Forum Activity for @Ken Longfield

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
07/19/17 08:02:47PM
512 posts

Hollows in a dulcimer top and fretboard?


Building dulcimers

My experience is that it varies from builder to builder.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
07/08/17 09:25:16AM
512 posts

Happy Anniversary!!


Off Topic discussions

Happy Anniversary to all whether you have been here all eight years or just joined. This is a great virtual community. Thank you Lisa and all the moderators who help keep this site moving forward.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
06/25/17 10:21:28AM
512 posts

June Dulcimer


Building dulcimers

It is looking good, Bob. You are really starting to create these instruments on a regular basis. Keep up the good work.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
06/24/17 11:46:29AM
512 posts

We made the paper (in a good way)


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

That's great! Enjoy the fame.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
06/23/17 08:56:26PM
512 posts

Revisiting an old build of my own...


Building dulcimers

I'm sure your niece will treasure the dulcimer even more now that you put the tuners on for her. I hope she has a great time learning to play. Thanks for sharing your story.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
06/19/17 02:59:49PM
512 posts

Mel Bay's "Dulcimer Sessions" articles have all disappeared?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

This is the reply I received today.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

 

Ken,

Thank you for reaching out to us. Dulcimer is an important of our business and your suggestions have been forwarded to our management team for consideration.


Regards,

David Legere
Mel Bay Publications

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
06/18/17 10:02:34PM
512 posts

What Are You Working On?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I'm still working on building a 00 size guitar. It's coming along.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
06/18/17 09:57:48PM
512 posts

Mel Bay's "Dulcimer Sessions" articles have all disappeared?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I did the same thing as Dusty, however I asked if they still had them in a digital format and if they would be willing to place them on another website if they were not going to be available at Mel Bay anymore. If I receive a reply, I will post it here as well.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
06/15/17 07:29:05PM
512 posts

"What was that bell sound I heard at 5pm yesterday" says you


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

For a minute I thought you were talking about our bell choir rehearsal, but we did not have one last night. Glad that you are happy with the dulcimer.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
06/12/17 08:45:06PM
512 posts

Can any one tell me what these are called?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

George quit making those when he stopped making dulcimers. At that point he moved over to building his dulciharps (autoharps) full time. Enjoy your limberjack.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

 

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
05/31/17 10:06:53PM
512 posts

My Next Project


Building dulcimers

Really nice work, Bob. I'm sure she sings sweetly.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
05/19/17 04:50:36PM
512 posts

Mel Bay's "Dulcimer Sessions" articles have all disappeared?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

My guess is that they are completely gone now. For a while I was making hard copies of some of the articles. When I get home I'll look and see if I still have a file of them. Other than that, I can't help. If they are no longer available on the web, this is a great loss to the dulcimer community.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
05/15/17 10:37:03AM
512 posts



Here is the information my friend provided:
"Bruce Henry was an industrial arts teacher. He made dulcimers on the side. His wife Lucy and he played at local historic and town festivals in the noter style. She taugh music in schools. Her main instrument...flute. They live in Montgomery which is over the river and mountain south of Williamsport. I presume they are both alive, but would be in their late 70s or somewhere in their 80s. I do not know if Bruce still makes instruments. I have found that his instruments nearly always need fret work to play well. The fret arrangement was in the traditional 7 fret to an octave. DAA or GCC tuning. He never placed a 6 1/2 fret on his instruments. I'd recommend keeping it that way and use the instrument for traditional noter style playing.

Just Google and find:
C. Bruce Henry, 85, of Montgomery, died Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013"

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
05/14/17 02:51:22PM
512 posts



Well, that confirms it. The Henry I am thinking of is from Montgomery. He was not a prolific maker and sold at craft festivals in the areas around Muncy. Lewisburg, and Danville. I need to check with a friend of mine who knew him to see what he can tell me. I'll let you know what I find out.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
05/13/17 09:31:53PM
512 posts



There is a Henry who makes dulcimers in central Pennsylvania. I think he is from the Danville area. I do not remember his first name or initials. I am away from home and my files. When I get back next week I can look it up.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
04/30/17 09:31:15PM
512 posts

My Next Project


Building dulcimers

It is tough to sell instruments you build. I even have trouble selling instruments that come to me for resale. Once I start playing them, they feel like they are mine, but I console myself with the fact that I just don't have room for that many dulcimers. Might as well let someone else enjoy them.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
04/30/17 10:50:14AM
512 posts

Are you playing on your porch today? -Aug 26, 2017


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

The back porch on my childhood home was very small. Our front porch, on the other hand, was expansive. I remember lazy summer days sitting on that porch and reading books such as Tom Swift Jr. and the Hardy boys. Unfortunately, in those days I did not pay an instrument. It was also fun to listen to the storms come down the Hudson River with the thunder echoing around the mountains. Now we have a very nice back porch and I'll be playing there on August 26 if we are at home then.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
04/28/17 08:12:39PM
512 posts

Leonard Glenn Dulcimer, 1972


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Looks really nice.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
04/24/17 08:47:11PM
512 posts

Glued In Frets?


Building dulcimers

In general, I do not glue in frets. If you cut the proper slot width and press the frets in place that's all that is needed for a good fret holding. I am currently building a guitar and do not know if I will use this method on the guitar. I did not use it in making a banjo. I have used glue with some staple frets when I felt they were a little too loose. I'm not sure I want to mess with the CA glue necessary to do this job.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
04/23/17 06:50:33PM
512 posts

What's fer dinner?


Off Topic discussions

Hmm, I had your dinner for lunch today. Wishing you all success with the bees.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
04/22/17 01:41:52PM
512 posts

Tabs, Straps, & Cords


Off Topic discussions

Very creative. Thanks for sharing.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
04/19/17 08:06:41PM
512 posts

Leonard Glenn Dulcimer, 1972


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Go for it!

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
04/19/17 04:03:26PM
512 posts

Starting a new dulcimer


Building dulcimers

Hi Doug,

Start with a plan, either a blueprint or a book. You can do an Internet search to find places that sell them. I think both Elderly Instruments and the Dulcimer Shoppe sell Scott Antes plans. Dean Kimball's book is still on available and I think Amazon carries it. Have fun building dulcimers.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
04/19/17 03:58:32PM
512 posts

Fred Martin dulcimer help, please


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

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."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
04/14/17 08:58:34AM
512 posts

Rest in peace, Brian Beach


Off Topic discussions

Thank you for sharing this sad news, Jan. My sympathy goes out to all who knew Brian. I enjoyed chatting with him.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
04/03/17 10:26:35AM
512 posts

Poetry celebrating the beautiful music of the Mt. Dulcimer


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Thanks for sharing that poem John.It is beautiful. I'm adding it to my collection of dulcimer related literature.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
04/01/17 07:34:50PM
512 posts

limberjack


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

I don't know about the best place, but you can find limberjacks all over the Internet. The places I would usually suggest are either no longer in business or no longer carry them. Are you sure you don't want to make another one?

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."


updated by @Ken Longfield: 04/01/17 07:35:24PM
Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
03/24/17 09:09:25PM
512 posts

What are you reading right now?


Off Topic discussions

Dear Bob and Sue by Matt and Karen Smith. They visit all 58 national parks and write about it.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
03/20/17 09:29:21PM
512 posts

How does humidity affect a mahogany dulcimer?


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

Humidity swells wood. A well constructed dulcimer should not suffer from humidity. If you are going to play outside in high humidity for 14 or 15 hours a day, you might have a problem. If you play mostly inside in a humidity controlled environment, you should have few, if any, problems. My philosophy is that if you are comfortable, your instrument will be comfortable.

I wouldn't over matter much about this.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."


updated by @Ken Longfield: 03/21/17 04:49:14PM
Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
03/18/17 05:28:34PM
512 posts

Fret Material


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

Frets wear due to the pressure of the strings on them. Do you press really hard on the strings? If so, you might notices some grooves in the fret board as well. Another factor is the amount of playing time. Do you play 23 hours a day, seven days a week? I have not used stainless steel frets, but I understand that they hold up to even the toughest playing. I'm not familiar with the Evo fret material. I have no experience with it. If you can't adjust your playing pressure, you may need to try the harder frets.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
03/14/17 11:41:43AM
512 posts

What are you reading right now?


Off Topic discussions

Currently reading Ghost Ship by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown. I finished both the Jefferson book and the latest issue of Fretboard Journal.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."


updated by @Ken Longfield: 03/14/17 04:35:50PM
Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
03/12/17 11:23:28PM
512 posts

Stand-Up Stands


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

That's a great idea, Ken. My son left a keyboard stand in the attic when he moved out, but my concern has been that it isn't that sturdy when strumming. I'll have to dig it out and give it a try. The tray table looks to be more stable. If mother nature has its way, I may have plenty of time to do that on Tuesday after shoveling snow.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
03/10/17 04:09:15PM
512 posts

A New "Old" Project


Building dulcimers

Yes, it does look like a Black Mountain kit. Those sound holes are bell shaped, sort of. It will take a lot of sanding to clean it up. I may end up painting it. Who knows? This will be a challenge.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
03/10/17 03:45:19PM
512 posts

A New "Old" Project


Building dulcimers

Back maybe 20 to 25 years ago, my sister was wandering through a yard sale in Silver Spring, MD. She came across a partially assembled mountain dulcimer in a plastic bag. I think she told me she paid $2 for it. Could have been less, I don't remember, but certainly no more than that. The back was glued to the sides, the top had the fretboard glued to it, but they were not glued together. The end block and peg head were glued to the  back and sides. There were problems with everything lining up correctly. I took it apart sometime in the past, but life became too busy for me to work on. It has been sitting on a shelf under one of my workbenches for all these years. It is a kit that someone started and then ran in to problems with the assembly. I decided to get it out from under the bench and put it back together. My first job is to clean all the pieces. The sides need to be bent back to shape. The top was broken apart and glued back together (before I received it). That repair does not look too bad, but I will put a few small cleats along the crack to make sure it does not separate again. Here are two photos. One is of the pieces and the other one is a close up of the repaired crack.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

 


IMG_1850.jpg IMG_1850.jpg - 1.9MB
Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
03/07/17 08:55:31PM
512 posts

PA German Zitter


Building dulcimers

Yes, those are home made strings. 0.022 for the Ds and 0.016 for the As. Lisa, I'm tweaking the instrument at the moment and hope to make a video soon. I was not happy with the first video; not enough volume.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
03/07/17 10:29:15AM
512 posts

PA German Zitter


Building dulcimers

The walnut stain is easy to make. Take walnuts in the hulls and put them in a bucket. Heat water bringing it to a boil and then pour the water over the walnuts. Cover the walnuts with water. Let this stand for six to eight weeks. Pour the walnut/water mix into another bucket covered with cheese cloth to strain out the hulls, nuts, etc. If you notice a great amount of solids still in the mix you can strain it again. I used some applesauce jars to store the stain pouring it from the bucket into the jars. This is a water-based stain, so it will raise the grain. Sanding will be needed between each coat of stain. You control the color by the number of coats of stain you apply. I did not use a sanding sealer given the water-based stain. I am fortunate to have a large supply of walnuts from the tree behind our house.

The tuning head is glued to the back which spans the entire length of the instrument from head to end block. The top also covers the top of the head and end block. The sides are fit between the head and tail block.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
03/06/17 07:00:43PM
512 posts

PA German Zitter


Building dulcimers

Well, I'm nearing completion, so it is time to share the latest photos. I'll be tweaking this for a few more days. I made some compromises. I did not like the nail nut and bridge, so I made them out of oak. The dimensions are correct as are the sound holes. I changed to zither tuning pins rather than harpsichord pin and screws. I have it strung with three 0.016 strings (tuned to A) and two 0.20 strings (solid, tuned to D). As you would expect it is not very loud. I tried making a video, but I am not happy with. I'll try again to see if I can get some better sound. You will notice that the poplar is considerable darker from my homemade walnut stain. Here a few photos (not very good as the lighting was not very good0. Hope to take better ones if I get some sun in the next few days.


IMG_1844.jpg IMG_1844.jpg - 639KB
Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
03/06/17 05:30:06PM
512 posts

Recommendations for new strings and new a bridge?


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

I agree with Dusty. Check the string calculator. It tends to give a "lighter" gauge string setting so you can always go up, e.g., if it says 0.010 you can use an 0.011 or 0.012. For a 27 VSL I like .011, .013, and .024. As for the bridge material, what is the nut made of? Most builders use the same material for the nut and the bridge. Just match it.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
@Ken Longfield
02/26/17 03:48:06PM
512 posts

Which is middle C for Dulcimer tuning - C3 or C4


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

On a standard 88 key piano, middle C is C4. Middle C has a frequency of 261.63 Hz. Yamaha uses C3 because that corresponds to MIDI note 60.When the note is pressed, you are actually playing a frequency of 261.63 Hz. If you set your tuner to A=440 Hz. As Dusty says, the D is below middle C, A below middle C, and d above middle C if you tune DAd.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

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