Forum Activity for @robert-schuler

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
07/18/21 11:17:26AM
246 posts

Any banjo players out there?


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Back in 1971 I had a cheap what some call a bottle cap banjo. A good Vega banjo was around $300. I could not afford one. Then 30 years later they were in the one to three thousand dollar range. I thought I could build a shop and build my own for less. I did!. I've got long necks, short scale, normal scale, fretless, semi fretless, six string. 10" , 11" , 12" pots , block rims, plywood rims, brass tone rings, wood tone rings. I had to restrain myself from building more and focus on dulcimers. All together they cost me about the same as one high quality open back banjo....Robert

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
07/04/21 11:28:40AM
246 posts

What's fer dinner?


OFF TOPIC discussions

I planted tomatoes in an unheated greenhouse back in April which is well over a month before normal date for outdoor garden planting. 

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
07/03/21 04:33:43PM
246 posts

What's fer dinner?


OFF TOPIC discussions

Now that I'm picking vine ripe tomatoes it's going to be cheese and tomato sandwiches from now on

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
05/25/21 01:13:06PM
246 posts

Making a dulcimer humidity resistant?


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

I build dulcimers in a humid coastal climate and I do worry about shipping a dulcimer to very dry climates. So far I've had no complaints. I  always use aged dry wood to start with and that helps.

All instruments need a time to acclimate to there new home.

I would be more concerned if the dulcimer has wood pegs. Wood pegs are like barometers when the climate dries I  know  because I'll hear strings popping in the night!. 

Back in the sixties during the guitar boom, made in Japan imported instruments came with a thick plastic like finish to survive the ocean crossing. Which is why they sounded so bad.

Today imports are shipped climate controlled.

I would say start with good aged wood and a good thin oil finish and cut your fret slots with a saw intended for fret tang dimensions  and you'll be ok... Robert 

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
03/24/21 10:48:43PM
246 posts

What's fer dinner?


OFF TOPIC discussions

I made that pie without sugar. Normally the recipe calls for 3 quarter of a  cup of sugar!. Imagine sitting down for dinner and eating ,3/4 cup of sugar. Yuk. 

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
03/23/21 10:26:41PM
246 posts

What's fer dinner?


OFF TOPIC discussions

I made Apple pie for dinner. I didn't intend to eat only Apple pie, but it was so good I didn't care for anything else..... Robert

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
02/19/21 06:07:42PM
246 posts

The Positive Thread...


OFF TOPIC discussions

Lisa, your plant points toward the promise of spring.....Robert

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
01/05/21 06:05:31PM
246 posts

"Floating" Fretboards


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

A Fingerboard can easily account for 25% of the soundboard. So raising it has to make a difference. You only need to raise it a couple millimeters. I prefer to hollow out under the Fingerboard and leave 4 mm. on each side glued to the top. I add a soundhole on the fingerboard like I've seen on some Galax dulcimers, that might help tone a bit and looks cool too.

I think restraining the top with a glued fingerboard can actually help in making that very  intimate tone that is unique to dulcimers. Although I welcome those who push the envelope we better be careful not to end up with dulcimers that sound like skinny guitars....Robert

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
12/21/20 06:14:11PM
246 posts

Healthy Living- healthy eating, exercise, weight loss, veggie gardening, etc.


OFF TOPIC discussions

I highly recommend Johnnys Selected Seeds in Winslow ME. They have the largest selection of seed for sprouts and micro greens. All are organic and definitely not treated with fungicides. Check them out.... Robert

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
12/13/20 06:48:05PM
246 posts

Healthy Living- healthy eating, exercise, weight loss, veggie gardening, etc.


OFF TOPIC discussions

Nice sprouts! I making dinner  and would love a bunch of them NOW.

Just picked the last of my romaine lettuce from the field. I had them on raised beds covered with black plastic mulch so frost never got them. Cold weather really brings out the flavor... Robert

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
12/09/20 09:18:50PM
246 posts

A W Jeffreys Jr.


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

My Jeffreys dulcimer is 49 years old today!. Number 1865. I still remember the excitement I had the day it arrived. Still in perfect condition. It became the model I use to make my own instruments. I never seen a dulcimer in real life before but it started me on a great journey into traditional old time music... Robert

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
11/26/20 11:47:00PM
246 posts

Action is too low


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

Sight down the Fingerboard it may be warped. Try putting a very thin shim under the bass side of the bridge. A shim should be no thicker than a guitar pick. That might solve the problem. You might just have a fret that's too high in some spot. Check to see if all frets are set properly. A gentle tap with a hammer might fix that. Perhaps the frets were not leveled properly by the builder. Dulcimers are not rock guitars, raising the action with a taller bridge is fine, and the tone and volume will definitely sound better.... Robert

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
09/12/20 02:21:18PM
246 posts

Healthy Living- healthy eating, exercise, weight loss, veggie gardening, etc.


OFF TOPIC discussions

Here in South Jersey we've been continually blasted with rain and humidity since June. My and my neighbors vegetable farms are looking poorly. But I still have plenty of food for myself and family. Lately I have been going stir crazy, stir fry crazy that is ☺. 

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
08/26/20 11:05:10PM
246 posts

Assessing Tone


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

I took 12 dulcimers that I built exactly alike. Only difference was the mixture of woods. Each one had its own distinct tone. As it should be. But all sounded good. Every piece of wood even from the same stock will have different densities and different vibration characteristics. larger or deeper body's don't necessarily sound better or louder. Nice thing about guitars is that you can go to any music store and compare, unfortunately that doesn't work for dulcimers. Buy from a reputable builder and stay away from the very low priced imports... Robert.

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
08/17/20 03:33:59PM
246 posts

If I Had a Hammer (dulcimer) but no left-hand


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

I built a HD in 2006. I keep it in my dining room and play it rarely. But I love the sound. If your right handed, learning the left hand isn't too hard. I found by only using the left hand gave me a degree of coordination. Still it comes down to practice. Changing to lighter hammers helps as does adding felt edges to soften the tone. One thing I would do if I built another is color the soundboard dark with walnut stain. It makes seeing the strings easier... Robert

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
05/04/20 03:20:09PM
246 posts

Is the strumhollow redundant?


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

I add a strum hollow on all the dulcimers I build. I assume my customers expect it. And it looks cool. But do you need one? I would say no. Personally I never play over the hollow. Usually it's over the twelfth to sixteenth fret area. But I can see it's usefulness with finger picking. Metal finger picks especially.... Robert.

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
04/21/20 04:14:43PM
246 posts

Healthy Living- healthy eating, exercise, weight loss, veggie gardening, etc.


OFF TOPIC discussions

I plant five acres of vegetables by myself for my roadside market so I get plenty of exercise. Around here in zone 7b there are hundreds of vegetable farms planting already. But for exercise, I would rather be riding my bike. Especially since traffic is alot less now. Only about 350 cases in my county so being out in the fresh air is quite liberating. I pray everyone gets through this... Robert.

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
03/12/20 03:01:51PM
246 posts

The Positive Thread...


OFF TOPIC discussions

Robin Thompson:

There's a pot of tomato-based bean soup cooking on the stove now for lunch.  It is a sunny and warm-ish day here in our neck of the woods.  So, maybe lunch out on the front porch.  :)

I've got a pot of chicken soup on the stove. Trying to do farm chores with a pot cooking on the stove is a bit of a challenge. You know, being two places at once. Not a bad day for some porch picking too.... Robert

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
12/02/19 12:29:52PM
246 posts

John Molineux uses a striker on a mountain dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Thanks Robin for such a lovely video. I use a hammer from my hammered dulcimer. HD hammers have just the right balance, making it easier to pick out individual notes, and create that distinctive bouncy sound... Robert

 

 

 

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
10/11/19 11:20:36AM
246 posts

McSpadden Possum Board Volume


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

Anybody who has played a dulcimer knows how much better they sound when the back is unrestrained. Possum boards really help but mostly they allow an easy way to free up the back plate to vibrate freely.Any hardwood will help reflect sound a little bit not very much. I did an experiment playing with my birch possum board then covering board with sheet  brass. Followed that by covering board with a cotton kitchen dish towel. There was barely any difference in volume. Just raising back of dulcimer any way you can is all you need.

Somewhere I saw someone who mounted a dulcimer on an acoustic table that acted as a resonator. I have to build one someday... Robert.

 

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
08/10/19 11:32:54PM
246 posts

Play Music On The Porch Day 2019


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

This Saturday was the first pleasant Saturday all summer to play on my porch, so I got a head start. Only had a hour to spare but it was time well spent!. Cherokee shuffle, Over the waterfall, Seneca square dance, Boatman, Girl I left behind, Big Sioty, Saint Ann's reel. And some basic noodling, I love noodling...

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
06/16/19 07:29:17PM
246 posts

Healthy Living- healthy eating, exercise, weight loss, veggie gardening, etc.


OFF TOPIC discussions

Slate Creek Dulcimers: Two miles on the fatbike today. Had to push about 1/4 mile of it. I'll gradually increase by about 1/2 mile per day until I get back to 8 to 10 miles.

I find if I ride often I can quickly build myself up to longer distances each time. Land here is flat so its easier for me... Robert.

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
06/13/19 10:04:37PM
246 posts

Healthy Living- healthy eating, exercise, weight loss, veggie gardening, etc.


OFF TOPIC discussions

Andreas Fischer:

Thats true.
And i am taking the chance to find the way between those extremes.

I remember how it was with 178 kg, just leaving the house made me be exhausted and completely out of air. I hade to wait before i was able to put on the safetybelts in the car. My heart did feel like it want to burst, i think i was close to get a heart attack or a stroke. I was so unfitt, taking a shower was nearly unpossible or just putting on socks was a terrible task and i had to take a breake between the socks.

Now i walk without pain and my lungs and heart feel ok.

And riding the bike will make me even fitter. And loosing more weight will make it much better. And i am looking forward, that feels good.

I could think about that i was down to 112 kg already and did gain weight up to 150 again, that was not good but thats past and soon i will be under 112 kg ;-)

I suffered from chronic knee pain for 30 years. Got a bicycle 15 years ago, a hybrid type not one of those road bikes. Riding solved my knee pain, never suffered again! No pills no elastic braces. I wish everyone would ride and play music, it would really make us all healthier... 

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
06/13/19 09:58:58PM
246 posts

Healthy Living- healthy eating, exercise, weight loss, veggie gardening, etc.


OFF TOPIC discussions

Robin Thompson:

@Robert-Shuler I hope you're moving today!  Are they pumpkins good for pies?  :) Pumpkin pie is my favorite.  

A lot of pumpkin pies for sure!. I promised to give myself a day off and recoup, maybe learn a new old fiddle tune. But I'm only 65, still a kid yet. I recoup fast... Robert

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
06/12/19 11:23:32PM
246 posts

Healthy Living- healthy eating, exercise, weight loss, veggie gardening, etc.


OFF TOPIC discussions

Just transplanted 2 acres of pumpkin plants by hand. Countless deep knee bends lots of fresh air and sunshine. I'll be lucky if I'll be able to move tomorrow!... Robert.

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
05/03/19 02:22:45PM
246 posts

Healthy Living- healthy eating, exercise, weight loss, veggie gardening, etc.


OFF TOPIC discussions

Strumelia:

Well I know most folks here live in garden zones that ahead of me here in new york.  flower


But yesterday I was able to pick enough lettuce leaves for us to have a nice salad for dinner.  I also put on a generous handful of fresh alfalfa sprouts that I grow in jars in our kitchen all winter. Then added grated carrot and zucchini, sliced radishes, and a few little sardines on the side (yeah I know some of you would hate that, but hey it's healthy and we like it!)  We think of canned whole sardines as our own cheap version of English kippers or Norwegian or Danish herring side dishes.  bigsmile  


Anyway, it was a good fresh salad!



I love sardines, I'm picking asparagus, sells so fast never have any for myself. The frozen food company down road is cutting spinach, fresh pea harvesting starts soon. Looking forward to enjoying garden fresh food again. 

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
03/15/19 02:14:08PM
246 posts

Playing dulcimers with different VSL


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Dusty Turtle:

As @Robert-Schuler explains, it is easier to finger certain chords on smaller dulcimers, which is why my main dulcimer now has a 25" VSL.  But there is also a trade-off, as shorter strings in general have less sustain.

Less sustain is not necessarily true. My 26" vsl models  tunes to dadd pitch two inches sooner than a 28" vsl so there is less tension on the strings allowing for sustain. There is a lot less chance for string breakage as well. ..Robert

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
03/10/19 09:46:59PM
246 posts

Playing dulcimers with different VSL


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Short scale dulcimers are much easier to finger when playing chords. I mostly build with 26" VSL. It's a happy medium...Robert

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
03/08/19 10:51:40AM
246 posts

My 40 year old box of harmonicas


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Don Grundy: I have a number of harmonicas. Learning to play the diatonic well is difficult. Google Buddy Greene at Carnegie Hall. I have primarily play my chromatics. When I need the sharp or flat I push a button. And I like to play Broadway music as well as folk music and jazz.

Don, I often desire a chromatic. Problem is mine have broken reeds. I have sent them to Hohner for repair which gets a bit expensive. I always think of "someday" learning to repair reeds myself, but someday never seems to come. 

This is a great time to get into harmonica since new companies are offering instruments with different tuning options, even custom tuning to order. Sometimes I think Hohner is stuck in the past and is reluctant to innovate... Robert

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
01/24/19 09:23:45PM
246 posts

Top/Back Thickness and Sustain?


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

I use 1/8" . I tried. 3/16 on my first dulcimers but didn't sound as good. I would love to try 1/16 but then you get into bracing, which might restrain sustain. I think thinner wood would be better if only it were stable... Robert.

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
12/18/18 10:15:07AM
246 posts

McSpadden Friction peg replacement


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

What kind of pegs do you have?. Are they wood violin or metal type with screw in the end. The metal type can be replaced with new ones for under $30. Robert

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
12/12/18 09:55:35PM
246 posts

Show Us Your Pets!


OFF TOPIC discussions

This is Fodderwing. She is an orphan who's mom was hit by a car. Not my pet but comes up to the back porch to visit  occasionally. She actually came over to greet a deer hunter who hunts my farm!. The guy was dumbfounded to see this deer following him around. To cute to shoot.... Robert


IMG_20181123_153640.jpg IMG_20181123_153640.jpg - 288KB
robert schuler
@robert-schuler
11/26/18 01:04:56PM
246 posts

Bowed Psalteries


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Don't be afraid to try alternative tunings. I have one model tuned to C minor. Another in diatonic on right side matching my dulcimers. With two bows I use left side lower notes as drone notes. Upper strings tuned to flats. And another in classic chromatic. Enjoy your psaltery.... Robert

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
09/03/18 03:10:43PM
246 posts

Hammered Dulcimer Hammers


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

I recently made a set 9" that I really enjoy. I upped the length from 8" . The longer hammers add a bit more bounce. Different woods, lengths, weights. There's no end to finding the prefect hammer. But its fun... Robert

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
05/14/18 08:49:09PM
246 posts

Pick paranoia!


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

I make my picks from various plastic lids and containers. They fit my loose style of strumming. No matter which pick you choose always be sure they can't fit into the sound holes. I'm always amazed how easily a pick can fall into one.😂...Robert

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
05/01/18 09:44:10PM
246 posts

NDD - McSpadden 26 vsl (thumbs up)


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

Although there is no excuse for poor workmanship, dulcimers are unique among string instruments in that they have two popular fretting setups. Old time traditional dulcimers are fretted in Just intonation. This setup is ideal for 155 tuning like Daa but won't play in tune in ddaD. Equal tempered setups are like guitars etc. And will play in 158 like ddaD and don't sound as well in 155. Before you toss your dulcimer be sure you know which setup you have... Robert

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
04/20/18 09:55:59AM
246 posts



It only takes $50 worth of wood to make the finest sounding dulcimer. The rest is care and craftsmanship. Dulcimer are the most grossly undervalued of all handmade stringed instruments.  BC dulcimer price reflects the true value if one were to build dulcimers as a business.

Most small builders like myself build as a labor of love for the dulcimer. I think I speak for other builders on this site when I say the compensation i get is seeing the joy people get from playing my dulcimers...Robert

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
03/27/18 11:14:36AM
246 posts

NDD - McSpadden 26 vsl (thumbs up)


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

I build most of my dulcimers with 26" scale. I find it more practical in many ways. Easier fingering and chording are the two best advantages, especially for people with smaller hands. Also your much less likely to break strings.

Many of us play guitar and almost all guitars are universality between 24.75" to 25.5" so transition is easy. Longer scales like 28 to 30" are great for ND but string tension is much greater. 

Greater string tension limits a strings ability to vibrant, so a longer scale can actually sound poorer when tuned in D4.

I built a lot of dulcimers and there are many factors affecting tone and volume. First thing a builder learns is what they are and how to build them into a dulcimer. That's the fun part... Robert

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
01/06/18 03:41:51PM
246 posts

What's fer dinner?


OFF TOPIC discussions

Dinner tonight includes my last three home grown tomatoes. It be six long months before the next tomato... Robert

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