Forum Activity for @dusty-turtle

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
06/12/21 01:29:29PM
1,483 posts

How is the COVID-19 coronavirus affecting you?


OFF TOPIC discussions

The return to gatherings with family and friends is so wonderful. Scrabble, Banagrams, or just sharing a bottle of wine.

I just booked tickets for the family to visit my folks, whom we haven't seen in nearly two years, since the summer before the pandemic.  And we're attending a neighborhood party this evening, when we've all pitched in to hire a pizza truck, two guys with a wood-fired oven that they tow around from their van.  All the adults and kids over 12 in the neighborhood have been vaccinated, and we'll be outdoors anyway.  It will be so nice to hang out with people again.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
06/11/21 02:26:08PM
1,483 posts

How is the COVID-19 coronavirus affecting you?


OFF TOPIC discussions

I'm sitting with my daughter in the outdoor patio of a neighborhood café.  It feels so strange to be in public with no mask on.  Here in California, where the state is approaching that magical 70 percent vaccination rate, the pandemic restrictions are going to be lifted in about a week.  This café is even hosting its first ever open mic night a few days after the state re-opens.  A return to normal?  I wonder how long it will be before I'm comfortable with no mask on.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
06/11/21 01:51:34AM
1,483 posts

Awarding the "giveaway dulcimore" in Berea!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Congratulations to Diane.  And what a nice gesture on your part, John.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
06/08/21 03:15:17PM
1,483 posts

How do I create a new forum discussion?


Site QUESTIONS ? How do I...?

@joseph-besse, you just added a comment to a discussion about how to start a new discussion.  Perhaps you can go to the beginning of the thread to learn how to start a new discussion about any in-person festivals coming up.

I would also point you to the Dulcimer Players News Festival Directory , which lists upcoming events, some of which are virtual, some in-person, and some hybrid.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
06/01/21 02:56:59PM
1,483 posts

The Positive Thread...


OFF TOPIC discussions

Dr. Sanjay Gupta on how music is good for your brain.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
06/01/21 02:21:17AM
1,483 posts

The Positive Thread...


OFF TOPIC discussions

I found the 6-String Soldiers on Memorial Day.  This is good sh . . . stuff.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
05/29/21 02:33:34AM
1,483 posts

Need advice on Schaller planetary tuners tension


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

The first thing to try would be that screw on the end of the button.  It probably won't take much. 

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
05/27/21 06:14:32PM
1,483 posts

Leonard Bernstein explaining the mixolydian mode


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions


Check out this video of Leonard Bernstein explaining the mixolydian mode to some young folk.  What a great teacher!

https://youtu.be/x0rUDj1UrO8?t=72


updated by @dusty-turtle: 05/27/21 06:17:47PM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
05/21/21 03:57:31PM
1,483 posts

Bass dulcimer strings


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


For reference purposes: Blue Lion's bass dulcimer has a 27.5" scale length and they use .052w for the bass, .032w for the middle, and .024w for the melody.

More and more luthiers are making dulcimers with shorter scale lengths, even for baritone and bass dulcimers.  New Harmony is now making baritone and bass models with 25" and 26" scale lengths. You might contact Rick there and see what they use for string gauges.  To really get a bass sound I think you need pretty heavy strings.  Those recommendations Ken got from the String Calculator--always the place to start--are pretty close to what I use on my 27" Probst strung as a baritone. (34, 24, 16).


updated by @dusty-turtle: 05/21/21 03:58:25PM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
05/19/21 05:17:18PM
1,483 posts

Rosin the Beau and recycling melodies for new songs


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Hi @lois-sprengnether-keel.  Well you've demonstrate how you can do good history lesson using folks music.

The words we know to Old Rosin the Beau certainly makes it a drinking song, but I wonder if the song was not originally an instrumental simply called Rosin the Bow, and someone put some tongue-in-cheek lyrics to it, creating a song better known than the original.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
05/19/21 10:51:28AM
1,483 posts

Rosin the Beau and recycling melodies for new songs


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Thanks, @ken-longfield and @ken-hulme. I should have know you two would be the first to join the conversation!

Having grown up in Boston, I've know the Charlie and the MTA song about as long as I've known the Longfellow poem about Paul Revere ("Listen my children and you shall hear . . . ").  Both were required material in elementary schools.

There are lots of one-offs, I assume.  I heard an old Scottish tune called "The Bold Princess Royal" that must have been the source of the melody for Sweet Betsy from Pike.

But so far you guys have confirmed my sense that Rosin the Beau has been used more than any other melody.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
05/17/21 11:43:47AM
1,483 posts

Edit audio descriptions without spamming the Home site


Site QUESTIONS ? How do I...?

Hey @jost.  Well first of all, the people who worry about dominating the activity feed are never the ones who need to worry about dominating the activity feed, so think no more about that. The Moderators do have the ability to delete an item from the Activity Feed, and sometimes we do that when one person uploads several audio and video files and then edits them all, but in your case, a few items in that feed is nothing to worry about.  

We have discussed getting rid of some of those boxes that show up when you upload an audio text since they are not displayed publicly.  I suppose we could also find a way for them to be shown, but since so few people use that feature it has never been an issue.  In the meantime, you have two choices if you want to share lyrics. One is to put them in the description.  That will display, but will require significant scrolling on the part of the viewer.  The second is just to add another comment in which you put the lyrics.

Don't be ashamed. Just the fact that you posted your concern here shows you to be a good dulci-citizen. thumbsup

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
05/13/21 02:09:25PM
1,483 posts

How is the COVID-19 coronavirus affecting you?


OFF TOPIC discussions

@lisavb, I'm glad that you and yours have gotten vaccinated.  The mass vaccination site near us also operated very efficiently.  I'm not sure they were all so successful, though.

When my daughter's school shut down last spring, they initially said it was for a 4-day weekend to do a deep cleaning.  Then they canceled the next week of school and then the next.  No one understood at the time how long this would last.  We all thought it would "blow over," as you say.

I'll have to figure out the best way to accommodate both a small number of people live in person and a larger group spread around the world.  But one thing I can definitely conclude: dealing with the pandemic has strengthened rather than weakened the dulcimer community.  So many of our local groups had to stop meeting, but now we're connecting with so many more people spread around the country and the world.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
05/12/21 09:21:24AM
1,483 posts

How is the COVID-19 coronavirus affecting you?


OFF TOPIC discussions

I just got a call from the music shop where I used to host a monthly dulcimer club before we moved online in April or May of last year.  As of sometime in June, they will be allowed to host indoor gatherings again.  Now I have to establish whether there's sufficient interest.  Some of those who used to drive a long way to join us have already expressed that they would like to stay online.  Others have joined from around the country and a few from overseas, so I'll either have to do two gatherings a month or perhaps one hybrid gathering.  I know they have livestreamed concerts from the music store, but I'm not sure that is interactive enough. Hmm . . . 

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
05/11/21 10:45:44PM
1,483 posts

George Orthey Dulcimer


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

The other Orthey dulcimers I've seen had VSLs of 27".  If yours is close to that, a wound bass string around .024 would probably be right.  Middle string perhaps .012 or so and the melody string would depend on your tuning. If you are tuning DAA, then keep a .012 for the melody. If DAd, perhaps .010.  

My personal preference would be for slightly heavier strings (.026, .014, .012) but those that I list might be close to standard for that size dulcimer.

And as the image suggests, you will need loop end strings, although if all you can get are ball end, you can always remove the ball manually.  Just squeeze them gently with plyers and pop them out of the strings.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
05/11/21 07:38:11PM
1,483 posts

Rosin the Beau and recycling melodies for new songs


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions


We know how common it has been in the folklore tradition to add new lyrics to an old melody.  Poets such as Robert Burns did so incessantly, it seems.  Woody Guthrie did so, too.  I have two questions for you to contemplate: 1) What melodies seem to have been used more than others for new songs; and 2) Have any melodies been used more than Rosin the Beau?

To provide context for the second question, let me point you to the following:

1) Roll on Liberty Ball

2) Lincoln and Liberty

3) Acres of Clams

4) Mary of the Wild Moor

5) Lament of the Old Sourdough  

If you have more to add, please do so.


updated by @dusty-turtle: 05/11/21 10:47:05PM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
05/11/21 11:40:51AM
1,483 posts

Hearts Of The Dulcimer Podcast In Its 5th Year


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

One of my most exciting moments as a dulcimer player was playing Cripple Creek as fast as I could while Aubrey did her clog dancing on a small wooden square she had brought with her.  We were in a jam circle and it was my turn to name a tune. I just said I wanted to accompany  Aubrey's clogging, and she replied, "Well you better play pretty fast then!"  I sacrificed accuracy for speed and just watched in awe as Aubrey's feet did their magic.

I can't wait until I get a chance to hear the latest episode.  Thanks, Patricia and Wayne for all you do!

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
05/10/21 12:55:34PM
1,483 posts

NDD - McSpadden Ginger


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Looks like a beauty, and I'm sure it sounds like one, too!

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
05/06/21 10:28:16PM
1,483 posts

New McSpadden Flatwater Dulcimers


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

@adkzookeeper, I'm glad to hear you're so happy with your dulcimer.  And in general, it's wonderful that McSpadden is offering a more affordable model.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
05/05/21 03:55:57PM
1,483 posts

Do you feel limited by the diatonic scale?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

@ken-hulme, I agree with your basic message about the vast number of diatonic songs and the fact that we can often find work-arounds for songs with an occasional accidental, but the fact is that there are millions of songs that simply cannot be played on a diatonic fretboard.  I challenge you to play George Gershwin's " Rhapsody in Blue ," for example.  I don't even think that ascending clarinet line that begins the whole piece could be done on a diatonic fretboard. Or how about Art Tatum's " Tiger Rag ?" (Obviously I've chosen extreme examples to make the point.)

Having said that, one might argue that the piano is more limited than the dulcimer. After all, on a dulcimer we can get all those microtones in between notes either by bending strings or using that noter technique in between frets where the noter touches the fretboard and the string.  Playing those microtones is possible on a piano.  Instead of concentrating on what an instrument can't do, we should concentrate on what it can do, and find our freedom of expression there.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
05/03/21 05:38:14PM
1,483 posts

The Positive Thread...


OFF TOPIC discussions

Did you hear about the poor guy from Avenue J?  He has to go 6 blocks to P. ROTFL

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
05/03/21 12:07:16PM
1,483 posts

McCafferty Dulcimer fretboard width


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

@Silverstrings, McCafferty fretboards are 1-1/2 inches wide.  That is a pretty standard size.  My Blue Lion and Probst dulcimers also have 1-1/2" wide fretboards.

Terry now sells his dulcimers with notches in the bridge and nut so that the strings can be set pretty widely apart or brought in closer. I can't tell you the exact distances since I have a custom version, but I'm sure Terry would answer these questions. 

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
05/02/21 10:43:20PM
1,483 posts

The Positive Thread...


OFF TOPIC discussions

I just watched this video of Nora Brown on the banjo .  She is only 15.  Born in Brooklyn.  I think there is hope for the world after all.flower

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
05/02/21 06:45:42PM
1,483 posts

How Many Dulcimers Do You Own?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

"Bag of Kazoos" would be a good name for a jug band. Or even just a folk jam.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
05/01/21 07:16:41PM
1,483 posts

Choosing Strings


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Hi @natebuildstoys.  I never buy packaged string sets for my dulcimers.  I buy single strings, although for some gauges that I use a lot, I buy them in bulk through JustStrings.com or Folkcraft.

But the first step is to figure out what gauge strings you like.  I prefer strings a little heavier than most, tuning DAd, I use .026 bronze wound for the bass, .016 for the middle, and .013 for the melody.  I think .024, .014, and .012 is probably more standard.

Once you figure out what gauges strings you want, just buy them as singles at any local music store. You only have to specify whether you want ball end or loop end.

And yes, the string gauge calculators err on the light side. But once you know that, and once you've developed your own preferences, you can still use the calculator, making the necessary adjustments.

Your bridge might have to be adjusted slightly depending on string gauges. But if the intonation seems OK, don't worry about it.  On my dulcimers with moveable bridges, I tend to check the bridge placement periodically, as in whenever I put on a new set of strings or perhaps before a performance.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
05/01/21 07:04:20PM
1,483 posts

How Many Dulcimers Do You Own?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I don't think I have accumulated dulcimers.  But I leave them alone at night and they reproduce.nerd2

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
04/30/21 10:29:54AM
1,483 posts

How Many Dulcimers Do You Own?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Susie: Thanks to all who shared here. I thought we'd get a little more interest in the thread, but if you don't feel comfortable sharing that's fine.

Susie, I haven't shared in this thread for the simple reason that I don't want to admit how many dulcimers I have!

I have four "little" dulcimers, including octave dulcimers by Ron Ewing and David Beede as well as a Ewing octave dulcimette and a "soprano" dulcimer by Laurel Mountain, those last two usually tuned up a fourth or fifth to G or A.  I also have four full-size dulcimers: a Modern Mountain Dulcimer made of lacewood, a Blue Lion IC, a Bill Taylor made of quilted maple, and a cherry/spruce Rick Probst which I have tuned as a baritone.  

You can do the math.  I'd rather not admit it.  Maybe it's time to part with one or two.

I also have two guitars, a mandolin, a ukulele, an autoharp, some pennywhistles . . . 

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
04/28/21 04:41:09PM
1,483 posts

What's fer dinner?


OFF TOPIC discussions

Well, @don-b, I didn't roast the turkey myself, if that's what you mean. It's a Boar's Head Ovengold roasted turkey that came from the deli at a local market.  No nitrites or nitrates, though.  The sandwich had some sharp cheddar cheese, red leaf lettuce, and honey mustard, all on a big sweet roll.

Man.  Posting about food.  Makes me feel like a millennial.


updated by @dusty-turtle: 04/28/21 04:41:21PM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
04/28/21 03:57:06PM
1,483 posts

What's fer dinner?


OFF TOPIC discussions

I get fresh veggies and fruit delivered every couple of weeks from a farm-to-table service that focuses on locally-grown (within 200 or so miles), organic produce.  I added a red cabbage to my last order and just made a bunch of spicy cole slaw.  Cabbage, carrots, green onions, some unknown variety of red pepper, and a large fresh jalapeno, which I mixed with apple cider vinegar, a small amount of fake (vegan) mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and some dill as well.  The jalapeno gives it a tiny bit of kick, but not too much at all.  The veggies actually looked better before everything was mixed together, but it tastes really great.  I just had some with a turkey sandwich for lunch and and I'm gonna grill some salmon to go with this for dinner.

slaw before.jpg

slaw after.jpg

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
04/28/21 12:44:10PM
1,483 posts

Favorite stands/storage?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Hey @mandapanda.  That's a really nice stand and I can see why you would like one similar to that. Notice, though, that all the dulcimers on there are by the same luthier (Terry McCafferty), and the stand is made specifically for that design. If you had other dulcimers by other makers, they would not likely fit the stand so snugly.  Personally, I've opted for the "wall stand," as you can see here .

There are a few dulcimer stands out there, including some made by members of FOTMD, so hopefully one of them will chime in here.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
04/24/21 12:10:53AM
1,483 posts

How is the COVID-19 coronavirus affecting you?


OFF TOPIC discussions

Nice to hear from you Brian, and heartening to know that you've been fighting the good fight.  So many people have been working in so many ways to help us deal with this pandemic.  One day the uplifting story will be told about the determination and sacrifice of so many.  And yes, it does appear that little by little we're getting vaccinated.  Perhaps a little light at the end of the tunnel.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
04/24/21 12:05:22AM
1,483 posts

Rest in Peace, Larkin Bryant


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Sad news indeed. Larkin Bryant's book has had a great and long-lasting influence on dulcimer players.  She will live on in the playing of many others.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
04/22/21 01:14:28PM
1,483 posts

The Positive Thread...


OFF TOPIC discussions

Wow. Electric, robot mowers?  You all make me feel like dinosaur.  I still push around a gas mower.  I am self-propelled, but the mower is not.

Do you have a machine that tunes your dulcimers, too?

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
04/21/21 01:04:18PM
1,483 posts

Do you feel limited by the diatonic scale?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Liberated.  I feel liberated by the diatonic scale.

Sorry for posting again in this discussion, but I want to explain one reason why I have found my musical home on the dulcimer after years of playing the guitar and other chromatic instruments.

I spent many years playing the guitar (and a few playing the mandolin), and like everyone else on those instruments, I was intent on learning really cool, fancy jazz chords, and developing the ability to play really fast, interesting solos.  I was (and still am) in awe of the best bluegrass musicians and was trying to play like them.

But the humble nature of the dulcimer completely changed my thinking about music.  With only three strings and a diatonic fretboard, those fancy jazz chords are pretty much impossible, so I began thinking not about how to get the fanciest chord I could, but about isolating the most tasteful harmony note.  Instead of trying to play blazing solos with tons of notes, I began trying to isolate the core or essence of a melody, and perhaps enhance it with a few truly meaningful notes or rhythmic nuances rather than ignore it and improvise a solo instead. 

Thus began my search for really pretty songs and instruments that sound great.  My goal as a dulcimer player is to convey a really pretty song so that others can appreciate it, not so that others will be impressed with my playing.  I still do many of the types of exercises I used to do when I wanted to play bluegrass, but now I do them with the goal of playing cleanly, accurately, and with feeling, rather than trying to play fancy stuff really fast.

Ironically, embracing the limitations of the dulcimer has liberated me musically. I am no longer a slave to the endless search for a fancier chord or a faster solo.  I am now free to concentrate on conveying the emotion inherent in beautiful melodies instead of hiding them behind a veneer of imagined virtuosity.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
04/20/21 04:02:01PM
1,483 posts

Do you feel limited by the diatonic scale?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions


AndiBear, most people who have played the dulcimer for any length of time will tell you that the diatonic fretboard is a challenge, not a limitation.  When I first started out it seemed like a puzzle to figure out. I would have a melody in my mind and try to figure out where it might fit on the diatonic fretboard.  Figuring out that puzzle was part of the fun in the beginning, although it also got frustrating at times.

And remember that if you pick across all the strings and/or have a 6+ fret, you are not limited to the diatonic scale.  There are some accidentals available to you.  You can get that G#, for example, on the 6+ fret of the middle string (or the melody string, too, in DAA).

Over time, that puzzle disappeared as I listened more and more to music that works on the dulcimer.  The reason so much old timey and Celtic music is played on the MD is that the music simply fits.  So little by little I stopped trying to fit Beatles tunes onto the dulcimer and I started playing more and more diatonic music.  I stopped trying to play Norwegian Wood and started playing Southwind.  (By the way, you can play Norwegian Wood, but you need either a capo or a 1+ fret.)

And remember that if you play with your fingers you can always bend strings, and if you play with a noter you can get those "in-between" notes by touching the edge of the noter against the fretboard while it also grabs a string at the right spot.  So for the occasional accidental, you can always make due. 

In general, as you play the dulcimer, your ear will develop a sense of what tunes can fit on the fretboard, and you'll concentrate on those.  There are a lot of them.  You won't get bored.

P.S. I have to admit, in the interests of full disclosure, that I also play the guitar and some mandolin as well, so when I really want to play a chromatic tune, I just pick up one of those instruments. And I didn't want to add this to my post, but after a few years I started playing dulcimers with a 1+ fret in addition to the 6+. I find with those two extra frets I can play 90 percent of the tunes that interest me.  I wouldn't recommend that right away, though. Get to know the diatonic fretboard before you decide if that's a good option for you.


updated by @dusty-turtle: 04/20/21 04:06:40PM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
04/19/21 12:08:38PM
1,483 posts

Warren May Maple Dulcimer


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

I've heard some professional players suggest that maple instruments have more sustain than other common woods.  I can't vouch for that myself.  To be honest, I can't even be sure I hear the difference between woods.  Different luthiers make instruments that sound different, but I've never been confident that I could identify the wood as the reason for a specific dulcimer's sound.  I like the look of maple, though, for what that's worth.

That looks like a fine instrument.  And remember that things like string spacing can be adjusted with altered or new bridges and nuts later one, so that's not a feature that should influence whether you buy an instrument or not.  Scale length is different, though, so you might want to ask about that.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
04/18/21 01:27:04PM
1,483 posts

New McSpadden Flatwater Dulcimers


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

My understanding is that the Flatwater models are indeed made from fine tonewoods, but you can't specify the wood when you order one.  They put the instruments together with wood leftover from their other builds.  In terms of the visuals, my guess is that they will vary a bit.  But the quality of McSpadden builds is unquestioned, so they should all play and sound very nice.

I've seen a YouTube video by FOTMD member @belinda playing one that both looks and sounds great.


updated by @dusty-turtle: 04/18/21 01:38:28PM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
04/17/21 03:59:33PM
1,483 posts

How is the COVID-19 coronavirus affecting you?


OFF TOPIC discussions


Congratulations to all those folks getting vaccinated.  By early May everyone in my household will have gotten their second dose, and my folks are already making noise about some kind of family reunion since they haven't seen their children or grandchildren in about 18 months. I'm sure other families and friends are planning similar gatherings.

Strumelia, one day the complicated history of the fight against COVID will be told, and I'm sure we'll learn of an army of people all doing their small part to bring about vaccines and a better understanding of how the virus works.  That will be an interesting story.


updated by @dusty-turtle: 04/17/21 07:52:09PM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
04/07/21 11:55:30PM
1,483 posts

Indoor House Plants


OFF TOPIC discussions

Strumelia, your house plants all look interesting and beautiful, but I also know you to be a superb photographer, so it could all be illusion. I am convinced you could take a picture of your dirty dishes stacked in the sink and it would like like a baroque sculpture.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
04/07/21 10:15:26PM
1,483 posts

How is the COVID-19 coronavirus affecting you?


OFF TOPIC discussions

@venni, I hope you are getting professional medical care and that you recover fully.

 
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