Forum Activity for @dusty

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
06/18/24 04:26:18PM
1,738 posts

K&K pickup versus LR Baggs under saddle pickup.


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Hi Lilley-Pad,

My favorite dulcimer is one made by Terry McCafferty. It came with a K & K twin spot pickup.  The twin spot has has two heads, and although I don't know how Terry positioned them, the fact that there are two means that you get a more balanced sound.  I can tell you that the dulcimer sounds great amplified, and I also know that Terry worked with Stephen Seifert for a long time testing different pickup possibilities before they decided on the K & K.  Just plugging directly into an amp or DAW provides a very clean, acoustic sound.  I have some other dulcimers with pickups, none of which seem as clean as the K&K, but in some cases I don't even know what they are, so I can't say for sure any of them have an LR Baggs. 

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
06/14/24 01:43:47AM
1,738 posts

The Positive Thread...


OFF TOPIC discussions

John, I'm so glad you're back home and healing. I hope you're feeling stronger every day and I look forward to hearing more of your music.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
06/11/24 12:40:05PM
1,738 posts

Shifting bridge and nut


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

Glad it all worked out for you.  And you probably have the only Roosebeck with a bone bridge!


updated by @dusty: 06/11/24 08:54:11PM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty
06/11/24 12:38:42PM
1,738 posts

McCafferty Dulcimer, #687, as new condition


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

Gorgeous instrument.  If I didn't already have a McCafferty, I'd jump on this.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
06/05/24 11:31:02AM
1,738 posts

Shifting bridge and nut


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

AG, it is clear that you have an instrument that needs some adjustment to be playable.  That is not surprising. I've seen some Roosebeck dulcimers that were perfectly fine and others with serious design flaws.  I think they move their factories around eastern Europe and Asia, so quality varies tremendously.

This discussion settled on the "glue it down" solution, which is the correct one, I think.   Gluing the bridge and nut in their slots will stop this movement.

HOWEVER, you have now raised the issue of string spacing, and you may want to have a new nut and a new bridge made with the string spacing you prefer.  First, be aware that many traditional dulcimers had string spacing in which the melody strings were set apart from the drone strings.  And the spacing of the melody strings from each other can also be wider than you might think if the intent was for the instrument to be played with a noter rather than fingers.

So there is not necessarily anything "wrong" with the string spacing on your instrument. But if you want--at least some of the time--to play across all the strings and want to use your fingers to fret strings, you might want to ensure that the melody strings are close together and the middle string is equidistant between the base and melody.  If you are happy with the action, you might be able to just put new grooves in the existing nut and bridge.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
05/31/24 03:31:55PM
1,738 posts

Folk Instruments?


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

Interesting question. I think at the core of the answer is the manner of transmission.  Classical music is taught in schools and conservatories.  Folk music is transmitted informally and orally, within families and communities.  A guitar can be a folk instrument but might also be a classical instrument. Same with violin/fiddle.  French horn?  Definitely not a folk instrument.  But there is no corpus of dulcimer music taught at the New England Conservatory of music.  The music is passed on in dulcimer jams and--until tab became ubiquitous--entirely by listening and observing.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
05/10/24 06:04:25PM
1,738 posts

Try these sites for free tab


Dulcimer Resources:TABS/Books/websites/DVDs

@lorilee and @robin-thompson, Neal is only charging $5 for a download of that Richard Fariña book, but the version of "A Swallow Song" there does not contain tab. It's just the melody in standard music notation and chord names to strum while you sing.  Most of the book is tab, but there are 2-3 songs like this where the melody is not provided in tab.


updated by @dusty: 05/10/24 06:05:12PM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty
05/03/24 05:01:15PM
1,738 posts

Pete Seeger


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

The first songs I ever knew were from the Pete Seeger children's albums.  The fact that I still love acoustic music so much is certainly due to his influence. 

I have a photo of his banjo up on my dulcimer wall , and across the room are three framed pictures of record album art from Folkways: one by Pete, one by Woody, and one by Leadbelly.

I didn't know about the memorial. I'll have to make a point to get there next time I'm on the east coast.

Thanks for sharing, Ken.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
04/29/24 01:59:32AM
1,738 posts

anchor pin pulled out


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

Nate, I think the reason Richard suggested using loop end strings was not to save time, but to minimize the possibility that the wood might degrade and lose the grip on the screw.  If you never have to unscrew the screw, the wood would be more likely to stay intact.  In the picture MJ posted, the screw hole looks like it has to be filled.

I've never had trouble finding loop end strings of any gauge.  JustStrings sells them in bulk, plain steel from .008 to .018 and wound from .020 to .040.  For the odd string or two I just go to my local music store.  And you can also make a loop end string out of a ball end string by removing the ball. Just squeeze it with some plyers and pry it out.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
04/28/24 08:57:57PM
1,738 posts

anchor pin pulled out


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

Richard Streib: An additional solution may be to use loop end strings so more of the threads engage the wood. Using loop ends will not require removing the screw to change strings. It looks like the screw hole may need to be filled and start over with a slightly longer screw.
 

I second Richard's suggestion. Once a new and longer screw is in, use loop-end strings.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
04/22/24 12:31:44AM
1,738 posts

Something to watch


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Does the website actually check your IP address? I wonder if you could register an account with PBS and just choose WOUB as your local station.  I'm going to give it a try.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
04/20/24 11:40:28PM
1,738 posts

Something to watch


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Well, if it will cheer you up, @ken-longfield, you can watch Mountain Born: The Jean Ritchie Story (1996).


updated by @dusty: 04/21/24 02:05:51AM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty
04/18/24 01:51:03AM
1,738 posts

Question about the 6 1/2 fret


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

Supposedly, so the story goes, Richard Fariña had a luthier install a 6+ fret in a car on the way to a gig so that he could perform a song he had just written, which makes me think he was tuned DAA and/or playing with a noter.  Had he been in DAd, he could have gotten the C# on the 9th fret of the middle string instead of the 6+ on the melody.  Either way, the story demonstrates that the 6+ fret is useful not only for tuning DAd and playing across the strings.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
04/16/24 04:36:10PM
1,738 posts

Question about the 6 1/2 fret


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

NateBuildsToys: are there any historical examples of dulcimers with partial/staple frets that also include a 6.5 or 1.5?
 

I doubt it. But that's a good question.

NateBuildsToys: Also, was 1-5-8 in use before the 6.5 was added?
 

Yes. Absolutely. You cannot play tunes based on the mixolydian mode otherwise. So "Going to Boston" and "Old Joe Clark, " for two common examples, necessitate a 1-5-8 tuning.  My guess is that people referred to the tunings by common tunes. So 1-5-8 might have been referred to as "the Old Joe Clark tuning" and 1-5-7 might have been "the Shady Grove tuning."

More generally, I think you are right to connect full-length frets with extra frets.  The 6.5 fret allows the 1-5-8 tuning to get the major 7th note of the major scale, but melody notes below the tonic have to be played on the middle string.  So the 6.5 fret alone would not necessarily allow a drone player to play in the ionian mode.  (Not trying to scare anyone with fancy terms, plagal melodies require using the middle string in 1-5-8 but authentic melodies do not.) My point is merely that only if we are fretting across the strings can we make full use of a 6.5 fret.

Having said that, some drone-style players do indeed make use of extra frets.  Don Pedi has both a 1+ and a 6+ on his Modern Mountain Dulcimer dulcimer, although he often uses more traditional dulcimers for demonstrations.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
04/16/24 01:19:57PM
1,738 posts

Question about the 6 1/2 fret


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

Jerry, I don't think there is a specific time.  It was a slow evolution. According to dulcimer lore, sometime in the late 60s Howie Mitchell and Richard Fariña both independently put 6+ frets on their dulcimers. Slowly over the next 40 years or so, it became more popular and is considered standard today. 

I wonder if the same evolution will happen with the 1+ fret (which I use).  It is still in the minority now, but some luthiers are offering their standard dulcimers with the 1+ and 6+ frets, and you have to specify if you want a traditional diatonic fretboard.

I once asked Neal Hellman when he started using the 6+ fret and he couldn't even remember.  He acknowledged that his first dulcimers were all diatonic and that his later ones all had the 6+ fret, and yet he couldn't remember when he first starting using the fret.  Apparently the change for him was no big deal.

I hope this conversation can stay focused on the timing of this change rather than turn into a debate on the merits of different fret systems and styles of play.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
04/14/24 02:21:41AM
1,738 posts

Does soundbox tension affect volume and tone


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

The direction of this discussion exemplifies why Nate's original question is so hard to answer: there are a lot of variables.  He started out asking if modifying the way the strings attached to the dulcimer might increase the tension of the soundboard, thus increasing volume.   But the conversation moved on to the tension of the strings themselves and now how the fretboard is attached to the body of the dulcimer.  The "floating" tailpiece or, as David Beed calls it, the " decoupled tailpiece " surely affects the tension of the soundboard, but more importantly, by reducing its contact with the soundboard, it frees the soundboard to vibrate more, which changes both the volume and the timber of the dulcimer.  Again, that is adding another variable to the equation. Dwain and John mentioned bracing and sound posts, which add even more variables to consider

I am not a builder, and I haven't studied physics since high school, so I might be way off base here.  But I wonder if the issue is not the whether tension increases or decreases volume, but where the Goldilocks sweet spot is.  On guitars, too little or too much bracing will reduce the responsiveness of the instrument.  On a dulcimer, I presume, too much or too little tension (or stiffness of the wood) would not produce sufficient volume. If we were to map out the relationship between tension and volume, the result might not be a straight line, but something resembling a parabolic arc.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
04/06/24 05:05:44PM
1,738 posts

Tab Nonesuch on dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Hey LP.  I know Stephen Seifert has tab for it in his Join the Jam book, and I think I've seen @Mark-Gilston share tab for the tune as well. 

At the website dulcibertab.com, which compiles all the tab that used to be on the old Everything Dulcimer site, you can find the tune out of DAd with a capo at 1 .  I can't vouch for the quality of the arrangement, though.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
04/04/24 01:04:41PM
1,738 posts

WANTED Looking for DVD "Hearts of the Dulcimer"


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

@John-Petry, the 2024 Hindman Homecoming livestream on YouTube is streaming Hearts of the Mountain Dulcimer during their lunch hour.  I didn't catch it live, but it's still there.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
04/02/24 07:17:22PM
1,738 posts

International Appalachian Dulcimer Day


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Thanks, @phil-myers, but I can't take credit for the tune.  I found a short fiddle demo of the tune online, with an indication that it was written by Susan Reid.  I found a few videos online of the Vermont Fiddle Orchestra playing songs by her, so I wrote a letter to her c/o the Vermont Fiddle Orchestra, and included the dulcimer tab I had created.  I heard back about a month later.  She gave me permission to teach the song to my dulcimer group and also to post it online.  It's a cute tune indeed, and fits perfectly on the dulcimer from the open middle string to the seventh fret of the melody string in a 1-5-8 tuning.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
04/02/24 11:31:04AM
1,738 posts

What's the exact difference between a dulcimore and dulcimer


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

Dan:
Dusty Turtle: I think Ken's correct.  It's pretty clear that all those different spellings of what we now refer to as a dulcimer -- delcymore, delcimer, dulcimer, dulcimore, dulcymore -- reflect local or regional pronunciations of the word.  Especially among people with low literacy rates, few people would have seen the word in print, so there was nothing like a "standard" pronunciation.  In the same way that folk songs varied from one region to another, so would the pronunciation of a word vary.
 

Would doctors and educators be folks of low literacy? Why would they use the term "dulcimore"? 

 

Dan, I seem to have offended you, and for that I am sorry.  I do not consider "dulcimore" a "term" but rather a local pronunciation of the word whose spelling has now been standardized as "dulcimer." All those variants that I list above are clearly different local or regional pronunciations of the same word.  These pronunciations most likely developed in the late 19th century before free and compulsory education in most of the country, so spelling would not have been standardized. But all those variants were clearly referring to the same instrument.

It makes perfect sense that you use the term "dulcimore" for your traditional builds as a way to differentiate them from the modern dulcimers I play (with frets across the entire fretboard, large boxes for a guitar-like sound, extra frets, electronic pickups, etc.). But in 1890, when one person pronounced the word "dulcymore" and another in a nearby region said "delcimer," they were referring to the same instrument.


updated by @dusty: 04/02/24 11:31:43AM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty
03/30/24 01:05:57PM
1,738 posts

WANTED Looking for DVD "Hearts of the Dulcimer"


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

For the record, John, I bought a legit copy from Patricia and Wayne when they had them available.  My student went on her own to the library to request it and was able to view a copy.  But what that means is that there are library copies floating around.  

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
03/30/24 11:20:14AM
1,738 posts

WANTED Looking for DVD "Hearts of the Dulcimer"


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

Well I do have a copy of the DVD, but there is no way I will part with it. I'm sure you understand, John. 

One of my dulcimer students was able to request a copy from her local library.  It took a few weeks, but that interlibrary loan process still works, even in this digital age.

I wonder if we should encourage Wayne and Patricia to get a digital license for it so they can make it available on their site as a download.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
03/30/24 10:46:55AM
1,738 posts

International Appalachian Dulcimer Day


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Happy IADD, everyone!  Here is a short rendition of "Tune for a Sunny Day" written by Susan Reid of the Vermont Fiddle Orchestra.  I found a simple demo of the tune on the fiddle and wrote a letter to Susan at the asking permission to share it on the dulcimer.  I was delighted about a month later to hear from her.


updated by @dusty: 03/30/24 11:15:42AM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty
03/27/24 11:22:09PM
1,738 posts

International Appalachian Dulcimer Day


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I just recorded a video. I'll be sharing it with y'all this Saturday. I hope lots of you do the same.  Happy IADD! pimento

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
03/25/24 06:52:37PM
1,738 posts

What's the exact difference between a dulcimore and dulcimer


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

I think Ken's correct.  It's pretty clear that all those different spellings of what we now refer to as a dulcimer -- delcymore, delcimer, dulcimer, dulcimore, dulcymore -- reflect local or regional pronunciations of the word.  Especially among people with low literacy rates, few people would have seen the word in print, so there was nothing like a "standard" pronunciation.  In the same way that folk songs varied from one region to another, so would the pronunciation of a word vary.

As for dulciwhacker or duckslammer?  confusey

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
03/16/24 05:18:00PM
1,738 posts

Are two melody strings louder than one?


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

Interesting stuff to think about, at least for us dulcimer geeks.

It is not just the timing that is variable, as Mr. Adams suggests, but it is impossible to actually tune two strings to exactly the same pitch, despite our best efforts.  So in practice, we have two strings not plucked at exactly the same time and not tuned to exactly the same pitch.  The sum total of all of that would be an increase in sound, whether you call that volume or "fullness" or whatever.  

This should not be hard to test, Nate.  Turn on some kind of recording device or software and watch the input needles.

What if the two melody strings were not the same gauge?  What if one were .010 and the other .014?  Would the difference in tension result in greater volume?

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
03/06/24 11:45:23AM
1,738 posts

Robert N. Lackey, rest in peace


OFF TOPIC discussions

Thanks for sharing that article, Ken.  What a great way to honor Rob's life! 

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
03/04/24 11:49:45AM
1,738 posts

Folklife in Ohio


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Thanks for sharing this, Ken.  I want to make sure our Ohio patriot, @robin-thompson sees it.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
02/28/24 03:50:24PM
1,738 posts

Broken link in email


Site QUESTIONS ? How do I...?

Hey @traildad. Are you trying to unsubscribe or just notifying us that the link may be broken? (I think you have to already be logged in for that link to work. Otherwise, the site doesn't know who you are and can't direct you to the appropriate page.)

If you want to unsubscribe or change your notification settings, hover your cursor over your username in the upper, right-hand corner of the screen.  Choose "Account Settings" from the drop-down menu.  There are three screens from which to choose.  Pick "Notifications."  You can click "Disable All Notifications" at the top or go item by item to clarify whether and how you would like a notification sent for each item.


updated by @dusty: 02/28/24 03:50:41PM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty
02/21/24 12:07:24PM
1,738 posts

My 40 year old box of harmonicas


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Jim Yates:we each bought a harp and tried to sound like Sonny, with little success, until we read an article in Sing Out! magazine where Tony Glover explained cross harp, playing in the key of E with an A harp.  Suddenly it all came together.
 

I had a similar moment of realization about how to play blues on the harmonica.  I just couldn't figure it out and thought those great blues harmonica players were just really good at bending notes. But one day in college I was playing some blues on the guitar with some people and someone joined, playing blues harmonica really badly .  She was not good, but she was doing it, and on a break I asked to see her harmonica.  Indeed, @jim-yates, as you say, it was an A harp and we were playing in E. Aha!  dancecool Cross harp, what a concept! To play straight on the harmonica, your tonic is the 4th hole, but to get those blue notes, your tonic is the 3 hole.  I still can't play like Sonny Terry, but I can manage some amateur blues and have fun.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
02/15/24 10:49:24PM
1,738 posts

Ergonomics and Wrist Strain


Playing and jamming difficulties...HELP ME!

I'm only a tad taller than Wally, but when I have to sit in a chair that doesn't allow my legs to make a perfectly flat support for the dulcimer, I position the dulcimer comfortably by using a strap.  The strap not only provides some flexibility in sitting positions, but also enables me to angle the dulcimer a little bit so that it is not sitting flat on my lap.

That slight angle of the dulcimer also helps create a more natural angle for both left and right hand. When I first started on the dulcimer I laid the instrument flat on my lap and developed pretty painful tendonitis in the elbow of my strumming hand. Using a strap and changing the angle of the dulcimer cleared that up right away.

For your fretting arm, your entire forearm and hand should make a straight line pointing slightly down, with no angle at the wrist.

Take a look at Aaron O'Rourke here and notice both the way the dulcimer is propped up a bit off his lap and also the straight line of his fretting arm: https://youtu.be/EPClQt6v0Z0?si=08QnvmAx6vM0v60-&t=118 .

They always say there is no wrong way to play the dulcimer, but when I first started and developed tendonitis, and when you found you were straining your wrist, well those are clear signs that we were doing something wrong (at least for us) and needed to alter our approach.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
02/13/24 01:18:23PM
1,738 posts

Ergonomics and Wrist Strain


Playing and jamming difficulties...HELP ME!

Nate, I agree with the consensus here.  And I know you responded to my post elsewhere about exercises I'm doing to strengthen my fretting fingers.  Basically  the way you are fretting the strings, you are using your arm to push down on the strings rather than your fingers themselves. If you strengthen your fingers, you won't need your wrist or arm and can just have a relaxed hand, letting the fingers do all the work.  My daughter's old piano teacher (well, I mean ex-piano teacher; she's no older than I am oldman ) used to tell her to imagine that a delicate egg was under her hand.  The hand should be curved to protect the egg while her fingers hit the keys. I think the same principle works on the dulcimer.

Contact me by PM and I'll send you a sticker that should help:

curved finger 4 with blue lettering and RCD URL.jpg

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
02/13/24 12:02:08PM
1,738 posts

What Are You Working On?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

When you work on a song, you get better at that song. But when you work on your technique, you get better at every song you play.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
02/12/24 05:52:17PM
1,738 posts

What Are You Working On?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I'm a total OCD dulcimer nerd right now. I tabbed out a few fiddle tunes that make for great finger exercises.  For 2-3 days I've just been playing " Harvest Home " over and over, forcing myself to use my pinky for anything on the first fret, middle finger on the second, and index on the third across all the strings. And that's the range of the arrangement, from open bass to third fret on the melody string. So the left hand never moves, requiring the muscles in individual fingers to do all the work.

Both A and B parts of the song have four consecutive triplets are really tough.  I'm forcing myself to use a metronome and play really slowly.  Maybe someday I'll speed up a little, but I'm not there yet.  Sometimes I only play that triplet measure over and over. 

My goal is not to play the song well (or event at all), but to use the song to strengthen my pinky and develop greater finger independence and flatpicking accuracy.

But I do feel like I'm getting a bit geeky nerd and losing touch, like Jack Nicholson huddled over his typewriter in The Shining krazy .

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
02/10/24 06:28:20PM
1,738 posts

Dulcimer Bag Lady Dulcimer Bags


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Sorry to hear that, @greg-gunner.  The website lists a phone number; have you tried calling?

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
02/10/24 12:48:38PM
1,738 posts

Is there an option to order replies from oldest to newest ?


Site QUESTIONS ? How do I...?

Newest on top is very convenient when you are an active participant in an ongoing conversation.  That way you can join and see quickly the comments added since your last visit. Easy peasy!

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
02/09/24 02:00:58PM
1,738 posts

instrument question- Stephens Lutherie/holy grail dulcimer?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

@wildcat, you click or tap the gear icon and then choose "playback speed." 

YouTube added this feature a couple of years ago. It slows things down but keeps the same pitch, so you can learn tunes really easily. 

On a PC, that gear icon is on the bottom of the YouTube screen, but on a cell phone it appears on the top right.

Edit: Woops!  It looks like @salt-springs types faster than I. 


updated by @dusty: 02/09/24 02:15:43PM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty
02/07/24 11:54:58PM
1,738 posts

instrument question- Stephens Lutherie/holy grail dulcimer?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

It just so happens that the next episode of Bing Futch's Dulcimerica (#687) will feature Bing Futch playing and teaching Shaving a Dead Man.  Check it out in a day or two whenever it drops.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty
02/07/24 08:20:06PM
1,738 posts

instrument question- Stephens Lutherie/holy grail dulcimer?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I don't think the song is under copyright.  It appears to have a long history as a clawhammer banjo tune, but at one time the title was different and included a racial epithet.  From what I can figure out, by the 1970s, folks were calling it "Shaving a Dead Man" or "Protect the Innocent."  There's lots of banjo tab out on the tune as well as discussions about playing it in different keys and tunings.


updated by @dusty: 02/07/24 08:20:37PM
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