 fret, the octave of the 1-1/2 fret. Any time you see three consecutive skinny frets on a dulcimer, there is an extra fret involved.
Nate, I just did the test and got 29/32. All my mistakes were 1/64 of a note. There were four such questions, and I got the last one correct, which makes me think you could get better if you practiced and trained your ear to hear such minute differences in pitch.
Edit: I did the test again and got 31/32. Still, the one I missed was a 1/64, and I was kinda sorta guessing on the other 1/64 questions.
So I can clearly hear the 1/32 interval, but the 1/64 is still giving me trouble.
Any idea how the quarter tones relate to cents? My understanding is that when we measure pitch in cents, each of the 12 half-notes of the chromatic scale measures 100 cents. So is the 1/64 equivalent to 1.5625 cents (1/64 x 100)? I'm trying to figure out how accurate an electronic tuner has to be for it to be better than my ears.
That's about what I know as well (see Chicago Chorale info here ). Niles claims to have heard a North Carolina girl sing a couple of lines, which he then enhanced and expanded into the song we know. Regardless of how honest he was, if he only heard an individual voice, there was no "original" harmonic structure, so any chords he added represent his own "embellishment," as says. There is no way to know whether the original was major or minor. And if it was modal, it was neither!
I assume you are playing in a drone style and have no extra frets.
Let's say your bagpipe tuning is Ddd. With the D drones, you can play in the keys of D or G.
If you tune to DdC, you would be in the aeolian mode in the key of D or the dorian mode in the key of G.
Some loss of volume when employing multiple slides or hammer-ons consecutively is inevitable. A pickup goes a long way to solving that problem, and some dulcimer fretboards are more responsive than others. So a lot of this is out of your hands (so to speak).
However, if you slide more deliberately and sharply from one fret to the next, you can create some extra pressure that will increase the volume and make the move sound more like a hammer-on. That is hard to do if you are sliding across several frets to get to a single note, however. This is something to work on.
In general, I do not consider the tablature indications for the left-hand legato techniques (hammers, pulls, slides) to be mandatory parts of the tablature. Depending on your fingering, a slide may be more appropriate than a hammer or pull or vice versa, so you have to take the tablature as a suggestion and develop your own approach. You might simply break up that long slide and pick the string again at some point to get the volume you need. You might also reduce the volume of the rest of the tune so that the loss of volume from the extended slide is less noticeable. And since good artists deliberately vary the dynamics of their playing, you might embrace the loss of volume as an expressive part of the arrangement.
It's so nice when the garden starts producing, isn't it? We have three different tomato plants all fruiting right now. The cherry tomatoes (sweet 100s) look like they'll be ripening first.
We had some friends over for lunch, and to accompany the grilled salmon, I made one of our summer staple salads: black rice with green onions, strawberries, and walnuts, tossed lightly with a lemon vinaigrette made with fresh-squeezed Meyer's lemons from our backyard tree.
The rice provides the substance, the strawberries some sweetness, the onions and lemon some zest, and the walnuts some crunch. It's an interesting combination that is super easy to make. No recipe required.
Molly, since the song is under copyright, you probably won't find free tab online anywhere. Maybe someone published tab in a book somewhere, but none that I know of.
That version of the song is in the key of D, so I would suggest just playing along until you figure it out. You can get the entire melody out of DAA or out of DAd if you have a 6+ fret.
Looks beautiful., John!
Can you do one with oatmilk paint? I'm lactose intolerant.
Michael, you will want to remove whichever of the double melody strings gets you closest to equidistant. Usually that is the outside string. But it's easy to measure or even just eyeball it.
If you have to go up to .022 it won't kill you (or the instrument). I use a .026 on all my standard-sized dulcimers.
Ken. I appreciate your thoughts and share many of them. Neither Acoustic Guitar nor Flatpicking Guitar Magazine are available in physical form anymore. When a new issue comes out and I get a pdf in my inbox, I skim through it once and never look again. It's not like a physical magazine that you leave on the coffee table and return to again and again.
Personally, I find I do read a bit on my medium-sized tablet. If you don't already, you might consider getting one, and pay specific attention to the size. Some are too big to hold comfortably, and the screens on smaller ones are too small. Find that goldilocks just-right spot for yourself.
But I question why you refer to the "small number of people on the web." There are more members of this site than there are subscribers to DPN. There are more dulcimer players engaging on Facebook than there are subscribers to DPN. To be blunt, the market has spoken. I think the first sign was when DPN stopped including classified ads. Websites such as this one are simply much more efficient and timely for selling used instruments than is a quarterly magazine, and yet those ads were a major source of revenue. That change was the first bit of proverbial writing on the wall.
So while I also lament the end of the hard copy of DPN, I would like to see the sunshine rather than the clouds. As you point out, the great achievement of DPN was to create and sustain a dulcimer community that was spread thin across the country. It brought us together. The people are still here. Dulcimer festivals are still happening, both in person and online. While we have seen many luthiers pass away over the last few years, many are still around and lots of new ones are making wonderful instruments. Pat Clark gets 100-200 people joining her Send in the Music dulcimer jam every single week! DPN played an important role for many years and created the connections that have made possible the flourishing of the dulcimer community online. Let's celebrate it for what it accomplished and what it has meant for us. And let's celebrate the dulcimer community. We can all make music by ourselves at home, but sharing that joy with others is why we read DPN or interact on FOTMD. In the end, it's all about the people, and we're still here.
I love my MMD and hope this one finds a loving home. You might check with David to see if he can identify the woods involved. That looks like some kind of highly figured walnut, but whatever it is, it's beautiful.
Nate, it's not a dumb question at all, and I've wondered about it myself. The historical origins of the two instruments are completely different. The techniques of playing the two instruments are completely different. So what, other than the name, brings them together?
In terms of instrument design, both are types of zithers. So there's that.
But I think the more important similarity is that both are traditionally diatonic. Yes, MD players like myself have added extra frets to get chromatic notes, and many professional HD players play modern instruments with chromatic notes added as well. But traditionally, both instruments were mainly diatonic.
It was so cool to wake up on the west coast and catch up on the photos and videos already posted celebrating IADD. My monthly online dulcimer club met today and I want to thank for catching a screen shot before everyone left.
We played the American fiddle tune "Hollow Poplar," the Irish air "Bright Quiet Eily O'Carroll," and the Jimmy Rodgers tune "Waiting for a Train."
Then I also posted a tune on my own: "La Promeneuse," by the Québécois accordionist Réjean Lizotte.
Apparently, Bob and Janita used to have a dog, a chow chow to be precise. They and their hairy--dare I say maned--canine were in the nearby town of Morro Bay for the annual celebration of St. Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, on November 30. To celebrate this day the local residents of Scottish heritage had dumped a bunch of blue food coloring in the bay. Blue, after all, is the color of the Scottish flag, and supposedly ancient Scots warriors used to paint their bodies blue before they went into battle.
When Bob put the leash down to dig for some change in his pocket to offer a local street musician playing a cover of Joni Michell's "Blue," the chow chow bolted after a duck, chasing it into the bay. By the time they got the dog out of the water, it was, well, blue. Kind of. Here is an untouched photo of the lion/dog:
OK. So none of that's true. I made it all up. Sorry. I have no idea either.
So sorry to hear of David's passing. He was a fine luthier, and his student model dulcimer helped hundreds of people learn the dulcimer without breaking the bank. I still have one as does one of my students.
As a general rule, we might assume that VSL independent of other variables has some effect on volume and sustain, but the other aspects of design weigh heavier, I'm sure. It was probably once the case that baritones in general had longer VSLs, but there are several luthiers now (New Harmony, Folkcraft . . . ) making baritones with a 25" VSL. (After all, if Taylor can offer their GS Mini as an acoustic bass, then anything is possible.)
As a chord player, I find shorter VSLs much more comfortable. Yes, I can stretch to that 1-2-4 A chord on a dulcimer with a 28" VSL, but it feels like I'm stretching. That same chord on a dulcimer with a 25" VSL is just plain comfortable.
There are a few luthiers (Folkcraft, Terry McCafferty) who use the same design and make dulcimers with varying VSLs by moving the placement of the bridge (McSpadden moves the nut for the same purpose, but I'm a little skeptical of that approach). You might ask them what they've noticed about the effect of VSL on the volume, sustain, and tone. I have a 25" McCafferty, and I suspect that had I opted for the 25.8" or 27" model, I would have a wee bit more sustain, but I doubt the tone and volume would change much.
You might feel otherwise if you were trying to make a living as a songwriter.
, the music to which @natebuildstoys links provides tab to play the chords, but not the melody, in the key of G. If you don't have a 1.5 you could just play that C chord as a 346 or 666. Another possibility would be to transpose everything to D and use the chords you are used to (D, Bm, G, etc.).
The song is under copyright, so it is illegal to post free tab to the melody. However, you can buy a "packet" from Tull Glazener that includes tab and a lesson on CD.