Forum Activity for @Dusty Turtle

Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
07/20/17 05:46:02PM
898 posts

The Drifting Thread...


Off Topic discussions

I had a friend in the SF Bay Area who thought things through. He worked construction, but only Mondays-Wednesdays. He also poured wine in a wine bar those same nights.  So he put in six shifts in three days. Then he took Thursday-Sunday off every week. He and his wife had a small house up the coast near Point Reyes National Seashore and spent those four days there.  I'm sure the first three days of the week were hectic, but by switching jobs he reduced the tedium, and then, of course, he was able to enjoy a very relaxing four-day weekend every week.

By the way, he didn't play the dulcimer, but he was a monster on the spoons.  I used to love to jam with him and do those old ragtime/string band tunes. He really kept 'em jumpin'!

Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
07/20/17 05:40:04PM
898 posts

1978 Homer Ledford


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

Hey @mascis, if you can drive to Blue Lion, you can drive to the Redwood Dulcimer Day in Santa Cruz in August. Perhaps I'll see you and your Ledford there!  I'd love to see this special dulcimer.

Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
07/18/17 08:17:39PM
898 posts

How to form a local dulcimer group


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Dulcinina, about 5 years ago I started a dulcimer group from scratch. I had perhaps three or four email addresses that I collected at a dulcimer festival about three hours from where I lived. One of those original people agreed to host the event at her house.  Initially I recruited pretty heavily, looking through the member lists here and at Everything Dulcimer to find anyone within a few hours and invited them.  The first gathering we had perhaps 5 people, but we met every month and now the only times we've skipped a month has been when our meeting date was too close to a major holiday.

Towards the end of the first year I started a website to list tab for the songs we were playing and announce our meeting dates.  That website helped bring in a lot of people and I still get a new inquiry about every other month.  There are some tricks to building a website in order to get "hits" on search engines, so make sure you put the name of the town or at least a nearby city, the state you're in, the word "dulcimer" and any other obvious words on the home page of your website.

Eventually, a nearby music store heard about us and asked if we'd like to meet there instead. I thought people would prefer the privacy of a home, but moving to the store helped us get a lot more publicity, and we've been meeting there ever since.  We've had as many as 20 people show up (a lot for the west coast) but never less than 6.  For a while the music store was using the social site Meetup to announce our gatherings, and I'm sure we got some people that way, but we don't do that anymore.  I've thought about putting up flyers at other obvious spots, but we seem to have enough people so that kind of publicity hasn't been necessary.

One trick to keeping the group going is to make sure it appeals to people of all levels.  We begin our weekly gathering with a free beginners lesson. I think that's important if you want newbies to join.  Eventually people stop considering themselves beginners and skip that part, but it's good to keep it open. The second hour we devote to group play of our common tunes, a list that has been growing slowly.  Our third hour is a kind of song circle when people can play a song solo, call out a tune for group play, or just "pass" and sit and listen.  This third hour was created at the request of the beginners who wanted to hear what the more advanced players were playing, but it is a nice space for intermediate and advanced players to have an informal and friendly audience to work on new arrangements before they're fully ready for prime time. At the end we enjoy some finger food and friendly banter.  This organization, which evolved over time, has been key to keeping our gatherings interesting for people of different skill levels.


updated by @Dusty Turtle: 07/20/17 05:37:44PM
Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
07/07/17 11:02:55PM
898 posts

The Gauges of the Strings


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

I personally try to use the heaviest gauge strings that sound OK on a particular instrument.  Sometimes it takes some experimentation to find out what that is.  Heavier strings sound less tinny rounder.  They might require heavier callouses, but I find the improved tone to be worth it. Also, if you like to bend strings, you have more control with heavier strings since there is more resistance.  Also, because heavier strings are louder, you can play more delicately and still get decent volume, so they allow a greater dynamic range.

It never occurred to me to swap out wound strings for plain steel. Maybe I'll give that a try.

Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
07/01/17 02:16:57PM
898 posts

Tabs, Straps, & Cords


Off Topic discussions

Marg, I only just found this, but that's a great poster!

Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
06/27/17 01:56:44PM
898 posts

Show us your sound holes!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

marg: ken

( Linden leaf - a source of magical power ... "bleeding heart" - too sentimental or liberal)

Both of those meanings sound better than maybe 'sad'

thanks 

I am not even sure the design in question is usually considered a "bleeding" or "weeping" heart, both of which imply loss and sadness.  What about a "trailing" heart?  I have definitely heard that term used.  I think Ron Ewing refers to trailing hearts as a soundhole option for his dulcimers.  It might even be a reference to a rosary vine, which is sometimes called a string of hearts or trailing hearts plant.

string of hearts image.jpg

Of course, it is very likely that there is no one stable meaning to a single image, but that different luthiers think it means different things or even nothing at all but just looks cool.


updated by @Dusty Turtle: 06/27/17 02:00:17PM
Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
06/27/17 12:01:52AM
898 posts

Show us your sound holes!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Bob, your dulcimers are indeed beautiful.  I like that heart inlay in the end block.  And I've always been in awe of the delicate work evidenced in nice rosette. How pretty!

Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
06/26/17 12:11:20AM
898 posts

Show us your sound holes!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

This is a cool discussion topic in which I participated back when I was a newbie, could barely play a few tunes, and only had one dulcimer. Ah, those simple days of yore!  I still have that first dulcimer, by the way.

My most recent purchase is a McCafferty dulcimer.  The inlay on the fretboard centers on the fifth fret with a wolf silhouetted against a full moon. And then for position markers (on frets 1, 3, 5, 7, 10, 12) there are little stars positioned in such a way as to appear random but still mark the appropriate frets.  The four soundholes are quarter moons, with one little star, as you see in this picture.  My daughter insists that only one name is appropriate for this dulcimer: Luna.  So be it.

 

DSC_0008edit.jpg

Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
06/24/17 01:59:29PM
898 posts

'weeping hearts', 'trailing hearts' or 'crying hearts'


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

marg, here is Pristine2's homepage here at FOTMD.  He clearly has not been active recently.

As you can see from the ED discussion, even the explanations for the hearts differ among different luthiers, and those explanations may indeed be particular to those individuals rather than representing some broad folk tradition.  My uncle makes autoharps with a dog footprint as the soundhole. Why?  Because the autoharp is man's best friend?  Because music has left its imprint on his soul?  No. Because he likes dogs.  According to Ralph Lee Smith, Homer Ledford began making dulcimers with diamond-shaped soundholes for two reasons: to be different than other luthiers who were using hearts, and because they were easier to cut with a simple chisel.  Practical, rather than symbolic reasons.  But he received so many requests for hearts that he went back to making hearts instead (see Appalachian Dulcimer Traditions, 2nd edition, page 116).

It would be nice to find some interesting symbolic meaning to the trailing hearts, but it might be that we have to make something up.  If that's the case, don't worry; we have enough "tall tale tellers" at FOTMD!

Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
06/24/17 11:59:33AM
898 posts

We made the paper (in a good way)


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

 Cool!  Now that your famous, don't forget us little people who knew back when . . .

Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
06/24/17 11:56:34AM
898 posts

'weeping hearts', 'trailing hearts' or 'crying hearts'


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

 marg, Pristine2 is a member here as well, though he is not as active as he used to be.  You might consider contacting him to see if he has any information.

As an old psychology professor used to say, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.  I think those weeping hearts look really cool.  Maybe that's all there is to it.

Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
06/24/17 03:34:28AM
898 posts

'weeping hearts', 'trailing hearts' or 'crying hearts'


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I can't answer your question, Marg, about the meaning behind the weeping or bleeding hearts.  Someone asked that same question a few year ago on Everything Dulcimer and got no answer.

But I thought you might be interested in this discussion a few years back about the different sound holes on peoples' dulcimers.  I joined that discussion when I only had one dulcimer. I think I'll have to post again since I now have several and several others have passed through my hands.

Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
06/23/17 10:36:55AM
898 posts

Removing a melody string


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Patty's right on this, Trevor. You want to keep the three remaining three strings as equidistant as possible. On most dulcimers that will mean you remove the outer string.

Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
06/21/17 02:37:46PM
898 posts

Thumb pick


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Marg, it appears you are talking about your fretting hand and not your strumming/picking hand, correct?

I have not used a thumb pick for that purpose, but when I slide with my thumb I tend to bend my thumb over a little and use the edge of my nail. It takes the pressure off the skin and slides a lot easier.  I learned that trick from Linda Brockinton at my first ever dulcimer festival (Redwood Dulcimer Day) about 6 years ago.

Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
06/18/17 09:36:51PM
898 posts

Mel Bay's "Dulcimer Sessions" articles have all disappeared?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I just sent a message to Mel Bay via the website.  I just asked where the Dulcimer Sessions were. I'll post here when I get a response.

Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
06/18/17 09:25:56PM
898 posts

What Are You Working On?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

That must be so nice, Strumelia, to have someone to share your new instrument with. I bet you guys sound great together.

For the last several days I've been working virtually nonstop on Haydn's Minuet in G major as arranged in Larry Conger's book of classical tunes for the dulcimer.  The notes themselves are not too difficult, thought it took some experimentation for me to decide on the fingering I wanted to use.  The challenge, however, has been keeping the timing down. I keep speeding up, making the B part of the tune more and more difficult.  I started using a metronome religiously today, and hopefully that will lead to more consistent pace on my part.  

 

YouTube has lots of piano tutorials and performances of kids playing the tune, but this one seems closest to what it's supposed to sound like.

Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
06/15/17 09:27:43AM
898 posts

Tune You've Had The Most Fun Playing?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

John Keane: Karen and I both keep coming back to John Stinson's #2 because there are so many cool things to do with the chords.  We usually keep the same song structure each time, but we make subtle voicing and chord changes pretty much every single time that we play it.  Bing Futch taught me that tune a few years ago in Palestine, TX.  I'm really glad that he did. 

And I learned that song from your videos, John! Thanks so much!  It is indeed a fun one to play; the rhythmic possibilities alone are remarkable.


updated by @Dusty Turtle: 06/15/17 12:51:02PM
Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
06/15/17 12:53:36AM
898 posts

Tune You've Had The Most Fun Playing?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I've had fun with lots of tunes, but one I keep coming back to on the dulcimer, both individually and with my local group, is Southwind.  Something about it just fits the dulcimer so well.

Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
06/12/17 10:18:57PM
898 posts

Can any one tell me what these are called?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Dulcinina, any hardware or home improvement store will have plenty of plywood.  They might even cut it for you.

Here is Jean Ritchie with her limberjack: https://youtu.be/-tw--nybXmM


updated by @Dusty Turtle: 06/12/17 10:19:59PM
Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
06/12/17 07:40:40PM
898 posts

Can any one tell me what these are called?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Dulcinina, the board has to be super thin, so that it bounces easily. I am sure the ceiling fan blade is way too thick.

I have two limberjacks that came with boards. Both are rectangular pieces of plywood about two feet in length, 3 or 3-1/2 inches wide, and only about 1/8 of an inch thick.  


updated by @Dusty Turtle: 06/12/17 08:01:48PM
Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
06/11/17 11:11:27PM
898 posts

1978 Homer Ledford


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

Mascis, you got a deal!  Homer Ledford dulcimers are collector items.  That was the case even before he passed away.  Check out this discussion from a few years back on Everything Dulcimer.

Depending on the condition of the dulcimer, I would think a reasonable price would be $500 to $800.  But that's just a guess; others might know better.  It's possible it's worth more than that.

Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
06/08/17 08:21:37PM
898 posts

Can any one tell me what these are called?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

It's called a limberjack. There are one or two in my pics, but I can't link to them right now.
updated by @Dusty Turtle: 06/08/17 08:22:18PM
Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
06/06/17 10:28:46AM
898 posts

FOR SALE: Beautiful Tom Fellenbaum Teardrop Dulcimer


FOR SALE:instruments/music items/CDs/Wanted to Buy...

Jennifer, hover your cursor over your user name in the upper right-hand corner, and choose "Private Messages" from the drop-down menu.  Then you choose "new message" and begin to write "Brian G" in the recipient box.  His name should pop up and you click on it. Type your message and send!


updated by @Dusty Turtle: 06/06/17 10:29:04AM
Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
06/02/17 04:38:26PM
898 posts

Will the Circle be Unbroken


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Hi Tom,

First, please note that there is a group here called Help Me Learn This Song that is specifically devoted to members helping one another learn specific songs.  You might consider joining that group and posting your question there.

However, I can give an initial response here.  If you are only playing the chords,  you don't have to tune to DGD.  In DAd, your G chord is 3-1-0, your C chord is 3-4-6, and your D chord is 0-0-2.  There are other versions of those chords, but that will get you started.

You can also learn the song in DAd in the key of D and put a capo on the third fret.  Play the song as you learned it in D and you will magically be in the key of G.  Check out this demo I did for another FOTMD discussion where I use this very song to demonstrate how to use a capo: https://youtu.be/MR-T9l7KiEg.

But if you are in DGD, your basic G chord would be 3-2-0, your basic C would be 3-1-1, and your basic D would be 2-1-0.

I hope that helps. happys

 

 


updated by @Dusty Turtle: 06/02/17 05:20:00PM
Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
05/29/17 08:23:16PM
898 posts

I Composed Some Songs


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Giddykitty, most of us check out the Audio and Video sections on a regular basis to hear what music members are playing. Also, when you post there, we can always find it even years later by going to your homepage and clicking "audio" or "video." If you post your music in discussions it will get buried as new discussions are created.  Here is a screen shot showing you how to get started.  IF you still need help, let me know.

Audio   Giddykitty   fotmd.com.png


updated by @Dusty Turtle: 05/29/17 08:23:34PM
Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
05/29/17 07:59:13PM
898 posts

I Composed Some Songs


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Cool tune, giddykitty.  Are you playing or singing on that track?

If you want your music to be easily found by others, use the Audio feature to link from SoundCloud or the Video feature to link to YouTube or Vimeo.  Most of us regularly check those spaces rather than Forum discussions to see the new music that members are playing. You start from your home page and then click "audio" or "video" from there to see the "+" button to add a file.

Also, remember that there is a whole group dedicated to "Composing and Songwriting" and another one on "Arranging for Dulcimers." You may want to join those groups and and share the ups and downs of the process.

Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
05/28/17 01:23:39PM
898 posts

Strings


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Skip has it right. Check out Get Tuned for a visual depiction of the tuning of the dulcimer relative to the piano.

A couple of things to remember:

1) The suggestions you've received so far for string gauge are reasonable, but without knowing the VSL (vibrating string length, or the distance between nut and bridge), no one can really know for sure what gauge strings would be appropriate.

2) Your mileage may vary.  Play around a little to find your personal preferences.  I have discovered that I like slightly heavier strings than most, at least for flatpicking.  But I often tune down to C for fingerpicking because I like a little give in the strings, something I definitely don't want when flatpicking.

3) Steel is steel and strings are strings.  Don't worry about brands.  Just figure out what gauge you want for each string and buy single strings, avoiding sets which might not have exactly the right gauge for each string and also cost more per string.  Once you know what gauges you want you can buy in bulk and save even more.

3a) The exception to the statement above is that wound strings come in a few different varieties.   The most common are nickel wound and bronze wound.  Take the time to discover your preferences.  Personally, I like the bronze-wound strings because the tone is more mellow.  The nickel-wound strings have a brighter sound, and that might be more appropriate for some dulcimers than others and for some pairs of ears than others.  Also, if you find you get a lot of squeaking on the wound strings, you can get "squeakless" strings (which aren't actually squeakless, but the squeaking is reduced).  I won't go into the options there, but just know they exist in several different varieties but some people think they produce a more muted tone.

Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
05/19/17 04:40:29PM
898 posts

It's like finding a 1965 brand new Mustang


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

Dana, the longer VSL should not be a problem if you play in a drone style. Consider using this dulcimer (and others with VSLs too long for comfortable chording) specifically for tunes played on the melody string with the drones . . . uh . . . droning.

Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
05/18/17 12:00:18PM
898 posts

Wanted: Dulciborn


FOR SALE:instruments/music items/CDs/Wanted to Buy...

I see "blemished" dulciborns on Ebay pretty frequently.  They come with the same warrantee as the pristine ones but are a lot less expensive.

But I do urge blondie or anyone interested to read through the other discussions Marg links to.  Many dulciborns have needed significant extra work by luthiers to make them playable.

The sound is extraordinary, though, isn't it?

Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
05/03/17 03:55:00PM
898 posts

The Positive Thread...


Off Topic discussions

John W. McKinstry: just as dulcimer's need bridges so too do dulcimer players and builders. 

 

Well put, John.

Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
05/02/17 12:17:25AM
898 posts

So is a new baritone going to be giving me fits, or joy?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

D. Chitwood:Well oh my ever lovin' good grief! We have GROUPS! Who knew!? (well obviously everybody but me, hehheh)

 

Okay, Dusty T, do you do online lessons? Would you be willing to take me on when this bad boy gets delivered so walk me through some tunings and strings and whatnot? If you don't do this, no problem but I wanted to ask! 

Hi Dana. I can do online lessons, either using Skype or another product called Zoom which I find works a little better. I would send you a URL, you click on it, and boom, we have live audio and video.  If you really are interested, just send me a personal message or contact me through River City Dulcimers and we can talk about the details.  If not, don't worry about it. Just keep posting questions here.

The key to the question you are asking is, . . . er . . . uh . . . keys.  When we tune to DAd or DAA we are almost always playing in the key of D.  Baritones are tuned a fifth or a fourth step below to the key of G or A.  So if you tune your baritone to GDG or AEA. you can indeed, as others have explained, use tab for DAD and you will sound fine, so long as you are playing alone.  But you won't be able to play with other dulcimer players tuned to the key of D.

Yes, you could use a capo, but then you would be playing in the same range as a regular dulcimer, which defeats the point of a baritone.  If you mainly play drone style, you could tune the baritone to ADA and pretend you are playing in DAA.  The drones will be reversed, but you could still follow tab for the melody string.  IF you want to play chords, though, you would need to learn brand new fingering.

And since we all need more and more instruments, another possibility would be to get a bass dulcimer, which is tuned an octave below a standard dulcimer. Then you could follow the same tab as everyone else but still be in the key of D. However, those bass strings get pretty heavy, so better work on your finger strength!

Finally, remember that there is not only a noter/drone group here at FOTMD, but a baritone group, too.  If you want to continue this discussion about how to play a baritone with others, I would suggest starting a new discussion in the baritone group so it could be more easily found in the future.

 


updated by @Dusty Turtle: 05/02/17 12:33:51AM
Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
04/20/17 06:07:23PM
898 posts

Untabbed songs/tunes you'd like to learn


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Lisa Golladay: Jan, do you need sheet music to work from? 

 

Here's a lead sheet and guitar tab for "The Lakes of Pontchartrain."  I arranged this for the ukulele club last month (gotta love Irish songs with alligators).  I think this could be worked into a gorgeous dulcimer arrangement, but I haven't had time to play with it.  While the arrangement is copyrighted, the song is, I think, in public domain and that should make it ok to post MD tab.  How nice of Paul Brady to share his arrangement!

Lisa, that's a great idea.  The song has a straightforward but uncommon melody.  I did a workshop with Neal Hellman a few years ago and he gave us tab to that tune. My memory is that the crowd wanted a faster tune, so Neal didn't spend too much time on it.  It's a really nice, old tune, though.  And if my memory serves me well, Mark Gilston recently posted a video of his version on dulcimer.

I learned the tune years ago from an album by Trapezoid, the hammered dulcimer group.


updated by @Dusty Turtle: 04/20/17 08:41:38PM
Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
04/20/17 06:04:57PM
898 posts

Untabbed songs/tunes you'd like to learn


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Jan, I don't have a specific song to suggest, but I often pick songs from a fiddle or penny whistle website, print out the standard music notation, and then try to tab it out for the dulcimer.  The SMN for those instruments only contains the melody, and often the rendition offered is the simplest possible, so the challenge is in adding some rhythmic complexity and then fitting chords in and around the melody.  Sometimes I just Google "fiddle tunes in D" and see where that takes me.

Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
04/19/17 11:28:46AM
898 posts

I am SO in over my head!!!


Chord/melody modern style playing discussions

Laurel, some degree of finger cramping is probably normal as you begin to use muscles in your fingers that you have never used before. I've told this story before, but it seems appropriate.  (And old people like me get to tell stories over and over.)  When I was first starting out on the dulcimer about 7 years ago I bought some tablature for a song I really wanted to learn. But no matter how I tried, there were just some chords that I couldn't cram my fingers into.  My fingers actually hurt and I couldn't understand how anyone could get their fingers into those configurations.  In utter frustration I tossed the tablature into the air and forgot all about it. I kept playing, though not that song. I just moved onto stuff I could play more easily. Then about six months later I was cleaning up and moved a bookshelf off the wall to clean behind it. What did I find?  That old tablature.  I sat down trying to remember what it was that had frustrated me so, and lo and behold, I could play the song!  Oh, I wasn't phenomenal, but what had once seemed impossible was clearly do-able.  By continuing to play, I had developed the muscles in my fingers and was able to play the very same chords that had once caused all that pain and frustration.  

There is no reason you can't continue playing noter/drone.  But if you indeed want to learn fingerdancing or chording, take your time and know that little by little, the more you play, the better you'll get and music that had once seemed unattainable will be within your grasp.

Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
04/11/17 02:19:03PM
898 posts

Amazing Grace in Cherokee


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

What a voice for someone of that age!  Amazing indeed.  RIP Fran.

Dusty Turtle
@Dusty Turtle
04/11/17 10:24:04AM
898 posts

Capo positions, tunings, chords and other wonderful things


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Yes, Dulcinina, I am playing a Blue Lion dulcimer on that video. It has Cherry for the back and sides, and Western red cedar on the top.
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