Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions
Modified a Spider Capo to use on a hogfiddle. A couple of washers were needed to help it close a little tighter.
Mountain dulcimer for me is my newest instrument. Until then I played chromatic fretted instruments, guitar, banjo, mandolin, etc. So my first thought when I got a dulcimer was that I would not find much versatility with it and would eventually want extra frets added. But I've since come to the belief that it's diatonic for a reason. It's a, dare I say, "simple" folk instrument created to be played by anybody. Hence adding frets takes away from the simple folky charm of the instrument to the point where it won't be a dulcimer anymore. Mine has no added frets and I don't miss the "missing" frets. I work with it in the way it was intended as far as the fingerboard is concerned, capo, change tuning, etc. Just sayin'.
Sorry so late w these pics of my capo.
Yeah, it's a bit heavy, but I'm pretty careful with it. I added a leather pad to the wood that presses down the strings to keep the strings from getting marred, particularly the wound D. I tried the 1/4-20 bolt with wooden discs, but it seemed to slip a little loose.
I stitched the leather pouch to keep the capo in.
I'm still new to the dulcimer, but I've found that I like the way a D tuning feels on my fingers than a C tuning. My fingers like the stiffer tension of the strings as they are easier to pick and ring a bit brighter. I don't sing much with the dulcimer at this point so that doesn't affect me as yet.
So maybe part of the reason has to do with D being maybe a little more resonant for instrumental playing than C. Also, in today's musical world, we seem to have a need to be in a specific key with specific pitch frequency. However, A was not always 440 htz as it is today.
At this point I like 1-5-8, DAd, but as I said, I'm still new to the instrument. I'm finding however that the beauty of the dulcimer is that its seeming diatonic simplicity actually makes it a very easily versatile instrument.
I started playing guitar in my teens and along the way picked up harmonica. Many years later I picked up banjo and mandolin. At about 40 I started playing violin/fiddle. Mountain dulcimer is pretty new to me, barely a year. For my own personal enjoyment I like fiddle and dulcimer the most. There is also a very lonely (and cold) piano in the garage. And a zither of some kind (looks like an autoharp w/o keys) that is unplayable at this point that I may yet get to.