Drone playing in DAD?
Traditional style playing- drone and/or noter discussions
Don, there are a lot of misconceptions out there for one reason or another. DAA and DAD (or any other tunings) are tunings rather than styles of play. There are people who chord in DAA and people who play with a noter in DAD...it's all about what YOU want to do. I put out a book a couple of years ago (15 Originals) which consists of melody/drone songs in several tunings in hopes of "demystifying" the process. I still hear of instances where people just don't realize that whether you are playing in DAA or DAD you are still playing in the key of D. The two tunings can be played side by side (with different TAB numbers) and coexist beautifully (as well as many other tunings in the hands of knowledgeable players). It's really about the journey of curiosity and how much desire there is to expand horizons. The bottom line is...if you aren't having fun, you aren't doing it right.
And I learned that song from your videos, John! Thanks so much! It is indeed a fun one to play; the rhythmic possibilities alone are remarkable.
Thank YOU! There's always a trail behind the path a song takes to people. My introduction from Bing went something like "You should learn this tune...we're playing it on the set Monday." This was on the Friday night before lol.
Karen and I both keep coming back to John Stinson's #2 because there are so many cool things to do with the chords. We usually keep the same song structure each time, but we make subtle voicing and chord changes pretty much every single time that we play it. Bing Futch taught me that tune a few years ago in Palestine, TX. I'm really glad that he did.
A few years ago, Karen and I found ourselves having to have frets dressed and/or replaced every few months. We use low action and we don't have a particularly heavy touch, but we were absolutely wearing frets out. We spoke with Richard Ash at Folkcraft and decided to try an experiment. Karen swapped to EVO frets, and I switched to stainless steel frets on our main performance instruments. Any change in tone is negligible, but neither one of us has had to address fret wear since. We admittedly play the instruments more than the average mountain dulcimer hobbyist, but changing fret material made a huge difference for us. My understanding is that the stainless is a pain for luthiers to work with (more time, tough on tools, etc.), but it holds like a champ. The EVO is apparently easier to work with for the luthiers, and it also lasts well. Both materials have a higher cost, but when you compare the cost to frequent maintenance costs it actually saves money in the long run. Just something to ponder.
John, I'm not considering the contra, just the condor bass Em. Just can't decide between the standard bore and the 1" bore. But, it sounds like the standard bore would be just fine for me. Do you guys have a standard bore condor (not contra) bass?
We have "regular" Condor basses in various keys (even the smaller bore size). Once you get used to the extra stretch beyond a smaller flute stretch it's really no big deal. Have fun and enjoy the process!
Thanks Jill! We tend to have fun!
The only thing that I would caution about would be a Condor Contra Bass flute. My wife (Karen) has been a professional flute player and teacher since the 1980s. The holes are so large that her fingers go straight into them without stopping to seal the holes. The spread between the holes can also be a challenge for people with smaller hands. I haven't run into many folks who have this problem with the regular Condor Bass series, but I know that some like the smaller bore better for comfort reasons. Here's a video that starts with me using the contra bass. You'll probably be able to tell that I'm working pretty hard to manage the beast, but they have such a wonderful low voice.
Here's some that we do right now!
Lots of great info coming up here- thanks everyone!
I did order a couple of pennywhistles, since I'm learning the tabor pipe which seems to have a somewhat similar setup (in some ways). Maybe taking on more than I can manage, but at least I won't go broke doing it.
I'm sorry that I'm just now seeing this. Maria did a great job of answering the questions (thanks Maria). As far as putting the book together, each tune is an original tune written specifically for this project (DulciFlute). The book contains a conversion chart that makes flutes of various keys and other accompaniment instruments a possibility, but we had to pick one for the actual sheet music so we picked a B minor flute with mountain dulcimer accompaniment since these are two instruments that we work with and teach a lot. There is a fingering under every flute note, and a dulcimer chord chart explaining the fingerings of each chord used. We really enjoyed putting it together, and the feedback has been very positive. Thank you for your interest, Susie.
John, do you mean in high D? (not low D)
John, can you outline the differences between Native American flutes and pennywhistles, assuming two that are in the same or similar key/size ?
Question: are all NAFs in minor keys? If so, is that because Native American music tends to be in minor keys?
Nowadays they are mostly in pentatonic minor. The b minor is particularly nice when playing with dulcimers playing in D major (b is the relative minor of D).
Nothing beats practice and patience. Nothing.
Lisa, I'll put up. My reach measured like you did is 8 1/2 inches. Unfortunately, I can't really rely on my pinky in playing due to nerve damage. Just for fun, I checked the measurement from the tip of my ring finger to my thumb and found it to be the same. In other words, my hands are pretty small for someone my actual size.
To me, there are a ton of valid points made by Rob. I think that it is also important to consider what you plan to do with your dulcimer in terms of playing style. Most makes of mountain dulcimers will have a little more volume (and deeper tone) with a longer VSL due to more string to vibrate. If I were to have a dulcimer dedicated solely to noter playing I would want a 29-30 inch VSL for that reason. Having owned and played dulcimers ranging from 22-30 inches in VSL, I made some discoveries that may or may not be unique to me. For daily chord/melody playing a 27 inch VSL seems to fit me better than anything else. It's comfortable and I don't have to think about it. I played (quite vigorously) 28+ and 29 inch VSL dulcimers for three years or so before giving the 27 inch a try and have never looked back. The first time I tried it I knew it was right for me. I tried a 26 inch VSL instrument for a few weeks prior to that and felt it was a tad cramped for me. With that said, I find that an even smaller VSL is more comfortable with a chromatic dulcimer due to the lack of forgiveness for finger placement as opposed to a "standard" fret board. If you prefer a smaller VSL, there are things that can be done to increase the resonance of the instrument like adding a Galax back or possum board. I think Rob's suggestions work well in TWO ways rather than one: Try things outside your comfort zone, but also try things to discover what your true comfort zone actually is.
Rob, I may be WAY off base here but to me (and I'm sure to many others) it's who you are and what you do that sets you uniquely apart. If you need a particular genre as a description of your music you could just say "Roots/Americana" or something, but the respect that you gained from me years ago was as Rob, not any kind of gimmick or phylum. With that said, if you need a logo I can hook you up!
I first met John Wood online here at FOTMD and later at the Homer Ledford festival in Kentucky in 2014. We enjoyed a lengthy visit concerning FOTMD, NFL football, and whatever else we strayed off into. He was a tremendously wonderful man, and I am greatly saddened to hear of his passing.
Karen and I sincerely hope to see some FOTMD friends on the road this summer! We'll be in Benton, Arkansas June 2-4 for Arkladulcifest, Kentucky Music Week (Bardstown) the last week of June, Folkcraft Instruments in Woodburn, Indiana July 9 for the Second Saturday Workshop and concert, Evart, Michigan for the ODPC Funfest July 14-17, the Oaks of Louisiana in Shreveport July 29, the Homer Ledford Festival in Winchester, Kentucky over Labor Day weekend, back to Folkcraft in Indiana for the Indiana Dulcimer Festival September 17-18, and a few other festive places along the way. If you are in (or plan to be in) ANY of these areas at those times...let's hook up! We are performing and teaching at each of those events and we hope to see YOU there!
Hello David, here's one that I am "pretty familiar" with: http://www.folkcraft.com/1310182.html
Wow...this thread was originally started right after Karen and I discovered the mountain dulcimer. Like so many, we first saw it at Silver Dollar City. It's nice to read this thread and remember some of the posters who have come and gone over the years, and to take a moment to really miss a couple of folks who are no longer with us. We made a little mini-documentary about our dulcimer discovery that pretty much tells it all.
Aww...thanks Terry! That's a very sweet thing to say. It just kinda revolves around perceived frustration. When we (in general) start asking ourselves about what we're getting out of this little musical endeavor, we need to also inquire as to what we are putting into it. Fulfillment and effort seem to go hand in hand.
I guess that I have a rather nerdy thought process, but I usually think more along the lines of "what does my music aspire for me to do?" I have always had the feeling that as long as I respect the musical journey, that same journey will respect me. Respect for the journey includes things such as practice and participation for sure, but also the mindset that music is a powerful entity. It can evoke inner feelings and emotions at will. Music also brings people together to share a common experience (both musically and socially). If I look at my relationship with music over the years (both childhood and adulthood), it is best described as a two-way street...as long as I love and respect my musical pursuits (and share that love and respect with others), music will always fulfill my human spirit when I need it the most. That is why I strive to KEEP IT FUN and KEEP IT GOING!
Rest in peace, John. You will truly be missed.
Nikolas, from what I have read of your sound desires it strikes me that the combination of a walnut body and a butternut (walnut family...slightly less density) might be what you seek, but actual sound and individual perception of sound can vary somewhat (the same is true with pitch...some people can be out of tune and not even realize it due to their own perception of sound). Wood choices are extremely important in the sound of a well designed instrument. A dulcimer made of all woods with tremendous density could have the same basic sound quality as a brick with strings (trust me, I've heard it). The hickory could also be a nice choice. All hickory is usually a more subdued and mellow sound, while a hickory top with a walnut body keeps the mellow quality with a bit more volume. There is nothing like trying them yourself, but if that isn't an option, these would be my recommendations based upon what you have written. I hope that this is helpful to you in your quest for the right dulcimer for YOU.