Forum Activity for @john-gribble

John Gribble
@john-gribble
07/22/20 10:45:30PM
107 posts

What Are You Working On?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Sherry! Oh, my. Saké, rice wine, is the commonly-used ingredient here. I'm sensitive to alcohol, so we substitute vinegar or lemon juice for it. "Sukiyukky"--I love it. grin   Kids can be so inventive.


updated by @john-gribble: 07/22/20 10:50:56PM
John Gribble
@john-gribble
07/22/20 09:31:30AM
107 posts

What Are You Working On?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

@robin-thompson, no, I don't think so. It is very typical of Japanese pop songs of the era (early '60s).

A little later--according to Wikipedeia, the lyrics were written after a protest rally and origionally had nothing to do with lost love.

Kyu Sakamoto, the singer, was killed with over 500 other people in 1985 in the worst single plane accident in history.


updated by @john-gribble: 07/22/20 09:49:51AM
John Gribble
@john-gribble
07/21/20 11:57:54PM
107 posts

What Are You Working On?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

That's a wonderful song, @Ariane and @@robin-thompson. It is still popular in Japan. According to my wife Miwako, it is a "lost love" song, with the singer walking at night and looking at the stars. He says if you look up, the tears won't stream down your face. 

I like to play it noter style in DAA. It is pentatonic, and that one flatted note can be had by "half-sticking," using the noter like a guitar slide.  

John Gribble
@john-gribble
07/06/20 08:17:42PM
107 posts

Unknown maker


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

But what a cool instrument!. I'll bet it has an interesting sound.

John Gribble
@john-gribble
06/24/20 10:34:31PM
107 posts

Getting back into my Dulcimer


Playing and jamming difficulties...HELP ME!

Welcome back to music-making, Gary! I came back to dulcimer a little before retiring and have enjoyed it very much. I have also enjoyed the company of the very sweet people on this website.

As for getting back into playing, I suggest you go back and retrace the path you took before. Start with the simple stuff, the things you can play pretty easily now. This will get those skills strong again. And it won't take very long at all. Then add to it as the spirit moves you. You may discover what you played before isn't interesting any more. So don't bother. Work on music you like.

Sometimes our memories play tricks on us. I may not have played as well "back in the day" as I like to remember. But I'm pretty pleased with the sounds I make today. 

John Gribble
@john-gribble
06/24/20 10:10:30PM
107 posts

Rugg and Jackel inlays?


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

Those inlay are pre-cut. I don't know where they came from originally (maybe Germany or Italy), but were sold in the US by Vitali Imports in Southern California. I imagine the owner either did the inly him- or herself, or had it done.

John Gribble
@john-gribble
06/24/20 09:23:35PM
107 posts

What Are You Working On?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

@robin-thompson One of the things that make Pegheds attractive is they do look very much like wooden friction pegs. Had I been more patient, Chuck, the man who makes them, would have cut the grips (buttons) off the original pegs and attached them to the new geared pegs. But I'm completely happy with what I have. Much more elegant and light-weight than those chrome banjo pegs.

But now I'm causeing the thread to drift. I think I'll go play some dulcimer.

John Gribble
@john-gribble
06/21/20 10:35:32PM
107 posts

Need Help Identifying a Dulcimer


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

I'm going to guess that the label reads. "J. Titus" and that 1970 is the year it was made. It is typical of a lot of amateur, kit, and crafts fair artisan instruments of the day. It isn't a fancy instrument, but looks to be nicely made and in pretty good condition. That is, except for the nut where the strings rest near the tuners. It has come unglued and slipped to one side. An easy fix. Without seeing the edge, it is hard to tell if it was made of plywood or not. 

It doesn't have any great value, except sentimental. Assuming there aren't any cracks or loose braces, it could easily be made playable. 

John Gribble
@john-gribble
06/08/20 08:48:12PM
107 posts

the duo of Kathy and Carol


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

That was great! I remember them from the Ash Grove and other venues in Southern California "back in the day." I especially remembr their versions of Carter Family songs. and an autoharp with changeable bars. I wonder if they have stayed active since that video was made.  

John Gribble
@john-gribble
06/05/20 01:03:12AM
107 posts

What Are You Working On?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Well, I'm falling in love all over again with my Kevin Messenger teardrop dulcimer (see my avatar). I installed a set of Pegheds on it last week, and now I can zip from one tuning to another without sweat or foul language. It's like having indoor plumbing!

I'm also exploring the materials I got at the on-line Berkeley Dulcimer Gathering a couple weeks ago. I only attended one day, but received plenty of skill-developing information to keep me busy.

Non-dulcimer—I'm nearing completion of a book manuscript I've been working on since last November. It is a translation  with notes of a Japanese poetry collection from the 13th century. Here's one which seems particularly appropriate to our times:

 

 Fujiwara no Kiyosuke 

1104-1177

 

Given enough time, 

all these troubles may become 

like those of the past—

all those mean, hard, fear-filled days,

remembered with nostalgia.

 

nagaraeba mata konogoro ya shinobaren 

ushi to mishi yo zo ima wa koishiki 

 

John Gribble
@john-gribble
05/30/20 10:56:11AM
107 posts

Carved headstock and end piece.Maker?


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

Thank you for the new photos. That really is an imaginative but tastefully-done spin on traditional design. The tuners are the same style as were common on Japanese guitars in the mid 70s-early 80s. I'm out of touch with such things these days. I don't know if the same style tuners are still available, or if not, when they went out of production. 

John Gribble
@john-gribble
05/30/20 07:06:58AM
107 posts

Carved headstock and end piece.Maker?


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

Steven Berger:

Whoever built it did a very nice job!

I agree. It is a little unconventional, but a nicely done piece of work.

It would be nice to see a view of the top.

John Gribble
@john-gribble
05/10/20 03:54:36AM
107 posts

VSL Breakpoint Angles, Radiuses, and Excess String Lengths


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

I guess I'll have to install some braces to my banjo head so I can properly call that little wooden thingie the strings sit on a bridge. Here I've been wrong for almost 60 years! And my violin, too! Oh, drat! giggle

John Gribble
@john-gribble
05/08/20 09:51:32AM
107 posts

Thomas reproductions (Messenger/Knopf/other?)


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

A vote for Kevin here, only because I have and love one of his instruments. It's a teardrop, though, not a Thomas.

John Gribble
@john-gribble
04/27/20 11:40:56AM
107 posts

Finish


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

In construction, there's no real standard that I'm aware of. Sometimes a newly refinished instrument is "stiff" until it gets played a few dozen hours, just like a new instrument. 

John Gribble
@john-gribble
04/11/20 09:03:25PM
107 posts

Berea Traditional Dulcimer Gathering Cancelled


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I would really like to attend, but couldn't figure out how to do it this year. But maybe next...nod

John Gribble
@john-gribble
03/08/20 04:05:58AM
107 posts

Hondo HD2 - peg problems, worn finish


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


Kusani:

"You will need a very thin-bladed screwdriver though, so you don't strip the heads of those teenie screws."  Or you may need a very small phillips head screwdriver. 

 

More likely.

Also, the holes on the new machine head plate may not line up with the old holes. Ideally you have a drill and a set of small bits. If not, a push pin or thumbtack will make a suitable hole.


updated by @john-gribble: 03/08/20 04:10:11AM
John Gribble
@john-gribble
03/04/20 05:51:55PM
107 posts

Hair line crack bottom back of walnut McSpadden


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

I agree with those who suggest not doing anything, at least for the time being. Other than some minor cosmetic issues, you don't yet have a problem. At this stage, your dulcimer is simply developing a little character. If the seperations turn into genuine cracks, they can be repaired.

John Gribble
@john-gribble
10/19/19 07:48:43AM
107 posts



I think I've bought my last Apple machine. After being assured this new computer would open all my old Apple documents by two different Apple employees, I got it home and discovered it wouldn't. 20 years worth of work.  

John Gribble
@john-gribble
10/13/19 09:34:48PM
107 posts

McSpadden Possum Board Volume


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

Ken Hulme:

Possum boards (regardless of wood type) do increase volume.  How much?  No one has yet designed an experiment to test the concept (variables would include number and height of feet or standoff, Janka or other hardness rating of the p-board material, and some sort of quantitative measure of both lap an p-board loudness values.



Of course, you would also have to design a measurement protocol for the sonic charateristics of various types of laps—bony, flabby, etc. giggle2

John Gribble
@john-gribble
09/18/19 08:42:54AM
107 posts



It has the look of a 1970s kit, like those sold by Here, Inc. 

John Gribble
@john-gribble
08/16/19 09:46:53PM
107 posts

Tailpiece help please


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

Ken, in that case, a bit of lube is a good idea. None that I've had were ever that tight.

John Gribble
@john-gribble
08/16/19 08:32:12PM
107 posts

Kantele?


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

About the strings-I can't tell for certain, but they look like guitar-type ball end strings. (There were some oddball oversized autoharp ball end strings, but the shape of the ball end was different.) Take the strings to a well-stocked music store  and you should be able to match the strings gauges for a few dollars. You might want to tape the old string to a piece of paper or cardboard and write which note they were tuned to, so you can put the right replacement on the right pins.  

Fun! a worthy project.  

John Gribble
@john-gribble
08/16/19 08:11:56PM
107 posts

Tailpiece help please


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

Yes, that's a mandolin tailpiece. On mine, I usually lift up from the front edge of the cover to get it off, then slide it back on from the butt end of the instrument. Spring tension holds it in place. I'm not sure lubricating the contact surfaces is a good idea. You want the cover to grip the base and not slide off too easily.

John Gribble
@john-gribble
06/30/19 11:19:48PM
107 posts

Instruction books for DAA Noter playing


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

And there's always Jean Richie's The Dulcimer Book , still in print.

Plus there's Strumelia's blog:

https://dulcimer-noter-drone.blogspot.com

John Gribble
@john-gribble
04/29/19 09:33:23PM
107 posts

Strings to use on newly acquired dulcimer


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

Hello, Mark. Others with more dulcimer experience than I have will probably pipe in. But a good place to start might be a packaged set, or at least those gauges. The D'Addario set is .012, .012, .014, .022w. You may vary from this set as you settle into preferred pitches and tunings. But this seems like a reasonable set.

There is little difference among string makers, except perhaps with the one wound string.

John Gribble
@john-gribble
04/15/19 09:25:55PM
107 posts

Dulcimer-Guitar Style Options?


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


Both those look like very nice instruments. The Merlin/Woodrow fretting system allows for two octaves (major scale only) when one plays across the strings. The low octave starts on the "bass" string, crosses over to the middle string on the fifth note for three notes, and ends on the high string. The second octave is entirely on the first string, one fret at a time, traditional dulcimer style, starting on the open string. One can do some nice chording with it, too.

As for Dusty's objection to no "6th" fret, but only a "6+" fret, the 6th fret would confuse the issue of a purely diatonic instrument. How it differs from the traditional dulcimer is with the number one note of the scale on the open string. As something of a traditionalist who likes the 5-5-1 tuning, I sometimes find the 6+ fret a nuisance.


updated by @john-gribble: 04/15/19 09:43:22PM
John Gribble
@john-gribble
04/15/19 09:34:48AM
107 posts

Dulcimer-Guitar Style Options?


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

A modified octave mandolin/Irish bouzouki might be a possible solution. Unwanted frets can be removed and the slots filled. You could choose whether to modify the peghead or not--it wouldn't make any difference in playing. The nut and  bridge may need to be modified to accommodate whatever stringing configuration you settle on. If you can find a used instrument at a reasonable price, the cost of the modifications shouldn't be too high.

John Gribble
@john-gribble
04/01/19 07:25:39AM
107 posts

Buzzing middle & base string when fretted on 2nd fret


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

Ken is right. It sounds to me like the third fret is the bad guy. As instruments age, frets can become uneven because of wear or the finger board drying out. 

There are techniques for leveling and re-rounding frets. If you don't feel comfortable working on instruments, a guitar repair person should be able to fix the problem for you.

John Gribble
@john-gribble
12/18/18 06:56:09PM
107 posts

McSpadden Friction peg replacement


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

If you have the "mechanical" friction pegs with the tension screws, and the screws won't tighten enough to hold the strings in tune, it means the plastic peg buttons are compressed. The screws can't go any farther.

You can take the peg apart and either add a small washer between the screw head and the top of the button, or make a washer out of leather or soft plastic and put it between the bottom of the button and the metal housing it sits on. This will allow the screw to be tightened a lttle more.

These screws shouldn't be any tighter than necessary to hold the string in tune, or the buttons will become compressed prematurely. 

If you have wooden violin-style pegs, the various remedies already given work. Sometimes I use "peg dope" (jeweler's rouge) or blackboard chalk for the peg to have more grip in the holes.

John Gribble
@john-gribble
11/29/18 06:37:30PM
107 posts

John Jacob Niles's dulcimers and playing


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Several people asked to see the article, so here it is.

Niles was a colorful character and arguably an important American artist. It is interesting he remains controversial a half century after his death.


Niles final revision.pdf - 88KB
John Gribble
@john-gribble
11/29/18 06:36:37AM
107 posts

John Jacob Niles's dulcimers and playing


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions


Robin, virtually all John Jacob Niles's recordings have his dulcimer-playing on them. He used his dulcimers strictly for song accompaniment. They were huge, low-tuned instruments and he played rhythmically free arpeggios, strumming across the strings with either his thumb or fingers.

After starting this discussion, I followed up on the suggestions, writing Ron Pen, visiting him and Niles's instruments at the University of Kentucky, meeting and spending a day with Jan Potts touring the area, and writing a piece about Niles and his dulcimers for The Dulcimer Players News. It was published a couple of summers ago. Unfortunately the version which made it to print had some errors. If anyone would like to see the corrected version, drop me a line.


updated by @john-gribble: 11/29/18 06:39:07AM
John Gribble
@john-gribble
07/11/18 10:51:08AM
107 posts

Techniques for accidentals


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions


If you're playing noter style and the chromatic note passes pretty quickly, you can use the noter like a guitar slide.  You can get the "in-between" note this way.

Leave the tip of the noter on the fretboard. Lift the noter on a slant, tipping it downward so that the string is off the fret, but still making contact with the noter. You want to have the noter where the chromatic fret would be. The tone isn't the same as a fretted note, but most people won't notice. It is a little tricky with a doubled melody string, though. That can get buzzy.


updated by @john-gribble: 07/11/18 10:53:52AM
John Gribble
@john-gribble
05/14/18 08:08:31PM
107 posts

Pick paranoia!


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

On guitar and mandolin I use small hard hard picks made of Tortex, a material which gives a sound similar to the traditional tortoise shell picks of the past. One gets a big sound from a hard pick. I tried stone picks, wood pick, and even coins, but discovered I want a little bit of flex in the pick. The problem with using a really stiff pick is learning to roll the thumb so that one can play softly. 

I have never wanted to play dulcimer loudly. I have noisier noiemakers for that, resonator guitars and five-string banjos. That's why I like a more limber strummer or my thumb for the dulcimer.

But by all means experiment. Discover what sounds good to you. In artistic circles, this is what's call "finding your voice."

 

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