What's fer dinner?
OFF TOPIC discussions
Last night my sweetie made roasted spaghetti squash (from a neighbor's garden) with tomato/garlic/basil sauce and a salad (all from our garden!). Delicious.
The band I play in, The Mound City Slickers, are kicking around tunes to record for a new CD that we'd hope to release next Spring. One of the ideas we've talked about is crowd sourcing the funding for the CD. Of course, being the musical promotion "geniuses" we are (completely not), we have no experience with this. Does anyone on these boards have experience and an inclination to give us some pointers? Best sites to use? Do you absolutely need a video? Etc.
Of course I remember you now that you sparked my synapses. That was a fun weekend. Pretty much any time spent with Don is a fun time.
Truth is, I have a love for old traditional jazz and novelty songs, but I am not all that knowledgeable. Fortunately almost everything I want to know is just a Google search away.
DulcimerJones (or can I just call you "Jonesie"?),
It holds a lot of memories for me, too. My mom used to sing it to me when I was but a little shaver. I forgot about it completely until recently when I started playing it again with a ragtime pianist of my acquaintance. He plays the original 3-part tune "Iola" from 1904.
Then in 1940, a fella named Saxie Dowell stole the middle part for his song, "Playmates". Johnson sued over the plagarism and won. However, at the time "Playmates" became popular. Kay Kyser had a hit with it with Sully Mason and His Playmates on vocals, as did a few other people.
In 1955, Which is probably the version that you and I are familiar with, the record was a hit for The Fontane Sisters.
Even more recently, it was used in The Addams Family movie with vocals by The Kipper Kids.
And there you have more than you ever needed to know about "Iola: A Ragtime Intermezzo".
Spent some time this weekend working on "Iola" from 1906 by Charles L. Johnson, who also wrote "Dill Pickle Rag". It's a sweet tune. The chorus was stolen for a more recent (1940) pop song, "Playmates" with the lyric
Say, say, oh playmate,
Come out and play with me
And bring your dollies three,
Climb up my apple tree.
Shout down my rain barrel,
Slide down my cellar door,
And we'll be jolly friends forevermore.
I'm going to have to try an unwound string for the bass. Thanks to all for the unwound posts!
Why non-wound for the bass string? Is it sound, feel of the winding or cost? I don't think I've met anyone else who doesn't use a wound bass string.
I tend not to worry about VSL so much when choosing strings as I do about what sounds good on a given instrument. For the most part, I buy bulk banjo strings in .012, .014 and a wrapped .024 gauge. However, I sometimes use .010s or .011s for melody strings if that's all I have on hand.
On a beautiful Modern Mountain dulcimer I had (gee, I wish I hadn't sold that to a student a few years ago!) made of poplar, spruce and Osage orange wood, I used .011, .014, and a nickle-wrapped .022 because it was just to bright sounding with a .024.
As always, my recommendation is that you experiment with different strings, different winding materials and see what works best for you. Strings are inexpensive and only take a few minutes to change.
Karen and I both keep coming back to John Stinson's #2 because there are so many cool things to do with the chords. We usually keep the same song structure each time, but we make subtle voicing and chord changes pretty much every single time that we play it. Bing Futch taught me that tune a few years ago in Palestine, TX. I'm really glad that he did.
Stinson's (or Stenson's) #2 is a great tune and fun to play. Do you play it in the key of D or in A as most fiddlers do? After years of playing it D ~ I learned it from a dulcimer player ~ I have mostly switched to playing it in A, since that's what local fiddlers want it in and I'm, of course, happy to oblige.
LOL. Rob, I'm not over thinking this. I just mean fun. Sometimes the fun comes from working out a complex tune and the good feel in in the fingers that induces. Sometimes it's just a tune that makes me smile or laugh any time I play it. Fun for you can mean anything you want it to.
As I always told my daughter when she was a kid, "It's all fun until somebody loses a finger. Just ask Jerry Garcia."
So, folks on the FOTMD, where you playin' at next?
I'll be kicking it up with my band, The Mound City Slickers on the porch of the Peers Store near Marthasville, MO tomorrow from noon until 3 in the afternoon. Come on by if you're in the neighborhood.
Now tell me about you!
Just throwing this out for the crowd.
What's the tune you've had the most fun playing?
For me, of course, and I'm sure for you, it changes all the time. Right now, I'd have to say that I'm having a ton of fun playing Charlie Poole's "If The River Was Whiskey", a sort of old-time country version of "Hesitation Blues". I hadn't played if for years and years, but heard someone playing it on the excellent AMERICAN EPIC series on PBS. Now I can't get it out of my head or my fingers.
I am somewhat “unstuck in time,” so my recollection of dates is shaky at the best of times. But I’m guessing this was 12 or 15 years ago. I attended a workshop given by Don Pedi at a dulcimer festival at Pere Marquette Park in Illinois. It inspired me in much the same way that hearing Roscoe Holcomb or Howling Wolf for the first time inspired me. I knew immediately that this man and his playing were reaching me on a very basic level. I had been playing the dulcimer for some years and knew what I wanted it to sound like but everyone I knew, at that time, who played the instrument played in a much more genteel way that didn’t do much for me.
That first meeting with Don showed me that what I wanted to do was not only achievable, but could be thrilling and I’ve never looked back since. He and I don’t play exactly alike (he’s much better than I am, but our approaches to the instrument are completely sympatico), but I think we are heading to the same place, musically.
Added to that, Don is a genuinely nice and wise man. And I’m proud to call him my friend.
I think the first time I ever heard a mountain dulcimer was on a Richard and Mimi Farina record back in the late 1960's. A couple of years later, when I was about 15, I had a big crush on a girl who went to school with me. She played the dulcimer and I played the guitar. So, of course, I got real interested in the dulcimer. Unfortunately, Barbara wasn't as interested in me or my guitar as I was in her and we remained acquaintances. I ever after did like the sound of the dulcimer, though.
Thanks for starting this thread, Lisa. It's good to reflect on this stuff once in a while.
My aspirations are pretty simple.
I want to continue to play for as many years as I can. Violet Hensley and Vesta Johnson are role models, still playing fiddle well on into their 90's.
To have fun playing tunes with friends (those I know now and those I haven't yet met). So far, it's going well. The band I play with, The Mound City Slickers , is fantastic and a more fun bunch of old boinkers you couldn't find.
To continue to improve as a musician and as a human being, incidentally.
To learn to be more effective as a teacher so that I can inspire new players to have as much fun and fulfillment as I've gotten out of music over the years.
If I can hit those goals, I'll be pretty happy and lucky.
Tuning the banjo to play in A, I usually tune AEAC#E. For the dulcimer I'd tune to EAE or EAD depending on the tune.
Both of these work for accompanying the fiddle in either standard or cross-tuning (AEAE) for tunes in A.
What is the one tune or song that eludes you? The one you always think, "I'd like to work that one out some day" but somehow you never get around to it, or when you do it doesn't quite come out right.
For me, it's "The Lost Girl" a tune in G from Emmett Lundy, though I think I first heard it played by Geoff Seitz here in St. Louis. It's a beautiful, circular kind of tune that I never can manage to make as smooth as I hear it in my head.
Forgive me for being late to the party on this thread. Besides mountain dulcimer, I play ukuleles, guitar, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, tin whistle and harmonica (the last two quite poorly!). If you're interested in seeing me in action, click here: Mound City Slickers @ KDHX Radio, St. Louis, MO . I'm the fellow playing the banjo-uke and singing.
My first dulcimer was one that I built from a McSpadden kit way back in 1969 or '70. I am far from being handy with tools and the instrument that resulted was pretty terrible. because of my 'craftsmanship' it was virtually unplayable. But I was sweet on a girl (Barb Schlemm... I wonder whatever happened to her) who played dulcimer back then and it seemed like the best idea in the world to be able to play dulcimer with her, so I gave it a shot. Of course, that didn't work out since the strings were so high off the fretboard they could barely be pressed to a fret to make an out-of-tune note.
That little instrument (and I use the term loosely) sat in my closet for 10 years or so and eventually got disposed of in a yard sale.
Fortunately, many years later, I got a good instrument and actually learned to play the thing. And the rest is history.
Another alternative would be to get an inexpensive 3/4 size violin bow like those that are used for kids learning Suzuki method. Those work well for a ukelin and shouldn't cost over $20 or $30.
More information on ukelins here: http://www.studiobobo.com/ukelin/playing.html#anchor1401612
I have a couple of Snark tuners and use them with dulcimer, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, ukulele, banjo - pretty much everything. They're pretty much my go-to tuner these days. I have had the head slip out of the neck on occasion, but it's easily pushed back into the ball joint.
Another good one (I don't use it, but it's gaining a lot of popularity among musicians in St. Louis) is the D'Addario NS Micro Clip-On tuner. It seems especially popular among the local fiddlers.