General mountain dulcimer or music discussions
Masters of the Mountain Dulcimer Volume one features 19 selections by 19 different dulcimer players. I bought it at a festival from Susan Trump. Try www.susantrump.com.
Charles, your playing spot is so neat, in the sense of being tidy. OK, I confess. I cleaned my nook and got rid of a lot of the clutter. Posting a picture was a good incentive to clean the area. The little guy sitting on my desk is a limberjack my father got for me at a flea market over 30 years ago. I made him dance when some of us played at a hospital recently. No one had ever seen one before and they really loved it.
As for posting the picture, it took me forever and I was surprised when it worked. I can't tell you what I did because I tried so many ways until it worked. Nina (AKA Dulcinina)
Hey Ken, What are the strings for your noter/drone. I just bought a used McSpadden and ordered strings from them. When I told them I would be switching from DAD to DAA, they sent me .022 Bass and middle and melody are .012. I'm not sure I really like the sound. This will be my noter/drone dulcimer. Dulcinina
Here's an update and intriguing history. I bought the McSpadden after trying it out and questioning the young man selling it. The guy's girlfriend's parents bought a house with partial contents and the dulcimer was among them. No one knew what it was! When the owner developed dementia, her children sold the house with several belongings left in it. The new owners gave the guy the dulcimer for helping them move.
The dulcimer was found in the bedroom with the owners manual, warranty and books and music. From the loose tab sheets left, I think she may have belonged to a dulcimer group as the music is the same that I've acquired from my groups. I called the fellow back and asked him to find out the name of the people who sold the house. Maybe I can locate them and find out more.
The dulcimer really sounded good despite of the aged strings. I offered him $100 less than he was asking and he readily agreed, having no vested interest in the instrument. We both were happy. I polished it when I got home and ordered strings from McSpadden. I don't care for the strings our local music store carries.
So, I'm learning patience while waiting for the strings and just admiring my new to me dulcimer. Dulcinina
I'll be trying out a used McSpadden tomorrow that was made in 2000. I called the company and they said it's walnut and the back is made of plywood. It is not from a kit. I read the posts from 3 years ago when someone asked about buying a used McSpadden. What else should I consider when trying out this instrument. He's asking $300. Dulcinina
A friend and I played on her screened in porch overlooking her lovely flower garden. But we were soon overpowered by the neighbor's weed eater. No problem, though. We had a great time and lots of laughs. Music heals the soul. Dulcinina
This discussion spoke to me in so many ways. I lead a small group of players because I just wanted to have someone else to play with. They consider themselves beginners and in some ways they are because of being new to the dulcimer. One is a retired music teacher (voice) the other played the piano. They know music theory. I do not. But I could get them started and they have taken a couple workshops. They are slaves to the written tab. They won't deviate or experiment. My other two players in the group just go with the flow.
I know the more musically trained get frustrated with me but I said at the outset "I am not a professional musician." I can get you started. But you know what? After reading this discussion, I say I am a musician. I play to satisfy myself, I play at the Alzheimer center and in nursing homes and I don'obsess about mistakes.
All really top notch musicians make mistakes. My mentor, a pianist and graduate from Julliard who knows nothing about the dulcimer, has trained me to keep playing regardless of mistakes and told me countless stories of famous musicians who make mistakes. Oh gosh, I'm rambling. I am going to have my group read this discussion and hopefully they'll relax a little bit.
And my friend from Julliard wants me to teach her the dulcimer. I am inspried by so many of you on this website. Thank you for all the insightful comments. Dulcinina
This is a good discussion and I remember it being discussed several months ago. After reading Dusty's Berkley descriptions back then, I moved my rank up to Intermeditate. I still make mistakes while I'm playing but I can cover a lot of them up, too. Ditto everything Terry Wilson said. I guffawed out loud when I read Skip's description of Beg, Inter, Adv. Skip, so you have TAB for Flight of the Bumblebee? Dulcinina
Thank you for all the advice. She sent a picture of her dulcimer and looks like she does not have extra notches on the bridge. But I'll know more when I actually see the instrument. Thanks again. Dulcinina
I've been asked to help a beginner get started on dulcimer and discovered she has 4 eq strings. I read the threads related to this and Heidi Muller's suggestion to tune DAdd and let the inner d string just drone out. Does anyone have any other suggestions or tips? I play 3 strings in DAd and am not sure how that extra eq-distant string from the melody string will affect chord playing. Dulcinina
Hey Guys, When I read Dusty's post about cold brew coffee, I was intrigued since I love ice coffee in the summer. So I Googled it and chose a recipe and made some. I steeped it for 24 hours and it was good but not strong enough. So I will let my next batch go longer, maybe only 48 hours.
My husband buys 3 kinds of whole bean coffee and mixes them for our own special brew. I grind beans every morning for coffee so I feel I have that part down pat. I'm going to make ice cubes from my first batch and make my next batch stronger. I just used a qt mason jar and after 24 hrs strained the grounds through a fine sieve. Even though it wasn't as strong as I expected, it was still good. I, too, have to be careful not to drink caffeine after a certain hour. Thanks for the pictures, Dusty. This was great information for coffee lovers. Dulcinina
I can only speak for myself and not all Americans. I develop swelling about 2 inches across from mosquito bites and they take a long time to disappear, like over a month. I react to any bug bite. They love me. In fact I often say that if a bug is a vegetarian, it will still bite me. I ended up in the emergency room over a hornet sting. So, I certainly have not built up an immunity to mosquito bites over the years.
Last year we added a screened in porch to the back of our house and it is wonderful to sit out without being besieged by bugs.
I haven't heard of the dairy theory. anyone else have a theory, remedy etc.? Dulcinina
Hey Ken Longfield, Follow me so we can private message each other. I would like to join up with you in Berea and may be able to help find a place where we can play. I live abour 45 miles from Berea and play there once a week. Dulcinina
Picks are a very personal choice. I started with a Herdim because it was given to me. Then I began experimenting with different picks, noting the sounds they produced. I cut picks from margarine lids, old credit cards. and tried different brands and thicknesses. You'll find one that suits your style of playing and feels comfortable. Just have fun. Dulcinina
Here's an update on forming a dulcimer group. I have 4 people in the group so far. I had a PSA on the radio and sent emails to those who were in the group before. No one from the old group came but the 4 who did heard about it through word of mouth. They are beginners but know a little about the dulcimer and are very enthusiastic. So while I was hoping to just be the coordinator/leader, I am teaching basics. It was a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to the group growing. Thanks for your input a couple months ago. Oh, we have free space at our local Carnegie Center, a venue for music and art exhibits. We decided to meet twice a month. The group is going to work on coming up with a name. Things are looking good. Dulcinina
I'm glad to get the update on your porch, Lisa. I was wondering about it. I contacted a couple people about coming over to play but no one can make it. So it will be only me. But I told my dulcimer group today (50 miles away from here) about playing on the porch on Saturday, so I expect some of them will.
During the eclipse I played You Are My Sunshine on the porch. Dulcinina (thinking of changing my handle to Dulcinerd)
Hi Mary, I use a couple different seats. One is an old round wooden piano stool where the seat spins up and down. But it's lowest position is about 18" and has no back. My other chair is what I call a "steno" office chair. It's has a padded seat and back and it adjusts to various heights by a lever. It has no arms and the lowest position is 16". I got it at an office supply store on a close -out for $25. It's on wheels, doesn't take up much room and is very comfortable. It also doubles as my sewing chair at the sewing machine. This chair is also easy on the fanny whereas the stool is not. Dulcinina
Thanks for the pointers, Dusty. I'm getting together with a couple group leaders and getting their input as well. Then I'll contact a couple possible location sites and take it from there. You are always so helpful. Thanks again, Dulcinina
I've been asked to head up and form a dulcimer group in my community. I was part of one a couple years ago that someone else started and it folded after several months.
What suggestions do you who lead groups have? How did you advertise? How often to meet? What seems to kill a group once it's formed? Thanks for any suggestions. Dulcinina
I was thinking about limberjacks just a few days ago. In the back of my mind I of sort of remembered having one. Went down into the basement and sure enough there he was in a box. The "board" I have for him is the blade of a ceiling fan. I don't think it works particularly well. Any suggestions for a suitable board? Dulcinina
The Berea group will begin playing at the Visitor Center (depot) on June 20th from 2-4 and will play each Tuesday during the summer. There is no set play list. We usually take turns choosing a song and hopefully we all have the music.
Today my dulcimer group from Berea KY got together with the Hindman KY group who came to Berea for a day trip. After they ran around town they came to our Multignerational facility to play with us. There were about 20 folks from Hindman and about 17 of us. Warren May came to listen as did Jean Ritchie's niece.
We had a great time together and a potluck afterward. We had so much fun that we are planning a trip to Hindman soon to play with them. Hindman is about 100 miles from Berea. I drive 90 miles round trip to play with the Berea/Richmond KY group each week. I am so fortunate to live close enough to take advantage of such opportunities.
I'm a fledgling intermediate player and my advice is to seize any opportunity to play with different groups. It's so rewarding. Dulcinina
It's only too late if you don't start now.
We had a screened in porch built on the back of our house in February. Our back yard is long and narrow and completely private. I have 2 wicker rockers, a bistro set and a small table-desk out there. I have old timey perennials that bloom at different times, bird feeders and a bird bath. I play my dulcimer out there a lot. It's a dream come true. Dulcinina
Just watched your you tube demo of the capo. What a great educational video for novices like me. And I loved the sound of the dulcimer you are playing. What is the wood and is it by any chance a Blue Lion? Dulcinina
Thanks everyone. The exercises will be very helpful, Ken.
Marg, what kind of strap do you wear for your thumb?
I know I have arthritis in my thumb so I'll have to be careful about how long I play. I have Herdim picks and will switch off. Thanks again for your input everyone.
I'm a strummer and practice/play at least an hour each day. I also play with 2 groups a week which amounts to 2 hrs each of playing with them.
So I think I stressed my hands a couple weeks ago. The 10 min I referred to was just to start playing again, I never heard of the Herco thumb flat pick but will definitely look into it.
Thank you for responding. If the pain persists, I definitely will consult a doctor.
A week ago my rt hand thumb hurt so bad I couldn't play. It's mostly in the joint and meaty part of the thumb. I could not hold a pick. No, I do not have a death grip on the pick. So I did not play for about 5 days, did alternative heat and ice. It's only so-so. I play for maybe 10 minutes a day. But the thumb is still sore and I don't want to stress it anymore.
Anyone else have these issues and what suggestions do you have. Dulcinina
This is a timely discussion for me because I was just thinking about my frets yesterday. I have a beautiful FolkRoots dulcimer with a rich sound that I love. I've had it less than a year. But when I slide across the strings it feels like I'm going over speed bumps. I am a beginner/intermediate player and working hard to play smoother. So maybe I need to think about having the frets replaced/lowered.
I live close to Warren May but don't know if he'd work on a dulcimer he didn't make. Any comments from you experienced players?
A friend who plays piano wants to accompany me as I play the dulcimer. Any of you have suggestions for suitable music? I'm an intermediate/beginner so it needs to be simple. I was leaning toward hymns but am open to any suggestions. Dulcinina