Forum Activity for @dusty-turtle

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/26/20 08:57:35PM
1,340 posts

McSpadden v. Folkcraft?


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

@nathina, many years ago I started a discussion here called " Dulcimer Gender Studies " asking exactly why so many people give their dulcimers female names.  No one thought to examine the reproductive process of the trees from which the wood came.


updated by @dusty-turtle: 11/26/20 08:57:52PM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/26/20 12:39:56PM
1,340 posts

Giving Thanks


OFF TOPIC discussions

It's remarkable how long ago I wrote that original piece. And after all this time, I am even more grateful for the camaraderie we have created here at FOTMD.  (I wonder if Strumelia knew what a community she was creating back when she first had that brilliant idea to develop this site.)

I hope you can all enjoy Thanksgiving safely this year. 

And yes, @don-grundy, let's all play our dulcimers and express thanks that we have such a fulfilling hobby, something needed these days more than ever.  Like a true companion, my dulcimer helps me celebrate when days are bright and lament when they're gloomy.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/26/20 12:50:12AM
1,340 posts

Dr. George Orthey, Mountain dulcimer and Autoharp maker


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I just want to bump this discussion and point everyone to @ken-longfield's excellent obituary of George Orthey in the current (Nov 2020) issue of Dulcimer Players News.  It is very well written and contains a lot of information about Orthey's life and the instruments he built. Well done, Ken!


updated by @dusty-turtle: 11/26/20 12:50:24AM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/25/20 06:48:43PM
1,340 posts

New McSpadden Flatwater Dulcimers


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

My guess is that they will play the role of entry-level dulcimers as people's first instruments, so there will always be a small market for them, much like the Folkcraft cardboard dulcimers.  And like some of the student-model dulcimers that some luthiers make, some people may prefer them to fancier instruments.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/25/20 04:56:12PM
1,340 posts

New McSpadden Flatwater Dulcimers


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

This flatwater dulcimer is definitely a good idea, although it's also a sign of how expensive dulcimers have become.  It's hard to get a newbie to invest $500 or more for an instrument they're not sure they're going to play, so the price point on this model is welcome.  I also like the trapezoidal shape as well. And most importantly, the demo sounded great.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/25/20 12:56:20PM
1,340 posts

Tab for "Hail Against the Barn Door"


Dulcimer Resources:TABS/Books/websites/DVDs

Scott, I've attached here what I have so far.  The A part is pretty good but I don't really have feel for the B part just yet.  Because the tune is in A mixolydian you can't really play it in a drone style tuned DAd or DAA since the drones should be A and E rather than a D.  In this arrangement, the chordal accompaniment is always found below the melody, so if you just want to play single notes, always play the highest note.

And if you have suggestions for revisions, let me know.  I'm going to keep working on it and if I decide major changes are necessary, I'll re-post here.


The Squirrel Hunters.pdf - 259KB
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/25/20 01:42:17AM
1,340 posts

Tab for "Hail Against the Barn Door"


Dulcimer Resources:TABS/Books/websites/DVDs

Scott, the same thing happens to me all the time.  I hear a piece of a tune and want to learn it but then at some point realize it's way more complicated than I thought.  Once I spend hours tabbing out a long Irish tune, going note by note, and then with about two measure left I realized the melody went way down below the bass string, so it wasn't even possible to play on the dulcimer. I was so frustrated!

I have  tabbed out in a chording style playing across all the strings one of the versions of The Squirrel Hunter that I found in SMN.  It is pretty similar to Hail Against the Barn Door.  If you're interested, let me know. I'd be happy to share it so long as you understand that it's a work in progress.  When I tab out a tune I don't know that well I have to play it a bunch before I get the right feel, and then I adjust the tab based on how it felt under my fingers. I don't quite have the feel for the B part of this tune yet, so the tab will surely evolve.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/24/20 02:55:52PM
1,340 posts

No wonder everyone has more than one.


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

First, let's keep things simple. 

The most common keys in old timey, folk, or bluegrass jams are C, D, G, and A.  With a standard-sized dulcimer tuned to an open D (DAA or DAd), you can obviously play in the key of D.  You can capo at 3 to play in G or capo at 4 to play in A.  And you can tune down to CGc or CGG to play in C.  (And there are other ways to get those keys as well, without switching instruments.  You could, for example, tune DGd to play in G, although if you chord and/or fret across all the strings that tuning will require some adjustments.)

So for 90 percent of your playing--even in multi-instrument jams--you only need one dulcimer.

However, I will be honest that I often bring 2 dulcimers to jams.  One a standard dulcimer and one in the baritone range.  The standard size dulcimer can usually be tuned anywhere between C and E.  The baritone can usually be tuned anywhere between F and A.  If we add the half steps in between those ranges, we get 10 keys, the only ones missing are B and Bb. And you can finagle (is that how you spell that word?) around to get those keys as well. For example. if you tune a standard dulcimer up a half step to Eb, you can capo at 4 to get Bb.

So there is no need to get multiple dulcimers for multiple tunings and multiple keys.  Even without using a capo, you can get 10 of the 12 possible keys with dulcimers in two tonal ranges. (One of my baritones can get up to Bb as well, but be careful and wear protective goggles if you try that on your own.)

However, I have several dulcimers.  Why?  I find different kinds of playing sounds better on different kinds of dulcimers.  I love my Blue Lion for fingerpicking, but don't think it sounds so hot flatpicking. I love my Modern Mountain Dulcimer for flatpicking, but find the action is too low and the strings too close together for fingerpicking.  I have one dulcimer that originally came with six strings, and it sounds great on those tunes with tons of strumming.  But playing more nuanced arrangements with lots of precise picking and lots of hammer-ons and pull-offs, those double strings just don't do the job.

So don't go buying different dulcimers for different tunings or different keys.  It's completely unnecessary. However, you may find that as your playing evolves, you develop different preferences and one or another dulcimer may be great for one tune played in a certain style but not for other tunes.  Getting multiple dulcimers to please our preferences, though, is a luxury, not a necessity.  

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/22/20 11:44:30AM
1,340 posts

How Do I Attach Photos To A Post?


Site QUESTIONS ? How do I...?

I'm afraid I can't be of any help here.  I never noticed that before, but I checked on both my Android and my iPhone, and the text box does not have any of the text-editing icons that are supposed to appear along the top.

By the way ... Hi Belinda!

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/21/20 11:25:14PM
1,340 posts

How is the COVID-19 coronavirus affecting you?


OFF TOPIC discussions

I drove by our neighborhood community center today and there was a long line of cars trying to enter the parking lot. Why?  They were giving out free face masks.  I don't know who sponsored that effort, but what a great idea!

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/21/20 05:21:52PM
1,340 posts

Tab for "Hail Against the Barn Door"


Dulcimer Resources:TABS/Books/websites/DVDs


I've found several SMN versions of Squirrel Hunter or The Squirrel Hunters.  They all differ in the chording and the key signature, but the actual notes are pretty stable. The fact that the chords and the key signature differ is just a function of the fact that the tune's modal and it doesn't fit the conventions of western music notation very well. In the five or six versions I've looked at so far, the first two measures center on E and B notes and then the third measure goes to G before the turnaround in measure 4.  The structure is similar to Red-Haired Boy or Salt Creek.

One challenge on the dulcimer is that the melody requires a G note in two different octaves.  I'm pretty sure I can get the melody going across all the strings in a DAd tuning an using chords to avoid that low D string. In a drone style the tune is more challenging, at least to play it in A.  I suppose you could tune EAD. The E and A would be reverse drones for the key of A and the melody could be played on the melody string starting on the 8th fret, going down to the 3 and up as high as 11 or 12. 

That's a weird tuning, though, isn't it?


updated by @dusty-turtle: 11/21/20 05:28:56PM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/21/20 03:58:41PM
1,340 posts

Tab for "Hail Against the Barn Door"


Dulcimer Resources:TABS/Books/websites/DVDs

That's very helpful, Strumelia.  The sheet music for Squirrel Hunter seems to be written in A mixolydian.  It kind fools you, because there are two sharps, so we dulcimer players jump up and celebrate that it's in D or Bm.  But the tune ends on an A.  I'm gonna mess around with it a spell.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/21/20 01:16:28PM
1,340 posts

Tab for "Hail Against the Barn Door"


Dulcimer Resources:TABS/Books/websites/DVDs

The only thing I found is some banjo tab .  I can't even find sheet music for the tune.   If I get some time in the next week or so I may try to figure it out by ear.  I'll probably start on the guitar before I figure out what dulcimer tuning would work best.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/21/20 12:58:32PM
1,340 posts

How is the COVID-19 coronavirus affecting you?


OFF TOPIC discussions

Most years I complain when people put up Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving (and some even before Halloween!), but it's perfectly understandable this year.  We need something to pick up our spirits and remind us of what "normal" is supposed to be.

@b-ross-ashley, my dulcimer group resembles your folk chorus in that our move online has allowed us to bring in people from all over.  Nowadays only about half our attendees are from Northern California.  So although social distancing guidelines have taken away our abilities to socialize locally, they have opened up other ways to expand social gatherings unlimited by geography.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/18/20 07:15:51PM
1,340 posts

Blue Lion Dulcimers why so Special?


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

@Nathina, nowadays there are several really high-end dulcimer luthiers to choose from.  Such was not the case in the late 70s when Blue Lion started using fancier woods and guitar designs to build dulcimers that were louder and much more mellow-sounding than traditional dulcimers.  They simply sound really big and warm and are especially nice for fingerpicking.  Janita (half of the couple that makes them) also does phenomenal inlay work, so the dulcimers look as good as they sound.  And they are especially know for their baritone and bass models, as well as a model for jam players that uses the body of the baritone but is strung as a standard, so it has extra volume. 

I have one of the basic models that I bought years ago, and although it is no longer my main dulcimer (no 1+ fret, no ebony overlay, no pickup, etc.) I still use, especially for fingerpicking.  Other people who specialize in fingerpicking (like Nina Zanetti) also play Blue Lion dulcimers.  Janita is also a very innovative player.  She plays with four equidistant strings but tunes one of the middle strings a half note off the other (I can't remember if it's sharp or flat).  That way she can play all the chromatic notes, and does some great fingerpicking, even doing jazzy-sounding pieces that other dulcimer players could never pull off.


updated by @dusty-turtle: 11/18/20 07:18:20PM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/18/20 12:21:26PM
1,340 posts

McSpadden v. Folkcraft?


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

Congrats, @lisavb, on your new baby.  We're all excited for you.  Of the common dulcimer woods, cherry is my favorite. It always looks pretty.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/15/20 08:46:20PM
1,340 posts

If this is true the Piezo goes on the bottom?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Nathina, if you play the dulcimer in a traditional style, meaning it sits on your lap, the back cannot vibrate much at all.  That is one of the main reasons dulcimers have so much less volume than guitars.  The other reason is that the fingerboard traditionally lays right across the top, so the top can't vibrate much at all.  One reason some people get dulcimers with a false or galaz bottom is to allow the bottom to vibrate more, getting more volume.

But I don't see this as a choice.  Both the top and the bottom vibrate, but both are limited by the structure of the dulcimer.  If you want some proof that the top vibrates, check out this video by David Beede demonstrating his decoupled tailpiece .  Basically the more restrained the top, the brighter the sound, the less restrained the top, the louder and more mellow is the sound. If you want proof that the bottom vibrates, put it on your lap and strum a chord, then while the chord is sounding, lift the dulcimer up.  You will get a burst of volume as the bottom is allowed to vibrate.

I have one dulcimer with a pickup on the bottom and I don't like it very much.  To get a decent sound I need to play with an equalizer to get decent separation.  The internal pickup I like the best is in my McCafferty dulcimer. It's a K & K Sound twin spot piezo, so there are actually two different spots transmitting sound. Unfortunately, I don't know where those spots are, although I have to correspond with him on something else and I'll try to remember to ask.

If I am not mistaken, you have a pickup that attaches to the outside of the dulcimer.  Play around with that, putting it in different places.  I think you'll discover a lot about where the most resonant places on your dulcimer are.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/15/20 04:58:14PM
1,340 posts

GigBook & a pedal


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

@marg, you can organize your tab in folders if you wish. You don't need special software for that.  You could create one big folder that has everything and then sub-folders on holiday tunes, or celtic tunes or however you want to organize them. But you can also just use the search function, so if someone calls out "Grasshopper Sitting on a Sweet Potato Vine" you just search for "grassh" and click on that song and you don't have to remember what folder it's in.

Neither of the two people in my dulcimer group who have all their tablature on their tablets and use foot pedals organize their tab in subfolders.  They just have one big folder and either scroll alphabetically or use the search function to find tab for any given song.  And they are always much faster than the folks with their binders of papers.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/14/20 01:44:03PM
1,340 posts

Can Anyone Identify the maker of this dulcimer.


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

I certainly don't know who made that interesting dulcimer. Several luthiers use those sheaves, though, so that might not be a revealing clue.

It is an odd combination of a very traditional, truly diatonic fretboard (with no 6+ fret) and a very modern, solid body electric.  

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/14/20 12:16:23PM
1,340 posts

The Positive Thread...


OFF TOPIC discussions

That's a lot to be going through, @ken-longfield. I hope everything goes swimmingly.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/14/20 12:35:56AM
1,340 posts

The Positive Thread...


OFF TOPIC discussions

It rained today in Northern California. First time since the spring.  The trees and grass and shrubs are relaxed and smiling.  So are the firefighters.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/14/20 12:28:57AM
1,340 posts

How do I get this sidebar off of my screen on FOTMD?


Site QUESTIONS ? How do I...?

Jill, you have opened up the live chat. You simply need to minimize it.  The icon with the left pointing arrow and a vertical line will do the job.

HowDoIGetThisSidebarOffOfMyScreenOnFOTMDForumsfotmdcom.png

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/12/20 12:46:29PM
1,340 posts

How is the COVID-19 coronavirus affecting you?


OFF TOPIC discussions

The good news: my wife started that new job this week, so now we're all working or going to school from home. Our tight little COVID circle is intact again.

The bad news: our county is moving backwards into a more restrictive set of COVID protocols (California has a 4-tiered, color-coded system).   It seems everyone gets serious about being careful and the infection rates go down, allowing us to move into a less restrictive tier.  Everyone celebrates and decides we're out of the woods, and then they get careless again, putting us back into a more restrictive tier.  

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/08/20 01:15:16AM
1,340 posts

Dulcimer Dimensions


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

Looking at the pictures, it's possible they measured from the nut rather than the zero fret.

If you are playing noter/drone, VSL should not matter as much. For chording, a half an inch makes a big difference. The same with a buzz on a drone string. If you are not fretting it, who cares?  But it might matter if you ever wanted to sell the dulcimer, so if you bought it new, you might want to contact the builder. 

Black Mountain makes their own instruments and they do not look like those Roosebecks made overseas.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/08/20 12:45:34AM
1,340 posts

It Came today.


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

It looks like quite an elegant dulcimer, Nathina.  Congratulations!

Don't think of your initial tuning as a commitment.  Earlier today I joined an online dulcimer gathering and we used three different tunings (DAd, DAA, DAC) without changing strings at all.  And I regularly tune down to C or up to E with the same set of strings.

Ken is correct about the order in which we list the strings. You can still find older books and tab that list strings from melody to bass, but sometime (mid-late 70s?) the nonexistent Council on Dulcimer Standards decreed that we should list strings from bass to melody.  Honestly it makes no difference at all, but it is nice when we all refer to things the same way.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/07/20 11:50:29PM
1,340 posts

Dulcimer Dimensions


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

The dimensions listed for a dulcimer should be pretty exact.  I don't know anyone who would list the VSL as 29" if it were really 28.5".  That half inch would make a huge difference in terms of fingering the frets, even if the difference in sound would be minimal.

Having said that, if you expect a dulcimer to sound a certain way based on dimensions alone (or wood choice or bracing or . . .) you are likely to be disappointed.  There are so many factors that influence a dulcimer's sound.  Certain luthiers have certain sounds regardless of the exact size or shape or wood they use.  My point is not that size has no effect, for in general you would expect larger instruments to have more volume and more sustain, but modern luthiers are able to achieve both in smaller dulcimers.  My McCafferty is very loud and very mellow, and the VSL is only 25", though the box is indeed deeper than those of traditional dulcimers. My point is simply that the luthier has much more to do with the sound of a dulcimer than the size or shape or any other individual variable.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/07/20 03:38:55AM
1,340 posts

NEW!- Fotmd rotating slideshow Banner Ads!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Yes, the banner ads are a great deal!  Pound for pound (as they say in boxing) the best bang for your buck.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/07/20 03:34:07AM
1,340 posts

Turning your acoustic into an electric amplified.


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Nathina, I will be curious to read of your reaction to these pickups on a mountain dulcimer.  The criticism of all external piezo pickups is that they capture every vibration, so as the instrument shifts on your lap or you touch the top with your hand, those sounds get magnified.  That might not be a problem with the hammered dulcimer, which is why your experience has been so good, although the size of a HD probably warrants one of those systems with two or more pickups to catch the range of the instrument.  I am eager to hear of your experiences with these pickups on the MD.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/04/20 09:56:16PM
1,340 posts

GigBook & a pedal


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions


I just checked with the member of my dulcimer group who uses one of those pedals.  He does not use special music software at all, just a generic pdf reader.  The foot pedal is called a PageFlip Firefly and connects via bluetooth to his tablet.  No special software is needed for the foot pedal.

I would check if your foot pedal will work with Acrobat Reader or even just a generic version.  Then you can just keep all your files in a big folder and don't need GigBook at all.


updated by @dusty-turtle: 11/04/20 11:24:44PM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/03/20 01:44:28PM
1,340 posts

GigBook & a pedal


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Marg, I am pretty sure a couple of people in my dulcimer group don't use any app at all but just keep pdf files of all their tab and use a pedal to turn the pages.  I'll check with them and get back to you.

What format are the files in GigBook?

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/03/20 01:30:35PM
1,340 posts

Hammered Dulcimer EXR


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

The harmony would definitely need to be simplified.  But I wonder about the melody itself. I just took a look at some sheet music, and there are one or two accidentals involved.  Those notes just might not be found on the fretboard, although there are always workarounds.  (You could change the melody slightly or bend a string to get the note you wanted.)

Another option would be to choose a chromatic tuning such 1-3-5.  But in 1-5-8 or 1-5-5, I think there would be a missing note or two.  

It's certainly worth a try, though!

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/03/20 12:41:11AM
1,340 posts

Hammered Dulcimer EXR


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Wow, @nathina, the contrasting tones of those two instruments is remarkable.  You're quite a good player, too.

For what it's worth, I am skeptical that you could get the Gershwin tune on the MD.  Just going by ear, it sounds like there are too many non-diatonic notes involved.  I could be wrong, though, and if you have any extra frets it might be possible.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/02/20 07:54:33PM
1,340 posts

Hammered Dulcimer EXR


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

That's a beautiful hammered dulcimer, @nathina

I'm going in the opposite direction. After playing mountain dulcimer for about 10 years, just a few weeks ago I was gifted a 16/15 Dusty Strings HD.  I can find simple melodies pretty well, but I'm still trying to figure out how to fill in chordal tones.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11/01/20 10:56:37PM
1,340 posts

McSpadden v. Folkcraft?


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

@lisavb, if you have to buy a dulcimer without playing it, both McSpadden and Folkcraft are solid choices.  But as you can see, you have many choices to make aside from which dulcimer maker you choose.

Unless you are truly wealthy (in which case, can I get a few bucks?) you will want to develop your preferences before investing any serious money into a dulcimer.  Flat head or scroll?  Ebony (or micarta) overlay?  What size VSL? What width fretboard?  Galax back? Extra frets? Jumbo frets?  Radiused fretboard? Internal pickup?  What about wood choices?  The list of options just grows and grows.  You may want to take some time to figure that stuff out before you buy an instrument from either of these fine makers.

The action can usually be adjusted, so that is not a true variable differentiating McSpadden from Folkcraft.

Honestly, you will get a fine instrument with either of these folks. I would suggest deciding the other stuff first and then investigating which company can best meet your needs.  And as @susie says, give them a call and maybe they can help you decide on all the features you're interested in.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
10/31/20 08:05:39PM
1,340 posts

Strings


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

@lisa-c, it's certainly a good idea to get a ballpark idea of what a good string gauge would be for different tunings, as you've done, but you will want to experiment and find the ideal for you.  We all have different preferences.  On my full-size dulcimers I use a .026 on the bass, . 016 on the middle, and .013 on the melody.  That might be too heavy for others, but I like the bigger sound and the extra resistance when bending strings.  And my preferences also change depending on how I am playing. When I fingerpick, I like a little extra give in the strings, so I tune down to C. When I flatpick, I like really taut strings with a quick response to the pick, and I tune up to Eb or even E.  In other words, I keep the string gauges the same but change the tuning to get a different feel.  Of course, when I play with others, I just keep things tuned to D.


updated by @dusty-turtle: 11/01/20 01:55:37AM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
10/31/20 12:07:55PM
1,340 posts

Strings


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Lisa C: Also, is there a chart or link you could share that shows the ideal gauges for the most common tunings per the common VSLs (thinking between 25" and 28")?   
 

@lisa-c, you can check out the Strothers String Gauge Calculator .  You input the vibrating string length and the specific note you want it the calculator will tell you a string gauge. It errs on the light side, so feel free to go one or two sizes heavier.


There used to be a website devoted to the 1-3-5 tuning, but I can't seem to find it now. Maybe someone will chime in.


For some reason, a lot of people who use that tuning choose to choose F-A-C.  Maybe that allows you to go back and forth between D-A-d and F-A-C without changing strings.  I'm not sure.


updated by @dusty-turtle: 10/31/20 12:08:30PM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
10/30/20 08:37:50PM
1,340 posts

Do I really need an ebony fretboard? Talk me out of it!


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

Jill, I think Martin uses Richlite, a product very similar to micarta.  Neither should expand or shrink at all, unlike ebony.  They require no care whatsoever.

Interestingly, both can be colored in any way, but everyone uses black so that they look like ebony. But there's no reason you couldn't have a purple overlay or hot pink or whatever.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
10/30/20 04:18:14PM
1,340 posts

Do I really need an ebony fretboard? Talk me out of it!


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


Jill, I bought a dulcimer from Ron Ewing several years ago and he talked me out of the ebony overlay.  I trusted him since he would have gotten more money out of me with it added, but I've regretted not having that overlay ever since.  I am sure Ebony is not the only material that can be used, and the artificial materials like Richlite and Micarta might work even better, but personally I like the extra hard surface both for ease of fingering and also to prevent any pick damage.  Sometimes I pick rather energetically, and my dulcimers without ebony overlay have little marks where my pick routinely hits the fretboard.  And because ebony is so much denser than walnut or the other woods, your fingers slide over the fretboard much more easily.  The Micarta and Richlite options might even be better in that regard since they are non-porous materials.

And for what it's worth, I LOVE the contrast of the ebony (or micarta) over the lighter woods, cherry being my favorite for its fine looks.

YMMV.  Less aggressive players than I might have no need for a fingerboard overaly at all.


updated by @dusty-turtle: 10/30/20 04:19:56PM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
10/28/20 11:36:36AM
1,340 posts

The Mountain Minor movie


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I'm glad you got to see the movie, Robin the Producer.

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