Forum Activity for @greg-gunner

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
05/22/19 09:45:02AM
74 posts

Introduce Yourself!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

LisavB.  I'm glad you decided to join us.  You will find this forum to be warm and friendly.  We are united by our love for the dulcimer, and we are glad you decided to join us.  If you have any questions or wish to share more of your journey with the dulcimer, we'd love to hear more from you.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
05/17/19 06:08:19PM
74 posts

I understand the appeal of chromatic mountain dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I don't think it's so much that it sounds like a guitar.  The logic is basically "If you want to play a fully chromatic instrument, why don't you just play an instrument like a guitar (or banjo or mandolin, etc.) that is already chromatic?"

The purists would say that the diatonic fret pattern is a defining feature of the dulcimer.  As you begin to change one of the dulcimer's defining characteristics, the instrument is moving away from being a dulcimer and transitioning into a hybrid instrument.  Not a guitar exactly, but beginning to look and play more like a guitar and less like a dulcimer.

To get the sound of a guitar, you would need to increase the size of the dulcimer's soundbox, extend the neck/fretboard beyond the soundbox, increase the number of strings, and adjust the gauges of the strings.  Each of these changes is a movement in the direction of the guitar and away from the dulcimer.

If the only change made is to fret the dulcimer chromatically instead of diatonically, then the instrument will still sound more like a dulcimer.  However, it will have some of the playing features of the guitar.

Some Common Features of Each Instrument:

Dulcimer = Smaller Soundbox, Diatonic Fretboard, Fretboard Does Not Extend Beyond Soundbox, Fewer Strings, Lighter Gauge Strings, Played on Lap with Fretboard Facing Up

Guitar = Larger Soundbox, Chromatic Fretboard, Fretboard/Neck Extends Beyond the Soundbox, More Strings, Heavier Gauge Strings, Played with Hand Reaching Under and Around the Neck

Putting a chromatic fretboard on a dulcimer body without changing any other features results in a chromatic dulcimer.  Not exactly a guitar, but a step in that direction.

Incidentally, there is nothing wrong with playing an instrument modified from its traditional form.  Likewise, there is also nothing wrong with preferring to keep the instrument in its purest, most traditional form.  To each their own.  What you play and how you play it are decisions to be made by each individual.  Basically, if you enjoy playing it, that's all that's necessary.

 

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
05/07/19 07:33:54PM
74 posts

Folkcraft FSH or CSH Measurement Help


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

I have a CSH Folkcraft Dulcimer with flat peghead and three tuners/three equidistant strings.  It measures approximately 39 inches in total length.  I also have a McSpadden with the padded case that comes standard with a McSpadden purchase.  The Folkcraft CSH is about 3 to 4 inches too long for the McSpadden Case.  Folkcraft's case is 41 inches long.  McSpadden's case is only 36 inches long.

Bottom line, the standard Folkcraft CSH dulcimer will not fit into the McSpadden Case.  It looks like you won't be able to use the McSpadden case for your Folkcraft dulcimer purchase.

The Folkcraft CSH dulcimer does fit into a Craggy Mountain Brown Padded Case (available from Craggy Mountain for about $45.00 plus shipping).  The Craggy Mountain Case is a good quality case.  Folkcraft Padded Cases may be made in the USA by Folkcraft.  The McSpadden Padded Cases are made in Thailand these days, and the Craggy Mountain Case is made in China.

 


updated by @greg-gunner: 05/07/19 07:35:09PM
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
05/03/19 04:08:30PM
74 posts

Playing dulcimer with a ukelele


Playing and jamming difficulties...HELP ME!

Katie, you've gotten some excellent advice.  Don't be overwhelmed by chords.  There are a limited number of chords that are used with any frequency.  And keep in mind, the same chords are used in many different keys.  The D chord for instance occurs in the Key of D Major, the Key of G Major, and the Key of A Major.  In each instance, the notes that form the D chord are the same.  Their position on the fretboard only changes if you have changed the tuning of the strings.

If you can play a C chord, a D chord, an E chord, an F chord, a G chord, and an A chord, you will be well on your way.  As others have suggested start with a single key and learn the three primary chords for that key.  Notice that some chords occur over and over again.

Key of C = C, F, G Chords

Key of D = D, G, A chords

Key of A =  A, D, E chords

Key of G = G, C, D chords

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
05/01/19 05:57:50PM
74 posts

2019 Dulcimer Exhibit Jonesborough TN


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I did some quick genealogical research and discovered that Ernest Combs was the son of Fred Combs and Vera Alice Johnson.  He is listed in the 1940 Federal Census for Beaverdam Township in Watauga County, North Carolina.  The families of Frank Proffitt and his father, Wiley Proffitt, were both living in Beaverdam Township in 1940.  However, my preliminary search didn't turn up any connections between Ernest Combs and the Proffitts.  In the bio to which David Bennett provides a link, Combs credits Albert Hash with getting him started with instrument making.  But as David pointed out, he doesn't seem to have been very prolific in building dulcimers. 

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
04/30/19 10:45:00AM
74 posts

Strings to use on newly acquired dulcimer


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

As with any instrument, everyone will have their personal preferences. Assuming you are playing a standard dulcimer and not a baritone or bass dulcimer, the bass strings tend to fall into a range of .020-.024.  Middle strings are usually in the .012-.016 range.  Melody strings range from .010-.014.

A lot will depend upon your preferred tuning and the amount of tension you favor.  My preferred tuning is D-A-A and I use a wound bass string of about .022 and unwound middle and melody strings of .012.  This usually gives me the degree of flexibility that I prefer.  Others prefer less flexibility and use heavier gauge strings on their dulcimers.

Someone playing in D-A-d with a preference for more tension may prefer a bass string of .024, a middle string of .014, and a melody string of .012.  Some prefer a heavier melody string.  

Try one of the suggestions given by myself and others.  If the strings are too floppy when tuned to your preferred tuning, then replace the strings with a heavier gauge.  If the strings feel too tight then replace the strings with a lighter gauge.  Eventually you will find string gauges that feel right to you.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
04/29/19 04:14:32PM
74 posts

Preferred String Tension


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

No judgement here.  Everyone has a preference to suit their own playing style and their own needs.  There's probably a way to measure the amount of tension on each string precisely, but that's not really necessary.  Obviously, the string tension has to lie somewhere between the minimum amount of tension necessary to produce a clear sound (without rattling) and the amount of tension required to break the string.  My own preference is for a string with some flexibility.  One that responds to hammer-ons, pull-offs, bends, chord playing, etc. with ease.  However, I fully understand why some desire less flexibility when playing noter-drone style.  It's all a matter of what "feels right" to the individual with the instrument in their hands.    

 

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
04/28/19 02:07:21PM
74 posts

Preferred String Tension


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

As I've added more dulcimers to my collection, I've begun to label the cases with the tuning that seems to fit that instrument best.  My standard dulcimers tend be tuned to D-A-A, C-G-G, or sometimes even Bb-F-F.  My criteria for selecting the tuning is usually based upon string tension.  In other words, I change strings or tuning to get the "feel" I like.

I've also discovered that my reproduction dulcimers sometimes require a lower tuning to prevent the wooden tuning pegs from slipping under the increased string tension of the higher tuning.


updated by @greg-gunner: 04/28/19 02:11:39PM
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
04/28/19 01:58:24PM
74 posts

Preferred String Tension


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

John K.,

I remember reading that Jean Ritchie preferred C-G-G tuning.  I think her instruction book used C-G-G tuning.  But did she ever talk about lowering the tuning to make the strings more responsive to the touch of her fingers?   I suspect her choice of C tuning was likely based upon what was considered traditional in her family.

Ken H,

Good point.  I also tune down on occasion to better suit my voice.  Although a noter wouldn't give the same "feel" as the fingers, it would be similarly affected by string tension.  I suspect requiring less downward pressure on the noter would result in smoother playing.

Dusty,

I hadn't considered that string tension might have the opposite affect when flatpicking.  More tension = Faster Response.  Less Tension = Slower Response.

kjb,

Do you ever tune to a C tuning because it feels more comfortable on the fingers or only when playing with other musicians in the Key of C?  Do you prefer the lower tuning for fingerpicking because it is more responsive to the fingers?

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
04/28/19 12:54:57PM
74 posts

Preferred String Tension


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Obviously, the dulcimer can be tuned up or down to play in alternate keys, but what about adjusting string tension for comfort?

I've been noticing lately that I have a preference for less string tension.  Both my left hand and my right hand seem to be more comfortable when the strings are more flexible and have more give.  In practice, this means I frequently lower the tuning as much as a whole step to create the fingering sensation that I prefer.

Instead of the standard D-A-A or D-A-d tunings, I find myself lowering the tuning to C-G-G or C-G-c.  Obviously, I have to tune back up if I plan to play music with others or attend a dulcimer workshop where D tunings are the norm, but when practicing or playing for myself I prefer the feel I get with the lower tuning.  

The advantage of the lower tuning is a more flexible string that is less resistant to fretting, hammering, or plucking with the left hand and more easily strummed or fingerpicked with the right hand.  In short, I am more relaxed when the strings play more easily.

Obviously, there is a limit to how much the strings can be lowered, but I have found that the tuning of most dulcimers can be lowered a full step without creating any problems with loose or rattling strings.

Does anyone else experiment with tunings higher or lower than standard D tunings by adjusting string tension to achieve a more comfortable and relaxed feeling in the fingers making contact with the strings?  


updated by @greg-gunner: 04/28/19 12:55:48PM
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
04/14/19 11:02:47AM
74 posts

Dulcimer-Guitar Style Options?


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

I'm just speculating here, but perhaps you should consider a tenor guitar.  However, I'm not sure anyone makes one with a diatonic fretboard like a dulcimer.

Like many mountain dulcimers, tenor guitars have four strings.  You could always restring one to reflect your favorite dulcimer tuning.  The only hangup would be getting used to the chromatic fretboard, which would have both advantages and disadvantages.  

As KenH has stated, the more you modify the original design of the traditional dulcimer the more you move away from what would normally be called a dulcimer.  The changes suggested above would result in a hybrid instrument that is part dulcimer and part guitar.   It's already been done by combining dulcimer and banjo features into a "banjimer" or dulcimer and dobro features into the "dulcibro".  There's nothing stopping you from modifying a tenor guitar into a chromatic guitar-like dulcimer.  Good luck with your search and let us know what you decide and how it works out.   You may be on to something.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
03/21/19 11:24:40AM
74 posts

Frank Proffitt Mountain Dulcimer for Sale


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

After looking at your pictures once again, my best guess is that this dulcimer was made by Leonard Glenn.  The thick, stubby tuning pegs were pretty much a standard feature of Glenn dulcimers.  The preprinted interior label was most likely glued on by Leonard when the dulcimer was being built to identify it with Frank Proffitt's name prior to sale.  Ralph Lee Smith and others have documented the working relationship Proffitt had with the Glenns, and your dulcimer seems to verify that relationship with one of the surviving instruments.  Proffitt's popularity in the early 1960s on the folk festival circuit would have made a dulcimer bearing his name a desirable purchase for a young folkie.  It sure would be nice if we knew how many dulcimers were actually built by Frank Proffitt and how many were built for him by the Glenns.

In either case, the dulcimer is a part of dulcimer history, and it would be a fine addition to someone's dulcimer collection.

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
03/15/19 10:42:47PM
74 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
74 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
74 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
74 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
74 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
74 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
74 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
74 posts

Tiny brass dulcimer.


OFF TOPIC discussions

Could it be a Christmas Tree Ornament?   

Banjimer
@greg-gunner
02/10/19 03:26:14AM
74 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
74 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
74 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
74 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
74 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
74 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
74 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
74 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
74 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
74 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
74 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
74 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
74 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
74 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
74 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
74 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
74 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
74 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
74 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
74 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.

 /