Forum Activity for @objectsession

objectsession
@objectsession
12/23/15 11:02:38AM
11 posts

Squeakless Strings?


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

I don't want to divert the thread, but I'd also like to hear how they compare to flatwound or flattop strings. First of all, are either of those the same as squeakless strings? . . EDIT: I just remembered to use the search function. So, McSpadden squeakless strings are flat*wound*, right? Is that the same for other squeakless sets?

I put flatwounds on my mandolin, and I'm pretty happy with them there. (Different instrument, I know.)


updated by @objectsession: 12/23/15 11:05:22AM
objectsession
@objectsession
12/14/15 06:12:29PM
11 posts

Tinny sound


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Since you are hearing something in the recording that you can't hear live, it's definitely possible that the issue is with on the recording side rather than the acoustic side. Mic placement can drastically influence the sound, as can mic choice. And the acoustics of the room and background noise can also make a big difference since those things are more noticeable in a recording than live. The speakers you use to play back the recording can make a difference, too. If possible, you might want to EQ your recording afterwards. You can try lowering the very high frequencies and see if that makes a difference.

But you might also want to adjust how you play when you are recording. Things like pick noise, fretting noise, and stray notes can be much more noticeable in a recording. If possible, you can try to monitor what you're recording through headphones. It's a little awkward, but that can give you much quicker feedback so you can narrow down what is bothering you in the recording.

About the strings, a new set of strings will probably sound different, possibly very different since a year is a pretty long time. It might not fix your problem, but I don't think it'd hurt to try.

 

objectsession
@objectsession
10/17/15 02:04:18PM
11 posts

odd frets


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

"Beater" sounds okay to me, but "beating" or "beating technique" sounds less so. Because of the violence thing and also because beating is that sound an instrument makes when it's slightly out of tune... or in tune depending on your temperament. Laugh  

Anyway, no need to change the name if it's common - I was just pointing out that it sounded funny. And all the alternatives I thought of had risqué implications.

objectsession
@objectsession
10/15/15 01:46:26PM
11 posts

odd frets


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Lexie R Oakley:
I like the hammered part also, but this is not the first time I have seen it. Little Girly was playing my dulcimer and she was experimenting with the sound by tapping the strings with a chop stick, it sounds pretty neat.

I got a chopstick here on my desk just for that!


The second issue of Dulcimer Player News actually has an article about it (on page 3): "Dulcimer Playing Techniques: Beating" by P. Mason. I randomly found that one day and realized what I was trying out had a name (although maybe an unfortunate name for a couple reasons).

objectsession
@objectsession
10/04/15 10:16:01PM
11 posts

Oddities hanging on your walls


OFF TOPIC discussions

We don't have anything nearly as interesting either. My girlfriend has selections from her postcard collection and a couple old t-shirts she glued to canvas. I just have a couple Mandolin Cafe stickers and a Taylor Swift poster. nod


Jan Potts:In my college days, everything we would find on the floor we would tape to our wall near the door--now THAT was kind of interesting!

We used to tape up our empty ramen packages on the dorm door . . the *outside* of the door. Kind of a pride/shame thing I guess. Laugh


updated by @objectsession: 10/04/15 10:17:00PM
objectsession
@objectsession
09/30/15 05:29:30PM
11 posts

A new podcast about the mountain dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Ooh! I've been looking forward to this! I'll post a (positive) review on iTunes soon.

From the podcast, I was inspired to check out both Joni Mitchell's and Mimi & Richard Fariña's music and got to know a little bit about a lot of people active in the mountain dulcimer community, so I am very grateful. I decided to start playing the dulcimer a few weeks ago, and the podcast definitely played a part in that decision.

objectsession
@objectsession
09/28/15 06:57:39PM
11 posts

Newbie String Questions (and Hello!)


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Thanks robin-clark for the info. An unwound bass string doesn't sound like what I want, but it's good to know why one could use one. Thanks for the suggestions about the fretting noise, too. I noticed that noise when I was listening to a dulcimer album the other day, too. It's good to know that, like fret buzzing, it happens to even the best players at times . . so I'll try not to fret about it too much. Laugh

FWIW, I ended up deciding to not use any of my ideas. :-) Decided to get strings just a tiny bit heavier and more suited for CGC (or maybe a step lower) tuning - .013, .017, .026 from a set of guitar strings. (Not sure what I'll do with the other 3 strings, though . . ) I'll see how I like that.


updated by @objectsession: 09/28/15 06:57:54PM
objectsession
@objectsession
09/26/15 02:03:22PM
11 posts



I'm new to dulcimer, but I am left handed and have a dulcimer strung the standard way. I agree that your friend can and should just try playing the other way to see how it feels. I tried both ways, but settled on playing left handed because that's more comfortable. I play mandolin lefty, too, and keep both strung the right-handed way. Depending on playing style, just flipping it upside down could be fine.

And if your friend prefers it strung with the melody string closest, buying a left-handed dulcimer isn't necessarily required. At least my dulcimer is pretty close to symmetrical besides the strings, nut, and bridge, which can all be removed and replaced. I guess a luthier might be needed to make the adjustments in some cases, though.

objectsession
@objectsession
09/24/15 07:34:44PM
11 posts

Newbie String Questions (and Hello!)


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Thanks, Ken Hulme, for the info.

Whoops. There was a typo in my post. I meant "D2-D3-A3-D4", but it doesn't really matter. Good point about getting another nut and bridge. I guess I'm realizing that it's relatively cheap and easy to try all sorts of different things on the mountain dulcimer, since one could just buy readily available (single) guitar strings and swap out the nut/bridge (which are also cheap assuming something like this will work).

I don't think not fretting hard enough is the issue. The sound I'm talking about happens even if I don't pluck the string. It's really noticeable if I fret the string really hard, like a hammer-on (where I'd get the desired pitch and another pitch). Playing around on my mandolin, I realized it happens there, too, but it's just much quieter, so I don't notice it as much.

objectsession
@objectsession
09/24/15 05:00:51PM
11 posts

Newbie String Questions (and Hello!)


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Hi. Thanks for the response, Ken. I think I made the thread confusing by asking 3 questions at once . . Anyway, right now, I have the dulcimer tuned 1 step below the typical DAD tuning (and I took one of the double strings off so it's 1 string per course). If C4=middle C, then it'd be C3-G3-C4, I think. So, for my first question, I was asking about replacing the low C3 string with a plain (unwound) string. So, putting aside what would be the proper gauge for such a string, I guess I'm wondering if anyone plays with an unwound bass string and if not, why not.

Then, as a completely different question (forgetting about wound vs plain), I was wondering about stringing up the dulcimer as D2-D3-A3-D4 equidistant. With gauges something like .044, .020, .014, .010.

[EDIT: fixed typo]


updated by @objectsession: 09/24/15 07:10:11PM
objectsession
@objectsession
09/24/15 03:52:43PM
11 posts

Newbie String Questions (and Hello!)


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Hi, all. I recently got a new Sweet Woods Instruments mountain dulcimer. First off, I wanted to say hi! And thank you for all the welcome message I got when I signed up here a while back.

I've been learning a few songs and trying out a few different ways of playing, mostly going back and forth between flatpicking and fingerpicking, both with finger fretting. Anyway, I started thinking about which strings to buy for when I need to replace them. Just for some background, I play the mandolin, so I'm familiar with string gauge and tension, although the mandolin usually has much higher tension and, it seems, usually lower action. 

Anyway, to my questions. First, does anyone ever use a plain string instead of a wound string for the lowest string? If so, what are the differences in how they play/sound? (Or if not, why is that a bad idea?)

Second, I noticed that I get a lot of noise from the string vibrating between my fretting fingers and the nut - basically, an unintentional dissonant hammer-on on the wrong side of the string. And that happens even fretting as close as possible to the fret and trying not to push down too hard. I can mute the back of the string with another finger, but that seems like a lot of effort. I have my string tension especially low since it's tuned to C-G-C (with .024, .014, and .012 gauge strings). Is that low tension probably the cause of the noise? Is there something else that could be done? Adjusting the action? (Although I'd rather increase the tension than raise the action.)

Bonus question: Does anyone ever play a standard (not bass/baritone) dulcimer with a low string an octave below typical (with proper string gauge to get the right tension)? I was thinking of playing around with something like four-string equidistant DDAD (low to high) tuning with all the Ds being in different octaves. Would the intonation just be too far off to be tolerable (if not played just as a drone string)? Maybe GDGD to be less extreme? I'd be curious with people's experiences good or bad if they tried something like that.

Thanks!