Forum Activity for @dusty-turtle

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
01/20/18 08:46:57PM
952 posts

Save the Date- Worldwide Play Music on the Porch Day


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Cool!  I just realized that since my local dulcimer group meets the fourth Saturday of every month, it will almost always be on Play Music on the Porch Day!  We're going to have to take our chairs outside and share with the neighborhood!

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
01/17/18 10:11:30PM
952 posts

Oberflacht Lyre Finished


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Supposedly builders and their instruments start to look alike.

Oh no, wait.  That's dogs and their owners. 

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
01/17/18 02:53:21AM
952 posts

Hearts Of The Dulcimer Podcast In Its 3rd Year


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Patricia and Wayne are the coolest kids in school! dancecool

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
01/13/18 02:30:17AM
952 posts

The Drifting Thread...


Off Topic discussions

You take care of yourself, Robin.  All we have here in California's Central Valley is lots of fog.  Fog and citrus.  Our orange and meyers lemon trees are heavy with fruit right now.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
12/30/17 08:43:48PM
952 posts

The Drifting Thread...


Off Topic discussions

Hmm . . . a romantic, moonlit walk with a ukulele player?

 

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
12/29/17 02:37:06PM
952 posts

Tell us about your VERY FIRST dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Hi @fordferguson. I don't have any personal experience with Black Mountain Dulcimers, so I can't offer the kind of information you seek.  But let me point out that we have a whole Forum discussion devoted to specific instruments and luthiers.  That might be a better place to pose that question rather than this discussion where people share stories of their first dulcimer.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
12/28/17 04:41:41PM
952 posts

Recent glitch of missing 'reply/post' textboxes


Site QUESTIONS ? How do I...?

Strumelia, I am running Windows 7 and use Chrome  and had a problem a while back until you suggested that I clear my cache.  That solved the problem.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
12/28/17 11:52:27AM
952 posts

External Pickup for Mountain Dulcimer - Kala amp?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Gale, for the record, Robin has a lot more experience with this stuff than I do and you should take his advice over mine in a heartbeat.  He plays gigs far more regularly than I and has also created phenomenal recordings.  I trust his recommendations wholeheartedly.

I can only share what I have gone through.  Over the last 5 or 6 years I bought several cheap and one rather expensive ($120) external pickups hoping to be able to amplify one or more dulcimers.  I gave or threw the cheap ones away and never use the more expensive one (which I would gladly sell for a hugely discounted price so long as the buyer does not blame me for the disappointing sound).  I also bought and later gave away a small, cheap amplifier.  I was never able to achieve anything close to acceptable sound quality.  I consider all that wasted money and time.  If you add up the external pickups and cheap amp that I bought, together they would represent almost the total cost of an SM 57 and a small, portable, Roland amp.

If you just want a quick and cheap way to amplify your sound for an upcoming gig, there are indeed options available. But you might want to think more long-term about a permanent way to create a satisfying amplified sound. 

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
12/27/17 07:59:48PM
952 posts

External Pickup for Mountain Dulcimer - Kala amp?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Gale, as Ken demonstrates, there are some very affordable options out there.  My advice if you want to be able to amplify several instruments would be to get a microphone rather than an external pickup.  The industry stand-by is the Sure SM-57.  If you look online you can find deals where you get the mic, a chord, and a mic stand for around $100. I made that purchase a few years ago and then more recently bought the Sure SM-58, which is basically the same mic but for vocals.  And I'm sure there are less expensive mics out there that would also do the job.

I just think that whatever you spend, a good microphone represents a better-sounding and more versatile option than an external pickup.  I have never been satisfied with the few external pickups I've tried.

But you might also pose this question in the Technology/Software/Amplifying Group here at FOTMD.  Some people have a great deal more experience than I with amplifying instruments.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
12/27/17 02:58:08PM
952 posts

What Are You Working On?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I've started working on a traditional American fiddle tune called "Rachel."  I found some sheet music on one of the traditional tune websites and have been arranging it for the dulcimer.  I've been practicing slowly with a metronome, expecting to pick up the pace once my playing is clean enough.  But what I'm most happy with is that as soon as I started laying out the melody on the fretboard, I could see that it was mainly a series of chord tones, or arpeggios.  I've been working on trying to understand the fretboard better, so the fact that I could "see" these chord tones in the melody encourages me to feel that I've been making progress.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
12/18/17 12:03:13PM
952 posts

Play with ukulele and guitar


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

The most common keys in folk or old timey or bluegrass music are C, D, G, and A.  You should be prepared to play in those keys in any multi-instrument jam.  And many songs have a specific tuning that they are always played in.  St. Anne's Reel is always in D, Billy in the Lowground is always in C, Red-Haired Boy is always in A, and so forth. I try to practice songs in their common key so that I am always ready to play with others.

How to get into those keys?  I can bring a single dulcimer to a jam.  Tuned DAA or DAd, you can obviously play in D. With a capo at the third fret you're in G and at the fourth fret you're in A. Then you can tune down to CGG or CGc to play in C. 

There are other ways of getting those keys (like tuning DGd for G), and if you have any extra frets playing in other keys gets much easier, but I find the capo is all I need to get the four most common tunings.

But the most important advice I can give is to remember that when you play with others, your job is to blend in, not stand out.  If you don't know the song very well, just play quietly using a minimal number of notes. Little by little you'll learn more of the repertoire.  But you should always listen more than you play. 

And it can't hurt to take the lead on one or two tunes.  Don't be afraid to just say "How about Goin' to Boston in the key of D?" and then start playing?  Others will follow along, and if you show them patience as they learn one of your tunes, they will likely return the favor.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
12/16/17 05:21:10PM
952 posts

Found some books today


Dulcimer Resources:TABS/Books/websites/DVDs

As Ken says, there is lots of material available both online and in book form.  One of my favorite books is Neal Hellman's Celtic Songs and Slow Airs for Mountain Dulcimer.  The newer version comes with links to hear the music online, but the older version came with a CD.  For almost each tune there are two versions, one with a singer and the dulcimer playing backup, and one dulcimer solo, the latter of which follows the tablature in the book.  Before I ever tried to learn any songs, I used to listen to the CD by itself.  It's some beautiful stuff! Some of the tunes are well known and others are more obscure, but all of them are pretty and accessible to those of us who can't play at bluegrass warp speed.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
12/10/17 01:52:10AM
952 posts

My "New" Folkcraft


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Congratulations on your new (31-year-old) baby!

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
12/07/17 02:12:37PM
952 posts

Alert - House Finch Disease


Off Topic discussions

I knew nothing about this, Sam. Thanks for the information. I find this absolutely heartbreaking.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/28/17 09:16:03PM
952 posts

Tuning question...


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

@kb9jlo, if you just want some tab for Christmas songs, feel free to use the four or five I arranged recently for my local dulcimer group.  They are all in DAd and only include tunes in the public domain.  You can find them here.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/28/17 07:44:15PM
952 posts

Tuning question...


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Since Frosty the Snowman is under copyright, you won't find free dulcimer tab online.  Maybe someone has it in a book of tab.  But beware that whether you tune DAd or DAA, you will need the 6+ fret on an A string to get a G# in the B part of the song.  (It's the "put" in "When they put it on his head.")

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/28/17 04:09:21PM
952 posts

Tuning question...


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Well sorry about that; I totally misunderstood your question. 

If you just want to use tablature, then you tune to whatever tuning the tablature is for. 

No tuning is better for singing than any other.  Some keys might be easier to sing in than others, but that depends on the song and your voice.  There is one song that I can only sing in G or A, so I play it in G or A when I sing. But another member of my dulcimer group likes to sing the same song in D, so when she does, I play it in D.  And I do all that out of the same tuning (DAd), sometimes using a capo. 

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/28/17 03:15:27PM
952 posts

Tuning question...


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Hi @kb9jlo.

If you simply "want to strum and sing" then your question is not so much about tuning as it is determining what chords to play.  Because the dulcimer is a diatonic instrument, every tuning will have some limitations in the sense that some chords may not be possible. For example, in either a DAA or DAd tuning, you will never be able to play an F chord since there is no F natural on the fretboard.

First, I would suggest finding a chord chart.  On the Tablature page at Everything Dulcimer, you can find chord charts for DAA and DAd tunings.  In whichever tuning you choose, I would start out learning the positions for the main major chords in the key of D: D, G, and A, as well as their relative minors: Bm, Em, and F#m.   You will be able to accompany yourself singing most songs in the key of D with those chords.

Second, find the chords for a particular song you want to learn.  There is tons of this stuff online because so many of us strum guitars.  If you just Google "Frosty the Snowman chords" you will find several examples, including this one.  But notice that the chords in that arrangement are not in the key of D; they are in the key of C.  You might get lucky and occasionally find chords in the key of D, but you will want to learn how to transpose from one key to another.

Third, if you can count to 8 and know the alphabet from A to G, then you can transpose.  Rather than explain all that here, let me offer you this transposition chart for the most common keys:

transposition chart for basic keys.jpg

To use this chart, find the chord that is indicated on the lyrics sheet and locate the comparable chord in the key you want.  For example, when the lyrics sheet for "Frosty" indicates a C, you play a D.  When it indicates an F, you play a G. When it indicates an Am, you play a Bm.  And so forth.

This system will work so long as you can sing in the key of D. Depending on where the melody lies, that will be possible for some tunes and impossible for others.  If the melody is too high or low for you, you will have to find a key that works. When you do, you can use this same chart to find the right chords to play.  With a dulcimer in DAd or DAA tuning, you can find the right chords to play for the keys of D, G, and A, but other keys will be harder.  That is when your initial question about tuning comes into play. Instead of DAd or DAA, you might tune CGc or CGG.  The same chord chart you used before will still work, but when you use the fingering for a D chord, you will be playing a C chord.  The transposition chart above will again help you figure that out.  Similarly, you could tune EAe or EAA and play in the key of E.

That should be enough to get you started.  Tune in next week for a lesson on using the capo!

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/17/17 12:00:04PM
952 posts

Compensated Bridges?


Building dulcimers

Here is a picture of the "bridge" of my octave dulcimer made by David Beede of Melrose, FL.  You can see clearly those three little nubs that serve as bridges for the three strings.  I see no reason a "floatable" version of that couldn't be done, and it wouldn't be too difficult at all.

splash bridge.jpg

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/16/17 10:38:50AM
952 posts

Compensated Bridges?


Building dulcimers

Robin, many of us were already confused to begin with. You did not cause that affliction!tongue

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/14/17 01:12:00PM
952 posts

Compensated Bridges?


Building dulcimers

If we didn't have frets, none of this would be necessary, would it?

Has anyone built a dulcimer with three floating bridges instead of a single one?  David Beede makes some dulcimers with three little nubs, each one serving as the bridge for a single string, but they are glued into place for (I assume) DAd tuning.  Why not have a separate bridge for each string? Or perhaps a way to adjust for each string as in this guitar bridge?

 

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/13/17 11:52:14AM
952 posts

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


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

And thank you, Marc, for that article.  I hope you don't kind that I downloaded a pdf copy for my own purposes.  I also greatly enjoyed your more recent DPN article on "Partons la mer est belle." 

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/13/17 11:42:56AM
952 posts

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


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Thanks, Lois, for your work in helping us find this hidden material.  Much obliged! worthy

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/11/17 03:30:14PM
952 posts

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


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

 Lois, I've been playing with the Internet Archive site, but I seem to only find information about when copies were made of the Dulcimer Sessions site. I can't find any actual pages.  I'll keep trying and let you know if I'm successful.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/09/17 08:57:51PM
952 posts

Dulcimer Players News 1975-2012 Searchable On-line Archive


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

 Thanks for the link, Ken. I was looking for this a while back and couldn't find it.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/09/17 03:53:36PM
952 posts

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


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Back in July I sent an email to Lois Hornbostel asing about this issue and suggesting that if Mel Bay was no longer willing to host the Dulcimer Sessions material we could find another site to do so.  Just today I received this brief reply: "I'm working on it."

Let's hope she succeeds.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/06/17 12:22:01PM
952 posts

A tune that's out of reach


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Robin, it's a skill, isn't it, to be able to hear the essence of a melody without all the clutter? And fiddles add a lot of clutter, that's for sure.  I sometimes examine several examples of sheet music for a tune I'm working on.  By looking at what they all have in common, you can sometimes isolate the core of a tune. Sometimes when I hear a fiddle tune I feel like the Austrian Emperor in the film Amadeus, who tells Mozart that his music has "too many notes."

Maybe you can lend me Mark for 15 or 20 minutes.  A guitar accompaniment to my flatpicking version of "Pig Ankle Rag" would help out a lot (and maybe hide some of the imprecision in my picking). If I knew how to do even basic home recordings I would record my own guitar rhythm track, but I have no idea how to do that.  Poor, poor ignorant me.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/05/17 02:30:15PM
952 posts

A tune that's out of reach


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

This is a good topic for conversation, Robin.  Thanks for posting.  I may indeed have multiple responses.

There are lots of tunes that I would love to play but don't really "hear" yet on my dulcimer.  But there are also a couple I've been working on a really long time. I've been practicing "Pig Ankle Rag" for a few years now.  It took a while just to figure out all the notes for both the A and B parts.  Then it took a while to figure out the syncopated rhythms. But I've been playing the tune for a long time, just working on getting it smoother and cleaner.  Someday I hope to post a version that I'm happy with.  But playing the song is also just a great flatpicking workout, so even if I never get the tune ready for prime time, I know my technique is improving as I keep working on it.  My pinky in particular has been strengthened immensely by trying to play the tune.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/02/17 03:20:57AM
952 posts

etiquette with dulcimers


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Marg, most reputable luthiers will refund your money upon return of a dulcimer if you are not happy with it. You might be responsible for the shipping costs, though.  The same is probably true of music stores, although if you played the instrument before buying it they might be less than enthusiastic about the return.  As for friends, well, I think you have to determine that on a case-by-case basis.

But I also think some responsibility rests with the buyer.  If there is something truly wrong with a dulcimer, such as the intonation for example, you have every right to return it. However, if, for example, you buy a baritone dulcimer and just decide you don't like the lower register and want a standard dulcimer instead, well, I personally don't think the luthier or store should be responsible for your indecision.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
10/31/17 12:38:36PM
952 posts

Removing a fret


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

Marg, I don't know how to remove a fret, so I can't help you there.  However, the lack of knowledge has never discouraged me from speaking up!  grin  

My advice is to be patient and not rush into altering your dulcimer in this way.

As others have explained, it would be easy to harm your freboard when removing a fret, and you certainly don't want to do that.  

Skip might be right that if you keep playing and consciously think about the small space available for the 9th fret, your technique will improve and this problem may cease to exist. 

And if you keep playing for a while, you might find uses for the 8-1/2 fret as you get more used to it. 

For the three reasons above, I suggest waiting a while before making a final decision to remove a fret. You can always do it later, but in 6 months or so you might find it unnecessary or even undesireable.

You might also use this as an excuse to get another dulcimer!

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
10/30/17 02:28:38AM
952 posts

What's fer dinner?


Off Topic discussions

We only have one remaining tomato plant (sweet 100 cherry tomatoes) that is still producing.  But I did add a few to the big salad we had for dinner tonight: mixed greens, cucumber, yellow bell pepper, radish, kalamata olives, and cold grilled salmon left over from yesterday.  I'm always surprised how filling a salad can be when you add some good protein to the mix.  And all those vegetables helped assuage my guilt for having grilled a couple of hot dogs for lunch!

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
10/26/17 12:44:52PM
952 posts

What's fer dinner?


Off Topic discussions

I'm grilling some pork chops tonight myself.  But before they get grilled, I'll brine them in salt water for a couple of hours and then put on a dry rub.  The brining allows more flexibility in cooking, so if you don't get the cooking time just right they still stay tender and juicy.  No dried pork chops in this household!

And no, I won't be serving them with coon fat gravy.  Yikes!

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
10/25/17 03:02:58AM
952 posts

Just For Fun - sayings regarding the dulcimer or music


Off Topic discussions

"All music is folk music.  I ain't never heard a horse sing a song."

-- Louis Armstrong (. . . or maybe Leadbelly . . . or Big Bill Broonzy . . .)

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
10/24/17 02:08:05PM
952 posts

What's in a NAME???


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Some of mine have names: Rosa, Lucinda, Mr. Salty.  One or two remain nameless.  

Mr. Salty got his name when I was playing for my kid's 1st grade class and someone said it looked like a "peanut guitar."  Indeed, the hourglass shape does resemble the shape of a peanut and the lacewood resembles the texture of a peanut shell.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
10/13/17 02:32:19PM
952 posts

What Are You Working On?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Strumelia: What am I working on?...

the other evening Brian and I sat in the kitchen  [. . .]  I would play the the plain melody for him until he 'caught' it on the fiddle.  At that point he'd keep playing melody and I'd start floundering around on my pennywhistle looking for harmonies or intervals that sounded good with the different parts and phrases.  Doing this, I make tons of truly awful sounding attempts, which Brian doesn't seem to mind at all since he's busy enough keeping the melody going despite all my harmonic distractions...heheh.  Lots and lots of mistakes, but it's sooo rewarding when i stumble upon a really pretty harmony phrase and for a few brief shining moments we sound divine together.  [. . .]

 This is what I live for in music. 

Strumelia, there is so much wisdom in your post: the joy of sharing music with loved ones; the value of just playing by ear and trying to figure things out on your instrument; the permission one gives oneself to make mistakes; and the joy of the moment, the magic that comes from creating something in real time, something whose beauty rests in part on the fact that it is ephemeral, does not last, and is not repeatable.  It is not captured in tablature or on video for perennial viewing, reviewing, and then critiquing.  Thanks so much for sharing all that.    As Robert Frost wrote, "Nothing gold can stay."

Having said that . . . I would urge you . . . every now and then . . . to record one of these improv sessions.  Feel free to erase it all, but you might find a nugget or two that you can work on again and turn into something special the two of you can play over and over.  Maybe you can create a different kind of magic that way.  As Joni Mitchell pointed out, "No one ever asked Van Gogh, 'paint "A Starry Night" again, man.'"  But I'm glad I can listen to her sing "California" over and over.


updated by @dusty-turtle: 10/14/17 02:46:45AM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
10/12/17 05:26:35PM
952 posts

Wanted: Bonnie Carol dulcimer


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

@joseph-besse, there IS a Help section; it is the first Forum listed when you click "Forums" and is called "Site Questions: How do I . . .?"

You can attach photos using the "attach file" function or you can embed photos using the "embed local media" icon, which is the second-to-last icon on the tool bar above the text box.  It looks like a piece of film strip.  If you can't figure out how to do it on your own start a new discussion in the Site Questions Forum I link to above and I or someone else will give you step-by-step directions.


updated by @dusty-turtle: 10/12/17 05:39:29PM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
10/09/17 01:15:07PM
952 posts

The Positive Thread...


Off Topic discussions

Congratulations, Mary!
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
09/26/17 02:49:54PM
952 posts

What Are You Working On?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Robert, I remember vividly a picture you posted of barrels of Jersey tomatoes with a dulcimer sitting on top.

 / 23