GigBook & a pedal
General mountain dulcimer or music discussions
I was able to figure out how to balance the dulcimer & overhang on my lap, that took care of the height and distance problem I was having with it on it's stand.
( Maybe a bass, arpeggio & strum across all of the bass strings to finish.) Now that it's on my lap, I was having fun playing around, picking out notes across the fret boards & harp strings
Fun new adventure,
Double Dulcimer Harp:
Thought I would let you hear how I have set up the double dulcimer with the harp strings. there is no pickup, it's all just the dulcimer!
Demo: DAd with 3 drone strings as a Bass - the 3 extra strings - A' below c, D & melody d
Demo (Amazing Grace) : DAA with Baritone - but D instead of E
Reaching over to the far fretboard is throwing me off (seems like I'm digging into the strings as I strum) but gives you an idea of the DAA & baritone tone. Distance is a problem, or just me - At the moment the dulcimer is on a stand and I am standing or with a high stool, I find it difficult to play with height & reach. I have not tried on my lap yet but will and hope that will help.
skip: ( overkill) you maybe right. Seems I need to learn how to play it now, I'm like a beginner - strum the drones - always - sometimes - ?? any suggestions will be helpful
(The Cherub violin mic ) Is a mic the same as a pick up, I have seen several listed as I am also looking to some kind of a way hook a pick up on a dulcimer.
Has anyone hear of a passive piezo pickup for nylon strings - Kremona NG-1. It sits on the tie bar utilizing the tension of the strings, so its seems it could sit behind a dulcimer bridge and under the strings for tension also. They are incase in wood and thin, seems we could just loosen the strings than slip them under.
Beautiful dulcimer and I like that the fretboard is cut away. I have one like that and it allows me to put a Seymour Duncan pickup under the strings; so pedals, processors or amp can read the strings - not the vibration.
skip: Interesting (so the string breaks over the slot further back.) I did not know this
( accent to your dulcimer playing) I think that is the purpose of the design but since I don't play the guitar I set it up hopefully for dulcimer playing. With both fret boards set to D and the strings in the middle set as a drone & divided, I can dragged over the heavy middle strings adding a deep full tone for the dulcimer.
Question: How easy or difficult is it to reach over and play the fret board that is away from me - hand position or fingerings change? Or is it fine on my lap and only changes if on a stand & I am standing over it?
OK: With the string gages I had on hand, I restrung the 2 dulcimers.
The one away from me DAA and the first 3 strings in the middle to (a baritone like) tuning but AdA - the first A to a very low A the other two to regular d & A. I had hear Joseph Ruback do a demo of 'fourth string equidistant tuning' with a low A below D and I thought it sounded so full and rich.
The second dulcimer fret board closest to me DAdd and the 3 other strings in the middle to Bass DAD. The very low D - I'm not sure I like yet but it's a start.
I tried it out and it sounds so full. I didn't play any songs yet, just played around. It's like equidistant spacing with 3 drones. I will need to wait to try other keys, because I may need different size strings but I wanted to thank you for your thoughts and ideas.
Always an adventure,
Not sure who the builder was, someone in the Houston area (K. May, maybe)
The furniture stand, the dulcimer sits on has a trap door to allow more sound to amp out besides the cane openings in the front. Attaching 2 photos so you can see the door
In the idea of the middle 6 strings, lets say for now I keep things in the key of D - what could I tune the 6 to or 3 & 3 and what size strings?
Spacing between the middle strings is 1/2" each all the way across and sightly bowed.
I changed the strings on the 2 dulcimers fret boards and tuned different - the middle strings (playing around with them) make a great deep open drone.
Question: lets forget about setting up as guitar strings and think of dulcimer - Bass or Baritone or both - 3 each - OR - What could make an open tone to go with the dulcimer parts? I would need string size and tuning (maybe think about zithers and open strings that go with fretted dulcimer) And again thinking 3 for top fret board & 3 for bottom fret board but could go together, if all are strummed.
Again thoughts and Thanks
The 6 guitar strings are different thickness - the lightness is thicker then my dulcimer bass string and the lowest string is very thick - thinking it must be like bass guitar gauge strings.
The two fret boards are tuned differently, they both can be set with 3 or 4 strings. I have only lower the action & changed the strings closest to me so far and I have it set to DAdd. I was thinking setting the other to either DAA or DGdd or maybe 4 equal strings would be an interesting idea. The VSL is very long 29+"
The question I have is setting up the middle 6 guitar strings:
Could I maybe set them like a Baritone or Bass dulcimer?
Or, if keeping with the idea of a guitar harp - seems Bass guitar string gauges are too low and also harder to pluck while trying to strum the dulcimer frets. If I would go with guitar setting would a much light set of strings and a regular guitar tuning be better?
Someone who won this dulcimer gave it to me and I am trying to set it up to work for a dulcimer player - no matter why it was designed the way it was, just trying to go from here.
Again thoughts on best way to set up to work along with the dulcimer fret boards
I am trying to set up this double fretboard with 6 guitar strings in the middle (it was made with the idea of a guitar harp in mind) - not by me
The 6 guitar strings on it now are heavy & not sure what to tune them to - or should I replace with a standard guitar Size strings and tune to a standard guitar tuning and what would that be?
OR: split the strings half & half, 3 very heaver & low to the other 3 strings lighter & higher
What is the idea for the holes on your noters - for sound or weight?
Thought you might be interested in something like this, since it will be on line maybe it's something you could do. With Jerry having a workshop it might be something like what you are trying out now - sounds & delays https://www.nutmegdulcimer.com/
Nutmeg Festival will be ONLINE this year. Lots of instructors - One mention , Jerry Rockwell ( Jerry Rockwell Dulcimer TEDX Talk )
I have a GT-1 Boss sound processor, it's design for guitars but works well with a dulcimer. Dan Evans did a Demo of 'The Water is Wide' several years ago & I just loved the idea of creating a certain sound for a song. He was kind to give me some pointers on getting started.
I have one dulcimer set up to use with the GT-1. My other dulcimers, I don't use anything with them. The group I am with, has been sending out a song 'challenge' during the quarantine - twice a week with new songs to practice - There was one in a Minor key & no matter how I tried to play it, I just didn't like the tone. So, I created a musical tone on the GT-1 - "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent" I think you could have fun with a GT-1 and come up with some interesting sounds.
Thank you, besides playing out on the back patio in the evening's for the neighbors - I did try to give the boxes a new look for anyone who happen to walk around the pond. With so many of us staying @ home, many more neighbors had time to come out.
Music isn't on lockdown and it has brighten many people's spirit, I am so glad I have the dulcimer to bring me peace & joy.
I am also painting some of the the rusty utility electric boxes around the pond behind my home. this is the first one I did & I just finished my 8th
Still a long way to go but a short flute'ish try of 'Shenandoah' on dulcimer with the EBow
Thanks for replying, the EBow even with it's problems and not meant for the dulcimer does let one experiment.
I received a reply form Jerry Rockwell which was pretty exciting. I was able to move my melody string over - I have a floating bridge & not notched so it wasn't hard to do & now I have the melody & middle strings lined up with the grove of the EBow. I'm deciding not to move the bass string over because, so far I haven't liked the sound I get on it with the EBow. But I do like it with the GT-1 when I strum with a pick.
I don't mind just playing 1 string, I have the EBow on the middle A string and playing more like noter style but with my fingers. Having the dulcimer hooked up to the GT-1 I am able to get different sounds & tones, not the same as if I was strumming but as an interesting experiment. My idea - having a piece of music played in A (on the middle string) with the EBow sounding like a flute then changing out to a DAd tab & strumming - maybe something like 'Shenandoah'
In 'The Gift of Love' https://youtu.be/MHQl_AvIk_o (you tube said error so maybe try this)
I play first in A on the middle string then switch to DAd. Thinking something like this but with the EBow first
I contacted (Ambient bass looping #3, Graham Blanche (aka BassBus) a guitar player) after listening to one of his youtube recordings. He helped me figure that maybe I could move one of my strings over. so the EBow would ride in the grove of the EBow. He said he also has trouble with spacing & sometimes needs to tilt the EBow.
So I moved my melody string over a bit, it was just sitting on top of a floating bridge - so wasn't hard to make a small adjustment without needing to do any bridge adjustments. Now, I just need to figured out how to move the bass string over some also, without messing up the spacing I have now.
I know trying an EBow isn't something a dulcimer player would usually do but Jerry Rockwell did & after listening to him, I did want to give it a try. I was hoping since so many members know so much about the dulcimer, someone could have help me figure out my problem or the idea of moving the string over to fit in the grove bottom. But now that I maybe have it figured out, I am just sharing what I learn in case anyone else would want to give the EBow a try.
Just another way of playing the dulcimer - but without the strum of a pick. I do like to Experiment -Try - Ask - Share
Does anyone know about the EBow? Has anyone used it on the dulcimer?
I also play at a senior care facility and yes, the dulcimer group I am with will not be visiting to sometime in the future. Not only our practices but also all our performances and Festivals coming up are cancelled.
I am disappointed but it is understandable
I thought I would play outside each evening, so my neighbors who are staying home would enjoy. Maybe many of us could fill the air with sweet sounds
Yes, maybe wasn't noticed when action was higher but as it was lowered it became very noticeable.
I have taken care of the action on a number of my dulcimers among other repairs, but since this one needed a number of things checked over and it wasn't mine, (I was just finding a nice dulcimer for a new player) - well thought better then me working on it.
Good to know that the frets could have raised from the change of where or how it sat for the 30+ years, maybe I should be glad it was only 3 and not more. Even frets on my own dulcimers, I have file down but again looking like a new dulcimer and not mine - I just didn't want to.
All a journey in both playing the dulcimer and caring for it.
There was a label but no model #. It was made in the 80's and may have had the same strings on it. I took it to get new strings (I could have done that but it needed to have the action lowered also) and be checked out. Turns out 3 frets needed to be adjusted (filed & reshaped) - so question - older dulcimers depending how or where they were stored for 30+ years, could that cause some frets to pop up a bit? As much as I checked it out, I didn't notice the frets till the action was lowered.
All in all, I still got it for a very fair price including the pricy repairs - but would have been a better deal without all the repairs. I have it tuned to DAA, it sounds so much sweeter then tuned DAd - for walnut I was surprise it sounded a bit bright or does older Folkcrafts tend to sound more bright then mellow?
The dulcimer & case looks basically new, not a scratch, chip or dent. It must of come home from the shop and made its way into the closet - and there it stayed. A treasure hiding but now it's out ;-)
Thanks for the info.
I have google Folkcraft teardrops and yes, you are right. I will contact the seller and go check it out.
it may have a label, I just haven't seen it yet, just the photo
looking at a dulcimer advertised with no info on who made
walnut teardrop, - made USA in the late 1980’s, - purchased in North Carolina.
tuning pegs, white & up - strum hollow curved but not large, pins up on end of fretboard - sound hole not crisp f.
Right, I see Thomas died in 1933. I took the article as what they knew (thus far recovered)
It looks as if there were more instruments Mr. Thomas made but stopping before he died (Mr. Thomas made more than 1,500 instruments through his career until two years before his death in 1933). You are very fortune to have such a special piece of history and one of Ed Thomas last dulcimers before his stopping. His spirit lives on.
Isn't dulcimer people wonderful, our members here, fellow dulcimer people we meet - even Dulcimer Legends like Homer Ledford. What a special memory you have of a special meeting.
I was looking up some history on some of the premier dulcimer makers (traditional Ky style dulcimers) and was wondering if anyone had stories to tell of someone they have meet, in their shop or at a Festival?
Warren May was good friends with Hormer Ledford and thinking some of our FOTMD members would have been around playing when some of these excellent craftsmen like Hormer, when they were still around. Share your stories.
Attached is the results of some info, I found looking up these masters (note: no quotes but taken from the online sites with their history) just passing on what I found - hope you find it interesting.
I have a Berg dulcimer
I may try the 10 on the d up by the bass D but I ended taking that string off since it seemed to either hit the bass or just not sound right. Berg's string gage attached:
Ever hear of an ebow, a bit more then half way through, Jerry Rockwell on the video. It's been around for years for guitars but i'm thinking of trying on a dulcimer.
What do you think?
( fine tuners that will allow you to dial in a tuning once you're close with the pegs. )
where do we fine these and how do they work?