Adventures with 'other' instruments...
They're like potato chips--nobody can have just one.
They're like potato chips--nobody can have just one.
So, I'm back, now up to 7 ukuleles and I still can't play any of them very well, but that's another story... I've now got 3 concerts, (including the Fluke), a longneck soprano, a tenor, a baritone and a banjolele. The banjolele is one of the Gold Tone Little Gem line and I love it to bits. It is LOUD and I am still trying to figure out how to incorporate it into some of the songs that my dulcimer group plays. Unfortunately, all of my mistakes are amplified for the world to hear and I throw my fellow players off so will need to work on that. I will be sitting down with my dulcimer group leader and trying to work with her re strumming patterns for our songs. I do ok at home and then get totally thrown when I try to play with the group.
Until I reread this thread, I had totally forgotten the tuning issue with the Fluke. I haven't gotten back to trying to play it, but plan to someday. I think that I enjoy the larger ukes (tenor, baritone, banjolele) the best at the moment.
Colleen, my Fluke has friction tuners and they give me no problems. Have you taken a screwdriver to the screws at the ends of the tuning pegs? Mine need adjusting once or twice a year. Righty-tighty, lefty-loosey.
Will taking a screwdriver to them make the tuners actually turn without bouncing back? Because that is what they are doing, making it impossible to tune. Right now it is in the corner of my office, looking at me reproachfully.
Colleen, I understand how you feel about friction tuners. My Gretsch banjolele came with them. My fondness for the instrument (it was so darn cute!) made me play it a lot and I got used to the tuners. Now they are still not my first choice but I am OK with them.
If you think ukes are fun, banjoleles are even better. The folks I jam with like having another instrument voice. Like all banjos, they are finicky little instruments so if you don't like to fiddle with your instruments, banjoleles are not for you. I also recommend getting a good set up initially.
Actually, I've been eyeing the banjoleles. They are on the "someday" list. Which is sort of ridiculous, as I'm still at the green beginner stage on the ukulele, though I've made a little progress. What brand/type of banjolele do you have?
I've started playing the uke on a few songs in my dulcimer group.
And, yay, I finally realized that there is a button for the quote function.
Sorry, folks, I still don't seem to have the quote function down.
Well I made the plunge 3 months ago and bought a Kala Ziricoat Tenor and couldn't be happier. I actually have learned more about music since I've had this. Yes I still put many hours on my Folkcraft, but what fun the Uke is.
My next uke purchase may well be a baritone, but that will have to wait until tax refund time. I've been eyeing the ziricoat Kalas, but unfortunately, they don't make in a baritone.
Hi, I have a magic flea. I think it had aquila strings but had terrible time keeping in tune so sent it back the and got i think were planetary tuners. They did not charge me for labor which was amazing as i bought it used and told them so.
Wow, that is pretty amazing. I should contact them, as my Fluke is sitting on the floor, untouched at the moment. It needs some love. I mostly alternate between my long neck soprano and the tenor.
I'm not sure what strings are on the Fluke as I bought it on Craigslist and didn't think to ask the seller. I haven't heard of those type of strings before--I might give them a try.
Aaaannnnddd I just got my fourth (and hopefully last for a while) ukulele. I wanted to add a soprano to the herd. I got another Kala. It is a mahogany longneck, which means it has a soprano body but a concert length neck. Like most Kalas, it is very pretty.
My favorite is my Kala ST-G spruce top tenor. Found it used at a local guitar store. I keep my original Kala concert in my office to strum on for a few minutes at lunch time. There's a Kala soprano that I have my eye on too...And...my third is a concert Fluke that I got on Craigslist. Unfortunately, I have barely touched that one. I'm thinking of finding someone to add geared tuners and a button strap. Not fond of the friction tuners, but should probably give them another chance. Lisa Golladay, does your Fluke have geared tuners? I'm happy with my mid-range ukes right now as I don't play well enough to justify purchasing a higher end one. If I progress well enough, I might start looking at banjoleles, but that is a ways down the line.
I actually have learned more about music since I've had this. (sorry, don't know quote function) Much to the no doubt despair of my uke teacher, I still haven't picked up any music theory. I know that there is tons online about ukes, but I'm going for in-person lessons for now.
The downside is that the new instrument is exciting and my interest in practicing the dulcimer has dropped off quite a bit--it's like trying to divide your attention between two kids...
So, I am now on my third ukulele... Apparently Ukulele Acquisition Disorder is as much of a thing as DAD. I now have a Fluke style concert, my original Kala CEM and a Kala tenor. Can play some chords now but strumming still a bit of a challenge. I was a slow learner on the dulcimer and will undoubtably be so on the ukulele as well.
Currently reading Testosterone Rex, a popular science book written with a sense of humor. Also, just started Faithful Place by Tana French.
Well, I am way late to this discussion... I just picked up my very first ukulele today. It is a Kala KA CEM concert and it is lovely. I've already tuned it and have started trying some chords. It will take a while to get my squishy fingers in shape. I keep hitting adjacent strings. Of course, I've played the guitar before. When I was 12. Forty five years ago... So this should be easy :)
Bill Bryson should be considered a national treasure.
Not a huge Elvis fan but am in the middle of reading Last Train to Memphis: the Rise of Elvis Presley. I plan to read the far more depressing sequel, Careless Love: the Unmaking of Elvis Presley next.
What a nice story! I have a Sparrow dulcimer that I have successfully taken on planes wrapped in hiking socks and stuffed under my seat. When I got nervous about the cushioning abilities of the socks, I switched to a soft ukelele case.
The hard part is when you have a song half-memorized. Then you play along from memory until about halfway through and end up frantically looking at the tab trying to figure out where you are. Or, there's a really difficult section that you have practiced repeatedly and have finally gotten down, only to realize that you can never remember what comes next. I've been playing for two years and only have 2 tunes memorized, though, of course, I haven't really put any effort into trying.
Awesome photo of both dad and flutes. I had no idea that there was so much variation in the Native American flute world. Fortunately (or rather, unfortunately), I have asthma and am not tempted to fall down that particular rabbit hole. I keep getting tempted by the ukulele, however I keep reminding myself that I need to focus on getting better on the instrument that I have before adding another one to the mix.
On the other hand, multiple ukuleles would take up much less wall space...
I've got a friend that seriously asked me, "why do you need more than one?". She's perfectly happy with the one she has, made by a local luthier.
She's a very good friend, so she keeps her eye rolls to herself when she hears that I've ordered another one.
I hear ya, Helen. If not for Ron Gibson's layaway plan my stock of dulcimers would be a bit lower. It makes it so easy to say "well... just one more".
I presently have five, though one is unplayable. I have one more on layaway. I have decided that DAD is ok as long as I thin down the herd once in a while, by selling the lesser loved ones at dulcimer festivals. 5-7 is probably my limit as I don't have room in my house for any more than that! I'm lucky to be too musically illiterate to pick up a bass or baritone (don't know how to adapt those to DAD songs).
Of course, I should really hold off on getting any more until I can save enough for one of the several that I dearly want that are just out of my price range.
I haven't checked the dulcimer since I got back last Christmas, so I'm not sure if the buzz is still there. If it is, I will try your suggestion @jan-craig. I was thinking of getting a different travel dulcimer with regular tuning pegs instead of one that requires using a tuner wrench. However, money is tight this year, so I if I can easily fix the problem, I'll give it a try.
I just want to play....better. I've been playing two years now, and while I am much better than when I started, the road to where I want to be is a long one. I'll never be as good as people who have been playing for years and who have a real feel for music, but I can always be...better. I guess that one goal would be to be able to take an Intermediate workshop at a festival and be able to keep up on the songs on the first go-through. So, better tab reading, better traveling up and down the fretboard, and getting a handle on rhythm and difficult chords.
The fun part is the journey on the way there, though.
I flew with a travel dulcimer last winter--it was a few inches longer than the official carry-on size, but I just said "musical instrument" and no one batted an eyelid. It was obvious that it fit under the seat, so that may be why no one said anything. I had it sticking out of my backpack. This year, I'm taking a smaller carry-on item and carrying the travel dulcimer in it's own case (ukelele). I'm hoping that I will have the same experience as last year, even though, strictly speaking, I'm carrying an extra item.
Update--the buzzing is intermittent, not with every strum, so I guess that I can live with it enough to take it on vacation after all. It really does have a lovely tone, outside of the buzzing sound. I'll worry about getting it fixed after vacation.
Yes, I was in Oregon last year when I took it on vacation, but it has been in a drier locale, especially since the heat came on this fall. Does the buzzing tend to go away? I'm going to try it again tonight to see if it is as bad as I remember. If it is still buzzing I may not take it on vacation, which kind of kills the purpose of having a travel dulcimer.
It's been kept in the same room as my other dulcimers. Same tuning as last year and same old strings. It was really out of tune after being unplayed for a year, so I did retune it.
New question to an old thread! I have a little travel dulcimer that I bought last year. I took it on vacation and it worked and sounded fine. Fast forward a year and I'm heading off to Christmas vacation again in a week or so. So I hauled it out and tuned it up and I noticed buzzing. I haven't narrowed down which string/fret is causing it. I haven't played it since last December, but it did work ok when I first got it, so I'm not sure what has happened in the meantime. Is there some obvious-but-not-to-me fix for this? Could my fingering be causing buzzing because I am used to playing a regular sized dulcimer?
I was watching that one on Ebay. So glad that it went to a good home.
Haha Dusty. That's how we all wish we had found our first dulcimer. Even better than winning the lottery and buying up a whole music store...
And then, there are folks like me who have no idea how to transpose anything--for us musically challenged folks, it is indeed easier to slap a capo on. :)
Ack! I mispoke. My first dulcimer was made by my father from a Virgil Hughes church dulcimer kit back in the mid-1970s. I forgot it was my First Dulcimer because I rarely played it and it is now a dulcimer shaped piece of wall art. Sorry Dad!
T.K O'Brien student model. I really liked it but ended up selling it at a festival when I felt like I needed to thin the herd. Still miss it a bit, as it was a great instrument to start out on.
You can also try Craggy Mountain Music, as they carry strings and other dulcimer accessories.
I've ordered all of my stands from the DivergentLutherie shop on Etsy. They're made for student dulcimers, but if you contact him and send the measurements that he requests he can make a custom one for you. Of course, now that I have four stands I'm thinking about wall hangers, just to free up the floor space.
Marg, keep us updated and let us know how it sounds when you get it fixed up. That red stain is kind of cool.
Oh, your dulcimer looks lovely, marg. Glad that it had a problem that could be easily fixed. My eBay dulcimer was new, so nothing structurally wrong with it (though oddly, it only has 11 frets). All of my dulcimers are out on their own little stands. I was very happy that one of my older stands fit the new acquisition. I'm much less likely to play if the dulcimer isn't out of its case. I'm not sure what folks with 10+ dulcimers do.
Well, so far, I only play the dulcimer. I'm enjoying it more and more as I go on. Not that great at it yet, but it makes me happy. However, I occasionally think about picking up another instrument and trying it out. Everyone in this thread seems to play a wide variety of instruments. What would be an easy string instrument to pick up in addition to the dulcimer? I don't mean easy in a demeaning way--all instruments have their complexities. I've been considering trying out a ukulele sometime. Some of the dulcimer festivals have a "try out a ukulele" class, but I haven't made it to any of those. Bowed dulcimers fascinate me, but they seem quite challenging for someone at my level.
Piano would be nice too, but I don't have any free walls in my house.
Well, that didn't last long. Impulse buy this morning. I'm thinking of deleting Ebay from all of my gadgets. As of next Tuesday will have a new 6 string added to my collection. I don't have any other 6 strings, so I'm feeling only sort of guilty.