Forum Activity for @john-c-knopf

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
06/04/20 05:53:13PM
210 posts

What Are You Working On?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I'm constructing a mean-tone walnut hourglass Thomas replica for a guy in Yorkshire.  The body's assembled, but needs trimming and pegs, nut, bridge, frets, strings, etc.

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
05/29/20 03:21:06PM
210 posts

Carved headstock and end piece.Maker?


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

Is it coming or going?  Never seen the like of it.  Sorry I can't help you!

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
05/28/20 09:00:08AM
210 posts

Please tell me your very favorite love song...


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Lois, I always thought that "Old Joe Clark" had the most verses, but so many of those folk-song verses are portable!

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
05/26/20 05:56:52PM
210 posts

Best kit?


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

Welcome to the forum, Steve!

I vote for the McSpadden "Sweet Song" hourglass dulcimer kits, as I have assembled several with great results.

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
05/19/20 08:33:52AM
210 posts

Please tell me your very favorite love song...


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

"The Cheeseburger Song" by Mr. Lunt (Love Songs with Mr. Lunt).  Gotta be a VeggieTales fan...

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
05/07/20 09:13:10AM
210 posts

Thomas reproductions (Messenger/Knopf/other?)


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

Hi, Magictime!  This is John Knopf.  You asked if the bouts on my Thomas dulcimores are the same width, and they are NOT.       My cheap camera distorts images, sometimes badly.  I've noticed that myself. The upper bouts are narrower by nearly an inch.  I think Kevin used a different Thomas dulcimore for measurements in making his reproduction.  As you may know, Uncle Ed didn't make any two of his dulcimores alike, but there are many similarities.  So - - Kevin makes a great replica of Thomas dulcimore "A", and I make great replicas of Thomas dulcimore "B".  The sound is very similar.  I hope this clears things up for you.

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
05/04/20 08:34:48AM
210 posts

Is the strumhollow redundant?


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

My belief is that strum hollows are not necessary.  I think many new builders (in the 60's and 70's) followed the Kentucky tradition of Ed Thomas.  They saw many photos of these dulcimers, to the exclusion of older Virginia dulcimers, and just thought that was "the way they were supposed to be built".  I certainly didn't see any examples back then of dulcimers without strum hollows.

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
04/08/20 10:49:45AM
210 posts

Whatever happened to singing?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

All this discussion reminds me of a dear sweet older gentleman who attended my church for many years.  He did not have a singing voice at all, but he sang right out with every hymn we sang.  It's called making a joyful NOISE unto the Lord!  I so admired his efforts and his heart.  His wife sang very sweetly.

There's a a song sung by the Dixie Melody Boys called "Antioch Church Choir".  About Uncle Jesse who "couldn't sing a lick, don'tcha know".  The song pretty much says it all.

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
04/06/20 11:59:07AM
210 posts

FUNNY songs you sing & play on your dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

"I'm My Own Grandpa" gets everybody cogitatin' and laughin', too!

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
03/26/20 10:00:11PM
210 posts

"Generations": Will Singleton replica dulcimore


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

To answer the question, I really don't know if this will be at Berea.  If I sell it soon, it won't be, and if Berea doesn't happen, it might not be.  I plan to go to Berea one way or another, and if it's unsold then, I 'll bring it along.  Thanks for the interest!

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
03/26/20 04:57:41PM
210 posts

"Generations": Will Singleton replica dulcimore


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Folks, here's something to get your mind off the (         ) today.  This is "Generations", it's name was taken from Psalm 90:1.  A poplar replica with ebony pegs.  Will Singleton, Jean Ritchie's uncle, made some 90 years ago.Singleton Generations 3262020 020.JPG   Singleton Generations 3262020 016.JPGSingleton Generations 3262020 018.JPGSingleton Generations 3262020 019.JPG

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
03/25/20 08:39:54AM
210 posts

Dulcimer String Anchor Pins


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

You could easily hammer in 3 or 4 metal brads or brass-plated escutcheon pins between the slot and the present wooden peg.  You could just leave the wooden peg where it is.  Put masking tape on that area of the wood, draw a straight line and measure for the pin locations.  Then tap dents in at those 3 or 4 points, pull off the tape and carefully hammer them down to about 1/16" of the surface.  If you have a tiny drill bit, you can pre-drill the holes to keep the wood from possible splits.

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
03/17/20 05:43:17PM
210 posts

Introduce Yourself!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Thanks for your post, DoC!  Sorry things are gloomy across The Pond.  Things are somewhat gloomy here as well, what with the pesky COVID virus preparation shutting things down and generally making a nuisance of itself.  We need to rise above it, and dulcimers sure help re-focus us on nicer things!  I'm confident that you'll make the McSpadden modifications with no trouble at all.  Best wishes for a successful outcome.

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
02/22/20 12:04:02PM
210 posts

Take a guess on who made this dulcimer


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

That is definitely from Folkcraft Instruments, however I'm not sure if it was assembled at the factory, or if somebody just assembled a kit.  It would seem likely that if it was a factory-made dulcimer, it would have labeling in or on it.

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
02/04/20 07:15:46PM
210 posts

Can you help me ID this song?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

It's a very lovely melody, but I haven't heard it before.  Maybe it's something from Turlough O'Carolan's pen?  Could be...

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
01/30/20 09:52:39PM
210 posts

My Husband Has Become Interested...


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

Angelina, there have been different ideas posted online regarding the same issue with guitars and their cases.  You might like to look some of them up? Some like to set it in the sun and wind (maybe not this time of year), wiping down with first a rag soaked in tomato juice, then a rag soaked in baking soda and water, then a dry rag.    When our funeral home caught fire eight years ago, the remediation company subjected all of its belongings to an ozone treatment.  I haven't smelled any smoke since.

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
01/21/20 04:40:40PM
210 posts

My Husband Has Become Interested...


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

Richard Stolze was an employee at McSpadden/The Dulcimer Shoppe for many years.  It should be a high-quality dulcimer.

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
01/13/20 08:35:22AM
210 posts

Introduce Yourself!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Welcome to the group, Rain Dog!  This is a great resource for dulcimer new-bies.  Ask a lot of questions if you like.  One of us (at least) should be able to help you out.  Have a good day!

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
01/07/20 03:28:59PM
210 posts



Phroedrick, you can look on eBay or Amazon for them, available in several wood species.  I've seen ebony, rosewood, maple and others.  Any local violin repair shop should have some.  They are remarkably inexpensive, at least to me, if bought online.

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
12/18/19 05:59:48PM
210 posts

You know your dulcimer has a hold on you when...


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

That's right!  You know, table saws are bad for damaging your fingers or hands.  The tips of my thumb and forefinger on my right hand went through "an aggressive change" over a year ago due to my table saw.  Things healed very nicely, thank God, but the sensitivity is gone somewhat.  It's harder to pick up small objects now, but I'm thankful that the injuries weren't much worse.

You'll be fine after a while, I'm sure.

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
11/13/19 10:37:04PM
210 posts

Have you met other FOTMD's in real life and become friends?


OFF TOPIC discussions

I've met many WONDERFUL folks from FOTMD in Berea, KY or in Hindman, KY the past few years.  (I can't remember any of them as being awful or unfriendly!)  I think particularly of those special friends in Hindman who started and ran the dulcimer project there, as well as my fellow luthiers who are attempting to raise high the banner of traditional dulcimore building and playing.  

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
11/02/19 09:53:18PM
210 posts

Sneak peek at a walnut Thomas with Possum Board


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

Thank you so much, friends!  I had a wonderful day.  Even squeezed in a great prime rib lunch in Ann Arbor!

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
11/02/19 05:43:41PM
210 posts

Sneak peek at a walnut Thomas with Possum Board


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

Here is what's happening in the shop on my birthday.  Found the time to make some sawdust today!


001.JPG 001.JPG - 201KB
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
10/23/19 09:33:42PM
210 posts

Sears and Roebuck dulcimers


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

I think some of these dulcimers were branded Oscar Schmidt, weren't they?

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
09/21/19 04:53:29PM
210 posts

Do not adjust your set!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

See something a little different here?  I've noticed that when I play the scale, I get "od-it-al-los-af-im-er-od..."  Oh-- everything's BACKWARDS.  This is a left-handed poplar Thomas dulcimore that was requested by a customer of mine.


Left hand Thomas 004.JPG Left hand Thomas 004.JPG - 237KB

updated by @john-c-knopf: 10/27/19 12:02:25PM
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
09/18/19 08:26:33AM
210 posts



Looks almost like a DSO to me.

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
09/09/19 11:02:16PM
210 posts

Removing a fretboard


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

Ken's right-- I'll sometimes use a Harbor Freight Tools heat gun to soften some Titebond glue enough to reposition something.  It works quite well.

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
09/09/19 09:31:25PM
210 posts

Walnut Thomas with possum board


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

UPDATE:  He just received it a couple hours ago, and he loves it!  Sentiments to brighten a poor luthier's heart!

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
09/09/19 05:48:53PM
210 posts

Removing a fretboard


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

Molly, I can't see what you're dealing with, but in most cases you should be able to surface the topside of the fretboard level, then either refinish it and install frets, or glue a 1/8" thick fingerboard over the fretboard and cut your fret slots in that.

The trick is getting the fretboard flat.  You could use a belt sander with a coarse grit belt, or a hand plane, or if you feel really lucky, run it through a power planer, a little cut at a time.

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
09/09/19 08:44:19AM
210 posts

Walnut Thomas with possum board


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

Thank you all for the comments.  The new owner should have it in a couple of days now.

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
08/31/19 10:28:22PM
210 posts

Walnut Thomas with possum board


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

Just completed, another walnut Thomas dulcimore with a matching possum board.


012.JPG 012.JPG - 234KB

updated by @john-c-knopf: 10/27/19 12:02:25PM
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
08/16/19 04:13:48PM
210 posts

Tailpiece help please


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

James,

That looks like a mandolin tailpiece to me.  If so, the pointed decorative end should lift up to reveal the string ends.  In other words, there should be a hinge on the other end of the tailpiece.  If it's tight, maybe dab a little WD-40 on it from a Q-tip.

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
08/10/19 08:37:15AM
210 posts

Dulcimer Queries


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

Howie Mitchell's "floating bridge" design has been largely discredited.  This design tends to allow the bridge end of the fretboard to bow up.  Some folks just glue a filler piece of wood in the gap to solidify things.  The sound doesn't suffer much from the modification.

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
07/17/19 04:15:44PM
210 posts

Old 6 string dulcimer


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

I would guess that it's an assembled church dulcimer kit from Hughes Dulcimer Company out of Denver.  These were made of luan plywood ("Philippine mahogany"), and were of simple design.  If you remade the nut and bridge, you could get the 3 courses of two strings that we're talking about.

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
07/16/19 10:28:39AM
210 posts

Old 6 string dulcimer


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

That seems unusual for a dulcimer.  Usually if a dulcimer has six strings, they are arranged in 3 pairs on the fretboard.  Each string pair (or "course") have a distance of about 1/8" between them, so they can be played as one string.

Tuning is generally in the DAA or CGG range (Ionian or Major mode) if it's a conventional length dulcimer.  Each pair is tuned alike.  Do you have any photos of it?

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
07/15/19 09:58:05PM
210 posts



If I were you, I'd start with a prepared bone blank from any of a number of online sources, such as eBay, C.B.Gitty, and the like.  The dust that is generated is smelly and dangerous to breathe, so use a mask or respirator when you sand or cut bone. Same goes for mother-of-pearl (MOP).

John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
07/15/19 11:46:00AM
210 posts

Newby


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

Welcome, Steve!  This is THE PLACE to ask questions about dulcimer history, and design and building of the same.

I'll try to help you, along with many others here who have a lot of experience in the field.  If you look through some of the previous posts, you should find answers to questions.  Have fun!

 /