Native American Flutes
Adventures with 'other' instruments...
Roger, you wrote clearly and kindly and all of us I'm sure understand better the terms, Native American and Native American Style. Thank you, aloha, Irene
ahhhhhh, Time for thank you. Thanks Richard for the Stewmac place to get the bone bridge and nut. Steve, thanks for THE FABULOUS LIST of all your instruments. way cool. I have much of the same things and I so enjoyed making many of them through the years. One person came in my house and asked, "Is this a music store?" ha. not......but that's how I got into making so many instruments for others. Way fun!!! But my husband played instruments and so do all my children. aloha, irene
Dear Nate, you are so very right in your words here. I learned how to make a native drum from a native that was living in Hawaii a few years back. I just loved it and came home and knowing that I'm not Native America and so I did some research on Celtic drums, and I am Celtic.............I started making Celtic drums and I've sold a few. I also have 2 High Spirit Native style flutes and ordered a drone flute from another maker that doesn't pretend he's a native....I've had a lot of fun with these flutes. I do have a full Navajo "sister" friend that introduced me to the Native flutes. We've been able to play dulcimer and flute, harp and flute, and of course, drum and flute. I just finished a bowed psaltery for her and we're going to play more weird combinations of our instruments. Sooooooooooo fun. It's late at night, but I need to post some photos of the teardrop dulcimer that I made in Hawaii last February. It's all out of Bible woods. fretboard out of Olive wood, top Cedar of Lebanon, sides & back Koa (Acacia wood of the Bible). It really has a unusual tone and I need to know where I can get some bone for the bridge. I have some hard wood there, but I think it will do better with a bone bridge. I need to learn how to attach photos again, but it's too late at night and I'm going to bed. aloha, irene
Dear Teddy, I have tears in my eyes after reading your post here and I can speak for others that we are grateful you survived to learn more on this old world and grateful also that you are going to learn a instrument of "old" and it will be new to you. I love noter drone style the most, as it's the oldest style....and much can be done with this way of playing. We will be excited when your dulcimer arrives and we want to see photos of it with you. Many will help you on this site and surely you'll find a teacher in your area. aloha, irene
Dusty, I'm sorry for that terrible fire in California. here in Nauvoo, Illinois, I live on the Mississippi, we hardly see the sun go down in pure bright color, but it gets caught up in the smoke all the way here. boooooooo. And Ken, I was looking for your video....but cute photo anyway and I like the deepness of that dulcimer. I got out on my porch this evening and had a granddaughter take a video of me on a dulcimer I made.......... on my phone. Still I don't know how to load it on this site. I'll go to FAQ and see if I can figure it out. aloha, irene
I was soooooo touched by this music and playing and just two days before passing.....precious for his family. I truely loved how he played a counter melody while singing that song so meaningfully. thank you so much for posting. aloha, irene
yeah, I also do so much agree with what Dusty and Ken said here. It all depends on what you're going to use this dulcimer for. Keeping things original is wonderful for the collectors out there, even if it be you. Start preparing a wall or other fun ways to display your accumulating dulcimers. Keeping the history of where you got them and what you did to restore them to their glory. aloha, irene
very cool Nathina. I know I love to see the "before and after" photos of all kinds of job but especially musical instruments. I got some PERFECTION PLANETARY PEGS for the next one I'm going to make. you might like to research that in this site and elsewhere. aloha, irene
ahhhhhhhh, well now, if it's a kit, anything can go....especially if it's an unexperienced wood worker. If your money is involved in buying a dulcimer from ebay, look for EVERYTHING you can see. and then trust your gut feeling. If it turns out to be something that doesn't play very good, then use it as a loaner to someone that wants to try it for a while. If it turns out that you can make it play IN TUNE, more better. It's all a learning game and exciting to say the least. aloha, irene
If one looks for flaws, one can find them always. I sapose whatever we focus on, we will find and see. I see a beautiful older instrument that I bet sounds really good and learning to play it with others and share your talents with others will be the joy of this instrument. Someday this stupid covid stuffs will be in the past and festivals and gatherings will be soooooooooo much more fun. This instrument will have joy to in being played by you and a good one to take to the up coming music gatherings. I sure do hope to meet you at one of these!! aloha, irene
Nathina, woah, you are so cool to figure how to download a program on phone and then up it on here. and your dulcimer is simply beautiful. Lovely mellow sound and it will be fun when you figure how to show us you playing your lovely. aloha, irene
Yeah on the question, Yeah on the answers and Yeah for us learning lots here. Happy winter playing to all of you. aloha, irene
Nathina, I'm loving your humor. tiniest turkey I've ever seen. and Lois. some meal for sure....errrrrrrrrrrrrr. I hope your husband gets better really soon!! And for me, I have a son that's moved to Nauvoo, Illinois with his wife and little girl age 4. then an older granddaughter has come to live with me until she gets her mission call. A wonderfully musical girl with many talents. I have sooooooooo much to be thankful for!!!
For dinner, my son Semisi used the same umu pit that my husband built and we put a 20# turkey and other foods in and 3 hours later took it out and the meat falls off the bones. A UMU PIT is dug to cook the food in. In Tonga and Polynesia, the men do much of the cooking. wood is laid down in the pit and then lava rocks. Fire is kept up to get those rocks HOT (like a bad word) and the the food is put in. In the mainland, I wrap the food in foil and in some foil pans. A cool surprise this year is that the close by green house had some banana trees and the supervisor gave Semisi banana leaves to cover the umu with. YEAH....then the big leaves over it, big gunny sacks and LOTS of dirt. No steam escaping. 3 hours later, food perfectly done and hot.
DELISHOUS. Daughter in law made lovely pies and everything was wonderful. aloha, irene
Well, I've filed frets, but you need to talk to the maker of this dulcimer. You might need to raise the bridge and I suggest that before you go a filing frets down. The nickel deal is just a suggestion. You might need raise the bridge. If this is a brand new dulcimer, let's see what others have to say here. aloha, irene
WOAH, did this post take me on an adventure. I have just bought a HIGH SPIRITS native American flute and love the lowness of the E. I sapose I should have gotten a "entry level" A. but loved the sound and look of this one I got in Hannibal, MO. (big Native American store, been there for 32 years) I've been thinking about this for about 20 years. well, not getting any younger....So when this post came up....I've done some exploring and it's just begun. Thanks for the info herein. Love the case you made as well. aloha, irene
oh oh....Maybe the bridge was supposed to be movable!!!!! I NEVER glue my bridges down. I adjust intonation of my dulcimers by making my bridges FLOATING. I know there's been discussions on this before. And I know that some ONLY glue them down or make a little trough to set the bridge in. However, when I've found these old home made dulcimers and fixed 'em up......OFTEN that little trough is way off and that dulcimer was never in tune. Before you glue it down, string up the dulcimer. The strings will hold that floating bridge down. Using a app on your phone or a tuner....... On the lowest string first pluck it to a D or C........ THEN pluck the 7th fret. If it is a perfect octave, your bridge is in the right place. I go even further to see if the 14th fret is 2 octaves perfect. Now if it's SHARP, lower your floating bridge by moving it away from the top of the dulcimer. If's it's FLAT, move that floating bridge up. ALL IN TINY MOVES. Now you can do that with each string after that. Sometimes you'll have the bridge too high....sometimes too low. And as we've talked on here before. Your string height up at the NUT of the dulcimer should be close to a DIME (money) distance. Down at the lower strumming part of the strings, it should be about a Nickle's worth of distance from fret wire to the string.
I read this over and over, I sure hope this is clear. Please anyone help correct me if this doen't make sense. I've loved it when I've made fixed bridges on repair dulcimers become floating bridges. I "think" I hear the dulcimer say, "whew, finally I'm in tune!!" The dulcimer surely has a sweet tone when they are IN TUNE!! aloha, irene
The first OLD PAL music festival I went to in Palestine, Texas 4 years ago one guy said to me..."the key of D is the same in Dad or Daa, so just play your noter style and we'll do our chording" What a wonderful time I had. That was my first dulcimer festival. I sure hope we can meet in 2021. aloha, irene
yep, many of us have more then one dulcimer. I make them and sell them sometimes. I also have fun finding them all sad and neglected in some antique store or elsewhere. I bring 'em home and fix 'em up and loan 'em out to folks that would like to learn. soooooooooooo fun. So yep. I have them tuned in Daa and Cgg and minor tunings. It's fun to have more then one. good excuse to look for another one for you. oooooooooooooops, aloha, irene
Did you try to play it? Just a beautiful dulcimer. Were you able to look inside the holes to see if someone wrote their name on it. What were they asking for it....that is if it was for sale? cool case how they adjusted it to fit somehow IN the case.
ahhhhhhhhhhhh, come on.............where did you got this instrument of beauty? Surely it has a story. I've come back from my "girls trip" to California and went into quite a few thrift shops.....Chico, CA has the best Farmer's Market I've been to. yep, I was looking for some dulcimer, but found a alto wood recorder for $2.00 and looked it up on line and it's worth $300.00 so I did a good score there. Treasures everywhere right? So glad to be back home and enjoying this larger computer instead of my phone. aloha, irene
Been finishing up dulcimer #48 and at the end of the day, remembered. Grabbed my dulcimer and headed into Nauvoo to play for my friend that is going into a big cancer operation and we're all praying that he makes it. I called and said he could stay inside and I play on his porch. So I started my phone to record it, and handed it to his wife that was outside to take a photo. hrumph. All I got on the phone was a 2 second record playing that I was on......repeat. ha ha ha. but my friend and his wife enjoyed me playing for them. A perfect day here as the sun went down on the porch. Maybe NEXT YEAR, I'll be able to get my whole act together and have someone else record it. or at least take one photo.....I'm grateful I got to do this for my friend. He requested old 60's songs and yeah, I know those too. aloha, irene
I've had my hammered dulcimer from the time I made my first harp in 1988. I tole painted beautiful birds on it. I play a few tunes on it and that's it. NOW is the time for me to learn more and be serious about it. Thanks for this part of the discussion. I've sent for Kendra Ward's book on playing the H.D. and that also should be a start. I'm thinking that maybe I'll sign up for lessons on line somewhere. aloha, irene
Hey Nate, there are LOTS of dulcimer players in Oregon. but then again, I don't know where you live. yep, a didly bow is a very cool thing for sure. I like your creativity and I hope you do keep experimenting. This song was played very nicely. thank you. aloha, irene
FABULOUS write up Strumelia. just loved all of it. thank you for putting a possitive spin on this while time in American History, for that matter, world history. Getting back to just the smallest of trivials....the vanilla bottle leaking and all gone when you went to get it. aloha, irene
I'm finishing up a 15 string plucked psaltery with decorations. I gave my #25 plucked psaltery to my two little grandsons that came here with their daddy and they left today. We made two canjo's for them. One is 3 and the other is 8. both could play both instruments. sooooooooooooo fun. aloha, irene
The bottom line, How does it sound? aloha, irene
ahhhhhhh, another good learning post thread. THANKS LOADS. and that screwdriver and wirecutters are both things that I've forgotten. ahhhhhhhh, storing in cases our dulcimers. Well, I can see that too....However, I've made all my cases and they are material with a thick lining on the inside. Mostly for traveling and getting them on airplanes and such. Never been turned down bringing my dulcimer....the scroll head pokes out. Easy to see that's it's an instrument. The last trip from Hawaii, it was stored in the same closet that the pilot puts his coat. nice. aloha, irene
I hope you have a case for your dulcimer as all that traveling in a car and then on the boat. If it's an ocean you'll be living on.....stuff gets rusty and Dulcimer might swell a little being the humidity might be higher on the boat. Where will you be going? Not Hawaii? (wishing) aloha, irene
I LOVED THIS DISCUSSION.....makes my mother's day happy. Skip, Now I have a new name for that whatjajigger at the top and that thingamajig....great name for the bridge. yep, I look at sites that have "walkabout dulicmers". very beautiful instruments, but they are not dulcimers. BUT then we could end up talking story ALL NIGHT about what is and what is not a dulcimer or dulcimore.......modern or traditional....Southern or Western....or just throw an apple at ya. Thanks for all your comments and I learn a whole lot from ya all. aloha, irene
Thanks Lois. Well, I can see folks playing here and on youtube....playing on the 12 fret or there abouts....with using their hand and not a pick, then the sweet tone is there for sure. I watch Kendra Ward play, always in the strum hollow....she uses a corset stay.....that would make a quick mess of fret boards up higher. I can also see that's it's a bit hard when it's on the lap.....so the flappty flap flap is copied. Tell me how you can play with a pick and NOT get that flappy flap flap? It's great percussion, but I don't want percussion on all my music with the dulcimore. As others have said many times here, there's no right or wrong way to play a dulcimore....there's just the joy of playing music alone or with others. So thank you other lutherers out there that made a strum hollow....I use 'em. aloha, irene
Grateful for the place to order the brass pins, thanks John. and a beautiful job of how to hide the ball end of a string. There are a lot of ways of tying those strings down.....but a stick out with all of 'em attached to one is not a good solution. aloha, irene
yep, Steven, I'm with you on that. However, during this Plandemic, I've loved the hymns most of all and Tomasi, my husband, playing the autoharp with me. There's one I've been working on...........COME HOME. although I'm already muchly at home............I love playing my newest dulcimer that is all cherry wood and I'd sent the peg head to a carving son that lives in Maui, he carved a beautiful scroll head for me and this is a bright sounding dulcimer. Still, I love my big Box dulcimer that is so very mellow.....aloha, irene
WOW, another interesting and thoughtful post. yep, I've tried several kinds of finish. On my harps and other instruments I've used OLD DAD'S wipe on finish and I loved that. Easy to put on, to touch up and all. then they went out of business. I then went to General Finishes (Oil based) Gel Topcoat Satin. I also noticed that too many coats seemed to lessen the sound. So 3 is about my limit and very thin coats. My brother introduced to some water based finish that dried in an hour........and I didn't like it all....but it was a trial on the one that I had with me there. I'm going to sand that one down and try something else. When in Hawaii in the month of Feb.....I made two dulcimers and got what Bob suggested Minwax wipe on Poly. I like that very much.....3 thin coats is all that is necessary. Who was it in Berea that said they often didn't have any varnish or paint on the early ones? and it's very very true, all of these instruments need time to develop their sound.....the little tiny air pockets need to be filled with sound and sing. There has been studies on instruments that ARE NOT PLAYED and they do lose their musicality. It's so fun to play an instrument, and have the other instruments I have around me do some sounding simpathetically. aloha, irene
Well, now, I must say something here. Being that I had NO ONE to teach me in Hawaii 35+ years ago, I learned from Jean Richie's books. Then when I met some wonderful folks in Southern Oregon 20 years ago.....they played all over like you talk about here. Weird for me....I didn't like the FLAP FLAPITY FLAP with the picks on the fret board. I really LIKE playing at the strum hole. HOWEVER, I've also watched so many videos on this site and those that play without picks and with chording..............finger dancing all the way.....I love the sound as well. It's that FLAP FLAPTIY FLAP....and maybe only for me.............distracts from the beautiful melodies and or chords folks use when they play. Yes, Ken, there is a sweet sound in the middle....but I often play way up high on the fret board....so for me............I stick to playing at the strum hollow. aloha, irene
Strumelia, I've found that living in my small town it is the same. I'm so grateful to live here. Someone heard we were out of firewood and brought over a big bunch and we're more then warmed by it. and Lois, what a crack up of a song. THANKS. aloha, irene