Forum Activity for @shanonmilan

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
05/15/24 09:59:33AM
66 posts

Tenor Guitars


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Jim Yates:

About 45 years back, I found this little old tenor guitar at a yard sale.  I kept steel strings on it for about a decade, but, being worried about its integrity, I switched to nylon and put it in Chicago tuning (DGBE).  It was mostly a wall hanger for a long time, but since joining Ukulele Underground, I have been making some videos and occasionally whip out the tenor guitar/baritone uke.  Here's what it sounds like.


 

Wow you did an amazing job trying to to preserve that guitar.

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
05/09/24 03:38:29AM
66 posts

How Many Dulcimers Do You Own?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Skip:

It's interesting to see that many folks have more instruments than just mountain dulcimers.

In addition to my dulcimers, I have a bodhran, half a dozen or so diatonic harmonicas, a chromatic harmonica, several pennywhistles, a full size keyboard, and 5 autoharps [three chromatics, two 2 key diatonics, FC and GD] and a 15/16 hammered dulcimer I made and still have. I've tried guitars and a banjo but they didn't, physically, work for me.

I guess I have IAD, but music is such a fascinating subject and has so many facets and challenges it's easy to overindulge! Especially for a non-music oriented retiree [no music instruments at all before retiring] .

 

Skip:

It's interesting to see that many folks have more instruments than just mountain dulcimers.

In addition to my dulcimers, I have a bodhran, half a dozen or so diatonic harmonicas, a chromatic harmonica, several pennywhistles, a full size keyboard, and 5 autoharps [three chromatics, two 2 key diatonics, FC and GD] and a 15/16 hammered dulcimer I made and still have. I've tried guitars and a banjo but they didn't, physically, work for me.

I guess I have IAD, but music is such a fascinating subject and has so many facets and challenges it's easy to overindulge! Especially for a non-music oriented retiree [no music instruments at all before retiring] .

 

It sounds like you have quite an eclectic collection of instruments! From dulcimers to bodhran, and more, you've got a wide range of sounds to explore.

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
05/07/24 04:55:13AM
66 posts

Frame Drums


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Scott Callow:

I asked my kids to get me a bodhran kit from McNeela's for Xmas because the up / down tipper motion is very similar to strumming and I thought if I played it while listening to Irish, Finnish and other folk music, the muscle memory would help me develop my strumming versatility.  Anyone have any experience with this? 

 

How was your experience with that bodhran?

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
05/01/24 06:42:28AM
66 posts

How Many Dulcimers Do You Own?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

jost:

Up to now just one dulcimer ( I plan to get another one spontan though) but I already have a mild case of Instrument acquisation  sydrome:

- One dulcimer ( beginner level)

- two classical guitars and one lute guitar ( not a beginner but no Bert Jansch either)

- Two tin whistles ( D and C tuning, beginner) 

- One mandolin ( my latest addition, still struggling with the first song after one month)

 

jost:

Up to now just one dulcimer ( I plan to get another one spontan though) but I already have a mild case of Instrument acquisation  sydrome:

- One dulcimer ( beginner level)

- two classical guitars and one lute guitar ( not a beginner but no Bert Jansch either)

- Two tin whistles ( D and C tuning, beginner) 

- One mandolin ( my latest addition, still struggling with the first song after one month)

You've got a range of options to experiment with and expand your musical horizons.  

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
04/23/24 06:46:45AM
66 posts

Fingering in Place of a Noter


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Dusty Turtle:

Jimmy, there is no single way to do this. What works best for you is what's best.

And I think you are right to work on one thing at a time.  Don't think about adding chord strums until you have figured out the left-hand fingering.

In David Schnaufer's instructional video, he demonstrates how he uses three fingers (no pinky or thumb) to move up and down the fretboard.  As he moves higher than his hand position he uses his index finger, and as he moves lower, he uses his ring finger.

Personally, I use all my fingers since I need all the help I can get!  Most of the time I approach the fretboard the way guitarists and violin players do, where you try to minimize hand movement and keep your hand in one position as long as you can, with each finger assigned a fret position.  Each position is named for the lowest fret.  So if you use your pinky on the first fret and your ring finger on the second fret and so forth, that would be called first position.  If you use your pinky on the second fret and your ring finger on the third fret and so forth, that would be second position.

However, whereas on the guitar or mandolin, each fret is of equal size, the dulcimer is missing some frets, so you might sometimes skip a fret. In second position, I might use my pinky on 1 and my ring finger on 2, but then my index finger on 3, skipping my middle finger.  Find what is comfortable for you.

Some people use their thumb a lot on the melody string, turning the thumb to the side a bit to be able to use the edge of the nail and slide around like a noter. I do that occasionally out of chord positions, but not most of the time, since using your thumb comfortably means the other fingers don't line up on the melody string as easily.

However . . . and you may not want to do this . . . once you are using your fingers you are no longer limited to the melody string, and "My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean" is a good example of why.  The song begins with a big jump from 4 to 9, and even goes down to 2 on a couple of occasions.  That's a big jump. It's fun with a noter, but not so fun with your fingers.

But if you are tuned DAd, then any note on the melody string is also found on the middle string three frets higher.  So the first note of the song could be the 7 on the middle string.  That 2 on the melody is also the 5 on the middle string.  The whole song can be played between 5 and 9, which is a much easier stretch, isn't it?  Attached you'll find the melody of the tune using both melody and middle strings.  Give it a try and see what you think.

 

It's great to hear about your approach to fretting on your instrument! Using all your fingers and adopting a technique similar to guitarists and violin players can certainly help with efficiency and accuracy in playing. Minimizing hand movement and keeping your hand in one position as much as possible can lead to smoother transitions between notes and chords. And thank you for that little PDF file.

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
04/15/24 06:36:43AM
66 posts

Nickel allergy--nylon strings on an octave dulcimer?


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

[quote="NateBuildsToys"]

[quote="shanonmilan"]

[/quote] Does it also make it sound better that you use a specially coated string?

[/quote] 
Shanon, each material sounds slightly different, but I don't personally think any sound better than any others.Some are magnetic, which is useful for a dulcimer with electric pickups. Some use fancier metals under the premise that they sound better, but I personally like the different sounds of all string types. Maybe a more refined ear would hear more of a difference.
Nate

[/quote] 

That's a pretty comprehensive explanation on how stuff works.

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
04/04/24 03:52:49AM
66 posts

John Calkin Dulcimer


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

bluesky636:

Thanks! Found him. I'll send him a message later today with the photos and serial number of my dulcimer. As it turns out, he is only about 35 miles from my home in Natural Bridge. Maybe I will be able to visit him.

I have a small collection of electric and acoustic guitars as well as cigar box guitars and violin (some of which I built myself). I also build all my own vacuum tube guitar amplifiers.

I have a BSEE from Virginia Tech earned when vacuum tubes were still part of the curriculum. I retired 4 years ago from my job as a Satellite Communications Systems Engineer contractor with the CIA. I worked in the Intelligence Community for 40+ years. My wife and I retired to Natural Bridge Virginia in 2019.

 

It sounds like you have a diverse and impressive collection of instruments, including some that you built yourself. Your expertise in building vacuum tube guitar amplifiers must be fascinating, especially with your background in electrical engineering.

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
03/25/24 04:03:35AM
66 posts

What's the exact difference between a dulcimore and dulcimer


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

Ken Hulme:

"Exact" is such a hard word!   As Dan sez, back in the day there was no standard spelling for dulcimer/dulcimore/dulcemore, and there were numerous regional names for the instrument as well. 

Today many of us use the dulcimore/dulcemore spelling to distinguish instruments made in a more traditional, less modern way.  Our "bible" as it were is L. Allen Smith's landmark book Catalogue of Pre-Revival Appalachian Dulcimers.  Hundreds of traditional designs to replicate or emulate.

Here are a few characteristics which a number of us use to distinguish between a modern and traditional "dulcimer".

  • With few exceptions, Traditional instruments have partial width staple frets, not full-width modern 'mushroom' frets.
  • Traditional instruments use woods native to the Eastern US (notablyu polar) ,  not the Western US or 'exotic' woods
  • With few exceptions, Traditional instruments do not have mechanical tuners; they use violin type tuners or autoharp type tuning pins
  • Traditional instruments have purely diatonic fret layouts -- no "plus" frets at all,
  • Traditional instruments have full-length fretboards.
  • Traditional instruments have no wound strings
  • Traditional instruments almost always have overhanging 'fiddle edges' rather than flush top/side joints
  • Traditional instruments were almost invariably played in the Noter & Drone or Fingerdancing styles, without fingerpicking, three-finger chords, or DAd tuning (unless the song absolutely required Mixolydian tuning).
  • The most common tunings seem to have been Unison (all strings the same gauge and same high note -- d-d-d) or Bagpipe (middle and melody strings an octave higher than the bass string D-d-d), with 1-5-5 tunings a close third. 

 

Do you mean to say they also differ on their tuning?

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
03/24/24 01:25:28AM
66 posts

Fred Martin dulcimer help, please


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

Ken Longfield:

You can use this website to calculate the string size: http://www.strothers.com/string_choice.html . It tends to be a little on the light side. When I did the calculations, I came up with D = 0.018, A = 0.012, and d = 0.0090. I would suggest trying 0.020, 0.014, and 0.010. When you take the strings off, you can use a small block of wood and hammer to knock the pegs out if they do not come out on their own. You can clean them off with a mild soap. Murphy's Oil Soap works well. A small amount of peg dope available from a violin or music shop can help lubricate the pegs for easy turning and grip. I also use the Murphy's for cleaning the entire instrument. Where the scratches are, you might need to sand them out and refinish the area. It depends upon how much you want go get rid of them. Best wishes on your project and the new (to you) dulcimer.


Ken


"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."


 

It sounds like you have a solid plan for maintaining and improving your dulcimer! Using peg dope for lubrication and Murphy's Oil Soap for cleaning are great practices to keep your instrument in good condition. Sanding out scratches and refinishing areas as needed can also help restore its appearance. Best wishes with your project, and I hope your dulcimer continues to bring you joy and beautiful music!

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
03/22/24 03:23:00AM
66 posts

Best instruction material?


Dulcimer Resources:TABS/Books/websites/DVDs

Wally Venable:

@shannmilan... My path won't work for you.

We have a local lap dulcimer group which meets twice a week in two different configurations, one for beginners in a classroom setting, one for sort'a playing as a group. My wife has attended both for about five years, I've been taking an active part for about two.

I don't practice, so my skills aren't that good, but I have acquired a LOT of knowledge, as well as becoming a technician.

I also studied violin as a kid, sung in choruses, and am teaching myself viola, arranging music for a crank organ and trying to learn to practice.

As far as "courses" goes, what courses are available to you? Unless you live near me, I can't make a suggestion, except possibly for on-line resources.

 

 I'll take note of that, you are very fortunate that you have a group session that caters to both newbie and advance players.

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
03/19/24 04:25:37AM
66 posts

Connection Between Hammered and Mountain Dulcimers?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

dulcidom:

If I may add a few details....

Reading the excellent books by Ralph Lee Smith: "The Story of the Dulcimer" and especially "Appalachian Dulcimer Traditions" clearly shows that the name "dulcimer" (or "dulcimore " and other variations) was already in use for the fretted dulcimer well before (at least a century) the folk revival of the 1970s. I have a little personal hypothesis about this strange disambiguation of the two types of dulcimers :

The King James I Bible, first published in 1611, quickly became the version authorized by the Church of England. The passages that interest us are in the book of Daniel: 5, 10 and 15.:

"Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made".

In this text, "dulcimer" is used to translate the Aramaic word "sumponiah", itself derived from the Greek "symphonia" (in fact, a kind of bagpipe), which the translators did not really know what to do with at the time. It was therefore the (hammered) dulcimer, very fashionable at the time, which saved them the day, thereby making this instrument an instrument of biblical times.

In the depths of Appalaches, with practically only the Bible to read, the hardy pioneers also found themselves in the embarrassment of baptizing the youngest of the family of alpine zithers, derived from the unpronounceable Dutch "scheitholt" or "zither". It was necessary to accompany the hymns, an instrument accepted by the Church, unlike the violin (the devil's box). What's better than an instrument name quoted in the Holy Scriptures? And there you have it, the Appalachian "dulcimer".

Homonymy was not a problem for almost two hundred years, when the two instruments had well separated geographical domains. It was only after the Second World War and the folk revival and the arrival of Jean Ritchie (the damsel with a dulcimer) in New York that the need for two distinct qualifiers arose : the hammered dulcimer and the pinched/plucked/fretted/lap dulcimer...

Of course, it's nothing but a(nother) hypothesis. Sorry if I was a bit long.

 

In the Appalachian wilderness, pioneers baptized a new instrument, derived from alpine zithers and known as the "dulcimer." Acceptable to the Church unlike the violin, it accompanied hymns, its name found in the Bible, making it ideal for religious music in the region.

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
03/15/24 03:38:37AM
66 posts

tiple


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Ken Hulme:

Very interesting Jim.  Seldom see a tiple, but I love the mandolin-uke sound they deliver.

 

The tiple is a fascinating instrument, albeit less common compared to the mandolin-uke. Both instruments produce delightful sounds that add unique textures to music. It's always a pleasure to explore different stringed instruments and appreciate the richness they bring to music.

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
03/13/24 03:36:14AM
66 posts

Clemmer Peg head


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

Bill Robison:

Did Mike Clemmer make an hourglass instrument with wooden pegs and a 5 string (double melody and equi spaced as 4 string? I just had one given to me, no tag or serial#  27.5 or 28" vsl, all walnut, no 6 1/2 or 13 1/2 frets. scroll has wheat heads engraved on the sides. It is the violin style, nice woodwork and finish

 

While I'm not familiar with Mike Clemmer making a specific hourglass instrument like yours, the features you described—wooden pegs, a 5-string configuration, walnut construction, and wheat head engravings on the scroll—suggest it's a finely crafted piece.

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
03/11/24 03:04:40AM
66 posts

A W Jeffreys Jr.


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

It sounds like you're describing a finely crafted dulcimer with unique features. The elegant headstock, heart-shaped soundholes, and mahogany neck contribute to its distinctive appearance. Modifications have been made to improve intonation, such as replacing the nut and bridge for conventional spacing. The innovative removable pin at the bottom end adds to its functionality. Overall, it appears to be a quality instrument with some special touches.

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
03/05/24 01:11:49AM
66 posts

Vintage dulcimer information sought


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

Ken Longfield:

Art, it looks like the tuning pegs are traditional violin pegs. When tuning you need to push the pegs in to the peg box as you turn them. They stay in place by friction. There are now geared violin pegs that look like the pegs you have. Do at search for Wittner violin pegs. Some of us who build and repair dulcimers use these measurements to set action: The strings should just touch the top of a dime placed on the bridge side of the first fret and top of a nickel placed on top of the seventh fret. I think Canadian coin are about same thickness as USA coins. If you haven't already done it, it would not hurt to make sure the contact point of the bridge should be the distance from the nut to the 7th fret doubled. The StewMac fret calculator says that the break point for the strings over the saddle (bridge) should be 72.159 inches for a non compensated bridge. I agree that eliminating the crude space would make the dulcimer look better. If you put notches in the bridge, just make sure to keep the touch point (break point) of the strings in line across it.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

 

I'll check out the Wittner violin pegs and consider the measurements you provided. Ensuring proper contact points and alignment across the bridge is key. I wonder what other parts are cross compatible to violins.

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
03/01/24 02:25:53AM
66 posts

What Are You Working On?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Using geared violin tuners like Wittners might be worth considering for your violin, especially if you prefer not to widen the peg holes. Keeping the Sam Carroll with its original pegs is also an option. You could use wood filler for the stripped hole to ensure a secure fit for the replacement pin.

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
02/28/24 04:28:15AM
66 posts

What Are You Working On?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Ken Longfield:

Marg there are a couple of things to consider. First is whether you want friction tuners or geared tuners. Since you mention the Stewmac choices the Grovers are friction and the Five Star are geared. The second is cost. You can see the difference in price. Both of those install easily although you may need to make an adjustment in the size of the holes. Since you mention not changing the head design, have you considered replacing the wood pegs with geared violin tuners like Wittners? Here is a link to them: Wittner-finetune-violin-peg They may give a better look to the dulcimer and are priced between the two offered by Stewmac. 


This is general information as I don't know the maker of your dulcimer and I am guessing it has a scroll peg head. If you have any questions, ask here or message me.


Ken


"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."


 

Friction tuners like Grovers offer tradition, while geared options like Five Star provide precision. Cost varies, and you might also consider replacing wood pegs with geared violin tuners like Wittners for a different look.

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
02/26/24 04:25:12AM
66 posts

John Molineux box dulcimer


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

steve c.:

Here is a short bio on John:

1947 Born in Los Angeles, California
1950 Family moved to England
Instrument - making
1972 - 74 Training : Newark School of Violin Making. Pass with distinction
 
Music and Story-telling
1963 Met traditional music through Folk Clubs
1965 Started giving concerts, solo and in groups
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1976 Moved to Brittany

1978  LP  "Douce-Amère" : traditional songs and instrumentals
(mostly with Appalachian Dulcimers)
1978 - 82 Member of the JOHN RENBOURN GROUP (vocals, dulcimers, violin,
mandolin). Tours + 3 LPs with the group.
since 1978 Solo concert tours: U.S.A., Germany, Ireland, England,
Italy, Hungary and France.
1985 LP  "Spice of Life" : personal and traditional tunes and songs
(with Dan ar Bras, the Josquin des Prés Quartet etc.)
since 1996 Tours throughout France with the story-teller Alain Le Goff
for the story and music show ‘‘Baleines, baleines’’
2000 Creation of  " LEGENDARY AIRS " , a solo show of ‘Stories told by Music itself’ (for all, rec. min. age 7 yrs ).
         CD compilation of «Douce-Amère» + «Spice » (Kerig KCD185) : awarded "BRAVO"  label from Trad Magazine.
2002 Creation of  " WOLF ? " : a one man show, where the wolf is revealed through stories, with some music (for all, rec. min. 7 yrs ).

2018 Creation of  " DREAMCATCHER " :

 

That's a pretty colorful journey.

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
02/22/24 03:55:14AM
66 posts

Just For Fun - sayings regarding the dulcimer or music


OFF TOPIC discussions

NateBuildsToys:

Ken Hulme:

@shanonmilan --the vast majority of us (traditionalists and moderns) play dulcimer horizontally -- "string side up" on our laps or on a table or stand.  There are a few who play it more vertically -- like a guitar...


 
I play behind my back, Like Stevie Ray Vaughn.
I like to leave my best performances behind me  ROTFL

 


Hahahaha. You got me laughing and rolling on the floor on that one.

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
02/16/24 04:00:19AM
66 posts

Intonation Problems


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

Matt Berg:

At the risk on being a contrarian, I have had good success with keeping my dulcimer from going sharp as you go up the frets a different way that also helps with the bass buzzing problem.  Rather than focusing on the saddle height, I find adjusting the nut or zero fret slightly higher allows me to keep a more consistent and lower action across the fret board.  Yes, definitely, it sounds like your saddle is too high.  When you get that resolved, and if you are in the mood for even more fine tuning, try raising your nut by maybe 10% and see if you can adjust your saddle down about the same percent.  As with any adjustment, your mileage will vary.

 

Good luck and I think you are right in raising the nut.

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
02/14/24 02:25:00AM
66 posts

to get chromatic or not


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

Comparing it to the violin, which often requires years of dedicated practice to even begin to master, underscores the unique appeal of the dulcimer as an instrument that welcomes players of all skill levels with open arms.

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
02/12/24 01:56:24AM
66 posts

What Are You Working On?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

It's great that people appreciate the convenience they offer while maintaining the aesthetic appeal of the instrument. And trying out Wittner pegs sounds like an exciting experiment! Their reputation for quality and reliability suggests you're in for a treat.

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
02/08/24 02:36:53AM
66 posts

Richard Krueger Psaltery


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Ken Hulme:

That's a Bowed Psaltery, not a plucked psaltery.  And a very nice BP it is too! 

The BP was supposed developed in post-WWII Germany by a violin teacher trying to get his students to bow correctly.  Whatever the truth, they are nice instruments, and you don't need a full sized bow to play them.  A simple 18" or so bow will work jut fine.  Several years ago I was gifted a BP and made some simple bows to play it with, using all sorts to waxed string other than horsehair/

 

It's amazing how innovations can arise from the need to address specific challenges, like encouraging proper bow technique in students. And it's great to hear that you've had the opportunity to explore playing the BP with custom-made bows using alternative materials.

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
01/31/24 03:51:24AM
66 posts

Just For Fun - sayings regarding the dulcimer or music


OFF TOPIC discussions

Ken Hulme:

How do you play the dulcimer?   String side up.

Do you play it like a reso guitar, with the dulcimer resting on your lap?
shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
01/29/24 03:43:50AM
66 posts

I bought a Sunhearth!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Dwain Wilder:
Curt DeBaun:

Dwain, thanks for the offer, but it had the fine tuners with it.  I hope to buy one of your Bear Meadow concert dulcimers in the not too distant future.  BTW, here are better photos of the pegs installed.

Curt

 

Nice job! Watch out about the string winding on the bass peg: if it gets all the way to the pegbox wall it can interfere with tuning and setting the peg.

If you ever have to do another peg setting, ease up gradually on the final reaming, then turn the reamer backwards to burnish the wood. The object is to have about 1/32" of the little end sticking outside the pegbox, so that future peg wear will give you plenty of peg left in case you need to enlarge the hole a bit. And fhen finish the peg end to a nice domed button by rubbing its end in a 1-1/2" diameter circular motion on a soft sanding pads, from 100G down thourgh the grit range to 320G. Then finish off with red rouge on a polishing wheel. (Mineral spirits clean up the rouge very well). That results in a very attractive pegbox.

I'm sort of overwhelmed with commissions now and not accepting any until I get the backlog cleared. I can refer you to one of my students, though, if and when you like. (Or who knows, maybe I'll have the backlog well on the way to completion by the time you're ready!). But as I get older I work slower and more carefully, so each instrument takes longer than the previous one.

 

Your method for finishing the peg end sounds meticulous and will certainly contribute to an attractive pegbox. I appreciate the detailed instructions, and I'll follow the steps you've outlined for the sanding and polishing process.

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
01/23/24 02:06:30AM
66 posts

Traditional role of the mountain dulcimer.


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

The diverse regional variations, such as the flatvele and venleg vele in the north and east, and the distinctive Hardanger fiddle in the south and west, showcase the rich musical heritage.

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
01/19/24 03:34:15AM
66 posts

Traditional role of the mountain dulcimer.


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

What a fascinating glimpse into the musical history of Norway! The evolution of musical instruments often mirrors the changing cultural landscapes.

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
01/17/24 07:27:04AM
66 posts

12 String Guitar


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Jim Yates:

Here's one I learned from The King Of The 12-String Guitar, Lead Belly.  Alabamy Bound
I love playing the call & response.


Jim Yates:

Here's one I learned from The King Of The 12-String Guitar, Lead Belly.  Alabamy Bound
I love playing the call & response.


 

I love that warm sound 12 string guitars make. Not to mention the additional details it adds to even the simplest chord change.

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
01/15/24 02:49:28AM
66 posts

Installing built-in pick up for 2004 dulcimer?


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

It seems like a Cherub pick-up/mic is really popular among dulcimer player.

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
01/11/24 04:12:49AM
66 posts

I bought a Sunhearth!


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Ken Longfield:

I built my first three dulcimers under the tutelage of a violin maker, so I had good instruction on fitting pegs. While I can describe the process, watching it is probably better. There are some good videos on YouTube that deal with peg fitting. Anyone can check them out if they want to the job. For me the process was watch one, do one with my teacher watching over the process, and do another on my own.  Of course, like any task it gets easier with practice. You develop a feel for your tools and the process. It would have been easier for Curt if the original owner kept the original pegs. 

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

 

Peg fitting is indeed a delicate process, and your journey from watching to doing resonates with my own learning on the violin.

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
01/09/24 04:31:29AM
66 posts

Just For Fun - sayings regarding the dulcimer or music


OFF TOPIC discussions

MacAodha:

What's the difference between a fiddle and a violin, you can spill porter on a fiddle you can't on a violin.

The idea of spilling porter on a fiddle but not on a violin adds a charming and down-to-earth touch to the age-old debate.

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
01/05/24 03:17:31AM
66 posts

The "I have small hands" idea


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

shanonmilan:

Strumelia:

 












It's interesting how the violin technique of raising hands in an arch applies to the dulcimer. Utilizing the thumb and pinky for fretting is a great advantage for dulcimer players. I'll check out your "Lazy Fingers" blog post. Keep making beautiful music!




















 
shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
01/05/24 03:12:12AM
66 posts

The "I have small hands" idea


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

Strumelia:

Great thread!


I'd like to bring up two other points that may not have been mentioned yet-


1) I see a lot of beginner dulcimer players struggle with making chords- having a hard time both making the reaches and also with weak fingers and hands that don't effectively fret.  If you have this problem, be sure to check the ANGLE of your fingers as you fret .  Many beginners fret with their hands horizontally held low- like a pianist or like someone typing on a computer keyboard.  As any violin teacher will tell you, it's important to raise your hands up in an arch so that your fingers come down onto the strings from straight above and you use the tips of your fingers to fret effectively.  The mountain dulcimer makes this super easy because it lies flat and we fret it from above already.  Fingers and hands held low/flat/sideways and fretting with the fat pad of the fingers make weak sounds and can't make stretches as easily.  Read my blog post about " Lazy Fingers "  and see if you can improve your hand/finger position and angle.


2) I hope that everyone who is having a hard time making chord stretches is actually utilizing their thumb and their pinky as well?  I see some people playing chord style dulcimer using only two or three fingers of their left hand.  That really limits the notes you can reach... similar to typing with two fingers.
Guitar, mandolin, and banjo players usually do not fret notes with their thumbs.  But we mountain dulcimer players have a huge advantage there, because we don't need our thumbs to wrap around and hold up the neck of our instruments...instead our instrument lies right in our lap or on a table or stand and our entire left hand and all its 5 fingers are FREE to use in making chords and stretches.   Take advantage of this gift and USE your pinky and thumb for fretting too!   Do a few simple hand exercises every day to strengthen and stretch all your fingers- it works over time and really does make a difference.   muscle


 












It's interesting how the violin technique of raising hands in an arch applies to the dulcimer. Utilizing the thumb and pinky for fretting is a great advantage for dulcimer players. I'll check out your "Lazy Fingers" blog post. Keep making beautiful music!



















shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
01/03/24 02:24:45AM
66 posts

Traditional role of the mountain dulcimer.


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

NateBuildsToys:

It is interesting to think that at a time when European antecedents were 'traditional,' at one point the dulcimer was probably considered an innovative new thing. I wonder if there were once epinette players who saw new fancy zitters shaped like violins with heart shaped soundholes and looked down on them for not being traditional.giggle2

Your real question is too big for me to answer, but I'm sure some folks on here definitely could. If you havent already I recommend joining the Dulcimer History group
https://fotmd.com/ken-longfield/group/38/mountain-dulcimer-history-traditions
and the Dulcimer Ancestors group
https://fotmd.com/strumelia/group/14/dulcimer-ancestors


 

 Imagining epinette players scoffing at the newfangled zitters brings a smile! If you have any more insights or fun anecdotes, feel free to share!

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
12/19/23 02:57:54AM
66 posts

Ron Ewing 6 string dulcimette songs


Dulcimer Resources:TABS/Books/websites/DVDs

Dusty Turtle:

It's true that 6 String Dulcimer group hasn't been too active recently, but remember that you have to actually join a group to see the responses to all the discussions.


I'm sure there are as many responses to this question as there are personal musical styles, but I'm happy to chime in, not with specific song suggestions, but with types of songs and techniques that might be useful.


There are two different attributes to your dulcimer that might suggest special consideration. First, it is an octave instrument.  You can play the same tab as everyone else but will be one octave higher.  Sometimes, you don't have to do anything special and will blend really well. I sometimes take my dulcimette to my monthly dulcimer club and pull it out when we play Southwind, for example.  My dulcimer really stands out from and complements the rest because of the higher register.  But that higher register--and the shorter VSL that allows it--also means that the instrument has less sustain.  The strings just stop ringing (or get really soft) much faster than those of a standard dulcimer.  So one trick is just to play tunes that have lots of notes.  I actually find it easier to play fast fiddle tunes on my smaller dulcimers.  But if you choose tunes with half notes and whole notes, you will want to play a lot of arpeggios, basically playing chords one string at a time to fill in the spaces in the melody.  To see what I mean about using arpeggios to fill in the spaces, check out the version of Raisins and Almonds I posted a while back.


But your dulcimer is also a six-string dulcimer.  I have a six-string baritone dulcimette, and tend to play songs with a lot of strumming.  Fingerpicking doesn't work as well, but fast strumming is really fun with all those double strings. Think of the rhythmic role of a mandolin in a bluegrass band.  Remember, however, that you can also take off the extra strings and have a 3-string instrument.  My baritone dulcimette is currently strung only with three strings and is nice for softer, quieter tunes. In a sense, you have two instruments in one.


Good luck. I'm sure you'll find a bunch of tunes and develop your own style of playing them, something unique to you and your dulcimer.


 

The option to switch between strumming and fingerpicking, and even transforming it into a three-string instrument for a softer tone, adds a whole new dimension to your playing.

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
12/12/23 06:08:12AM
66 posts

Nickel allergy--nylon strings on an octave dulcimer?


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

NateBuildsToys:

I often use mandolin strings on my dulcimer, which are phosphor bronze. At my local music shop, they are only a dollar more than the pack of dulcimer strings but come with 2 of each gauge. They are basically the same gauge as dulcimer strings, and the extra 2 thickest strings can be tuned a fifth lower than the root note, so with one pack you could string up a 4 string dulcimer Dadd and a 3 string dulcimer AEa, or whatever tunings suit your VSL. 

Nate

 

NateBuildsToys:

I often use mandolin strings on my dulcimer, which are phosphor bronze. At my local music shop, they are only a dollar more than the pack of dulcimer strings but come with 2 of each gauge. They are basically the same gauge as dulcimer strings, and the extra 2 thickest strings can be tuned a fifth lower than the root note, so with one pack you could string up a 4 string dulcimer Dadd and a 3 string dulcimer AEa, or whatever tunings suit your VSL. 

Nate

Does it also make it sound better that you use a specially coated string?
shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
12/06/23 04:17:49AM
66 posts

Frank Bond Dulcimer


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

Ken Longfield:

John and Ken gave you the advice I was going to offer. You don't say where you are located in British Columbia but if you are near a shop that works on fretted instruments (guitar, banjo, mandolin, dulcimer, etc.) you should be able to have the proper frets installed. Good luck.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

 

I think it is better to have frets installed by a professional than to DIY it.

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
12/05/23 04:20:49AM
66 posts

Checking in


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Thanks a lot for the mandolin advice. I never thought about easing into it with one string per course, but it makes a lot of sense. I'll definitely keep that in mind as I continue practicing.

shanonmilan
@shanonmilan
11/30/23 11:02:07PM
66 posts

German folk song tabs


Dulcimer Resources:TABS/Books/websites/DVDs

It's fascinating how Zupfgeigenhansel drew inspiration from Breuer's collection and put their unique spin on folk tunes. Adapting songs to suit your own style is a common practice in the folk tradition, and it's great that you've carried on that tradition with the mandolin.

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