Forum Activity for @john-gribble

John Gribble
@john-gribble
10/17/20 01:47:22AM
117 posts

Early CapriTaurus Dulcimer


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


What a nice looking instrument. I would tune it DAA low to high and play it in the traditional noter or finger dance style.

The Hearts of the Dulcimer film has quite a bit about the Ruggs brothers. Google for that website.


updated by @john-gribble: 10/17/20 01:52:00AM
John Gribble
@john-gribble
10/13/20 05:28:08PM
117 posts

Wanted: Jethro Amburgey Dulcimer


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

Hi, Strumelia. Yes, Tim and I connected. I've promised him the Amburgey instrumnet I have. It is a little fragile and I plan to carry to him at least partway by hand when I'm able to travel again.

John Gribble
@john-gribble
10/09/20 07:16:00AM
117 posts

Dulcimer repair question


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

I suspect someone who didn't know better forced the brads down to hold the strings in place while tuning. A bad move, and probably not done by the maker.


updated by @john-gribble: 10/09/20 07:17:04AM
John Gribble
@john-gribble
10/09/20 07:06:01AM
117 posts

Dulcimer repair question


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

You know, unless the pins/brads/nails are loose, you don't have a problem. Typically they aren't driven all the way in, but leave a small amount of the shaft exposed, on which the loop sits. The head helps keep the string from sliding off. Consider simply replacing the strings (who know how old they are!) and find someone to help you and your wife get started playing!

John Gribble
@john-gribble
10/04/20 10:23:27AM
117 posts

Samanthra


Playing and jamming difficulties...HELP ME!

Try DAC. I don't know which style you're playing in, but with the "melody" string tuned to G, the #1 note of the scale is on the 4th fret. That puts you in Dorian mode. It is kind of a minor, but not the "real" one. The "real" one, the natural minor (aka the Aeolian mode) starts at the first fret. And at the 8th fret. DAC tuning will give you that scale with nice drones. 

John Gribble
@john-gribble
09/28/20 08:58:21PM
117 posts

Unknown maker


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

Strumelia:

Fascinating dulcimer!  Obviously some care was put into designing it.


I suspect the lower sound holes were originally "f" style sound holes like on violins and cellos. Perhaps the lower parts of the cutout warped out or split off and someone just cut those ears off and neatened up the holes to match. I see that sometimes with sound holes that have curvy cutouts against the grain. 


You can see an example of this here:




You may be right, Strumelia, but I see swan profiles in the shape of those holes. 


I think the fact it's a little asymmetric adds to the charm.

John Gribble
@john-gribble
09/14/20 03:21:43AM
117 posts

Does anyone know what kind of pick this is?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I can't help with your particular pick, either. But for dulcimer I like big straight-edged triangle picks too. I've settled on thin or medium thickness celluloid picks and drill a hole in the center to help keep them from slithering around or flying out of my hand. Back when I was a wee lad you could find picks with flat pieces. of cork glued to them. "Real musicians" probably never used them, but there were enough beginners like myself to keep them on the market up into the 1970s.


Photo on 9-14-20 at 4.06 PM.jpg Photo on 9-14-20 at 4.06 PM.jpg - 167KB
John Gribble
@john-gribble
09/14/20 02:54:53AM
117 posts

I ordered my own dulcimer


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

I'm sure you'll get a fine quality instrument. He's made enough of the things to know what he's doing! winker

John Gribble
@john-gribble
08/18/20 07:55:55AM
117 posts

If I Had a Hammer (dulcimer) but no left-hand


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

A few lessons probably wouldn't be a bad thing...winky

John Gribble
@john-gribble
08/18/20 07:37:40AM
117 posts

Old topic about wood and new McSpadden, need help.


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

Hi. Those are tough choices to make, aren't they. I don't think there would be a huge tone difference between the cherry and walnut. They both tend towards a warmer tone than maple. I suspect the body shape would have a greater effect. I've seen here advice to others to buy the wood you find more attractive to look at. Walnut might be a little more interesting, but cherry darkens nicely with age. 

The two I play most often are both walnut. One is an all-walnut hourglass and the other, a teardrop, has a cedar top. The teardrop is the sweeter, more "mellow" instrument. Neither are McSpadden. The McSpadden website has sound samples of their different models. They also have a liberal return/exchang policy. 

One other thought. It often takes a bit of time to "make friends" with a new instrument, to find its sweet spots and how to get the tone you like out of it.  

John Gribble
@john-gribble
07/22/20 10:45:30PM
117 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
117 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
117 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
117 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
117 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
117 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
117 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
117 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
117 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
117 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
117 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
117 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
117 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
117 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
117 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
117 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
117 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
117 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
117 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
117 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
117 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
117 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
117 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
117 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
117 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
117 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.

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