Forum Activity for @pondoro

Pondoro
@pondoro
08/17/20 08:06:11AM
23 posts

If I Had a Hammer (dulcimer) but no left-hand


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

The ugly reality for me is that I have to practice my weakest areas obsessively.  I’ve never tried the hammered dulcimer though.  

Pondoro
@pondoro
07/13/19 11:40:09PM
23 posts

Wooden Drums


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Steven - cajon means "box" so technically they are all cajons, but the three small horizontal ones are divided into two chambers and held between the legs or in the lap. So most people would call them bongos. The vertical ones are sat on while playing and would be what most people think of when they think "canon."  

Pondoro
@pondoro
07/12/19 11:09:29PM
23 posts

Wooden Drums


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

All of these except the top one on the pyramid were built by me. The one on top was built by my brother. The heads are three-layer birch ply, about 1/8" thick, maybe less. 


IMG_1891.JPG IMG_1891.JPG - 546KB

updated by @pondoro: 10/27/19 12:02:25PM
Pondoro
@pondoro
07/12/19 07:53:48AM
23 posts

It's a what?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

My wife has a 7-key bass model built by Cloud Nine. I was shocked at how easy it was to tune. I realize that bass notes are less critical (she has no "Bb" key and the standard advice is, "Just use B"!!). But I clipped my Snark electronic tuner on the edge of the sound hole, loosened a screw and slid the key. Took about 5 minutes and is good until the weather changes drastically (like winter > summer). If she was a professional she'd probably tune it before every performance but for playing around home 2-3 times a year is fine. In the picture our cat is going up close and personal to validate the tuning.


Cat Inspects Marimbula.jpg Cat Inspects Marimbula.jpg - 137KB

updated by @pondoro: 07/12/19 08:00:44AM
Pondoro
@pondoro
07/10/19 09:35:00PM
23 posts

It's a what?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

They are also called marimbulas, m'rimbulas, etc. No one seems to spell it the same way. The large ones that I have seen have had a lot less "keys" and were in the bass range. The smaller ones are usually called kalimbas and come in a variety of ranges. This is certainly an Olympic class version. And you are correct, I would hate to fall on it.

Pondoro
@pondoro
03/10/19 07:17:53AM
23 posts

Cigar Box Guitars


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

That looks and sounds great!

Pondoro
@pondoro
03/09/19 06:24:13PM
23 posts

Cigar Box Guitars


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

I've always seen CBG's and CBU's tuned in fourths. You can tune ukes and guitars in fifths but it is rare. Tenor guitars are probably tuned in fifths most of the time. 

Pondoro
@pondoro
01/05/19 09:03:44PM
23 posts

Newbie questions - noter size, string gauges, Berea tunings


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions


OK, got my dulcimer.  Rearranged the strings because the prior owner had gotten them switched up. Tuned it DAd. I'm leaning towards noter and a pick, versus chording, at first. 

I don't have a noter, but I can make one. Could one or more of you lay a favorite noter next to a 12 inch ruler and post a picture? I've got lots of wood.

I started noting with a 4 inch by 0.375 inch dowel and learned that it is really easy to make unwanted glissando effects. Is there a trick to avoid that?

Saw the info for the gathering in Berea, it seems DAd is not allowed? Should I learn DAa instead? How often do you all retune? Between songs in a set? 

 

Thanks!!


updated by @pondoro: 01/05/19 09:32:34PM
Pondoro
@pondoro
12/27/18 08:34:54AM
23 posts

Got my dulcimer!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Thanks Ken, these are useful!

Pondoro
@pondoro
12/24/18 09:58:46PM
23 posts

Got my dulcimer!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Or A3. The A is higher than the bass D string and lower than the double D3 strings.
Pondoro
@pondoro
12/24/18 09:52:43PM
23 posts

Got my dulcimer!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I cannot type not count! It is currently tuned D3, A4, D4,D4. Sorry for the confusion.
Pondoro
@pondoro
12/24/18 04:19:00PM
23 posts

Got my dulcimer!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Home. Strings are swapped. D3 is farthest from me. A3 in the middle. D3 D3 closest. Strings measure 0.020, 0.010, 0.010, 0.010”. None broke during the process
Pondoro
@pondoro
12/21/18 07:37:58AM
23 posts

Got my dulcimer!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Ok. I'm at my inlaws now but as soon as I get home I'll swap strings around and probably order a couple of new sets, these look a bit rusty. Then I'll have questions about chord melody.

Pondoro
@pondoro
12/20/18 08:53:33PM
23 posts

Got my dulcimer!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Thanks! I've already learned that Joy to the World needs the 6-1/2 fret. So to drop below the bottom note on my melody strings I can jump to the middle string? (Once I switch the strings around to be right). Nice to know. 

Pondoro
@pondoro
12/20/18 08:34:31PM
23 posts

Got my dulcimer!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I will switch the strings. The story I heard is that an old man bought it, never played it, and died. My wife and sister-in-law bought it for far less than the internet price. The first owner apparently got the strings switched.

So you fret the bass and A strings? I always thought only the two melody strings got fretted.

Your blog looks like a great resource! 

Pondoro
@pondoro
12/20/18 07:52:10PM
23 posts

Got my dulcimer!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Dulcimer is flat on my lap. Tuners to my left. The farthest string from me is not the bass string. It appears to be the same diameter as the two melody strings which are closest to me. The fat bass string is in between. I tuned it A3, D3 (lower than A3) and then, nearest me, d4. Fattest string is lowest     .

Now my tenor banjo is tuned (to my memory, it is not with me) D3 G3 B3 E4. The fourth string is nearest my nose and is D3. So my melody strings are not exactly the same as my tenor banjo D, but they are never the less open D. So all my Irish tunes in the key of D pretty much come naturally.

But my point was American folk. So please feel free to convince me that Some other tuning is better. 

Pondoro
@pondoro
12/20/18 05:48:13PM
23 posts

Got my dulcimer!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions


Whoa! I'm tuned DAd. Just realized that the melody strings are the same note (d) as the fourth string of my Chicago tuned tenor banjo. After playing Oh Susanna I entertained my wife with Raglan Road. Strings (far to near) are tuned A3, D3, D4, D4. Like I said the thick string is in the middle. 

Using my index finger and a pick but I plan to make a noter from a dowel. 


updated by @pondoro: 12/20/18 05:51:52PM
Pondoro
@pondoro
12/20/18 03:37:56PM
23 posts

Got my dulcimer!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions


By the way it has 19 frets, not counting the zero fret. 1-10 are labeled and there is an unlabeled 6-1/2 fret. After 10 you tell me. I'll figure them out with an electronic tuner. 

The middle string is wound, the two coursed strings and the far string seem to be the same size. When I get home I can measure the diameters. 


updated by @pondoro: 12/20/18 03:40:30PM
Pondoro
@pondoro
12/20/18 03:31:54PM
23 posts

Got my dulcimer!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions


A few months ago I joined this site. My wife and her sister had bought me a dulcimer for Christmas. I just got it. It is a Cedar Creek, plywood top, looks undamaged and very serviceable. I'll state here that I play ukulele, tenor banjo, bodhrán, and harmonica. So I understand instruments but have never tried a dulcimer. I've built a few ukuleles, two cigar box and two with actual bodies from bent wood.

I plan to play old time folk tunes and Christmas carols. I'm pretty excited to finally have a real Appalachian instrument, since I love old time American music. Playing it on the uke is fun but a bit out of the proper era. I'd like to try it on the dulcimer!

I'm open to tuning suggestions- it has four strings, two are in a single course, the double course is near me when the tuners are to the left. One thing I've learned from years of ukulele - telling a newcomer that, "You can tune it any way you want" is theoretically true but not much help. I'd like suggestions for a tuning that fits American folk tunes and has plentiful teaching resources. I'm ok if I get conflicting advice! Hand in hand I'd love suggestions for learning resources- free is awesome but I'm not too cheap to buy a book. 

Thanks!

Pondoro
@pondoro
11/02/18 09:11:56PM
23 posts

Using Metronome apps


Dulcimer Resources:TABS/Books/websites/DVDs


I use two. Both free. MetroTimer and Pro Metronome. Why two? Because I am lazy. The MetroTimer is always left in 4/4, Pro Metronome is always left in 6/8. I play a lot of Irish music but it takes several keystrokes to convert either metronome from 4/4 to 6/8. If you really want to use just one Pro Metronome seems easier to adjust and set up. I often convert it to 9/8 for slip jigs and hop jigs. I may simply think it is easier because I change it more. MetroTimer has been in 4/4 from day one.

 

MertoTimer has an easier timing function, if you want to set it for two minutes or three minutes or whatever. That might be more useful for a drummer. Pro Metronome does have a timer and it works, it simply takes a couple more keystrokes to invoke it.


updated by @pondoro: 11/02/18 09:15:38PM
Pondoro
@pondoro
10/31/18 08:05:59PM
23 posts

Cigar Box Guitars


Adventures with 'other' instruments...


So these are cigar box ukuleles. Both boxes are more than 40 years old. All wood was cut in America (I cannot vouch for the boxes). The larger one has homemade maple tuning pegs, the smaller one has professionally made tuners. 

 

The walnut on the smaller one was harvested by my father. The maple for the tuning pegs on the larger one came from the flooring of a 1900-ish house. Trying to reproduce what a kid in the 1920's might have made, if he had time, tools and skill but no money. 


Two CBUs.JPG Two CBUs.JPG - 239KB

updated by @pondoro: 10/31/18 08:14:12PM
Pondoro
@pondoro
10/29/18 05:57:44PM
23 posts

Introduce Yourself!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Hi, I've played the harmonica for 45 years or so, the ukulele for twelve, and the bodhrán for three. I've actually taken lessons for three years on the bodhrán. Anyway I want to play an old time American instrument and my wife is funding a mountain dulcimer for Christmas. So I'll soon be trying my hand on that. I like pretty much all music, but I'm looking forward to old time folk tunes and Christmas songs on my dulcimer.