Forum Activity for @ivan-bradley

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
10/05/16 10:06:37PM
31 posts

How to create your own mtn dulcimer tab?!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions


Paula, I'll echo the others here who've recommended TablEdit.  It's definitely a program that takes some time to learn, but once learned, it probably prints the best looking tablature of any of the programs out there.  I've found from using it a while that it's wise to set up your favorite formats as templates and use them over and over again.  Saves lots of setup time.  Another thing I usually do is enter a tune in another notation software package capable of exporting as midi (I use NoteWorthy Composer but there are plenty of others available), then I import the midi file into TablEdit.

 

All that said, you should probably consider the number of tunes for which you want tablature.  If it's ten or so you might want to rethink it.  Fifty or more, it's probably worth the time and effort.  Of course, you might start with a few, find you like the program, and decide to do more.

 

Take Dusty's advice and download the trial version.  Can't hurt, might help.

 

(BTW, Dusty, slick new avatar!)


updated by @ivan-bradley: 10/05/16 10:08:00PM
Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
03/03/15 03:38:25PM
31 posts

dulcimer woods


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I believe most builders would agree with Ken that wood type is a much more minor factor in determining the tone of a dulcimer than it is to the guitar family. That said, I would suspect that, other factors being equal, the dulcimer with the redwood top would have a slightly more mellow tone than that with the sycamore.

Hearing a dulcimer before purchase is certainly the better way to choose but, if that's not possible, Ken's advice is pretty solid.

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
09/09/14 12:09:00AM
31 posts



I'm pretty much a novice at noter playing, but I like DAA or CGG (both 1-5-5 tunings). These tunings put the tonic note of the Ionian (major) scale at the third fret, allowing three notes on the melody string below the first octave. Sometimes those extra low notes are needed in a tune.

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
09/09/14 12:22:55PM
31 posts



I just got notice my tab submission at Everything Dulcimer has been accepted. You'll find it under "M" as "My Clinch Mountain Home."

Hope this version works for you, Mary.

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
09/01/14 06:47:37AM
31 posts



I'm assuming you want it for noter/drone playing, anyway I tabbed just the melody line. It's in an administrator's hands now at Everything Dulcimer. Don't know when or if it will be posted.

Ivan

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
08/11/14 03:06:20PM
31 posts

USPS is NOT my friend


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Here in Lansing, MI, I usually can track a USPS shipment to the time it was accepted for transit and, if it happens to come from east or south of us, once in the Allen Park, MI sorting center and once more when it's out for delivery. But that, of course, depends on the sender adding tracking to the postage. I've had Parcel Post shipments, even with a tracking number, take long vacations to all sorts of places. The upside of this is I've never actually not had a dulcimer delivered and never received one in damaged condition from USPS. So, frustrating as it is, hold out hopes, Kristi, and I'm winging what positive energy I can your way as well.

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
08/11/14 03:19:54PM
31 posts

Dulcimers and their sound - makers


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Hi, Paula, you might consider the Blue Lion Acoustic Jam model as well. I'll bring mine to TVDS this Saturday so you can try it out. It's not for sale, but it could give you another idea in your search. Blue Lion usually makes a few of them in each production run, so, if they haven't been ordered one might be available there soon. I'll bring my Ron Gibson baritone as well. With its deep body and boat shape it projects pretty well and could be another consideration with a regular set of strings.

See you Saturday.

Ivan

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
07/22/14 01:21:40AM
31 posts

Enter FOTMD's 5th Birthday Pickled Dulcimer CONTEST!


OFF TOPIC discussions

357, with hopes for many more birthday celebrations to come.

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
06/26/14 03:10:42PM
31 posts



Actually, Gene Griner started a thread last year about a Mize he has which has a swan peghead.

Gene's dulcimer thread

John C. Knopf said:

Just thought I'd comment that I've never seen a Mize dulcimer with a carved figure on the peghead.

You may have a rarity there. Or, somebody glued a Mize fingerboard to another dulcimer...

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
06/25/14 12:01:28AM
31 posts



Salty, if you're new to dulcimers you may not know you probably have quite a treasure there. Robert Mize made about 3800 dulcimers, starting in 1967 and ending with his death in 2003. You might want to do a search on his name to find out more about him, as he's considered one of the seminal builders in the mountain dulcimer revival.

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
09/26/13 08:00:25PM
31 posts

Dulcimer playing stand


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Gail, no, the Rae Lynn stand isn't adjustable and that's probably my only beef with it. A few years ago my wife insisted on "gussying up" my office/music room. She wanted a "dressier" pair of chairs and I ended up with a couple oversized and overstuffed parson's chairs with the seat about 17-1/2 inches off the floor. This stand works well for me at that sitting height, but I've also used it with regular kitchen/dining type chairs and it was comfortable. I've often though that I'd just trim a bit off the legs if I found a chair that I wanted to use exclusively for playing my dulcimer.

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
09/26/13 05:19:54PM
31 posts

Dulcimer playing stand


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Then, if you want to go fancy, there's this one: Rae Lynn Woods

I have one of these and like it pretty well. I added more felt than what they included, but it might just be over-cautiousness on my part.

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
08/20/13 10:00:03PM
31 posts



Becca, should you decide to get a bowed psaltery, I have a copy of Kendra Ward's instruction book I'll send you for free. It's designed for people who have little or no music knowledge, i.e., it gives the basics about the notes on the staff, time values, etc. Since I had played a number of instruments before, most of it was repetitious for me. Actually, the bowed psaltery isn't all that hard to learn without a teacher but, if you can get to a festival or two with BP classes, that's a plus. I don't know if you noticed on Rick's site, but he'll be holding the E. Tennessee Bowed Psaltery Gathering Nov. 1-3. If you could get there for some or all of it I'm sure you'd enjoy it.

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
08/20/13 12:50:12PM
31 posts



Actually, Ken, the 20 note psaltery is 2-1/2 octaves, but it's most likely diatonic in the key of C. There seem to be relatively more left handed bowed psaltery players than, say, left handed violinists or cellists.

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
08/19/13 07:28:45PM
31 posts



If the 20 note psaltery is tuned in the key of C, it probably won't be useful for playing with dulcimers, since it'll be missing the C# and F# from the key of D, which is the key most dulcimer groups use. Also, if you're going to bow left handed, you'll probably want a left handed psaltery, otherwise you'll end up expending a lot of energy bowing the "natural" notes (corresponding to the white notes on the piano), which are on the right side of a right handed psaltery. If the small one is tuned in C you "might" be able to tune the c's and f f's up to their respective sharps - depends on how near to their breaking point the strings are already tuned.

The two larger psalteries are probably chromatic with the naturals down the right side and the sharps/flats on the left. Even with the chromatic psalteries, playing with dulcimers can be a chore, since you'll be doing a lot of cross bowing to hit the C#'s and F#'s.

I believe more left handed dulcimer players play "right handed" dulcimers than have left handed instruments built for them. Since the dulcimer really uses both hands pretty equally I'm not sure hand dominance is a major issue. Unless you're dead set on having a psaltery, I'd advise getting a dulcimer and taking some lessons and, perhaps, having a left handed psaltery made for you. Most builders will make you one at no upcharge from the corresponding right handed model.

Rick Long, of Clinton, TN, makes a D Psaltery and a D Tenor Psaltery, both of which have the D scale notes down one side. I'm sure the other psaltery makers listed at Psaltery Strings could make you an excellent instrument as well. I mention Rick mainly because he's probably the closest builder near you. He welcomes visitors to his workshop and he's a wealth of knowledge on both building and playing bowed psalteries.

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
08/17/13 03:57:55PM
31 posts

levers on a dulcimer?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Bobby, in answer to your question to Dave about the Universal lever being a tension lever: No, it, too, changes the VSL. The only reason for the upward tension on the string is to provide a break point in string vibration and allow the string to sound clearly. If you look at the drawing of the engaged lever on the pdf you referenced (at the bottom right of page 2), you'll see that the string lies at the bottom of the v-groove, just as it would on an actual bridge. It's this contact plus the slight upward tension on the string that alters the VSL of the string. BTW, the Musicmaker bridge/guide pins just have grooves to seat the string, not holes.

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
08/16/13 10:08:12PM
31 posts

levers on a dulcimer?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

So far, I've found 13 brands of sharping levers (including all of the "standards"), none of which are designed to be mounted between the tuning pin and bridge pin. In each case, the purpose of the lever is to act as a new "bridge pin," thus shortening the length of the string. One set of installation instructions was quite specific that the lever only produce enough tension to make the resulting note sound clearly, so clearly (pun intended) levers aren't intended to work by increasing string tension.

If a sharping lever were mounted at the nut end, the effect would be as intended on the open string, but as soon as the string was fretted, the lever effect would be exactly that of a capo. If the lever is mounted at the bridge/saddle end, ahead of the bridge, again the open string would be raised a semitone. But, from the first fret onward, fret placement is based on a mathematical fraction of the distance from the nut to the (dulcimer's) bridge. By effectively creating a new "bridge" somewhat forward of the actual one, the action of the lever would be to make the note sounded at each fret successively sharper than a semitone from the original pitch.

If Dusty's right and there's a sharping lever out there that works between the bridge and the tail by increasing the string tension, that would be great. But I somehow doubt that such a feature would work without a lot of tinkering to make sure it always created the exact difference in tension needed for any gauge string that might be mounted.

Probably a violin type fine tuner could be invented that changed the string's tuning much more rapidly than do the present types, but then it would no longer be a "fine" tuner would it?

BTW, the hipshot products look good but at about $100 per, I'll pass.

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
08/16/13 05:48:24PM
31 posts

levers on a dulcimer?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Dusty, I just took a measurement on the dulcimer I have in the office with me. If I remember correctly it has a 25-1/2" VSL. The distance from the zero fret to the first is 2.8". So, to raise the open string a semitone would require a lever that would shorten the string by roughly 1.4"+. If you think of effectively moving your bridge/saddle 1.4", I believe it would make a significant difference in fret placement. It's far more than compensation for string gauges, the VSL has been changed from 25.5" to about 24.1".

BTW, I checked online and the one source I could find stated that harp levers work by changing the VSL of the string. Obviously some tension must be applied, in order for the lever to be effective, but it's essentially the same as when you fret a string, you have to apply tension to press the string down to the fret, but it's the change in the VSL that you're actually trying to achieve.

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
08/16/13 05:21:10PM
31 posts

levers on a dulcimer?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

On a fretboard, the distance between frets is mathematically determined from the VSL. If the VSL is changed (shortened, in the case of a sharping lever) then the open string might be changed an exact semitone, but the successive frets, having been calculated on a longer VSL, will be more and more out of tune as one travels up the fretboard.

Sharping levers work on the VSL of the harp string, not (particularly) on the tension as fine tuners do. Sharping levers are placed on the "working" part of the string, fine tuners behind the bridge/saddle.

Bobby's right that such an arrangement could be used on the drone strings of one of his dulcimers, and that could possibly be useful.

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
08/16/13 02:20:42PM
31 posts

levers on a dulcimer?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Dusty, a harp lever works by shortening the VSL of an individual string, making it a semitone sharp. With a fretted instrument, shortening the VSL to make the string any significant amount sharp would play havoc with the fret spacing - they'd all be out of kilter except for the open string.

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
08/14/12 11:56:18PM
31 posts

Recorder


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Hi, Gayle, I've played recorders for about 50 years now and, yes, they do blend well with dulcimers. Generally speaking, recorders come in "C" and "F" variations, alternating between the sizes (Soprano-C,Alto-F,Tenor-C, etc.). This is what causes the difference in fingering. Good luck with your learning!

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
08/15/12 03:06:15PM
31 posts

Low D Whistle


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Geesh, Bill, looks like you're a whistle junkie as much as I am a dulcimer junkie. I have to admit, since I'm very much a learner on dulcimer, I haven't been paying as much attention to my whistles as I ought. I'm sure my Dixon will shriek in protest the next time I pick it up. Ahhh, so many instruments, so little time (and I'm retired, so I don't know where the working folks find time to play).

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
08/15/12 12:10:02AM
31 posts

Low D Whistle


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Bill, I have a Tony Dixon low D. My problem with switching from the high whistle to the low one was definitely too much breath rather than not enough. It's very easy to overblow the low whistle and get into the higher octave (if you're lucky) or get a horrible screech or squawk.

Enjoy your low D. I love the sound of mine.

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
06/14/12 01:29:03AM
31 posts

Electronic tuners


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Actually, Skip, the Seiko tuners give the octave number before the note and both the SAT 501 and SAT 800 are definitely chromatic tuners. I'm aware that the 'dedicated' tuners for guitar, bass, etc., give the string number before the note but note first then octave number is definitely not universal on chromatics.

Skip said:

ff;

did the readout have the number before or after the note? If the number was before it is a dedicated tuner, like a guitar orukulele tuner. The number then represents a string.

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
06/05/12 01:39:53PM
31 posts

Electronic tuners


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

In reply to folkfan, I have a Korg CA-1 and, no, it doesn't show the octave reference for the note.

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
10/16/12 01:32:19PM
31 posts



I'd suggest you go to Psaltery Strings and check out some of the videos and/or audios linked there. As for Rick Long's Psalteries, his page Ringing Strings has all sorts of information as well as lots of videos of his instruments alone and in groups with other instruments. He also puts up a short sound file for each instrument he has listed for sale. I realize recordings don't always give an accurate feel for the true sound of an instrument but that's about the best I can suggest right now.

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
10/09/12 12:30:58PM
31 posts



I have both the tenor and tenor D psalteries from Rick Long. Although I must admit to playing the chromatic tenor more often, the D tenor is very useful for playing with dulcimer, Actually, it's not all that hard to tune the two C#'s down to C so you can play in the key of G as well. Also, remember even on the diatonic D tenor you can play in all the modes associated with the major keys of D and G with only the retuning of the two C strings as appropriate.

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
03/21/12 06:07:01PM
31 posts

Tuner Displaying Octave?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I need to add a disclaimer: I went back an looked at the TU-80C listing on Amazon and although the picture clearly shows a "C4" on the screen, the model number shown on the pictured tuner is TU-80. So I can't be sure that the TU-80C is the same model or has the same features or not. Given the inaccuracy of listings I've seen on Amazon, I wouldn't be too sure that the listed tuner has all the same functions. OTOH, I can't find any reference at the Boss site for the TU-80C, so I don't know what the deal is.

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
03/21/12 12:33:30PM
31 posts

Tuner Displaying Octave?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

The Boss TU-80, $29.99 at Elderly, shows the octave. Its range is E0 to C8. The TU-80C, available at Amazon for $19.41 also shows the octave, but I couldn't find its range anywhere, although it's described as having an "ultra wide" tuning range.

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
03/24/12 04:34:55PM
31 posts

Dorian Mode


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

OK, Ken, so you're saying that by tuning the melody string one note lower you're tuning into Dorian mode, which I understand. But playing a tune in an Ionian mode against the drones doesn't make it a Dorian sound. As you said in your first post, the Dorian scale begins on the 4th fret. Thus if a tune is to truly sound Dorian with the melody string tuned down it must (usually, there are exceptions to every rule) resolve to the 4th fret, not the third. Our western ears are accustomed to music using certain chord progressions and resolutions and, like folkfan, I find the sounds as you've given the melody weird. But if I raise everything one fret (melody string still tuned down), then it sounds Dorian.

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
03/23/12 08:52:10PM
31 posts

Dorian Mode


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Ken, the melody line you give above is for a tune in the Ionian mode. No matter what you tune the melody string to, any scale that begins on the third fret without using the 6+ fret is Ionian. Tuning the drone strings to something else may make for some strange harmonies and may even make the song sound Dorian, but the truth is that the melody you give denotes an Ionian tune.