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Thanks Strumelia. It's a lot of work getting things working I am sure. I (we all) appreciate your hard work and time in making this forum run so smoothly :-)
Mozilla Firefox browser and Windows 8: I can open the thumbnail pic. But to view the image via the link, I must select "save" and then for the file name I need to manually add the dot just before the jpg on the file name (It doesn't do that now and won't recognize the file format without that). Previously, it automatically saved as .jpg
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.
That's a nice looking instrument, Robert! Thanks for showing your work. Love to hear it played!
I had my first vendor experience last Saturday at a local Craft Show! Although I sold no dulcimers, I had a wonderful time playing and displaying my instruments, giving folks the opportunity to play them, and just talking to visitors about the Mountain Dulcimer. What a nice experience it was!
Dale, that's some nice work there! Thanks for sharing photos. And about the shows- I have thought about that and wonder if the best solution is to just keep it simple! Many instrument builders, I suspect, are not the most advanced players (myself included!). So just let the public see them, hold them, strum and play them. Maybe just show them the very basics like playing the scale. That may be the best marketing approach ever!
Irene- wow I had no idea you were such an accomplished builder as well! Can you share some photos of your creations also? I bet they are wonderful !
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.
Thanks for the encouragement! I am going with an open mind and dont know what to expect. Folks such as Bing Futch, Judy House, Nina Zanetti, Dave Haas and some other artists will be teaching. Various famous builders are going to be there as well so I think I may be a bit overwhelmed !
I will be at my FIRST dulcimer festival (MD & HD) this coming weekend! It is in Lancaster, PA. I was even invited to put some of my dulcimers at the table of a wonderful vendor who will be there. I am really excited to be going! My wife and 2 kids will be coming and checking out the music as well as sight-seeing all around Lancaster Pennsylvania Dutch land while I meet some notables in the Dulcimer and Folk music world!
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.
I am not sure of something like this exists already but here is a simple tool I thought up and built for making my new fret boards. It can layout custom fretboard lengths or double-check existing fret boards before attaching to the dulcimer. Simply place the fretboard blank on the box, with the bridge and nut either inset or clearly marked. Tighten the tuning string to the key you want. Then use the noter to locate the exact place for each note (I use an electronic Snark) and mark them on the fretboard. It has two string options for Just Scale fretting as well. Carefully scribe using the T-Square across the board. Cut the slots and install the frets.
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.
I am finishing up one dulcimer bound for Missouri- Black Walnut and Butternut. (pics to come!)
I have also started parts for another, similar dulcimer that's bound for Massachusetts. I will build one alongside the Massachusetts dulcimer for a Craft Show in May. Time permits, maybe I can build a carry-case as well for that show!
Thats an incredible dulcimer!!
Thanks Strumelia- its a GREAT development.
Ken, I think if the string height at the first fret is fine, but too high at the 7th fret, the bridge/saddle (not the nut) needs to be lowered.
Thanks Strumelia :-) The bellows-pipes (aka cauld wind pipes) are an interesting animal to tame but when you got it they are really enjoyable. I had the Scottish Small Pipe chanter made specifically to fit the Scottish Border Pipes, so the volume was much reduced and the fullness of the Border drones really was evident and makes for an almost haunting tone.
They can accompany and compliment Mountain Dulcimers nicely also. A few small pipe players I met also play Mountain Dulcimers. Must be a drone thing
Seems to be a nice population of Bald Eagles in south Jersey, Robert. Saw one fly up from the side of Delsea Drive this past summer, and another seen in our Maple tree in the back yard (above the chicken coup). They are amazing creatures (not the chickens...)
Just to clarify the original question- Red78445 has an instrument that (presumably) already has a finish on it and wants to enhance the finish.
Some finishes cant be applied over another type (i.e., applying boiled linseed oil over a cured shellac finish). If it was a specific type of finish, I would go with a newer application of the same on the prepared surface.
If its just a 'spit shine', I think some furniture or paste wax might be the best option. There are tons of suggestions available in various woodworking/luthier forums.
What is the original finish on the instrument?