Intermittently unable to access site
Site QUESTIONS ? How do I...?
Okay Strumelia, I'll email later. Thanks!
I just had a few days where I haven't been able to access the site - I just get a message saying 'You do not have permission to access this server'. This has happened many times now, usually for a day or so, sometimes for more like a week. I don't know if it's to do with me being in the UK or what, but I don't think the problem is in my end - it always resolves itself without me doing anything. Just wondering if anyone else has this issue or if anything can be done about it.
I've had my new Ed Thomas replica by John Knopf for just over a week now and have just uploaded a couple of quick recordings, so I thought I'd share some thoughts on the instrument.
In short, I couldn't be happier with it. Neither John's photos nor mine do justice to its appearance - they make it look lighter in colour and somehow 'newer' or glossier than the lovely, natural, dark walnut piece it is. Robin Clark's testimonial about the painted poplar version, shared on John's website, describes it as having 'the Holy Grail of shimmering dulcimer voices', and that perfectly expresses how I feel about my walnut version. The melody string just sings with that 'high silvery' tone that makes it such a pleasure to slip and slide a noter around the fretboard.
I was a little worried that I might find the drones a little brash or overpowering on such a truly old-style dulcimer, since their 'bright' tone is often contrasted with the more 'mellow' tone of modern instruments (which is what I've played in the past) - but the sound is quite mellow enough for me. (I still find that I'm second-guessing myself on how to much to consciously emphasize or de-emphasize the drone strings and the rhythm, but that's nothing to do with this instrument in particular!)
Since I'm in the UK, I had to pay more than $200 in shipping and taxes to get this instrument in my hands, but I'm glad I bit the bullet and didn't just settle for anything less that the truly authentic, traditional instrument I really wanted. Not only is John's craftsmanship excellent, but the simplicity and elegance of Ed Thomas's original design is something you can only really appreciate when you hold one of these incredibly light, small, slender instruments in your hands. I would recommend them unreservedly to any player with any level of interest in the traditional 'dulcimore', especially if those players are in the US and can get hold of them at the more than reasonable price John charges sans import costs!
Finally, I must mention what a pleasure John was to work with, being more than happy to accommodate my request not just for a non-standard finish (oil rather than shellac), but also my perhaps more 'delicate' request for an 'anonymous' instrument without the name and Bible verse he normally includes on the label.
I see one comment on a store's website that reads, "Cant say if there is any difference between the blue, red and yellow one - all feel same to me." I have used one (beige?!), and they're fine. But it seems to me that the folks I've seen using them always decide they like one corner or another best, and just use that one. So why not just use a cheaper pick that is the thickness and stiffness you like? (I buy Dunlop .88mm picks by the dozen, but other folks like thinner or thicker. Personal preference. But I sure couldn't afford a dozen Herdim Triangle picks!)
Can anyone explain the Herdim three-strength triangular picks to me please? They do a thin, medium and thick (yellow, blue and red respectively, I think), but each of them has three points with three different 'strengths'... How does that work? Does the yellow go from very thin to thin to almost medium, etc., or do they overlap in thicknesses, or are the different 'strengths' to do with something other than thickness, or what? I'm thinking of trying them but they're expensive and I don't want to buy the wrong one(s).
I have a K Messenger Thomas reproduction. He used an early 1930's Thomas from which he took his pattern. It looks and sounds might good. It is really sweet in Ebb. I have seen and heard J Knopf's Thomas reproductions. They as well look great and sound great. As John said they are a bit different but both accurate to the Thomas dulcimores. You won't go wrong with either.Why not get one of each? I can post a picture of the Messenger Thomas if you like.
Hi, Magictime! This is John Knopf. You asked if the bouts on my Thomas dulcimores are the same width, and they are NOT. My cheap camera distorts images, sometimes badly. I've noticed that myself. The upper bouts are narrower by nearly an inch. I think Kevin used a different Thomas dulcimore for measurements in making his reproduction. As you may know, Uncle Ed didn't make any two of his dulcimores alike, but there are many similarities. So - - Kevin makes a great replica of Thomas dulcimore "A", and I make great replicas of Thomas dulcimore "B". The sound is very similar. I hope this clears things up for you.
I'm weighing my options for ordering a meantone fretted Thomas replica. I'm in the UK and as far as I can ascertain, nobody over here is building such things for sale, whereas at least two American luthiers with excellent reputations specialise in this type of historic replica - John Knopf and Kevin Messenger. Is there anything members would say in terms of comparing and contrasting the two? For instance, looking at pictures I have the impression that the upper and lower bouts are almost the same size on John's, whereas the lower bout is noticeably wider on Kevin's - is this correct? Are they based on earlier and later Thomas patterns perhaps? Any effect on sound? Anything else people would say? Any builders I'm overlooking? (I'm aware of Dan Cox and Bobby Ratliff, but as of right now I'm leaning towards a reproduction rather than simply a traditional instrument.)
I'm not a new member, but it's been several years since I visited so I thought I'd re-introduce myself.
I originally stopped visiting FotMD because I started learning clawhammer banjo and my dulcimer playing fell by the wayside. Then two years ago I had a brain haemorrhage from which I recovered very well, very fast - but which did leave me permanently a bit uncoordinated in my right hand. I found I had trouble getting a strum going on guitar, and even more trouble with the 'bum-diddy' banjo strum. So my instruments were left gathering dust.
Maybe I should have practised harder as part of my recovery, but I was so glad just to be alive and in good health, not being able to play an instrument just seemed 'no big deal'. I didn't feel I had the motivation to try to re-learn skills I might never get back. Plus I had other, family stuff to focus on. But just recently I've felt I wanted to get back to playing music again. So a couple of days ago I picked up my dulcimer and noter and started picking out some of the tunes I used to play and trying to get a decent strum going. I'm very happy to report that so far it's coming back to me pretty well.