Healthy Living- healthy eating, exercise, weight loss, veggie gardening, etc.
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They were the strong, dominant alfalfa sprouts that like to take command, known colloquially as alphalpha sprouts.
They were the strong, dominant alfalfa sprouts that like to take command, known colloquially as alphalpha sprouts.
Late last night or early this morning, I received my bi-weekly delivery of fresh produce from the farm-to-table service I subscribe to. Everything is grown within a 200-mile radius of my home, and it all arrives super-fresh. I just prepared a salad for lunch, with red-leaf lettuce, radishes, bell peppers, cucumbers, and alphalpha sprouts. I added some cold sliced beef left over from dinner last night and made a nice vinaigrette highlighted by some fresh-squeezed meyers lemons from our tree out back. I haven't even eaten it yet, but it looks so yummy! The beef came from a delivery service, too, so I was able to put all this together without leaving the house. Now where's my fork?
I feel a bit guilty for living so well while this viral cloud has shut down nearly the whole world.
, our schools here closed just around that time, too. It's great that you are able to use this time on such a rewarding project. Action on older dulcimers was often high because those playing with a noter don't need the action as low as those of us who use our fingertips. The dulcimer sure looks lush and beautiful in the picture!
Last night I had a virtual happy hour (the beer was real) with a few friends from college. We were spread across three time zones but got together online to chat for a little while. It was nice to catch up with them and their families and to share some laughs and nostalgia. Under normal circumstances we would not have done this, but it's a good example of how collectively confronting this pandemic can bring people closer together even while we engage in social distancing.
What a cozy-looking cradle to raise some cute little tomato seedlings.
What a great idea, Steve! I did a blues workshop with you a while back and learned a lot. I can't imagine how much you can get through in a full month-long class!
Here's a little tongue-in-cheek silliness. I put new lyrics to the old blues tune "She Caught the Katy and Left Me a Mule to Ride" and came up with "She Caught the 'Rona and Left Me in Quarantine."
That's pretty good, David. I had a similar idea. I put new lyrics to the old blues song "She caught the Katy and left me a mule to ride." My version goes "She caught the 'rona and left me in quarantine." I played a few verses at the virtual version of my local dulcimer group last weekend. I originally intended a serious song, but there are a lot of funny words to rhyme with quarantine and I just had to include them, so it ended up pretty silly. If I get a chance to make a recording I'll post it here.
I have a medium-sized bottle of Purell which I would gladly give someone if they came to my house to cut my hair. We could just do it in the front yard. If you see me wearing a hat, it's not for style; it's just hiding the gray jungle underneath.
I've been doing whiskey in a quart jar. Oh . . . wait . . . I meant to post in the Unhealthy Living Forum.
Seriously, I'm a fan of sprouts but have never grown my own.
I felt like a conquering hero when I returned home this morning with a couple dozen eggs and some chicken. Neither had been available anywhere nearby for some time. I got the last of the eggs and the grocer admitted that he was having trouble getting them. Doesn't make sense. Restaurants are closed or only serving take-out and the farmers' markets are all closed. You would think there would be plenty of eggs available for retail sale.
You're correct, , you can't really jam using any of the teleconferencing software since the feed is not immediate and different attendees have different upload speeds as well. But it does appear to work on your end if you mute your mic and play along with someone else. What I'm planning is just a circle in which we take turns sharing a tune or two.
Yeah, the Zoom version of my local dulcimer group scheduled for Saturday already has 15 attendees, which is too much, I think, but I didn't have the heart to turn anyone away. After this first time I might do a couple each month but cap them at 10.
My family and I do not appear to be infected yet. My wife and I still have our jobs. We haven't run out of toilet paper yet. I feel pretty lucky.
That's a cool pick box, , but it wouldn't stop me from losing them. I have a little bag, like a coin purse type of thing that one of my dulcimer students brought back from Guatemala. It holds my new picks, which I buy by the dozen. Whenever I've lost all the loose ones floating around, I dig into that little bag.
All she found, , was a single, solitary quarter. She was indeed very disappointed, especially since our neighbors who travel a lot and pay her to take care of their chickens and rabbits in their absence, are staying home these days, so her main source of income has dried up.
You know your dulcimer has a hold on you when . . . you are obliged to cancel your monthly dulcimer club because of a global pandemic and you offer to host a Zoom meeting so everyone can still share dulcimer music! Yep, that's what I'm doing. Five people have already confirmed attendance. We meet next weekend!
Yes, it is discouraging. I feel the same way about the California group. The regional groups in general have little activity. However, if you post something there the members will probably get an alert, so it's worth a try. Over time you'll find that there is lots of activity here in other places, especially the Beginner Group and the General Mountain Dulcimer Forum. And hopefully you'll start to notice people who are not far from you.
By the way, where in NH are you? I went to high school in Boston and drove a delivery truck for a few years throughout eastern New England. I had one regular NH day each month. Of course, that was a long time ago, when I had more hair and less belly.
, I would also encourage you to join the Northeastern US Group and post a discussion looking for folks from NH. I am a member of the California Group, and you would think a state as big as ours would have lots of activity. But I have to confess once I posted to alert everyone to an annual event and found that the last post was mine from a year earlier doing the same thing!
The groups often get started with the best of intentions but then interest sags. Most of us find our interests in a few of the biggest groups and some Forum discussions, and the proliferation of groups merely makes it harder to find materials later. It fact, it might be time for us to cull the proverbial herd of Groups here.
In the meantime, you might try to contact Paddiwhack , a couple from southern New Hampshire (Manchester, perhaps) that plays dulcimer-centric music.
Just yesterday afternoon as I was cancelling my monthly dulcimer group, county officials issued a stay-at-home directive. We're allowed to shop for groceries or go to medical appointments, but everything else is on hold.
, one tip you might try if you have trouble getting groceries. One of the closest supermarkets to our house offers a curbside pickup option. You order food online, they give you a pickup time, and they bring the bags right to your car. Aside from being able to avoid crowds, my wife discovered that this option gives you access to food that has not reached the shelves. So inside the store there is no bread or chicken on the shelves, but she was able to order both online for pickup. Some of you might investigate that option for replenishing your larder.
For years I've been using a farm-to-table delivery service for fresh vegetables and another for frozen meat. I'll be expanding my use of both of those for the foreseeable future.
Stay safe, people, but keep playing music!
, that sounds like life here in Northern California. I have been working from home for about 10 years, so my work is not affected. But otherwise . . . The schools are closed, although my daughter is already working with her teachers in Google Classroom. The churches are closed and offering some services online, but that doesn't help elderly, tech-ignorant folks like my mother-in-law. My wife is working (mostly unsuccessfully) from home as are most other state workers. Bars and cafes have been closed. Restaurants have been asked to reduce capacity by 50 percent, but most are closing as few people feel safe in such establishments. Many retail shops have closed, including some music stores. Gyms have all closed. My daughter's soccer club has suspended all games and practices.
It had been raining for the past few days, and I'm happy to see some sunshine today, for at least we can get outside for a stroll or some yardwork.
I think I have no choice but to cancel my monthly dulcimer club. The music store where we meet is trying to stay open, but since we have been told to hunker down in our homes, I don't want to give conflicting advice and suggest we all gather together.
, what a coincidence that you retired right at this moment. Congratulations! I work from home about 90 percent of the time, so my work life has not changed. But schools have shut down so my daughter is home every day, and my wife was just told that she will be working from home, too, which will be a big change for her whole office. The house will be busier than normal, and the dog will just love it!
I, too, am expecting to play a lot of dulcimer during this down period, although I think I have no choice but to cancel our monthly dulcimer gathering. I could easily configure our space so that we were not too close together, but I would never forgive myself if someone got sick because of our group.
Perhaps some of you have seen some of the videos of Italians quarantined at home singing from balconies (like this one with encouraging videos from China as well). All around the world people are facing challenges dealing with and trying to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. How is it affecting you? Are you still going to work? Children and grandchildren home from school? Dulcimer festivals closing?
Please do not offer 1) any political commentary or 2) any medical advice. We want to ensure that FOTMD remains a space free of partisan bickering and never offers false or misleading medical information.
I think the point of the original post was not to give up and think you can't do something, but to accept that you might not be able to do it "yet." That is certainly good advice.
I've told this story before, but when I was first starting on the dulcimer I bought some tab from Tull Glazener to learn a song I had always loved, but there were some chords in the very beginning that I just could not play. It seemed I could not force my fingers into those shapes. I got frustrated, tossed the tab up in the air and walked away. I didn't give up on the dulcimer, but I just gave up on playing that song. About 6 or 8 months later I was cleaning up a bit and moved a book case to clean behind it. A piece of paper had fallen there, and I picked it up to see that it was the tab I had tossed in frustration. I sat down to try to remember what it was about the song that I was unable to play, and you know what? I was able to do it! What had once seemed impossible was, some time later and with no conscious effort, now fully do-able. I'm so glad I didn't decide initially that I couldn't play the dulcimer or couldn't play chords or whatever.
So if you find a technique or a chord beyond your abilities now, don't fret ( ). Just keep playing and you'll see that over time your skills (and the muscles in your fingers) will develop and you'll improve. It might take a while, so be patient and find joy in what you are capable of playing even while you hope one day to be able to play more challenging stuff. About five years ago I realized that my pinky was really weak and near useless. So I developed some exercises and some songs that emphasized the pinky. I worked on that stuff regularly, but it took a long while. About two years later I was playing a tune and realized that my pinky had become just as strong as my other fingers. I now find chording fairly easy and natural, but it was certainly not that way at the beginning.
If you join a gym with the goal of running 5 miles on a treadmill, you wouldn't decide on your first day that because you tired out after 1/2 mile you were incapable of running 5. You would understand that it takes time to develop the skills and abilities to reach your goal. The same is true of playing music.
The real trick, I think, is to avoid letting the frustration overwhelm the joy we get from playing music. Learn to play the simple stuff well, even if you still have ambitions to play more challenging material.
Now that we're all likely to be staying at home more than usual, I think musicians will have an easier time than most. At least we have a hobby that you can do by yourself and from which we derive immense pleasure.
Supposedly Robert Johnson was a lousy guitarist and was forced out of a bar where he was performing. He returned six months or a year later the best guitarist anyone had ever heard. The myth holds that he made a pact with the devil, selling his soul in exchange for his superior musicianship. I think he just practiced scales and licks for a year.
That's what I'm going to do. Practice my dulcimer, learn some new tunes, maybe develop some material to teach beginners, and I'll come out of this a better musician. A lonely musician, yes, but a better one.
, I just want to follow up on the least important of your initial questions: the popping sound you heard and the string going very flat. When you put on a new string and start winding, there simply isn't as much tension on that string as there will be later, when you get it up to pitch. So often it winds loosely around the post. Then, either while you are tuning or sometimes a little while later, the tension will pull that loosely wound part tighter. That is probably what happened when you heard the popping sound. And yes, strings go flat as that happens. When I put new strings on I manually pull on the string to increase the tension, and then as I get close to pitch I repeatedly pull the string up, stretching it, trying to get the winding as tight as possible and all the stretching out before I start playing. New strings always needs to stretch a bit (going flat in the process), but you can speed that process up so there will be less re-tuning later if you just pull on the new string as I've described.
The main chorus for the song oscillates between two minor chords. If you are tuned to D (and therefore playing in Bm, the relative minor of D), you will want to use Bm and Em there.
The little intro to the song has a bunch of accidentals that you can't play on a diatonic dulcimer, but you might be able to sing the tune, treat those accidentals as passing tones, and just play chords around them.
The verse also has an accidental. I think it would be A# if you're playing in Bm. You can't get that melody note (unless you bend a string), but the chord to accompany it would be an F#, which you can fake by playing the power chord 222 in a DAA or DAd tuning.
If you find one of those websites that provides chords and let's you switch keys, try Bm and see what you come up with. I think it will be something close to what I've hinted at above.
I haven't tested it out yet, but if you want to play the melody in a drone style, you might be able to get the verse and the chorus if you tune DAC. At least you can get close. But you still can't play the melody of the short intro.
I'm hoping someone will prove me wrong, but as a general rule Latin jazz stylings don't translate well onto the diatonic fretboard. I'm not looking for an argument here; it's just an observation and I would love to be wrong. I've been successful getting Haitian and Cajun tunes on the dulcimer, as well as some Tejano. But the jazzier stuff just doesn't seem to fit.
Remember when using a capo that you have to push down evenly and with some force on the top before you tighten it. The strings have to be depressed as though you were fingering them or using a noter. It might take a few tries before you get the hang of it.
And I should specify that if you put it on top of the fret, it should be barely on top, meaning the fret should still be visible from the side of the capo. The majority of the capo should still be to the left of the fret wire. Don't put the capo centered right on top. If I had better cameras and editing capability I would make a video about how to do that.
Tuning up is safer than tuning down, for the worst that can happen is that you'll break a string! I use a wound .020 as the bass string on both my smaller dulcimers made by Ron Ewing. One is an octave dulcimer tuned to D and the other is what Ron calls a "baritone dulcimette," which is about the size of a Ginger and tuned to G or A. But they are both significantly smaller than a standard dulcimer, so I am not surprised your string broke.
If you are trying to tune a standard dulcimer to tonal ranges it was not originally intended, you might consult the Strothers String Gauge Calculator . You indicate the VSL and the note you want and it determines the correct gauge for you. It errs on the light side, so feel free to go one or two sizes heavier.
, I have two dulcimers currently tuned either GDG or AEA. One is a baritone dulcimer, so it is tuned a fourth or fifth below a standard dulcimer. It is a larger instrument with extra bracing inside. The other is 3/4-size instrument about the size of the McSpadden Ginger. It is tuned a fourth or a fifth above a standard dulcimer.
Depending on whether you are trying to tune above or below a standard dulcimer, you will want a smaller instrument (above) or a larger instrument (below).
I would suggest keeping a tuner on your instrument and learning to retune quickly; that way you can move from D to C and back quickly enough to join songs in either of those keys. And you should be able to retune between G and A quickly as well. It's only three strings and one step.
Let me also offer another possibility for G and A: use a capo. Tuned to D, you are in G with the capo at the third fret and in A with the capo at the fourth fret. So with a single dulcimer, you can get to C, D, G, and A pretty easily. Here's a video I made for another discussion here at FOTMD about using a capo.
Also, the 1.5 fret aids in getting other keys. If you are tuned to D, you can also play in G with that 1.5 fret since it gives you the C natural you need. Between the extra fret and the capo, more keys are at your disposal out of a single tuning than you might think. You don't really want to carry three dulcimers to every jam you attend, do you? It takes just about as long to put one instrument into its case and take another out as it does to retune your three strings.
Hi . That's a good question. There are lots of styles of dulcimer playing out there and lots of styles of tab as well. This book includes intermediate-level tab, so it is more than the mere melody. There is definitely chording involved, but not necessarily a lot of strumming. In the blurb below I posted a link to my tab of Southwind. I chose that tune because it's fairly well known in dulcimer circles so people could see exactly what my approach is. You can find the tab here and the slow audio demo here . If you watch my videos or listen to my audios you can also get a sense of how I approach the dulcimer. Here is a medley of Bugeilio'r Gwenith Gwyn and Cader Idris , both of which are included in the book and are among my favorites.
If you have any other questions, let me know.