unusual old mountain dulcimer at Gruhn's in Nashville
General mountain dulcimer or music discussions
Very cool. I wish he gave it a strum or two though!
Very cool. I wish he gave it a strum or two though!
@bob I believe I've seen where some other builders made that same move. I imagine it will feel nice to build on your own timetable.
I have hit the "Pause Button" on building commissioned dulcimers. Over two years without a break in building special orders is a long run. It's very fulfilling but also rather stressful.
I will however be building mountain dulcimers and scheitholts of my own specs for general sales for a while. It feels refreshing!
And then there's the Chromatic Dulcimer with fret markers on EVERY Diatonic fret and an inlay at the second octave ... (I named this one "Dotty")
I had a customer ask for her build to have a position dot at the first fret.
Well, hope people in the future don't think that was my idea
Without knowing anything about that instrument, I just have to say that it looks like a beautiful creation, like a piece of fine furniture. Whoever the builder was he/she certainly was very gifted.
He was quite a luthier among other things. I am sure he will be missed greatly, but his legacy live in in his creations.
Stunning! Wonderful work right there, John !
Though I don't have a particular favorite dulcimer to play, somehow I found myself really enjoying the simple melody of a hymn called "Oh God Almighty Father". It brings to mind many fond memories of my seminary years and indeed makes me feel quite peaceful. It's kind of like meditative prayer when I am playing it.
Gennaro, have you tried Minwax Wipe-on Poly? I have gotten good results with it.
Silverstrings, I would offer a wee suggestion: Don't panic!
I was imagining cracks along a straight grain, but from the pics these appear to be around a knot section in the board. Are the hairline cracks actually going through the boards? If so that can be remedied. They look superficial from the photographs and I might imagine they will remain superficial. Give it time, keep it in a regulated environment like you have been, and out of the direct sunlight and see how it does. If it sings as beautifully as it does, leave it alone, it ain't broken. Instruments in far worse condition are played regularly; just be tender with it.
Hi Patrick, I think you will find that a great many bagpipe tunes (particularly Scotts and Irish) lend perfectly to the mountain dulcimer (though you probably already know that!) I play the cauld wind Scottish Smallpipes (somewhat) and love to try my pipe tunes on the mountain dulcimer; seems a perfect combination. Best wishes!
Oh please share some photographs of your antique dulcimers! What a wonderful history you have. I am sure you will get excellent advice on the care and maintenance of these instruments.
@cbrown said "... of course early on the name [scheitholt] was widespread enough in Germany..."
This is simply not true . The name was NOT widespread in Germany. This is the "great mis-information" which has been accepted and promoted over and over again by dulcimer players who aren't interested in checking facts.
And of course, the scheitholt was not played by everyone; perhaps less than one in one hundred.
Unfortunately it seems the ED facebook group continues to be secret/hidden from public view. It's been almost two months now.
Strumelia, I posted this concern as a new topic there today and got several responses: if anyone is in FB, a member can invite them.
There are several other Facebook Dulcimer groups, if you are interested:
"Mountain Dulcimer Players", "Support the Mountain Dulcimer an American Instrument" and "Mountain Dulcimer" are Public Groups.
"Discovering Dulcimers", "Lets Make Dulcimers", "Noter Style Dulcimer Players", are Closed Groups but you can ask to join.
These are very nice groups and very informative, and you could probably find many others as well!
Wonderful looking dulcimer! The coloring on the tuning pegs and the cherry inlays are such nice accents. I bet it sounds great :-)
well looky there :-) Very, very sweet!
That's a beauty for sure! I imagine your customer is very happy
If you do want to finish Bloodwood, or any oily tropical hardwood, you can simply wipe it down with some acetone to remove the surface oils. Then apply a thin coat/swipe of Shellac. Then, you're set to go with the poly!
Sounds nice Gail- do you have any photos?
Good to see your post and no need to be shy!
There is a fine Mountain Dulcimer builder in England named Ian Duthrie. He posts in Facebook by that name. Not much info about where exactly he is located or contact info like an email address, but if you use Facebook, look him up. His work looks very good.
Very cool. Its good to be in the hands of someone who will take care of it!
Um... that will actually become rancid. I would suggest not.
I think John Knoff is correct on it being mostly for aesthetics. I like the term John used: "wasp-waisted".
My own dulcimer designs generally have that thin waist. I just like the lines, and also have been told (and agree) that it also makes for easy carrying.
If there was a photo to see the spots you are concerned about it may be easier to give a suggestion.
That being said, however, if it's just a cosmetic rather than a functioning issue, I would lean towards letting it be and keeping it in its current condition.
If you have ever watched "the Antiques Roadshow" you can see what appraisers think of 'cosmetic restoration' done on historic pieces, which is what I think you have.
Would love to see some photos of your dulcimer!
This is a really interesting discussion that got me thinking a lot. What skills does one need to master in order to progress from one 'level' to the next... Made me remember times I was asked for the music or tabs to a tune I had played on my dulcimer or Scottish Small Pipes. When I reply with an apology, that I can't help because I cant read music or tabs yet and only play by ear, I somehow feel inadequate.
I believe it's possible to master some skills as an intermediate player but also lack some of the skills of a rank beginner, at least in my case. Most, or a great many beginners learn from written music I think. I never learned to do that, even though i know the importance in it. (It's hard to commit to that when there's so many other neat and exciting things I need and want to do!) Some solace that, within the Irish music tradition, according to some quite renown musicians, most learning is done by ear, "Lugging it" as Matt Seattle (Scottish composer and musician) calls it. I guess it comes down to skill and confidence.
Anyway, if there was a definitive check list for player 'levels', I don't think I would want to see it.
I just want to let everyone know that all the tablature from ED has already found a new home: http://dulcimertab.com/ . The site owner is hosting everything for free and may create a database of dulcimer groups and dulcimer teachers.
Thank you Dusty, and thanks to Kevin Teague for his hard work and dedication doing this.
The strings shouldn't be even touching inside the peg box. Perhaps you strung them incorrectly?
When I install the strings (I am using a 4 string model as example with a photo attachment), I do the two outer strings first; the tuner closest to the nut goes on first and the second closest would go next. Then the third and lastly the 4th string gets installed.
Just a quick reply- If you finally come to the conclusion - after long research and consideration- that you must physically alter the instrument to access the repairs, I thing Irene's idea is excellent!! Cut a very nice hole in the bottom of the dulcimer to access repair work and use your creativity in plugin the hole with something faithful to the design of the instrument (i.,e., a pretty rosette with hearts).
Many minds at work can achieve anything.
What an amazing and even historic instrument! And that seems like a big issue to fix. Just curious, Jim, have you talked to a professional instrument restorer? A quick Google search discovered the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute https://www.si.edu/mci/english/learn_more/taking_care/musinst.html
They can give you leads to conservators in various locations in the US and Canada. Not sure if it's financially feasible but they may have some good ideas for you.
Best wishes for your project.