Forum Activity for @greg-gunner

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
03/15/19 10:42:47PM
62 posts

New player / New purchase


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Welcome to the FOTMD community.  As you have already discovered, you will receive a warm welcome and friendly advice on this forum.  This community will continue to welcome your questions and suggestions, and we will do our best to make you keep coming back for more.

While I have no personal experience with your dulcimer maker, his dulcimers sure look sweet.  I'm sure your new dulcimer will serve you well and provide you with many hours of joy.  

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
03/15/19 04:28:06PM
62 posts

Playing dulcimers with different VSL


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

The answer is dependent upon the size of your fingers and hands.  In general, larger hands are more comfortable with a longer VSL and smaller hands are more comfortable with a  shorter VSL.  However, the space between strings can also be a factor.  If your fingers are long or fat/stubby, a longer VSL and a wider fingerboard and string spacing is more comfortable.  If your fingers are short or thin, the width of the fingerboard is less of a factor but you might find a shorter VSL more comfortable.

For the most part, assuming your hands and fingers are a good fit, switching back and forth with dulcimers having a difference in VSL does not usually cause a problem.  The left hand can usually adjust to the minor differences fairly easily.

 

 

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
03/02/19 07:16:02PM
62 posts

Playing again after losing all my dulcimers


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I'm glad to hear your dulcimers have been replaced.  That Koa MMD certainly cries out to be picked up and played.  Knowing the well-earned reputation of David McKinney's work, I'm sure it sounds as good as it looks.  So glad to have you back and participating on FOTMD's discussion forum.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
02/19/19 01:42:15PM
62 posts

Five strings?


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Obviously, all dulcimers do not need to have five strings.  Five strings are not unusual, but dulcimers typically had three strings in the latter half of the 19th century as evidenced by the surviving dulcimers of James Edward "Uncle Ed" Thomas, Charles Napoleon Prichard, and others.  At some point, a four string (double melody) set-up became the standard.  Individual dulcimer makers have experimented with the design of the dulcimer and other variations of the dulcimer (Scheitholt, Epinette des Vosges, Langspil, Langeleik, Hummel, Hungarian Citera, Pennsylvania Dutch Zitters, etc.) exist with more or less than today's standard of three or four strings.  The luthier that stated all dulcimers must have five strings is only stating his personal preferences.  Plenty of evidence exists to prove that dulcimers can and do come with a varying number of strings.  The dulcimer is a folk instrument.  The number of strings is entirely up to each individual to decide for himself or herself.

There are some dulcimer makers whose standard models feature five strings.  I can think of a few.  But there is no standard in which the number of strings defines what is and what is not a dulcimer.  If someone wants a five string dulcimer, by all means purchase one.

By the way I also have a Blue Lion AJ baritone dulcimer.  I ordered it with just three tuners and three strings and Bob and Juanita Baker were very accommodating.  Their dulcimers are in high demand these days, and anyone ordering a Blue Lion can expect a considerable wait.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
02/15/19 06:01:39PM
62 posts

Your Three Favorite Songs


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I'll stick to my three favorite old ballads, all of which sound great either fingerdance-drone or noter-drone style:

Lord Lovel (Frank Proffitt Version)

Barbara Allen (Sheila Kay Adams Version)

Pretty Saro (Gillian Welch Version)

 

Or maybe my three favorite hymns:

Amazing Grace

Farther Along

Long Time Traveling

 

Or should I stick with my three favorite folk-rock songs, none of which I play on the mountain dulcimer:

Eve of Destruction (Barry McGuire)

Suite Judy Blue Eyes (Stephen Stills)

After the Gold Rush (Neil Young)

 

Or maybe my three favorite uilleann pipe tunes:

Lark in the Morning (Seamus Ennis)

The Gold Ring (Liam O'Flynn)

The Kesh Jig (Paddy Keenan)

 

I'm sorry I couldn't help myself, but the first three songs listed are my favorites on the mountain dulcimer.

 

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
02/13/19 07:00:58PM
62 posts

Frank Proffitt Mountain Dulcimer for Sale


FOR SALE:instruments/music items/CDs/Wanted to Buy...

It's hard to tell which Frank Proffitt dulcimers were built by Frank Proffitt and which were built by Leonard Glenn for Frank Proffitt to sell under his own name.  The interior label on your "Frank Proffitt" dulcimer adds some new intrigue to the mystery.  It's the first I've seen with a printed interior label.  Leonard Glenn's interior labels were usually written out by hand and not pre-printed labels, so the label inside your dulcimer could have been placed inside the dulcimer by Frank Proffitt after Leonard built the instrument. 

Either way, this dulcimer is a piece of history.  I own a similar instrument (without the interior label) purchased with an old case with a note written on the interior of the case indicating that the instrument had been purchased from Frank Proffitt in 1963.  I showed it to both Clifford Glenn and Frank Proffitt, Jr.  After looking it over, both sons claimed my instrument had been built by their father.  My instrument looks identical to yours.

As an interesting side note, I ordered a fretless banjo and a mountain dulcimer from Frank Proffitt, Jr. in about 2001.  When the instruments arrived, it was easy to tell that Clifford Glenn had actually built both of the instruments.  Frank, Jr. had glued one of his business cards over Clifford's name and address.  Frank Jr. may have decided he didn't have the time to build the instruments for me.  More likely, Frank Jr. ordered the instruments from Clifford Glenn and added his business card to the instruments prior to shipment.  That would be consistent with the business arrangement that Frank Sr. and Leonard Glenn had in the early 1960s.  In essence, the Glenns were the superior luthiers and the Proffitts were the superior musicians.

Either way, you have a valuable piece of dulcimer history.  Someone will be purchasing an instrument with a direct link to the mountain dulcimer's history in Watauga County.

 

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
02/12/19 05:28:47PM
62 posts

Buying in Europe


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

If you have relatively large hands, you will want to know the width of the fretboard and the Length from Nut to Bridge (Vibrating String Length).

Width of Fretboard - Both McSpadden and Folkcraft use a fretboard 1 3/8 inches wide, so the space between strings would be similar for both. 

Length from Nut to Bridge - McSpadden has a standard VSL (Vibrating String Length) of 28 1/2 inches.  Folkcraft offers several different VSL, ranging from 25 inches on up, so you can select one with a longer VSL to suit your needs.  

If you have large hands you would probably be better off with a somewhat longer VSL.  Longer dulcimers have the frets spaced a little farther apart, so they are more suited to large hands or long fingers.  

McSpadden offers a shorter model called the "Ginger" model, which has a VSL of 25 inches, I believe.  These are meant for people with small hands, so probably not what you are looking for.

 

 

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
02/10/19 03:34:25AM
62 posts

Tiny brass dulcimer.


OFF TOPIC discussions

Could it be a Christmas Tree Ornament?   

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
02/10/19 03:26:14AM
62 posts

Blackbird


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Here's a link to Butch's available CDs and Tab Books.  "Beatletudes" is located about 3/4 of the way down the page.   The book is available in both ukelele tabs and dulcimer tabs, so if you plan to order a copy make sure you read the description and order the correct edition.  The cost is listed as $20.00.

http://www.butchross.com/stuff.html


updated by @greg-gunner: 02/10/19 03:26:37AM
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
02/09/19 06:40:13PM
62 posts

Synthetic fretboard


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Lisa, isn't there a place a less expensive dulcimer can be stored at work.  Then you wouldn't have to go home to get it.  You could carry it from work to the park and back on those days when the weather allows you to sit and enjoy both the dulcimer and the atmosphere of the park.  You might even end up with other dulcimer players joining you for lunch and a few tunes over the lunch hour.  There's no need to store it in your hot/cold car if you have a sympathetic boss and a safe place to store it at work.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
02/08/19 10:38:43AM
62 posts

Joseph Atwell Suddreth 1981 dulcimer for sale


FOR SALE:instruments/music items/CDs/Wanted to Buy...

Since not many dulcimer players are familiar with Joseph Atwell Suddreth's work, I've attached a link to his obituary.  It appears from the obituary that Mr. Suddreth was a lifelong furniture maker and a master craftsman who made both violins/fiddles and mountain dulcimers.

https://www.greenevillesun.com/obituaries/joseph-atwell-suddreth/article_2b2f61b0-0e23-5557-a258-e00b8f538067.html

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
02/06/19 09:46:10AM
62 posts

Playing dulcimer with a ukelele


Playing and jamming difficulties...HELP ME!

Without relearning everything in a new key, you (and your husband) have two options: He can raise his tuning one whole step or you can lower your tuning one whole step, .  I'm not familiar with how easily a ukulele can be raised a whole step without breaking strings, but it is relatively easy to retune your dulcimer to C-G-c as you suggested.

However, the obvious solution (since your husband has two ukuleles) is to leave one in the standard ukelele tuning to which he is accustomed and tune the other one up a whole step to make it easier to switch back and forth as needed.  That way he can play the same chord shapes and melody note positions on both. 

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
02/05/19 04:54:18PM
62 posts

Luthiers - Cedar Creek?


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Dulcimer reputations spread pretty much by word-of-mouth.  Over time, some builders have built up a reputation for quality and consistency.  I don't have any personal experience with Cedar Creek Dulcimers, so I can't comment positively or negatively regarding the quality of their dulcimers.  However, as more and more dulcimer players recommend a builder, their reputation will grow.

The major builders have earned respect for the quality of their work.  They have thousands of examples floating around and many satisfied customers.  I can personally attest to the superior quality of some of the major builders. Of course, there are new builders popping up all the time.  Some of their work rivals that of the major dulcimer builders.  The key characteristics are "quality of workmanship" and "consistency of the finished product".  

Since I have no personal experience with Cedar Creek Dulcimers, I will leave it you and to other owners of Cedar Creek Dulcimers to describe the quality of their work.  You appear to be very happy with your Cedar Creek Dulcimers.  Others will read your comments and perhaps try a Cedar Creek model for themselves.

One of the easiest ways to determine how highly regarded a particular brand of dulcimer might be is to check out what one sells for on the used instrument market.  Quality instruments tend to maintain their value.  Follow the dulcimer offerings on E-Bay and you will soon learn what the dulcimer community thinks of a particular brand.

 

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
01/26/19 02:31:11PM
62 posts

Jam chord progressions


Playing and jamming difficulties...HELP ME!

The 1 1/2 fret does not effect your ability to play chords, just ignore it when figuring out where to place the fretting fingers of your left hand.  The 1 1/2 fret may increase the number of chords available to you, but it won't change the fretting positions of those chords already known.

Just be sure to think of that fret as the 1 1/2 fret, and don't be tempted to rename it the 2nd fret.  You already have a 1st and a 2nd fret, so the one in between fret 1 and fret 2 is logically called the 1 1/2 fret.  

If you take Dusty's great suggestion to use a chord chart, the fret numbers (including the 1 1/2 fret when needed) are clearly indicated on the chord charts.

If you decide to use a capo, it will raise the key and change the name of the chord shapes accordingly, but the actual chord shape formed by your left hand remains the same.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
01/18/19 09:46:27AM
62 posts

What's your favorite mournful, spooky, or lonesome song to play?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

The old ballads, despite being called "Love Songs", are rich with wonderful mournful melodies.  Although the old ballads are normally sung unaccompanied, one of my favorites on the mountain dulcimer is "Black Is the Color" in the Aeolian Mode with the dulcimer tuned D-A-C.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
01/09/19 04:34:10PM
62 posts

Do you have a pre 1989 FolkRoots or CapriTaurus dulcimer (made by Howard Rugg)?


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Actually, my very first dulcimer was a Folkroots dulcimer.  I played it for several years.  In the early 2000s I started a dulcimer club where I taught, and I passed the Folkroots dulcimer on to a student that had joined the club.  I think she probably still owns it.  

Patricia's link didn't work, probably because it was inadvertently joined to a line of text in her post.  Howard Rugg's website is here: 

http://capritaurusdulcimers.com/


updated by @greg-gunner: 01/09/19 04:37:17PM
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
12/24/18 11:27:33PM
62 posts

Happy Christmas To All


OFF TOPIC discussions

Let me join Ken H. in wishing everyone a Merry Christmas from  cold, but snowless southeast Michigan.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
12/24/18 12:03:02PM
62 posts

McSpadden's Luthiers


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Does anyone have a list of luthiers that have worked for McSpadden Dulcimers?  Of course, there is Lynn McSpadden, his brother, Larry McSpadden, and George Looney.  But who are the others?  Feel free to add to the list if you know the names of the others.

I've got a McSpadden made by a _________ Lang in 2016, but I can't make out his or her first name on the interior label.  Can anyone help me identify the McSpadden luthier who made this instrument?


updated by @greg-gunner: 12/24/18 12:19:36PM
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
12/01/18 05:45:35PM
62 posts



How did you decide to anchor the ball-end guitar strings?  With pins?  With small nails with the heads snipped off? By creating loops from the ball-end strings?  By drilling holes through the fretboard (like a guitar bridge) and anchoring with guitar bridge pins?  Some other method?  Inquiring minds want to know?

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
11/29/18 04:44:40PM
62 posts

John Jacob Niles's dulcimers and playing


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Try Googling "John Jacob Niles You-Tube".  There are a few selections from his recordings available there.  Be forewarned.  His singing will need to be listened to in small doses.  It's not for everybody.  

I sampled three or four of his songs and didn't hear much dulcimer playing.  Although the dulcimer may have not recorded well considering the emphasis was on his voice.

Personally, I couldn't take his singing, so there may be some dulcimer playing buried in the available recordings.  Good luck if you intend to listen to the recordings all the way through.  

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
11/24/18 07:57:34AM
62 posts



No problem, Ken.  I've benefited from many of your suggestions on noter-drone playing over the years, both on this forum and on the now defunct ED site.  Thank you for so willingly sharing your experience.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
11/23/18 08:34:28PM
62 posts



I think Ken meant the following for a left-handed player:

The tuning head is on your right, and the melody strings are closest to you.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
11/17/18 09:26:13AM
62 posts

What if you could only have one dulcimer?


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

If I could have only one mountain dulcimer, it would be my Blue Lion Jean Ritchie Model.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
11/13/18 06:21:52PM
62 posts

Need Chords For D-A-C Tuning!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Jimmy.

I took some time today to figure out the Chords for D Aeolian (D Minor) in D-A-C Tuning.  Left to right the numbers represent:

(Bass Sting-Middle String-Melody String)

i chord = D Minor (0-0-3, 4-3-3, 7-7-10, 11-10-10)

ii chord = E Diminished (3-4-6, 8-6-6, 10-11-13, 15-13-13)

III chord = F Major (6-0-3, 6-7-3, 13-14-10)

iv chord = G Minor (3-3-6, 7-6-6, 10-10-13, 14-13-13)

v chord = A Minor (1-0-0, 4-4-7, 6-4-5, 8-7-7, 11-11-14, 13-11-12, 15-14-14)

VI chord = Bb Major** (7-3-6, 14-10-13 Missing F Note) (0-0-3, 7-7-10 Missing the Bb Note)

VII chord = C major (3-4-0, 6-4-4, 6-6-9, 8-6-7, 13-11-11, 13-13-16, 15-13-14)

The Bb and F notes in D-A-C Tuning can be found only on the melody string.  This limits where full three-note chords can be played.  The Bb Major chord requires both the Bb note and the F note.  Since both are found only on the melody string in D-A-C tuning, it is impossible to play both at the same time.  **Therefore, the fret numbers listed for the Bb major chord are for two-note, partial chords.  One set of numbers is missing the F note.  The other set of numbers is missing the Bb note.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
11/12/18 02:43:46PM
62 posts

Need Chords For D-A-C Tuning!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Please be aware.  In my previous post providing a link to Kevin Roth's chord charts for various modal tunings, I neglected to mention that the standard tuning at the time was for the various Keys of C.  Since your question asked about D-A-C tuning specifically (which is the tuning for D Aeolian), you will need to change  "C" to "D", "D" to "E", etc. for all the chords.  The chord positions on the chart do not need to be changed, but C Minor chords on the PDF will be D Minor chords if played in D-A-C tuning, and G Major chords on the PDF will be G Major chords if played in D-A-C tuning, etc.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
11/12/18 02:25:11PM
62 posts

Need Chords For D-A-C Tuning!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

The only thing I could find that had chord charts was the following from a booklet included with a Folkways dulcimer instruction album by Kevin Roth. There's a PDF of the booklet available at:

https://folkways-media.si.edu/liner_notes/folkways/FWCRB20.pdf

Download the booklet and scroll down to page 43 or so where the Aeolian chord charts start.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
10/30/18 07:04:03AM
62 posts

Keith Young Dulcimer


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

The notches on the nut are for setting the dulcimer up in one of two ways: 1st way - four equidistant string set-up or 2nd way - bass, middle, and double melody string set-up.

Keith put the wooden bead fine tuners on all of the strings.

A standard set of dulcimer strings should work just fine.  Bass string .020-.022, Middle string .012-.014, and Melody strings .010-.012.

Once you have located the correct position for the bridge utilizing the method give by Ken Hulme, you can mark the correct position on the fret board so it can easily be relocated if it shifts position.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
08/23/18 06:27:57PM
62 posts

Clemmer Ban-Jammer Serial #5075


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

This is actually my second Clemmer Ban-Jammer.  I bought and sold the first one a few years back, and I have wanted another ever since.

I prefer fingerpicking the ban-jammer, as I'm not a fan of strumming across all the strings of banjo-type instruments.  So I guess you'd say I play in a single-string style (melody notes and fill notes).  The used instrument purchase included the DVD by Stephen Seifert that accompanies new ban-jammers purchased directly from Mike Clemmer.  I think Stephen's style is more flat-picking, so I may give that a try going forward.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
08/23/18 09:59:51AM
62 posts

Clemmer Ban-Jammer Serial #5075


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Mike Clemmer just answered my question.  Ban-Jammer #5075 was made in 2006

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
08/22/18 06:54:37PM
62 posts

Clemmer Ban-Jammer Serial #5075


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

I just purchased a used Clemmer Ban-Jammer (Serial #5075) on E-Bay.  Is there any way to tell when the instrument was made?  Could 5075 possible mean May 7, 2005?  Or does the number just indicate the instruments position in the sequence of all Clemmer instruments?

I have tried contacting Mike Clemmer through the contact page on his website, but he doesn't seem to respond to messages sent through his website contact page.

Also in what year did Mike Clemmer start to make the Ban-Jammer?

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
07/28/18 09:42:43AM
62 posts

Intermediates


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

If we're talking about dulcimer workshop levels (and it sounds like we are), the solution is to have a short description of what will be taught.  Then the attendees can decide if they are ready to learn that particular skill.

For example:

"This workshop will teach the three basic chords in D-A-A tuning and some basic rhythm strums."

"In this workshop you will learn hammer-ons and pull-offs and how to apply them in the songs you already know."

"This workshop will teach you how to retune to the four most common modal tunings."

"Dulcimer Duos.  This workshop will teach you how to play with another dulcimer player.  One will play play the melody and one will play back up chords."

The best workshops I've ever attended were taught by Stephen Seifert, who took a single tune and presented it in stages.  In essence, he taught those attending how to begin with a simple melody and gradually add different techniques to make it a more advanced arrangement.    

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
07/10/18 05:57:27PM
62 posts

June Apple Dulcimer tone/sound


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Richard, I'm glad you are happy with the sound of your June Apple model dulcimer.  Mine is similar to the one you have with the following exceptions: Mine has traditional heart-shaped soundholes and only three planetary pegs at my request.  Carl and his staff are great.  They are very accommodating in meeting requests for minor changes like number of strings and soundhole design.  I haven't checked the website lately, but their prices are a bargain compared to many new dulcimers out there.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
06/06/18 01:41:08PM
62 posts



For a traditional dulcimer the classic Dutch Heart soundhole is my favorite, but as others have already said the choice really has to please only one person.  In a way it's kind of like choosing a tattoo. Some prefer no tattoo at all.  Others prefer to have their whole body covered in tattoos.

One consideration is whether or not you ever intend to resell the dulcimer.  Dulcimers with standard heart-shaped soundholes and/or circles will probably have more resale value.  A personalized soundhole will only appeal to someone who can appreciate the choice you have made.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
05/01/18 07:29:00AM
62 posts



Jill, good luck in your search for a Jean Ritchie model Blue Lion.  I presently own two Blue Lion dulcimers, a Jean Ritchie model and an Acoustic Jam Baritone model, both were customized to have a single melody string and only three strings total.  I had to wait several months until my name came up on the build list, but they are exceptional instruments and well-worth the wait.  Blue Lion dulcimers are greatly valued by their owners and are seldom available as used instruments.  If you find one available used, don't hesitate in purchasing it.  It won't be for sale for long.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
04/28/18 06:39:39AM
62 posts

bagpipe drone.


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I'm with Skip on this one.  Strings are inexpensive and easily replaced.  Replace the .014 gauge with a .012 gauge.   

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
04/12/18 08:52:15AM
62 posts

In a jam about a jam session with ukuleles, guitars & banjos


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

The original post concerned playing along in a jam session with other stringed instruments in multiple keys.  In that situation, retuning is rarely an option due to the noise and speed at which one tune flows into the next.  In the quiet of one's own home, learning how to retune to play in different keys on a single dulcimer is an excellent skill to have.  Using Dusty Turtle's chart, you will be relying primarily on the I, IV, and V chords.

In a jam session, however, the other musicians are not going to remain quiet and wait while you retune.  You have to adjust to fit in with the other instruments.  Utilizing a second dulcimer and a capo allows you to play in four different keys: D, G, C, and F.  With the 6 1/2 fret, the Key of A is also possible.

D-A-A Tuning allows one to play in the Key of D from the nut, the Key of G from the capo at the 3rd fret, and the Key of A with the capo at the 4th fret and utilizing the 6 1/2 fret instead of the 6 fret.

C-G-G Tuning allows one to play in the Key of C from the nut, the Key of F from the capo at the 3rd fret, and the Key of G with the capo at the 4th fret and utilizing the 6 1/2 fret instead of the 6 fret.

  

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
04/11/18 07:07:16PM
62 posts

In a jam about a jam session with ukuleles, guitars & banjos


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I will give you a simple way to play in 4 different keys with two dulcimers and a capo.

First, tune the first dulcimer to D-A-A.  Your basic chords in the Key of D are:

I Chord = D, 2-0-3 (where 2 represents the bass string fingered at 2nd fret, 0 represents the middle string left open, and 3 represents the melody strings fingered at 3rd fret)

IV Chord = G, 3-1-3 (where 3 represents the bass string fingered at the 3rd fret, 1 represents middle string fingered at the 1st fret, and the final 3 represents the melody strings fingered at the 3rd fret)

V Chord = A, 1-0-2 (where 1 represents the bass string fingered at the 1st fret, the 0 represents the middle string left open, and the 2 represents the melody strings fingered at the 2nd fret)

You can transpose the whole thing up to the Key of G by capoing at the 3rd fret and thinking of the capo as the new nut.

I Chord = G, 2-0-3 from capo (the actual frets fingered are 5-0-6)

IV Chord = C, 3-1-3 from capo (the actual frets fingered are 6-4-6)

V Chord = D, 1-0-2 from capo (the actual frets fingered are 4-0-5)

Second , tune the second dulcimer to C-G-G.  The basic chords in the Key of C are:

I Chord = C

IV Chord = F

V Chord = G

The chord shapes remain the same as before: 2-0-3, 3-1-3, and 1-0-2.

Once again transpose up, by placing the capo at the 3rd fret.  You can now play in the Key of F with the same chord shapes:

I Chord = F

IV chord = Bb

V Chord = C

In conclusion, the three chord shapes remain the same for all four keys: I chord = 2-0-3, IV Chord = 3-1-3, and V Chord = 1-0-2.

The capo is nothing more than a temporary nut.  If you had a chromatic dulcimer you could capo at every fret on the dulcimer.  Since most dulcimers do not have chromatic fretting, you just need to be sure that you have a comparable spacing of frets.  Without the capo you have a large space, large space, and short space to the right of the nut.  If you capo at the 3rd fret, you once again have a large space, large space, and small space to the right of the capo (temporary nut).

Finally, if you have a 6 1/2 fret you can place the capo at the 4th fret and in D-A-A tuning play in the Key of A.  However, you must ignore the 6th fret when playing.  You will have a large space from fret 4 to fret 5, a large space from fret 5 to fret 6 1/2, and a small space from fret 6 1/2 to fret 7.

I Chord = A

IV Chord = D

V Chord = E

Likewise, you can place the capo at the 4th fret in C-C-G tuning and play in the Key of G.  Remember to ignore the 6th fret and use the 6 1/2 fret instead.

I Chord = G

IV Chord = C

V Chord = D

The easy part is that the basic chord shapes remain the same (2-0-3, 3-1-3, and 1-0-2) for all of the above.  Just think of the capo as a movable nut that allows you to move the chord shapes up the fretboard to play in different keys.

So with two dulcimers, one tuned D-A-A and the other tuned C-G-G, you can play chords (or melodies for that matter) in five different keys: D, G, C, F, and A.  These keys will handle nearly every key you will face on a regular basis.  

 

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
04/10/18 01:31:51PM
62 posts

Tell us about your VERY FIRST dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Robin, 

There was a connection between Morris Jethro Amburgey and the Logan, Ohio area.  Here's the rest of the December 17, 1975 article from the Logan Daily News:

"Hide-A-Way Hills Man Creates Appalachian Music Instruments

By SUE CHENOWETH Daily News Staff Writer

Morris Amburgey thoroughly modern man. He’s the city engineer for Lancaster and flies his own Cessna 180 airplane. He and wife Gertrude frequently go camping in their recreational vehicle Their residence on Cardinal Lane in Hide-A-Way Hills is admirable for its beauty and originality. But Amburgey is also a Kentuckian from Hindman in Knott County, where the hills are so steep there’s no bottom land and no farms, just gardens. And remembering his mountain heritage and the songs he heard played on the dulcimer, Amburgey now makes the unique Appalachian instrument from an old pattern passed on to him by his father, Jethro Amburgey. “We try to make them with as few mechanical tools as possible,” Amburgey says. “We whittle and cut and chisel a lot of things out.” Among favorite tunes for the dulcimer are “Jackerow,” “Barbara Allen” or “Turkish Lady,” — heartbroken songs, Amburgey calls them. “If we lose our heritage of music like that, we’ll never regain it,” he says. To help keep the dulcimer and its music alive, Amburgey works about 40 hours making one dulcimer, which he’ll sell for about $50, only $10 above the costs of the materials. Amburgey’s dulcimer pattern came originally from Eddridge Thomas of Hindman, who taught Jethro how to make them. Jethro made 1,389 dulcimers, several of which are in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. Morris says his father was one of only two or three people who could make dulcimers in the decades from 1930 to 1950. Morris follows his father’s habit of distinguishing each dulcimer by etching his name, date and place completed, and number made. Since Morris owns a log cabin in Hindman, he puts that place name on the instruments. As long as Jethro lived, Morris didn’t make dulcimers, but after his father died in 1972, Morris picked up the tradition. He made his first one in 1973; the first five dulcimers were to finish his father’s orders. He has subsequently made about 40 of the instruments from either cherry or walnut. Amburgey explains that solid wood like his father used splits. His home workshop is well equipped, but Morris Amburgey carves, whittles and cuts in an old-time tradition to make the mountain dulcimer, a musical instrument native to the southern Appalachians. Amburgey makes his instruments in the same style as his late father, Jethro Amburgey. Morris’ 22-year-old son, Kenny, also is learning the techniques. (Daily News photo by Sue Chenoweth)"

It looks like Morris and his family lived on Cardinal Lane in Hide-A-Way Hills, but maintained ownership of a cabin in Hindman, Kentucky.  Are Cardinal Lane and Hide-A-Way Hills near Logan, Ohio?  There are a couple more interesting facts in the article. First, Morris's 22-year old son, Kenny Amburgey, was learning the techniques of dulcimer making from his father.  And second, Morris refers to Ed Thomas as the man who taught his father the craft of dulcimer-making, but calls him "Edridge Thomas".  It is not clear whether or not Kenny Amburgey followed through and made any dulcimers on his own, but he'd be about 65 years old now if he's still living in the Logan area.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
04/10/18 11:55:29AM
62 posts

Tell us about your VERY FIRST dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

From the December 17, 1975 Edition of the Logan Daily News – Logan, Ohio

“Dec 17, 1975 - As long as Jethro lived, Morris didn't make dulcimers, but after his father died in 1972,Morris picked up the tradition. He made his first one in 1973; the first five dulcimers were to finish his father's orders. He has subsequently made about 40 of the instruments from either cherry or walnut…”

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
04/10/18 09:29:44AM
62 posts

Tell us about your VERY FIRST dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Jethro's son was named Morris Jethro Amburgey so the "M.J. Amburgey" signature on this dulcimer is most likely that of Jethro's son.    

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