Introduce Yourself!

Teddy Hart
Teddy Hart
@teddy-hart
3 weeks ago
9 posts

@ken-longfield  sun thank you for thinking of me, sir.  In these instances, where we face these immense and overwhelming circumstances, I think that it is mostly not about us at all..  we are simply being swept along by something that we cannot even create a clear conception of....  in come cases, we benefit, and it is a thing to recognize, and to be grateful for.  

So, it seems that we both have quite a bit to be grateful for.  We are fortunate.

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
3 weeks ago
874 posts

Teddy, I thought of you at worship this morning. Psalm 30 was the appointed Psalm. I particularly liked verses 2 & 3: "O Lord, my God, I cried out to you and your restored my health. You brought me up, O Lord, from the dead; you restored my life as I was going down to the grave." These verses were particularly meaningful for me before and after my open heart surgery which was almost a year and half ago now.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Teddy Hart
Teddy Hart
@teddy-hart
3 weeks ago
9 posts

@ken-hulme  I think that I will enjoy playing in styles that are both bagpipe-like, and also entirely unlike what I already know...  that is the thing about embarking on a new thing;  the entire world is suddenly wide open to you.  I am really enjoying this already, and I haven't even received the instrument yet, lol.  Thank you so much for your help.  I have literally everything to learn.

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
3 weeks ago
1,926 posts

Teddy -- Traditionally only the Melody string (or couplet) nearest to you is fretted to make the notes.  The other two strings are Drones.  If you fret the Melody string(s)  with a small finger-sized stick, we call that stick a Noter, and the style is Noter & Drone.  If you fret only the Melody string(s) with one or two fingers we call that Fingerdancing.  If you fret across all three course of strings we call that non-traditional style Chord-Melody.  For the most bagpipe-like sound you'll want to focus on Noter & Drone or Fingerdancing because they emphasize the Drones.

Teddy Hart
Teddy Hart
@teddy-hart
3 weeks ago
9 posts

@richard-streib  I have been a professed monk in a monastic order for a very long time, sir.  When I was in the hospital, I often received visits from clergy and consecrated lay brothers and sisters (monks/nuns), as well as from clerics from various denominations who would come and spend a few moments with me, offering their quiet presence.  During the months that I spend in the hospital, I took comfort in knowing that I was prepared for however things turned out.  I can affect very little insofar as how these things play out.  The priests, monks, and nuns who visited me similarly were unable to change how things turned out, though I very much appreciated their calm, quiet presence when they visited me.  I have no control over most of what takes place in my life.  I was fortunate in a way;  my decades of practice as a contemplative monastic prepared me to accept whatever life unfolded to me in any given breath-moment.  (this came as a pleasant surprise). 

I was an ordinand in my third year of seminary when I found myself going into surgery, with no certainty, and no clear idea of how life-changing the experience would be, ultimately; or whether I would have any lifespan remaining at all.

Whatever the circumstances, I am alive, I am mobile, I am not dependent upon infusions, machines, or appliances, and I am able to eat and drink and my body functions normally (mostly;  everything that was in there is no longer in there, and there is something of a 'new normal' but I will accept that with gratitude, along with whatever physical pain remains).

As I write this response (01 May 2022), I am preparing for the formal conclusion of the seminary academic program which will take place tomorrow evening.  If I am able to meet all of the academic and other requirements, I anticipate ordination to the Priesthood on 03 or 04 June of this year (I am currently a transitional deacon, reading for holy orders to be ordained as a religious-order priest ((priest-monk)) ). 

Please keep me in your prayers.  I am not entirely convinced that I am worthy of this... though I am also aware that it is not about me at all.  But, I will accept prayers in support of my vocation with humility and gratitude, sir.

Perhaps, if things go well, I will be able to return the gift of a calm, quiet presence (at the very least) to some other poor soul who is facing an uncertain future while hospitalized, and perhaps be able to provide them with some small degree of comfort in a difficult moment.  _/|\_

Teddy Hart
Teddy Hart
@teddy-hart
3 weeks ago
9 posts

@ken-hulme  Thanks Ken for the article.  I like the idea of a 'stringed bagpipe' and I very much would love to be able to play the Scottish and Irish tunes that I have played on the pipes, on the dulcimer (although, there is a maxim in piping that the only tunes you still love are the ones you haven't learned to play yet, since, by the time you are able to play a tune with any competence, you have come to hate it, lol!)  I don't know what Fingerdance syle is...  but it sounds intriguing.  

Richard Streib
Richard Streib
@richard-streib
4 weeks ago
189 posts

Best wishes Teddy on your dulcimer journey. Thanks for your testimony of God bringing you through a very serious condition. I echo what the others have posted. When you get your dulcimer enjoy it. Ask any questions you have. We are here to support you and help you.

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
4 weeks ago
1,926 posts

Welcome Home, Teddy -- in many ways!   

The good news is that you can think of your dulcimer as a sort of "stringed bagpipe"!  It has the same melody and drone setup as the GBH.  There is even a specific tuning called Bagpipe Tuning -- Ddd.  Coincidentally, the dulcimer also excels at renditions of classic Scots and Irish tunes, the Border Ballads and more, particularly when played in Noter & Drone or Fingerdance style, which emphasize the drone nature of the dulcimer.  I've been playing those ballads and tunes for decades!

To get you ready for your new "friend", here's a link to an article I wrote several years ago, called I Just Got A Dulcimer, Now What? .   It's an illustrated glossary of dulcimer tunes (so we all speak the same jargon), plus answers to many beginner questions about the tuning, playing, care and feeding of your instrument.  

Ken Hulme's "I Just Got A Dulcimer, Now What?" Article - Strumelia | fotmd.com

Teddy Hart
Teddy Hart
@teddy-hart
4 weeks ago
9 posts

@john-c-knopf  Thank you, John.  Its a pleasure to meet you, sir.  I am glad every moment of every day.  Nothing is guaranteed, and anything can happen.  I plan to do my very best to make the most that possibly can out of each moment going forward, and I am really happy and looking forward to learning how to play this instrument, hearing it, admiring it, and learning about it...  and to share the journey with my fellow dulcimer players.  This is a really nice community. 

Teddy Hart
Teddy Hart
@teddy-hart
4 weeks ago
9 posts

@irene  Thank you so much for your response, Irene.  For whatever reason, I am indeed still here.  I wake up on my own, no tubes, no wires, no needles, no intense pain, no deep, endless, gnawing hunger and/or thirst.  I am capable of getting up, moving around on my own, eating, drinking, using the bathroom, and feeling normal.  It was not always the case.  I have no idea why I was so fortunate to come out of a situation that didn't really offer very much hope of survival.. but, I am here, now, and in all of the infinite stream of time going forward and backward ...  and in all of the illimitable distances in this universe that we live in...  we are all here, now, together.  We are all living in the same bellybutton together, we have to help one another get through this thing...  the situation that I faced is a situation that many, many other people would have traded me for, no questions asked.  I am so very, very grateful and fortunate.  I cherish every moment.  What I know is that it never occurred to me to think, "I never got to buy that... (something)", or, "I wish I could wear my... (something) just one more time." - what I most wanted were moments with people that love me, and that I love in turn.  It is the small things that escape our notice that are so very very precious.   I am attaching a photo.  This is a photo of earth, taken by Voyager 1 about 30 years ago.  Everyone and everything that has ever been, is, and will ever be important to either of us is in this photo... 

Teddy Hart
Teddy Hart
@teddy-hart
4 weeks ago
9 posts

@ken-longfield  Thank your for your response.  I think what speaks to me most, and what resonates with me most deeply, is a fingerpicked style of dulcimer music;  particularly older music.  That being said, however, I have no intention of entering this venture with strong pre-conceived notions at all.  I am going to maintain an open mind, try every single thing that I am capable of trying, and just enjoy the journey.  I have no stated goal, nothing that I must have a deadline for..  I just want to do it for the doing of it.  (Contrast this to learning the bagpipes so that you can pass the Pipe Major's testing of your playing and march in the band, play at bagpipe gigs, and so on.  The dulcimer is not for that... its for me...  I just want to play..  I am simply happy to be here.  I have faced my own mortality on several occasions, however, every time prior to this medical thing, I had made a conscious decision to take a risk;  by taking up arms, jumping out of aircraft, being under water, or around explosives or munitions, or, later, as a police officer, walking into situations that were inherently dangerous.  In this recent instance, I was simply living my ordinary, day to day, mundane existence...  I had just lost my cat, who was my little buddy for the past 17 years at that point...  and I was heartbroken over it, and my wife, myself and a close friend went out to dinner together as a small sendoff for a special little guy.   We ate, we were talking, and I suddenly felt a dull pain, and a peculiar wet sliding sensation, and immediately felt pretty bad... but I didn't say anything, not wanting to put a damper on the evening.  I had no idea that that moment was as crucial as it actually was.  Basically, by the time I arrived at the ER, they did not expect me to live through the night.   This was the first time I had ever been confronted with my own mortality simply when I had been living my life... not taking risks, not doing dangerous things..  just living.

It changes your perspective.  I can now answer the question (i.e., for myself;  "What is the meaning of life?" - for me, it is enjoying the passage of time.   Time is passing whether we realize it or not, notice it or not, enjoy it.. or not.   At some point, an exhale will take place, without a corresponding inhale.  This is what it is to be human.  We all face this.   The difference for me now is that I actually, truly know it... am constantly conscious of it... and know that my time is finite.   A day will come when, inevitably, I am going to die, and there is nothing whatsoever that I can do to change that.

So, one day I will die... this is true.  What is also true is that from this moment, until that moment, I am going to live.   Part of living includes making music on this new instrument, enjoying the craftsmanship of the instrument, the choosing of it... and the fellowship and community with my fellow musicians, and with all sentient beings.

I think that this is the best way to show gratitude for each moment;  by living and enjoying each moment, and by being fully and totally present to it.

Teddy Hart
Teddy Hart
@teddy-hart
4 weeks ago
9 posts

@greg-gunner Thank you sir, for taking the time to reply to my post.  I am sorry that you were forced to confront such a frightening and painful illness.  I have been a fighter all of my life, involved in combat sports since I was a very young child, and I served in two branches of the United States military and have successfully completed some of the toughest training courses our military offers;  I *thought* I knew what pain was, and that I could tolerate nearly anything.  Suffice it to say that I have a very much deeper understanding of what pain is now, particularly since I refused further narcotics on the fourth day after my initial surgery.  The timing was not good, as my surgeon was out of state and for some reason could not be reached for a few days, which meant that I could not go back on the narcotic pain medications for nearly four days.  Once the *actual* pain set in..  a minute was interminable from my perspective...   so it was a real hoot for a few days.  I imagine that you are no stranger to suffering either, and I am sorry for that.

You touched on the very issue that prevents me from simply switching over to bellows blown pipes.  The belt is a problem.  I know that many dulcimer players use a strap, but, I think (hope) that it is looser, and it seems to be placed in a different spot that will not be problematic for me.

John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
4 weeks ago
304 posts

Teddy, we're fortunate to be communicating with you at all!  What a horrible experience you've been through!  So glad that you haven't succumbed to those serious infections and complications.  

Monkeying around with a new dulcimer should be fun for you.  It's really a forgiving instrument, and you get nice sounds out of it most of the time.  Best wishes, and let us know if you need help.

IRENE
IRENE
@irene
4 weeks ago
168 posts

Dear Teddy, I have tears in my eyes after reading your post here and I can speak for others that we are grateful you survived to learn more on this old world and grateful also that you are going to learn a instrument of "old" and it will be new to you.   I love noter drone style the most, as it's the oldest style....and much can be done with this way of playing.  We will be excited when your dulcimer arrives and we want to see photos of it with you.   Many will help you on this site and surely you'll find a teacher in your area.    aloha, irene

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
4 weeks ago
874 posts

Good luck Teddy on your dulcimer journey. Playing a mountain dulcimer is very therapeutic. There are serveral styles of playing, but as a piper you may like the noter/drone as a starting point. In that style you play the melody on one string (the one closest to you as you hold the dulcimer on you lap) and the other two or three strings act as drones. I'm sure you are familiar with it. Once you receive your new dulcimer and start playing don't hesitate to ask in the forums if you have any questions. As you know by now, we are happy to offer any help we can. Best wishes.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Banjimer
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
4 weeks ago
131 posts

Teddy, Welcome to FOTMD.  It sounds like you have successfully navigated your way through a serious illness.  Playing the mountain dulcimer is very therapeutic.  I have dealt with colon cancer on an ongoing basis since 2010.  The mountain dulcimer has helped me maintain a positive attitude.  

Similar to you I once played the bagpipes, although, in my case, my instrument was the Irish uilleann pipes.  Multiple surgeries have left me unable to wear the belt holding the bellows in place, so I returned to the mountain dulcimer, and it didn't disappoint.  My mountain dulcimers have provided me with many years of enjoyment.  I'm sure your dulcimer will do the same for you.

A bonus is the type of people drawn to the mountain dulcimer.  You will not meet a friendlier bunch of people.  Enjoy your instrument and don't hesitate to ask for help if and when it's needed.  FOTMD is a warm welcoming group, we are pleased you have chosen to join us.

Teddy Hart
Teddy Hart
@teddy-hart
4 weeks ago
9 posts

I have belonged to this group for about two months, all the while never even once, the whole of my lifetime, having so much as touched a mountain dulcimer.  I have seen them, and heard them (while visiting family in the mountains of western North Carolina) - and that pretty much sums up my entire life experience with the mountain dulcimer; other than what I am able to see and hear on YouTube.

Yesterday was a milestone for me, in what is shaping up to be my burgeoning (solo) career with the mountain dulcimer;  I placed my order with Wood-N-Strings dulcimers for a walnut (sides,back and soundboard) dulcimer.  For the next few months, I will be anticipating its arrival, which is enjoyable in its own right, since I will only every anticipate the arrival of this dulcimer this one time.  (So I am bloody well going to savor it!)

I have literally no idea what I am doing, I have no idea where to start, and other than a few things that I was able to glean through reading posts here and on YouTube videos, I didn't really have much of a clue insofar as what my preferences in a dulcimer even were (are).

I suspect that somebody, somewhere is thinking (if they are reading this..) 'cardboard starter dulcimer' - but, nothing is foolproof, my friend;  we fools are much too ingenious for that sort've thing!!  

I live by the unwritten code;  "Anything worth doing, is worth Over-doing!!"

Although I have no idea how to even begin, in truth, I have never let that stop me in the past, and I am much, much too set in my ways to start allowing it to inform my choices today.  So, whenever my new instrument arrives, I will spend some time being utterly perplexed, and then I will decide upon a course of action, and begin.... 

Wish me luck!!  I am really looking forward to this new journey.  I am (or have been for quite some time) a piper.  A couple of years ago, however, I was afflicted by a sudden life-threatening medical emergency (my intestines spontaneously tore open... creating a 4"-6" tear... and spilling all of that nasty stuff into my abdominal cavity. 

This happened on a Monday evening...  I actually felt it occur, but, having never experienced anything of that ilk in my life, I literally had no idea what had happened.  By 10AM the next day, at work, I began having difficulty keeping my eyes in focus, and I was not able to walk down a rather wide hallway in the office without ricocheting off of both walls...   and from about 11AM(ish) I have no conscious memory to this day, until I snapped back to full awareness... sitting on my sofa.. literally pouring sweat as though someone was dumping a bowl of warm water over my head....  I crawled up the stairs..  (literally crawled.. on the floor) and was violently ill for the next hour or so.. then I dragged my sorry self to my bed where I remained (this was Tuesday night) until Thursday morning, without ever getting up at all... until my wife called Bullsh*t, and relentlessly kept at me until I very, very, *very* painfully got up, put some clothes on, and walked the longest, most excrutiating 40 feet or so to get into the vehicle, and had an exceedingly unpleasant 5 or 6 minute drive to our primary physician's office, then staggered inside.  

They put me on a table, the doctor palpated my lower left abdominal quadrant.. and I came off the table from the pain...  and was pretty much back to full awareness from that point...  the doc advised us to drive straight to the ER (she didn't feel comfortable waiting for an ambulance to come get me) they called ahead... and a few hours later I underwent emergency open abdominal surgery.  I pressed the surgeon for my chances of survival, and after me being adamant (this is my specialty), he told me that he thought I had a 15% chance of surviving the surgery, but perhaps a 1% chance of surviving the night, due to several extremely virulent and advanced bacterial infections leading to sepsis.

Several months later I returned for a scheduled second surgery, which had some severe complications.  I ended up unable to eat or drink anything for seven months ( I lived on infusions ), and then the pandemic hit, and I live in what was, at the time, the epicenter of COVID in the United States.. so it wasn't looking good.

By the grace of God, I am alive, I am relatively well, but I will probably not be able to play bagpipes again due to the internal pressure that the blowing causes.   This was not good news to me, and I will perhaps look into playing bellows blown pipes at some point... but, this new instrument is a direct result of all of this.   My hope is to be able to sit quietly, and simply play some music.  I have no interest in playing for audiences... I just want to be able to play something lovely.

So... now the wait begins.   Approximately four months was the anticipated waiting period.  I generally add some time to these estimates, because life happens.  

I am excited!!  Wish me luck!!  Perhaps I might even be able to actually learn to play this thing!!  :)

John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
2 months ago
304 posts

Have fun, Alphie!  I finished a McSpadden kit last Saturday!  It's so much fun building, especially when all the hard work has been done by somebody else.  Good to have you with us.  We'll try to help you with whatever.

Alphie
Alphie
@alphie
2 months ago
3 posts

Hi, I’m newer to this website and very pleased with all the information available. I recently visited Branson and bought a kit from Cedar Creek Dulcimers. Took about a week to assemble it. I’m pleased with the unit and it’s fun learning. Hope to improve my knowledge/skills over time, but it’s really for personal pleasure. Thank you all for the information all of you share.

Canadian Dulcimer Boy
Canadian Dulcimer Boy
@canadian-dulcimer-boy
2 months ago
14 posts

Honestly, Richard, if I knew what I was buying I would have gladly paid way more for it. ;-)

Richard Streib:

What a wonderful find Canadian Dulcimer Boy. Enjoy playing your find.

Richard Streib
Richard Streib
@richard-streib
2 months ago
189 posts

What a wonderful find Canadian Dulcimer Boy. Enjoy playing your find.

Canadian Dulcimer Boy
Canadian Dulcimer Boy
@canadian-dulcimer-boy
2 months ago
14 posts

Hi Lois, if/when I buy a new super deluxe dulcimer, I will certainly be sharing my original find. ;-)

Lois Sprengnether Keel:

Oh my, Dulcimer Boy, your journey to loving dulcimers sounds so much like my own.  Had even said it was an instrument I'd skip since I, too, have a background with others.  Found what I call "the Orphan" & the rest followed.  I'm always willing to loan it to a beginner nearby since I now have several, including Tennessee Music Boxes.  (Like John Knopf I'm in that trick area north of the Ontario border.)

Lois Sprengnether Keel
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
2 months ago
193 posts

Oh my, Dulcimer Boy, your journey to loving dulcimers sounds so much like my own.  Had even said it was an instrument I'd skip since I, too, have a background with others.  Found what I call "the Orphan" & the rest followed.  I'm always willing to loan it to a beginner nearby since I now have several, including Tennessee Music Boxes.  (Like John Knopf I'm in that trick area north of the Ontario border.)


updated by @lois-sprengnether-keel: 03/28/22 11:04:07AM
Canadian Dulcimer Boy
Canadian Dulcimer Boy
@canadian-dulcimer-boy
2 months ago
14 posts

Thanks, John, Robin, Dusty. :-)

John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
2 months ago
304 posts

Welcome to our little group, eh? from a dulcimer/dulcimore builder north of the Ontario border (suburban Detroit).  

We hope you'll have fun and learn some things from us.  That's a nice find you have there! Thanks for letting us know.

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
2 months ago
1,329 posts

Good to have you here, @canadian-dulcimer-boy!  Enjoy that new-to-you mountain dulcimer!  

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
2 months ago
1,571 posts

Welcome to FOTMD, @canadian-dulcimer-boy, and congratulations on your find.  The best dulcimer journeys begin with a unique discovery like yours.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
Canadian Dulcimer Boy
Canadian Dulcimer Boy
@canadian-dulcimer-boy
2 months ago
14 posts

Hi Folks, I stumbled upon a weird wooden instrument covered in dust, with a couple of old, floppy strings in an antique shop in Ontario, Canada. I was told it was a dulcimer and the shop keep said it was going for $40. I snatched it up in a heartbeat. I hade no idea what a treasure I had until I cleaned it up, put on some fresh strings and headed to Youtube to find out how to play it. (I already play bass, uke and a bit of guitar/banjo so my learning curve wasn’t too steep.) Anywhoooo…I’m in love with this instrument. I look forward to leaning from you all and sharing some tunes with ya

John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
3 months ago
304 posts

Welcome, Walt and Megan!  We look forward to answering your questions and helping you out where we can.

MeganEleanor
MeganEleanor
@meganeleanor
3 months ago
4 posts

Hi all! I'm Megan, here from the Boston area. I've been playing for about a month now and have appreciated the information in these forums as well as the handful of welcome messages I've gotten already. Looking forward to chatting with folks. :)  

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
3 months ago
1,329 posts

Welcome to FOTMD, @walt!  

Walt
Walt
@walt
3 months ago
1 posts

Hi, everyone new here from Hampton Va

AMaiorano
AMaiorano
@amaiorano
4 months ago
4 posts

Thanks Dusty.  I’ve been enjoying your videos, those with your Probst as well as all the others.  Got your songs of old Albion book which I’m enjoying/using a lot.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Rick can build one for me.  No rush!!

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
4 months ago
1,571 posts

@dtortorich, my wife uses that word all the time.  She will just ask me, "Are you dulcimering this weekend?"  She should just know that if I'm smiling, the answer is yes!




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
4 months ago
1,571 posts

AMaiorano: Hello all, I’ve been playing the mountain dulcimer about 4 years.  I’ve contacted Rick Probst and I’m hoping he’ll build a dulcimer for me to play through my upcoming retirement years.  There are a few videos online, several by Dusty, of Rick’s dulcimers.  All sound wonderful!!  Does anyone have videos playing their Probst dulcimer?  I’d like to hear a few different wood combinations.  Thanks in advance!  Al

@amairano, there aren't a whole bunch of us playing Rick's dulcimers.  I think he only makes a few a year.  I think of his dulcimer as two dulcimers.  The box is plenty large and the bracing plenty sufficient to allow it to be strung as a baritone as well as a standard dulcimer.  If you compare my videos, you'll notice that I am playing in two tonal ranges with my Probst dulcimer. Rick's dulcimers have such a distinctive sound that I don't think wood choice will have a profound effect.  I would choose wood based on looks.  Mine is made of figured cherry with a Carpathian spruce top.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
dtortorich
@dtortorich
4 months ago
4 posts

Hey!  I'm fairly new to this site.  I've been playing with Paul and Betty Sykes.  Are you familiar with them?  They're a great couple that teach and support our group.  Paul has written over 300 songs, and he is still writing new songs every week.   If you do a search for him, I'm sure you'll find him.  He made the double string dulcimer that I'm playing and it has a rich sound.  Recently, I bought Paul's small amp and now I can amplify my dulcimer and play with a couple more people who play acoustic guitars.  When I practiced with them they were drowning me out.  Paul suggested his amp and it's working great.  I hope this may help someone else who faced a similar situation.  Happy Dulcimer Ing!  That's probably not in Webster Dictionary.

AMaiorano
AMaiorano
@amaiorano
4 months ago
4 posts

Hello all, I’ve been playing the mountain dulcimer about 4 years.  I’ve contacted Rick Probst and I’m hoping he’ll build a dulcimer for me to play through my upcoming retirement years.  There are a few videos online, several by Dusty, of Rick’s dulcimers.  All sound wonderful!!  Does anyone have videos playing their Probst dulcimer?  I’d like to hear a few different wood combinations.  Thanks in advance!  Al

StudentofRhythm
StudentofRhythm
@studentofrhythm
6 months ago
15 posts

Hi all,

I found this group after a few days of looking around the web for dulcimer stuff and practicing mine after taking it up again after - well, a few years, really.  Nine years ago I went to a yard sale and saw a cardboard-bodied dulcimer (the label on it says Double Eagle, Arkansas).  I forget how much they were selling it for but it wasn't very much.  I had seen one many years before, when someone came to my school and demonstrated folk instruments.  So I bought it.

Well, I soon found out that my dulcimer had some peculiarities: mainly, a tendency to break strings.  I went through several replacement strings trying to tune it right, and then I noticed that the pin for the melody strings was pulling up and not letting the string keep its tune.  So the poor old thing sat unused for years until recently I got it out again, replaced the pin, got new strings, broke a few, and realized that as long as I tune it 1-5-5 or 1-5-4 it'll be fine.  Currently I've got it tuned to GDD, which seems to be about as much tension as it can take.  It works for me.  I like the "Ionian" tuning and starting the scale on the 3rd fret, even though this one does have the extra 6th.  I also really really like the "Dorian" tuning - I love Dorian mode.

After fixing it up and looking at the book that it came with (Albert Gamse's Best Dulcimer Method Yet) I found Jean Ritchie's 1964 instructional record and when she started strumming and singing I felt like my soul was being welcomed back to a home it had lost.  I've been picking out hymn tunes and Christmas songs for the past couple of weeks; recently I started picking out some tunes that I've come up with on my own.  I'm excited about using it for composition and integrating it into playing in groups.

About groups: I started playing drums in 1994 and have played kit in several bands.  Recently I've joined an odd little acoustic jam band with anachronistic aspirations, playing frame drum and tambourine, and I want to work the dulcimer into it too.  I see a lot of possibilities - I particularly like Jessica Comeau's arrangements of medieval tunes.  I'm interested in learning to do chords and I'm playing around with them, but I like doing the drone style too.  I like strumming with a feather.

One of these days I'll get myself a good instrument; I'm also gonna get a strumstick.

I'm glad to find this site, I've been enjoying the recordings and pictures and discussions so far!


updated by @studentofrhythm: 12/01/21 11:16:55PM
Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
10 months ago
1,571 posts

If you were really dense, @sunvalleylaw, you wouldn't apologize.  And there's nothing to apologize for anyway.  Unlike Facebook, which has the endless scroll that keeps moving, we try to maintain discussions and forums so they can be searched and used later on.

A couple of posts earlier, @ken-hulme posted a link to an article he wrote: Ken Hulme's "I Just Got A Dulcimer, Now What?" Article - Strumelia | fotmd.com .  The link is actually to a discussion about that article, but the first post in the discussion by our fearless leader @strumelia has a link to a pdf of the article.  Just follow the link above, scroll to the bottom of the discussion to find the first post, and you'll see that pdf link.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
sunvalleylaw
@sunvalleylaw
10 months ago
15 posts

@dusty-turtle, sorry to be dense, but navigation here is a little different from some other forums I am used to.  Which very first post?  In this thread? Sorry, still missing it.  :(

EDIT:  I followed the link, and I there is a post by @strumelia introducing the article, but that is all that is there.  Nothing to scroll down to and no other active link that shows up for me.  

EDIT to my EDIT:  Never mind.  I figured it out.  I had to join the “Beginners” group before the content showed up.  I am starting to figure out how to get around here.  I also joined a couple other groups, such as the modern/chording one, in which I have interest.  Cool place!


updated by @sunvalleylaw: 07/24/21 12:43:28PM
Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
10 months ago
1,571 posts

@sunvalleylaw, the article is in a link in the very first post.  Follow Ken's link and then scroll to the bottom where you can find that first post.  You'll find the article there.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
sunvalleylaw
@sunvalleylaw
10 months ago
15 posts

Thank you, @ken-hulme.  Would love to read it. However, they link seems to take me to a place mentioning the article, but not including it.  Do you have a different link, or am I doing something wrong at that link?  Thanks!

Steve

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10 months ago
1,926 posts

Here's the link to an article/pamphlet I wrote years ago called I Just Got A Dulcimer, Now What?   It's an illustrated glossary of dulcimer terms (so we all speak the same jargon (often different from guitar), plus answers to many beginner questions about tuning, playing, care and feeding of your new instrument.

Ken Hulme's "I Just Got A Dulcimer, Now What?" Article - Strumelia | fotmd.com

sunvalleylaw
@sunvalleylaw
10 months ago
15 posts

Thanks, Ken, for the suggestion!  I had already checked out what Richard and FolkCraft had put up on YouTube, and put it on the back of the scroll head.  BUT, if I end up wanting to have another option, I could always put another one on the side like you have in the pic.  Taking this on a family trip to Hood Canal, WA and will just mess around with it and get acquainted for a bit.  I am bringing some sand paper and a block of wood to see about the action if I find time.  

Steven Berger
Steven Berger
@steven-berger
10 months ago
145 posts

Nice dulcimer, Steve! Great name!

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
10 months ago
874 posts

Thanks for introducing yourself, Steve. Here is a suggestion for installing your strap buttons. If you play with the dulcimer flat on you lap, put the strap button on the peg head end on the side of peg head on the side opposite your playing. This will put the head of the dulcimer in toward you and make it more stable when playing. If you play with the dulcimer tilted in front of you (from stomach to thighs), the strap button on the peg head end works better in the middle of the underside of the peg head near the body. Here is a photo of the first suggestion later this afternoon.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

IMG_4563.JPG
IMG_4563.JPG  •  233KB


updated by @ken-longfield: 07/23/21 01:49:55PM
Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
10 months ago
1,329 posts

@sunvalleylaw Good to have you here, Steve!  The mountain dulcimer journey is a fun one.  So cool you got to see Tim H play md with Brandi-- love her and the band!  


updated by @robin-thompson: 07/23/21 01:26:38PM
John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
10 months ago
304 posts

Howdy, Steve!  A warm welcome to you here! 

That's a beautiful dulcimer you have. 

We'll try to help and encourage you in your activity.  Just let us know what you need, and we'll see what we can do.

sunvalleylaw
@sunvalleylaw
10 months ago
15 posts

Hi folks!  My first name is Steve. Long time guitar player (dad hack, nothing too fancy), mostly rock oriented styles, with jazz influences. Interested in the M. Dulcimer as a rhythm, percussion instrument with melody possibilities and different tones from guitar. Ala Joni Mitchell.  Got turned on to this by watching signer/songwriter Brandi Carlile and her band perform a campfire acoustic version of “All I Want.”  On a super, super hot day in Western Wa a few weeks back.  Her guitarist, Tim Hanseroth, looked like he was having a ton of fun on his mountain dulcimer, and I decided I needed to try it!  

I went and found the 1998 FolkCraft CF-300 you see in my profile pic (not sure why it is sideways sometimes, I keep fixing it).  It had been purchased new and not really ever played, and stuck in a closet or something.  Paduk back and sides, spruce top, maybe wenge fretboard?  Action is too high, particularly toward the bridge, so I need to fix that, and put my strap buttons on, but it sounds and looks really nice otherwise!  

Came here to learn how to care and take care of these things, get ideas on learning to play, and just connect!  

Cheers and happy Friday!

Pete Babechuk
Pete Babechuk
@pete-babechuk
11 months ago
2 posts

Welcome to FOTMD Greg. Like the others, looking forward to seeing how your project turns out. Sounds like you've got some good hands. Should be a great instrument.

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
11 months ago
1,329 posts

@glp1958 Good to have you here, Greg!  Have fun building your mountain dulcimer!   

I grew up right close to US 23 and not far from the mighty Scioto River in Central Ohio.  Friday nights and Sunday nights always saw lots of traffic on Route 23-- headed south on Friday nights and headed north on Sundays.   

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11 months ago
1,571 posts

Good luck with your build, @glp1958. Make sure you join the Dulcimer Making Group , for folks there will have lots of advice for every stage of the project.  Some of that advice might even be helpful! winky




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
glp1958
@glp1958
11 months ago
1 posts

Hi there friends and neighbors!  My name is Greg Pennell, and I live just south of Pikeville, Kentucky, alongside US Highway 23 (The Country Music Highway). I’m a retired US Army First Sergeant (combat engineer), with over 22 years active duty service.  

I have always been a crafter, growing up helping my grandfather and dad in their cabinet shop. Currently I build flintlock longrifles from scratch, do leatherwork, weave straps on a homemade Inkle loom, and make powderhorns and all the accoutrements necessary for shooting my flintlocks. 

I've always been interested in the arts and crafts of these Appalachian Mountains, and have finally worked my way around to mountain dulcimers. While I’ve made a few cigar box guitars, and one “real” six string electric, one thing I’m not is a musician. I hope to change that before too long!

My first dulcimer is currently in the planning phase…I’ve ordered hardware, and have a nice piece of curly maple that was given to me by a late, dear friend.  I’ll probably cut out the peg head and tail block today, and start carving the scroll on the peg head. Wish me luck!

Glad I found you folks!

Greg

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
last year
1,329 posts

@derik-palmer Welcome to FOTMD!  Many of us here well past sell-by date and more than a few have experience with other instruments.  

Derik Palmer
Derik Palmer
@derik-palmer
last year
4 posts

Hello - I'm new!

Well to be more specific, the flesh is definitely past its sell-by date but although I play guitar, double bass, keyboards, autoharps and mandolin I'm very new to the dulcimer. I bought one this week and I'm still not entirely sure how it happened; it wasn't really by accident, probably because the lockdown here in the UK has got me looking for something new to do, and also because all my life (I'm 73) I have suffered from Oscar Wilde Syndrome - I can resist anything except temptation... grin

Anyway, I now have a very nice luthier-built dulcimer and straight away I've encountered a puzzle. Since there's a specific forum for discussing particular instruments I'll post the problem and some photos there. If you feel like heading over, taking a look and giving me the benefit of the hive mind I'd be awfully grateful...

AndiBear
AndiBear
@andibear
last year
8 posts

Thanks to everyone for the warm welcome, you really make me feel like home.

Probably my questions will start soon.

Have a nice day!!

ocean-daughter
@ocean-daughter
last year
26 posts

Hello, Andi, and welcome!  I know how it feels to be the only dulcimer player you know. 

If you're able to attend virtual groups or classes, that might help you with learning.  I've found virtual festivals to be a great help to me recently.  This weekend I've been taking classes at a festival based in Albany, New York, and there are people attending from Germany and Britain. 

But in any case, there are people here who will be happy to encourage you in any way we can. 

Terry Wilson
Terry Wilson
@terry-wilson
last year
296 posts

Hi Andi,

Welcome to the forum.  There are many friends here that will gladly help you along in your journey.  

“The dulcimer is an unknown instrument in Spain.”

That might be true, but in most places in the US The dulcimer is mostly unknown, too.  I live in the deep southern part of the state of Georgia.  If I had not learned to play this instrument & shared it with many people, it would still be unknown in these parts.  

So, Andi.  Challenge yourself to learn this wonderful instrument, and introduce it to the citizens of your great country, Spain.  Who knows, in 30 years they may build a statue of you, in your capital city, holding a mountain dulcimer.

John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
last year
304 posts

Andi, your English is very good, and you write it well.  Welcome to our dulcimer site!  

We have something for everybody here, whether you like to play the dulcimer, want to learn to play it, or need help with dulcimer identification or wood identification.  There are modern dulcimer players here as well as noter/drone players.  And a few luthiers, as well!  I build more than I play, but I do both.  Have fun!

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
last year
874 posts

Welcome Andi. You are doing much better with English than I could do with Spanish. Go ahead and ask questions. We will try to help you along on your dulcimer journey.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

AndiBear
AndiBear
@andibear
last year
8 posts

Hi!!

My name is Andi and I'm a beginner player of mountain dulcimer from Spain.

First of all excuse my bad english or my faults, english is not my first language. I think I'm doing ok according the fotmd forum rules (please forgive me and help me if not).

I have a lot of questions, because in Spain dulcimer are an absolute unknown instrument (since I bought mine I spend more time explaining what is than playing), and I don't know anyone who play it and can help me. Mine is an european made dulcimer, don't sound as well like american crafted dulcimers but I think that is a good way to learn.

Also, i never played before an string instrument (well, i played piano when I was child -so I can read the sheets- and now I try to play the lyre, but obviously are not the same).

Thanks for this forum, I've read lot of topics and it's a beautiful community, and I'm sure I would be proud of being a part of it.

Greetings from a spanish (wannabe) player :) 

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
last year
1,329 posts

Welcome to FOTMD, @deweylandrum

deweylandrum
@deweylandrum
last year
6 posts

Hi. My name is Dewey.  I found this site doing some research on a dulcimer my dad gave me.  He's in his late 80s and doesn't hear well anymore, so he gave it up.

Winks
Winks
@winks
last year
3 posts

Awwww, we'd only get into a fight about Synods or closed versus open communion. This way we infiltrate all the groups. grin

Lois Sprengnether Keel
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
last year
193 posts

Hmmm.  At the risk of becoming sectarian, maybe we need a group of " 'Luterans' Beyond the Lute"  winker

Winks
Winks
@winks
last year
3 posts

Hi Ken, good to meet you, Brother. Thanks, I will.

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
last year
874 posts

Welcome to FOTMD, Kevin, from another Lutheran pastor who has been retired since 2010. I built my first dulcimer, an hourglass, from scratch back in 1974. Let us know if we can help you along on your dulcimer journey.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
last year
1,329 posts

Hello, @winks!  How exciting to have a Blue Lion on the way! 

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
last year
1,926 posts

Welcome Wink!

Winks
Winks
@winks
last year
3 posts

Thanks for the welcome. I'm Kevin. Lutheran pastor for the past 45 years (I'm 70) and still fulltime pastor of a church. Been playing around with the dulcimer since I was 18 - built one from Hines' book. Decided that it is finally time to get serious about learning to really play.  Have a McSpadden teardrop, a Yocky that he built for me in '04 using wood I found in an old barn (chestnut) and a Blue Lion coming this next week. The Yocky is a wonderful instrument, too bad Tom quit building dulcimers. Looking forward to being a member here.

nateprentice
@nateprentice
last year
3 posts

Dusty Turtle:

Welcome to FOTMD, @nateprentice.  You might try using a strap on your dulcimer. If you keep the strap tight enough, you have a lot more control over the positioning of the instrument on your lap and don't rely on your lap as much.

Thanks.  I actually fashioned one using some brown paracord I had hanging around.  It connects at the head with a bow knot  that stays there, and attaches at the tail using a Marlin hitch knot, which is adjustable.

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
last year
1,329 posts

@nateprentice, I liked listening to your Soundcloud link!  Welcome to FOTMD!

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
last year
1,926 posts

Welcome Nate!   As Dusty says there are ways to keep the dulcimer more stationary.  Another option besides a strap is a stand or lap-height table like a TV tray that supports the dulcimer so that you do not have to.

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
last year
1,571 posts

Welcome to FOTMD, @nateprentice.  You might try using a strap on your dulcimer. If you keep the strap tight enough, you have a lot more control over the positioning of the instrument on your lap and don't rely on your lap as much.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie

updated by @dusty-turtle: 01/16/21 03:40:24PM
nateprentice
@nateprentice
last year
3 posts

Hi all!  I’m Nate Prentice from the Philly suburbs.

I’ve been playing Dulcimer for about 2-3 months so far.  I play multiple instruments, but am no expert.  For now I’m learning the keyboard and trying to get the hang of the angle of my hand on the lower frets when playing chords.  I have a short lap, so it is work.  I’m trying to create a small Xmas album as a gift to friends.  Here’s a sample:

https://soundcloud.app.goo.gl/hgoZWw8ZWLrvNSSd8

Nice to meet you all. 

Nate

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