Introduce Yourself!

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
3 weeks ago
1,687 posts

Hi folks, I'd like to keep this discussion focused more simply on 'introducing ourselves'- so feel free to start new discussions in either the Music Theory Group or the Traditional NoterDrone Group if you would like to continue in depth discussions on modes, ballad resources, etc.

Thank you!




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
3 weeks ago
1,627 posts

Send me a PM here, as I said before, and I will give the file to you directly.  You need a free PDF Reader app on your Android or regular computer to open and read the file.  

If your Android won't download it there is something wrong, but not with the PDF.  Get a highschool kid/grandchild to help you confusey   callme

TTAD is the best site on the Internet for Traditional dulcimer builders and players to exchange information.


updated by @ken-hulme: 09/29/19 11:27:43AM
truethomas
@truethomas
3 weeks ago
5 posts
Ken, searched for Uncontrite Modal Folker. Had to join the TTAD forum. The resource is a PDF. My Android will not download it. Error msg stated it requires storage permission but I can't figure out how to do that. I have been all over Settings,but don't see it. I'm an old guy and not very tech savvy. Sure would like to have that OFF
truethomas
@truethomas
3 weeks ago
5 posts
Greg, thanks so much for the modal tuning info. I will save that info. It will be very helpful.
Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
3 weeks ago
1,627 posts

Pretty much what Greg said -- the Modes are built into the diatonic fretboard (as long as you don't go adding any extra frets).  One of the pieces I want to give you is called The Uncontrite Modal Folker.  It's a discussion of Modes and Modal tunings on the dulcimer (not guitar or anything else).  Modes are scales on a single string.  It's that simple.   Different Modes start at different locations on a diatonic fretboard. Some of those scales are more minor than others.  

Banjimer
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
3 weeks ago
92 posts

Each mode consists of notes found in a major scale, but only the Ionian mode is a major scale.  Using only the notes of the D major scale for example, you get the D Ionian mode if your start and end your mode with the D.  You get an E Dorian mode if your start and end your mode with the E. . .

It is really more complicated to explain in writing than it is in practice.  You can play music your whole life without understanding the theory behind the modes.  For all practical purposes, you need only learn the corresponding dulcimer tunings.  Most tablature indicates the appropriate tuning.  The rest is simply a matter of following the numbers.

D-A-A = D Ionian Tuning (The familiar major scale Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti ,Do)

D-A-d = D Mixolydian Tuning (Identical to the Ionian mode with the exception of the 7th note.  Frequently used to play a D major scale by adding the 6 1/2 fret.)

D-A-G = D Dorian Tuning

D-A-C = D Aeolian tuning (The familiar minor sale)

Since you've indicated a desire to play the old ballads, you will need to become comfortable with the modal tunings summarized above.  There is no need to understand everything about modes.  The beauty of the instrument is that the modes are built right into the design of the fretboard.  Simply retune the melody string(s) to match one of the modal tunings above and you're ready to go.

The majority of ballads are written in the Ionian mode, so it makes sense to begin there.  That's why D-A-A is the preferred base tuning for traditional mountain dulcimer players.

 

truethomas
@truethomas
3 weeks ago
5 posts
My thanks to Greg for the book recommendations. They will be very helpful. I guess I may need to learn to read music. Everything I have found online about modes seems to be incorrect and has each mode as a particular major scale, but I'm hearing something different with my ears. Looks like I need some resources regarding modes. I will check out the audio recordings. Thanks also for the info on the three string Ken
Yes, I will get around to sending you a PM. Very interested in your beginner resources.
Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
3 weeks ago
1,627 posts

As Greg says, there aren't any real dulcimer specific resources for Child Ballads and the like; just scattered its here and there.  Greg has given you a number of good printed sources.   One of the best online resources that I know is www.contemplator.com.  She has audio recordings of the Child Ballads and much more.  There are also a couple of folks who have recorded many, if not all, of the Child Ballads on YouTube (guitar mostly).  

You are going to want to teach yourself how to create tab by ear.  

If this is the kind of music you are passionate about, you really do not need 4 strings and a 6-1/2 fret.  A 3-string,  traditional, true diatonic instrument tuned and re-tuned appropriately is going to be most useful.  That kind of instrument will give you the high silvery sound that goes so well with that kind of music.  It took awhile, but after 30 years of playing I finally figured that out  -- about 10 years ago.  

Anytime you want to "talk shop" about that kind of music, drop me a PM here and we can swap email addresses.  I can also point you to some beginner resources that I created years ago...


updated by @ken-hulme: 09/27/19 04:11:17PM
Banjimer
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
3 weeks ago
92 posts

There aren't many mountain dulcimer books written specifically for the Child Ballads.  Ralph Lee Smith's books are probably the closest thing to what you are seeking.  Smith has written books containing mountain dulcimer tablature for selected ballads from Cecil Sharp's English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians. Among Smith's books you will find Smoky Mountain Memories, Song Treasures of the Cumberland Mountains, Folk Songs of Old Virginia, Folk Songs of Old Kentucky, and Songs and Tunes of the Wilderness Road.  A number of Appalachian versions of the Child Ballads are included in Smith's books.

If you have the five Child Ballad books, you probably have only the words and not any musical arrangements since Child did not include music in his books.  If you want some musical arrangements, you will need to get The Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads by Bertrand Bronson.  It doesn't have any dulcimer tablature, but it does have musical arrangements for many of the Child Ballads.  However, be forewarned, Bronson's books do not include any mountain dulcimer tablature.  The arrangements will have to be rewritten in tablature or you will need to be able to play from standard notation.

As you explore the ballads further, you will find multiple melodies associated with the same lyrics, so if you are looking for a specific melody to accompany your singing, your best bet is to "figure out" the desired melody on the fretboard a few notes at a time until you have what you want.  If you do this I would suggest that you write it down in some fashion, perhaps in  dulcimer tablature and keep a notebook or file.

One thing complicating things for a beginner is the fact that many of the old ballads are sung in one of the ancient modes, rather than in a major key.  Modes can complicate things.  Fortunately, the mountain dulcimer accommodates the modes through a simple retuning of the melody string.  If you are trying to figure out a melody and the notes just don't seem to be there, you may have to retune the melody string and try one of the other modes.  At that point, it will benefit you to become familiar with modes and how to retune your dulcimer to enable you to play in alternative modes.

Since you appear to be a new mountain dulcimer enthusiast, you will probably benefit most from one or more of Ralph Lee Smith's books.  Good luck in your journey, and don't be afraid to return with more questions.  There are many dulcimer players on FOTMD ready to assist you.

truethomas
@truethomas
3 weeks ago
5 posts
Thanks Ken. I have been to the Sweetwoods website. His student website looks good. I have also looked at the cardboard Simplicity model. I would prefer 4 strings and a 6 1/2 fret, but I would still consider it. I am leaning toward getting a used dulcimer from an online auction. If I am patient,i could get a Folk craft or McSpadden for even less than a Simplicity.
I like the fact that I am not the only one with interest in the dulcimer for British trad. I'll have to get my five volumes of the Child Ballads out of storage. Do you know of any resources for playing that sort of material?
Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
3 weeks ago
1,627 posts

Welcome truethomas!  I've been specializing in the Child Ballads and Scots/English traditional music on the dulcimer for most of 40 years.

Can't say I've heard of Thunderclap Drones dulcimers, and can't seem to find anything about them on-line, except a few sales blurbs on ebay and such; and one video that mostly should a lady struggling to open a shipping box.  What little I could find says made in the USA.  Not even a website for Thunderclap Drones, which in this day and age is not a particularly good sign.

For a first instrument, IMHO, you'd be better off with a Student model dulcimer from a known builder rather than an Ebay or Piccclik sales pitch from an unknown.  If price is an issue, a cardboard dulcimer is about $75, and they sound really good because the important part is how well the fretboard is made.  I recommend the Student model from Dave Lynch of Sweetwoods Dulcimers:  www.sweetwoodsinstruments.com  I've owned and played one for a number of years and find them perfect for those just starting out.

truethomas
@truethomas
3 weeks ago
5 posts
Thanks for the welcomes. I am looking for my first dulcimer,and will make a patient and careful choice.My main interest is English and Scottish traditional music, and the electric trad folk of the UK. I have sung their ballads for some time. I am also getting interested in Appalachian music.
Does anybody know anything about a dulcimer maker, ThunderClap Drones in Arkansas, and if they are still in business? Saw photos of one and loved it. Any opinions? Thanks in advance.
pattyfromor
@pattyfromor
one month ago
2 posts

Thanks to everyone who's welcomed me here! To Irene (whom I tried to reply to earlier but apparently forgot to hit the post button), I just hold it on my lap when I'm sitting. I love the drone sound too, to me it's a big part of the specialness of the mountain dulcimer, but I also want to play chords. I love lots of kinds of music, including jazz, and want to play it all! To Terry, I will keep in mind about the bar stool, but not without a seat belt!

I do have another question—is anyone familiar with Harris & Young dulcimers? I'm guessing that they are no longer (or not much anyway) active? Nothing shows up on Googlemaps except a house when I search for their address.

Terry Wilson
Terry Wilson
@terry-wilson
one month ago
263 posts
Welcome Patty, from Beavercreek, Oregon. Sounds like a great place to live.

Good luck with your new challenge, learning to play the mountain dulcimer.

Hey, don’ t forget about the simple bar stool. Something about a bar stool that draws people together.
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
one month ago
1,687 posts

Mary i loved your story.  How great that you are forging ahead, enjoying the journey, and not letting anything get in your way this time!




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Mary Barnsdale
Mary Barnsdale
@mary-barnsdale
one month ago
2 posts

Some friends and I get together every Christmas Eve and a few of them have started leading us in new songs (mostly Yiddish Christmas carols and some Swiss-German songs) and doing little performances. This past Christmas it was so much fun, and so goofy, really, that I challenged everyone to come up with a new talent for Christmas 2020 and perform it. You've got a year:  go!

I think I'm the only one who actually took that seriously. I tried Tuvan throat singing for a couple of weeks (YouTube is amazing...I finally realized that if I could master Tuvan throat singing, which would take years, even I would not want to hear myself), the harmonica, the nose flute. Then I remembered the 44-year-old D50 CapriTaurus dulcimer in the garage, which I have carefully carried around in its original cardboard box all these years. I took a few lessons after I bought it in 1975 but the teacher was unimpressed with me and I shuffled off in discouragement. (Crushed.)

I can't play any instrument, don't read music, was overwhelmed by trying to tune by ear, didn't know how to change strings, have never made any headway trying to learn to play the dulcimer by reading the books. I'm kind of shy; I was never going to be able to seek out someone who could help me. But everywhere I went, I carried that dulcimer box full of hopes and dreams.

At the end of January this year, it suddenly hit me:  Could there be videos online now that could help me learn to play this...?

Since then, of course, I've bought two more dulcimers from Howard Rugg. I'm beginning to understand that's part of the journey:  Learn a tune, buy a new instrument.

With trepidation I even went to Redwood Dulcimer Day this past month. That was totally out of my comfort zone; I kind of expected buzzers and flashing lights when I signed in that would spell out "Fraud! Fraud!" I was afraid the whole day would basically be a replay of the angst of walking into the high school cafeteria. But guess what, people were friendly and encouraging and SO enthusiastic about dulcimer music that it was a real high. And I wasn't even the least capable person in two out of three workshops I took, which was a surprise to me. (In the third, I muted my strings and concentrated really hard.)

I think Bosco the comfort dog, who came with Kevin Roth, was a valuable addition. Every festival should have a Bosco.

I'm really grateful for this community, the interwebs, and the folks way back when who came up with this marvelous music-maker.

 


updated by @mary-barnsdale: 09/13/19 11:20:29AM
IRENE
IRENE
@irene
one month ago
120 posts

Yeah Patty.....you were surely inspired to get that dulcimer.   JUST BEAUTIFUL.  and to use the cheap piano stand.  Can you lower it to a height that you can sit down and play too?   I use those cheap black Walmart adjustable stands and put it at the lowest level and have several of these parked at my kid's houses in Utah when I go there often to be with them and play music.  I love the noter/drone style and the sound.  There are many tunings for modes that will be useful to learn...but stick to Daa or Cgg and then branch out.  Oh joy to learn that lovely dulcimer you just got.  Congratulations on your recovery and living in Oregon, you'll find many others to play music with.  A beautiful state to live in. aloha, irene

pattyfromor
@pattyfromor
one month ago
2 posts

Hi, I'm Patty, I live in Beavercreek Oregon, and about 10 days ago a little voice in my head said 'you need to find a dulcimer.' Coincidentally, there was a like-new Folkcraft on CraigsList and when I saw it I happily got it, and have been picking up accessories and books and as much info as I have time to read right now. I joined Fotmd so I could look at how people had made cheap guitar stands work for dulcimers. Heartened, I ordered a likely looking stand from Amazon and it got here today, and I didn't have to do a thing to it except to lower the top extender a couple or 3 inches so it cradles the upper headstock. If anyone's looking for a cheap stand right now, it was $11.98, and it's called the 'Chromacast Upright Guitar Stand Two Tier Adjustable-Extended Height'. The supports on the bottom are about 5.75" across, plenty narrow enough to hold a lady with curves, without me having to tweak it. it clears the floor as it is by a good half inch. A couple pieces of pipe insulation on the supports would move it up farther. (Yes, I am lazy.)

Yahoo! One less thing to worry about. I also need to thank the person who posted a photo of their dulcimer on top of a cheap keyboard stand--I set mine up in my living room with the music stand behind it and it's the perfect height for me to stand up and play.

Looks like I joined the right Mountain Dulcimer group!! Lotsa smart people here!

ps. for instrument junkies, it's a 2007 D Series, made by S. J. Ash of 100% black walnut.

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updated by @pattyfromor: 09/12/19 08:39:06PM
Terry Wilson
Terry Wilson
@terry-wilson
3 months ago
263 posts
Welcome back. You are not alone with hand problems. I wish you the best in your return journey with the dulcimer.
Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
3 months ago
609 posts

Welcome back! Glad you are beginning to play music again. Keep at the dulcimer.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Cornfield
Cornfield
@cornfield
3 months ago
2 posts

magictime:

I'm not a new member, but it's been several years since I visited so I thought I'd re-introduce myself.

I originally stopped visiting FotMD because I started learning clawhammer banjo and my dulcimer playing fell by the wayside. Then two years ago I had a brain haemorrhage from which I recovered very well, very fast - but which did leave me permanently a bit uncoordinated in my right hand. I found I had trouble getting a strum going on guitar, and even more trouble with the 'bum-diddy' banjo strum. So my instruments were left gathering dust.

Maybe I should have practised harder as part of my recovery, but I was so glad just to be alive and in good health, not being able to play an instrument just seemed 'no big deal'. I didn't feel I had the motivation to try to re-learn skills I might never get back. Plus I had other, family stuff to focus on. But just recently I've felt I wanted to get back to playing music again. So a couple of days ago I picked up my dulcimer and noter and started picking out some of the tunes I used to play and trying to get a decent strum going. I'm very happy to report that so far it's coming back to me pretty well.

It's like a bicycle, once you fall off, you never forget how

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
3 months ago
1,687 posts

@magictime, welcome 'back' !   Music skills can be a little like riding a bicycle, in that when you restart playing music after a long hiatus, you're not really starting from Square One all over again... you do retain some of the skills, maybe even as 'weird reptilian brain memories'.    frog




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
magictime
@magictime
3 months ago
2 posts

I'm not a new member, but it's been several years since I visited so I thought I'd re-introduce myself.

I originally stopped visiting FotMD because I started learning clawhammer banjo and my dulcimer playing fell by the wayside. Then two years ago I had a brain haemorrhage from which I recovered very well, very fast - but which did leave me permanently a bit uncoordinated in my right hand. I found I had trouble getting a strum going on guitar, and even more trouble with the 'bum-diddy' banjo strum. So my instruments were left gathering dust.

Maybe I should have practised harder as part of my recovery, but I was so glad just to be alive and in good health, not being able to play an instrument just seemed 'no big deal'. I didn't feel I had the motivation to try to re-learn skills I might never get back. Plus I had other, family stuff to focus on. But just recently I've felt I wanted to get back to playing music again. So a couple of days ago I picked up my dulcimer and noter and started picking out some of the tunes I used to play and trying to get a decent strum going. I'm very happy to report that so far it's coming back to me pretty well.

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
3 months ago
1,687 posts

@fiddle, you can always feel free to start a violin thread in our "Adventures with Other Instruments forum, here:

https://fotmd.com/forums/forum/adventures-with-other-instruments

violinjive




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
3 months ago
1,627 posts

Welcome Lisa @fiddle!   Well, we can certainly help you with dulcimer related things, but not many here play violin that I know of.  Fiddle and dulcimer do go together well; many of the 20th century changes to the structure and playing styles of the dulcimer came about because folks wanted to play those fast Celtic fiddle tunes...

fiddle
@fiddle
3 months ago
1 posts

Hi  My name is Lisa. I have played the dulcimer for about 10 years. on and off. I recently  purchased a violin. fiddle Now the problem is trying to get the violin to sound right.. I played the violin in H.S. .... I am just frustrated at my progress. I did play the violin last night in my Dulcimer Group... I will have to learn some more songs... 

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
4 months ago
1,687 posts

Welcome Cornfield, I hope you'll enjoy the site and your new dulcimer!




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Cornfield
Cornfield
@cornfield
4 months ago
2 posts

I'm new here. I have experience with several fretted and key board instruments. I picked up a mountain dulcimer at a charity auction last weekend. It appeared to be a 3 string instrument that had a bad rattle. Once I figured out that it was a 4 string, the extra tuner stopped rattling. Some previous owner had two extra frets added, 1/2 and 1 1/2. I started checking you tube and other sites for information and tabs and stumbled across this forum.

I have tuned this to DAdd and am starting by playing the dd as melody with the others droning. I'll work out D, A and G chords soon. Looking forward to having some relaxing fun.

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
4 months ago
1,627 posts

Welcome Marcel!  Sound like you're off to a good start with the dulcimer!  It is, of course, the American cousin of the Dutch Hommel/Hommeltje, and can be played in that traditional manner as well as the modern "Bing Futch" style.  Enjoy your journey.

Marcel
Marcel
@marcel
4 months ago
3 posts

Hi all,

Marcel, 47 years old, from the Netherlands, married, 5 children, ages: from 14 to 26, senior java software engineer by profession.
Playing, collecting and listening to music are my main hobbies. I play bass guitar for 12 years, a little double bass and acoustic guitar (campfire level) and synths.

I found, by randomly watching movies on you tube; Bing Futch and like his work. So I bought an beginner dulcimer to see if it is something that I would enjoy. I have a Roosebeck Grace 4 string. It looks good, sounds nice and the string height and intonation is ok. I think it's a great instrument to start with and already enjoying learning the first songs from Jeffrey A. Lambert's books. For theory I've bought Bing Futch 's Method For Beginning Mountain Dulcimer.

Marcel

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
4 months ago
1,627 posts

Thanks for the link.  My lyre is not from Trossingen, but from a burial site called Oberflacht, grave #84.  Similar but not exactly the shape of the Trossingen.   I have also made a lyre from the Cologne site.

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
4 months ago
609 posts

Thanks for the link to your website Riksgewijs. That is a very nice lyre. I enjoyed seeing how you made it.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Riksgewijs
Riksgewijs
@riksgewijs
4 months ago
11 posts

Ken Hulme:

Riksgewijs  --  Welcome to the group!!!

A Trossingen Lyre?  Congratulations!  Did you include all that wonderful kolrose carving found on the original?  Here's a photo of an Oberflacht 84 replica that I made, with kolrose carvings of a pair of Pictish Beasts.

Oberflacht 84 Lyre.JPG

Many thanks for the warm welcome. 

Yes, this is the one. But the one on you're picture is not quite a trossinger. I has made a page about my lyre. This one i build to last on renaissance markts. So it can have a beating and handle some rain. but the shape and collrossing and looks ar spot on. 

I also made a view recordings. You can find them also on the site and my you-tube channel. 

Hope you will enjoy. 

Riks-Gewijs website, click here

 


updated by @riksgewijs: 06/10/19 03:09:39PM
Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
4 months ago
1,627 posts

Riksgewijs  --  Welcome to the group!!!

A Trossingen Lyre?  Congratulations!  Did you include all that wonderful kolrose carving found on the original?  Here's a photo of an Oberflacht 84 replica that I made, with kolrose carvings of a pair of Pictish Beasts.

Oberflacht 84 Lyre.JPG

DulcimerBill
DulcimerBill
@dulcimerbill
5 months ago
10 posts
Thank you. I look forward to meeting others here on our learning journey.
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
5 months ago
1,687 posts

@eaglenest61 ,  I love your story about your whole family now learning to play dulcimer together.. all due to you!

I hope you will enjoy this site and find support and inspiration when you see others learning as well in their home music journeys.  dulcimer




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
5 months ago
1,687 posts

@riksgewijs ...I'm impressed that you have made a Trossinger lyre replica.  Did you use Michael King's plans? Or did you just design it on your own?  The kolrosing is so complex and beautiful, would love to see a picture.




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
DulcimerBill
DulcimerBill
@dulcimerbill
5 months ago
10 posts

Hello, my name is Bill, though I have used Eaglenest61 as my username for years in everything I do. I am new to the world of mountain Dulcimers...or any Dulcimers for that matter. I have always wanted to play the guitar; but was unable to teach myself due to my big fat fingers. Just could not wrap my fingers around the neck properly. My mom suggested the Dulcimer and then informed me that my grandmother on my dad's side played the Dulcimer. Do here I am! I bought a Dulcimer for my mom and I to give her something to do during the day. After my dad passed away 2 years ago; she just seemed so lonely and board. I figured we could learn to play and that would give us more 'us' time. Little did I know my wife would fall in love with the Dulcimer as well. So now, my mom, my wife, and I are all learning to play and having a blast doing it. So now you know a little more about me. I look forward to meeting new friends and learning all that I can about Dulcimers and playing the Dulcimer.

Riksgewijs
Riksgewijs
@riksgewijs
5 months ago
11 posts

Let's introduce myself. 

My name is Rik and married. And I live in Holland and no, not in Amsterdam. Just a regular guy. I am a bike repair specialist and self employed. So I don't have a lot of free time. But the time of my business is my own. So I like to build instruments and model ships. I love to work with my hands and create things. So I am not very musical. I did played the guitar once a tiny bit. Blues and a little bleusrock. 

Now I am playing my own handbuild Lyre. It's a replica of the trossinger lyre. Found in a German Celtic Warrior grave. 

And that's how I met the Dulcimer. Found a view on pinterest when I was surging for more information on a French Lire I would build. Curios I wanted to hear the Dulcimer and on YouTube I found a lot examples. Do you know the feeling "I am home?" Think you know Jessica Comeau, I hear her on the dulcimer. Well that was that. Bought a cheap one. And started to fiddleling around. And really liked to play. The home feeling got only stronger. 

I do try to play almost every evening for a bit. And in the weekends. It's the joy to play what counts for me. I am not trying to be good. 

Now i have an account on Patreon and follow the lessons from Brett Ridgeway and Bing Futch. And yes I do donate for there work. I think it's important to contribute there effords. 

So I hope you know me a little better now. And I try to correspond on this way and to find other players just like me. 

I like to play the old traditional tunes in flatpicking style. 

 

With many greetings from Holland, 

Rik

Banjimer
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
5 months ago
92 posts

LisavB.  I'm glad you decided to join us.  You will find this forum to be warm and friendly.  We are united by our love for the dulcimer, and we are glad you decided to join us.  If you have any questions or wish to share more of your journey with the dulcimer, we'd love to hear more from you.

LisavB
LisavB
@lisavb
5 months ago
6 posts

Hi, I'm Lisa.  I fell into the dulcimer completely by accident, and fairly recently.  I like making things and my BF keeps teasing me about making a harpsichord for him when I/he retire.  Last November, I thought it wise to start with something smaller, and looked on the Internet.  Hah, I could make a cardboard dulcimer! Not costly, and I could paint it with my own design.  If something terrible happened, not a lot lost.  Oh, and they said it was easy to play, so maybe I could try playing it. 

So I made one from Backyard Music.  Sounds pretty good for a basic cardboard guy.  Painted it with an art deco motif, forest green and peach.  And I started to play.  And it was fun...and...

Then I wanted to try building a solid wood one.  Finally gave in and ordered a black walnut kit from Cedar Creek Dulcimers.  I was terrified--such nice wood to screw up!  But I did it, and I love it!  And wow, the sustain with solid walnut.

I love the dulcimer because there are so many ways to play it (noter, pick, fingers, melody string only, strum only, pick individual notes, chords), seems like you can keep learning and trying new things nearly endlessly.  Took the cardboard one on vacation to Canada recently.  Got to sit by the side of a lake we had all to ourselves (camping) and just improvise.  Wonderful!  (Cardboard one is good to take where there is a chance of getting a ding...)

 

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
5 months ago
1,687 posts

Hi Fatcat, we're happy you found us too!!  kittywink

I hope your health improves to allow you to enjoy playing your music at home.  dulcimer




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Fatcat
Fatcat
@fatcat
5 months ago
4 posts

Hi Everyone, I'm relearning to play after being ill for a long time. Working on the challenges from my physical changes but I love dulcimers and playing. It feeds my soul. I'm so glad I found you all.

Andreas Fischer
Andreas Fischer
@andreas-fischer
5 months ago
21 posts

Thanks for the "second" welcome. Its nice to be here.

I changed that mailadress, hope its working now.

 


updated by @andreas-fischer: 05/21/19 07:20:01PM
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
5 months ago
1,687 posts

Hi again Andreas, and welcome 'back' to the site again!  It's good to see you check in here.  I hope your health improves and that you continue to enjoy playing music on whatever instruments inspire you.  nod

I do need to mention that the email address you have set in your account settings here does not function and you need to go into your account settings and change it to a different, working email address, and then hit the 'save' button.  As it stands now with that nonworking email, you will not be receiving any emails or notifications from fotmd that would normally let you know about any private messages, comments on your profile page, friend requests, likes, or replies to your posts.  It'd be great if you can change to a working email address in your fotmd account- thanks!




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Andreas Fischer
Andreas Fischer
@andreas-fischer
5 months ago
21 posts

Hello

I am Andreas.
I am from Germany.
I love music. And play several Instruments. Of course a Mountain Dulcimer, but to be honest, I should practice and play much more.

My main instruments are; Guitar and Ukulele. I have several Whistles and Recorder. I have a Keyboard, a Melodica, I have a Cigar-Box-Guitar, … and I am sure I have forgotten to name some others ;-)
Some of my instruments I still have to learn at all. And as i said, my Dulcimerskills are few. I am a total beginner on this instrument.

I am the Operator of the (only) German Dulcimer Forum (www.Musik-Instrument-spielen.de/forum).
Not because I am so crazy about Dulcimer but because to first one was going to close down and there needed to be one. So I created a new one. We are very few People there but I try to make this instrument better known in Germany.

I am a User here since April 2018 when I “met” Stumelia ( https://fotmd.com/strumelia ) online while the Everything Dulcimer Forum did close down.
I offered to create a new Forum but there is THIS Forum here, … so there was no need.

I wrote and got some nice interesting messages with/from strumelia and I always planed to joind and be active here too.

Well my health condition is very bad and I spent a lot of time in hospitals and on the other side I am active in to many forums already, …. So it took me a while to say at least “Hello” here.


Well, here i am … Hello! ;-)

btw. I am a fan of online collaborations and always looking for people to play/collaborate with.

 


updated by @andreas-fischer: 05/21/19 07:15:05PM
JackLarwa
JackLarwa
@jacklarwa
6 months ago
2 posts
Thank you all so much for such a warm welcome. I've been making mountain dulcimers and other stringed instruments since I graduated college in 1993.

These days I'm a volunteer on staff at Artichoke Music in Portland Oregon where I can be found once or twice a week doing instrument repair.

Peace!
Jack
John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
6 months ago
190 posts

A good job on a beautiful dulcimer!  Here's to many more!

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
6 months ago
609 posts

Very nice instrument, Jack. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
6 months ago
1,687 posts

Love the rosy blonde color of that dulcimer, Jack!

Welcome to the site.  howdy




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
JackLarwa
JackLarwa
@jacklarwa
6 months ago
2 posts
My name is Jack. The Mountain Dulcimer has been a love of mine for many years. While I am able to play a few songs in a recognizable fashion, it's the construction of the instrument that truly enthralls me.

Here's a photo of one I made just last Christmas
20181223_163413.jpg
20181223_163413.jpg  •  277KB

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
8 months ago
1,687 posts

Hi Barlow45, I suggest you go to our Beginners Group and read a few of the threads there that have great advice about buying a 'first dulcimer' that's within your price range.  You have to JOIN that group in order to fully read the discussions in it (you can UNjoin any time just as easily).  You'll probably find all the help you need by reading those threads, plus other great tips for your purchase!

p.s. loved your post about your cardboard dulcimer, Lisa!




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990

updated by @strumelia: 03/01/19 11:20:15AM
Lisa
Lisa
@lisa
8 months ago
21 posts

I have the dulcimers pictured in my avatar.  The one I play daily, often for a couple of hours, is the cardboard one.  I’m not worried if my three small dogs knock it out of my lap while I sit my my recliner.  While I don’t want it to hit the floor, it’s happened a few times with no damage.  It’s always next to my chair, ready to play.  It sounds fantastic, and as Ken noted, the frets are placed accurately.  I love it so much as is, I no longer have no plans to upgrade the box to wood.  Don’t be put off by cardboard.    You can buy one all put together, or buy a kit and paint and decorate it just the way she likes, too.

There’s a saying about musical instruments ...  someone asks, What is the best make and model?  The answer should be, the one I play the most.

Lisa

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
8 months ago
1,627 posts

Welcome Barlow45 to our happy little corner of Musical Paradise!  We'll gladly give you lots of advice on getting your wife started on this musical journey.  I might suggest that you start a new topic here in the General Mountain Dulcimer forum as more folks will see your query there than in this Introduction thread, and later folks will find our answers to your questions more readily.  

There are literally more than a hundred possibility solutions to your basic question.   In general we recommend avoiding "mass manufacturers" who in other countries, who sell "deals" on Ebay and such.  Brands like First Act come to mind.  

Most of us recommend you start with "Student" model -- dulcimers made specifically to play well and sound good, but which don't have some of the 'bells and whistles' of more expensive dulcimers.  You can find two or three builders of Student models who sell their works for $100 to $175. 

Another option is a cardboard dulcimer.  Yep -- cardboard.  The body anyway.  The critical part of any dulcimer is the fretboard and the accuracy with which the frets are spaced and installed.  Without a good fretboard all you have is what we call a Dulcimer Shaped Object -- suitable only for wall-hanging.  There are, I think, 3 makers of cardboard dulcimers, all of whom make really good fretboards, which can -- after she really loves the instrument -- be installed on a wooden body.  

We can, and will certainly help her learn to play as well.  There are thousands of written and video lessons, song books, audio files and much much more.

Several years ago I wrote an article for beginners called I Just Got A Dulcimer, Now What? which is an illustrated glossary of dulcimer terms (so we all talk the same jargon) plus answers to many beginner questions about tuning, playing, care and feeding of their new instrument.  You can find an electronic copy here:

https://fotmd.com/strumelia/group_discuss/2316/ken-hulmes-i-just-got-a-dulcimer-now-what-article

Barlowe45
Barlowe45
@barlowe45
8 months ago
1 posts
Hello all. I'm looking to purchase my wife a dulcimer. My budget is $250 max. She nor I have ever played and know absolutely nothing about them. We would appreciate any suggestions as to what to purchase for her.
Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10 months ago
1,627 posts

Strings are strings -- as long as the gauge is right.

Lisa
Lisa
@lisa
10 months ago
21 posts

Ken Hulme:

Lisa -- secret to not breaking strings when tuning is to always tune a "singing" string.  Hold the tuner knob you think is the right one.  Pluck the string and turn it 1/4 turn.  If the singing string does not change pitch -- STOP -- you have the wrong tuner.  

LOL!  Ken, the secret to not breaking strings is not trying to tune it up five notes higher then it should be!  Unfortunately, I got the last pack of strings from the music store, so if I keep experimenting, I’m going to have to resort to banjo strings until they get some real dulcimer strings back in stock.   

Lisa


updated by @lisa: 01/05/19 12:20:54PM
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
10 months ago
1,687 posts

Hi @dtortorich ,

Since this is a discussion called "Introduce Yourself", most members don't think to read it in order to answer questions.  If you have specific questions about music and/or dulcimers, you'll greatly improve your chances of getting helpful answers if you create a new discussion in the General forum that has a title related to your question , such as maybe "Good medleys of Christmas Carols?", "Pickling Pickled Peppers song?", etc.  When members see a new discussion like that, they'll often go read it and respond in that discussion if they know answers.
When you click the top link to "Forums", you can then click on the General dulcimer/music forum.... once there, click the "+" Plus button to create a NEW discussion with your question and your own thread title. 

Thanks and welcome to FOTMD!  byebye




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990

updated by @strumelia: 01/05/19 11:38:20AM
dtortorich
@dtortorich
10 months ago
3 posts
Hello, I'm based in Hattiesburg. Love to play my dulcimer and this past Christmas there were a lot of carols that sound magical on the instrument. Has anyone found a good medley of carols that sound good?
Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10 months ago
1,627 posts

Lisa -- secret to not breaking strings when tuning is to always tune a "singing" string.  Hold the tuner knob you think is the right one.  Pluck the string and turn it 1/4 turn.  If the singing string does not change pitch -- STOP -- you have the wrong tuner.  

dtortorich
@dtortorich
10 months ago
3 posts
This is Bro Dave from Hattiesburg, MS. I play with the Magnolia Strings. Will post a picture of the group shortly. Mr. Paul Sykes and his wife Betty are our leaders. Anyone heard of them?
dtortorich
@dtortorich
10 months ago
3 posts
Hey Gang, Anyone heard of a dulcimer tune, Picking Pickled Peppers? If so, please send me the Youtube or website address, etc. so I can hear it. Thanks
Lisa
Lisa
@lisa
10 months ago
21 posts

Thanks for all the kind words!

Susie, I would love to go the Evart, but someone else already requested that weekend off.  I’ll have to ask, since generally, only one of us are allowed vacation at a time.  

I’ve read your pdf’s Ken, every helpful to a newbie like me, thanks!

It’s going to be a while before I play any events, though I could see how dulcimer music would be really nice during our tree lighting/rememberance ceremony.

On another note, I got my second-hand cardboard dulcimer today, three days earlier then expected!  I’m going to have fun with it this weekend.  I already managed to break one string trying different tunings, lucky I bought a pack on my way home.  DAc sounds pretty cool, I really dig it, though I better stick with DAa for now.  

Anyhooo, it’s an ugly cuss, painted brown cardboard, the neck is pretty rough cut with no strum area scooped out, but the fretting is pretty good according to my tuner, so that’s all that matters right now.  There is no fretboard, it’s just a plank with frets pressed into it.  I guess I’ll name it Plank.  It’s a lot of fun, and my dogs enjoy it a lot more than my penny whistles.  Probably the best 27 bucks I spent in a long time.

 I don’t know if I’d bother putting this neck on a better body, but who knows, I’ve got cigar boxes laying around, and a huge exotic wood warehouse is a few blocks from where I work, Bell Forest Products.  They have instrument quality fretboard wood and neck wood all ready to go.  They also got this huge pile of the coolest scrap wood they sell by the pound, so I might go crazy and try to make a proper box body for Plank and shoot some roofing staples under the melody string to get some of the frets it’s missing (no 6.5 fret).  I certainly can’t make a worse box than the cardboard box it’s currently made from.  

I’m already very fond of Plank, I think a box upgrade is in the future.

Enjoy your weekend, Lisa

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

Hello, Lisa. And, again, welcome to FOTMD. Looks like we have something else in common besides Marquette; I was a hospice chaplain for 28 years. I played my dulcimer for patients and for staff/volunteers. I played for our annual volunteer banquet, for our annual memorial service, and our annual tree lighting. The dulcimer is a good instrument for help in decompressing. Enjoy it.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Susie
Susie
@susie
10 months ago
317 posts

Hi Lisa, I'm in Gaylord. If you ever have the time, you should consider attending the Evart Dulcimer Fest (ODPC Funfest) in July. It is full of workshops for all levels and all instruments. I offered to meet another new player there many years ago, to help her along, and now we are great friends. If you choose to go, my sister and I will be there this year. BTW, I'm about your age, I'm 55. I play many instruments, including the Native American Flute. There are usually several workshops for NAF at Evart too. If you have questions, feel free to PM me.

http://evartdulcimerfest.org


updated by @susie: 01/04/19 09:11:45AM
Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10 months ago
1,627 posts

Hi Lisa;  Welcome to the wacky world of dulcimers.  I think you're going to fit right in!  A Cardboard dulcimer is a good, inexpensive place to start -- the frets are accurately place which means the notes are true.  Later, if you like, you can have a wooden body made (or make it yourself) and put the fretboard from your cardboard dulcimer on new body.  I did that recently for a student of mine, and it was pretty inexpensive to do.  

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 terms (so we all speak the same jargon) plus answers to many beginner questions about the tuning, playing, care and feeding of your new friend.  Good reading while you wait for your dulcimer to arrive...
https://fotmd.com/strumelia/group_discuss/2316/ken-hulmes-i-just-got-a-dulcimer-now-what-article  

Body for CB Dulcimer.JPG

Terry Wilson
Terry Wilson
@terry-wilson
10 months ago
263 posts
Lisa, welcome to fotmd.com. You will meet many new friends here, who will help you in your journey with this wonderful instrument, called a dulcimer.

Often, I use a NAF in my assisted living home ministry. There are others too.

Good luck to ya.
Lisa
Lisa
@lisa
10 months ago
21 posts
Hi, I'm Lisa. I love in Marquette, Upper Michigan, two blocks from Lake Superior. I enjoy playing musical instruments, mainly woodwinds until now. clarinet, recorder, Native American flute, irish penny whistle and simple, cheap bamboo flutes. I was terrible at improvising until I took up NA flute five or so years ago, I couldn't let go and just play.
I've always loved string instruments, but have been frustrated by the learning curve. I'm not a singer, and just strumming chords was boring to me, and finger picking a six string or even a ukulele was beyond my level of patience and time. I do love playing the kalimba or thumb piano, I have a small collection of those. Very easy and fun to play.
I remembered in the 80s, one of my friends got a dulcimer kit for Christmas, which she and her dad built. I vaguely remember playing it a few times, but I was too into clarinet to be interested.
Now, my musical tastes have matured, and I enjoy world music, especially Irish traditional music, slow ballads, music along those lines.
While surfing youtube, I stumbled upon the dulcimer, and knew that's what I've been looking for.
I've got a cheap cardboard dulcimer on the way to use until I find a nicer one to purchase.
I'm currently reading the forums heavily to get a grasp of what I should be looking for, as whatever I get will come in the mail. There's nothing local for sale, and I don't know any players.
I'm glad there's such an active forum to read, it's very helpful for someone in my position.
In real life, I work as a care aide for a home health and hospice company. I'm kind of the jill of all trades, I work half in the office, half in the field doing visits and training new aides. Music is necessary for me to decompress, it can be extremely stressful at work.
I have a husband, 21 yr old stepson, three rescue dogs, and take care of my 89 year old mother, though she lives alone, for now. I'm 51 years old, and my job has taught me not to wait too long to do something important to you, life can get messy really fast. This is important to me, I'm really looking forward to my dulcimer journey.
Best regards, Lisa
Skip
Skip
@skip
10 months ago
238 posts

Check your messages. [Hover over your name, upper right]

Terry Wilson
Terry Wilson
@terry-wilson
10 months ago
263 posts

Hi Jamie. Welcome to the wonderful world of FOTMD. If you stick around a while, you will make many new friends here.


updated by @terry-wilson: 12/13/18 12:47:40PM
Elvensong
Elvensong
@elvensong
10 months ago
26 posts

TwoGunBob:

Literally just got my dulcimer yesterday and then read the decidedly lukewarm opine of Roosebeck instruments but what's done is done. Anyone want to donate a dulcimer to someone that made a mistake?   

Don't let anyone tell you your first dulcimer purchase was a mistake no matter the brand. I played the first seven years on a $100 kit with friction pegs. I wrote many of my tunes on that dulcimer and I performed with it at the World's Fair in 1986 and the Seattle Folklife festival.

If you play a little bit everyday you will get better regardless of the instrument. Can you find a better instrument? Absolutely! You can spend $4000 on a dulcimer but you will not learn any faster.

You are about to discover that every dulcimer you purchase or build from here on will never be enough. bighug

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
10 months ago
1,687 posts

Welcome StringHopper and TwoGunBob!

(..I'm a secret HP Lovecraft fan myself)




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
TwoGunBob
TwoGunBob
@twogunbob
10 months ago
6 posts

Well heck... Firstly I'm not a Bob but a Jamie. TGB was my internet handle from way back that came from being a Robert E. Howard fan (creator of Conan) as H.P. Lovecraft called him Two Gun Bob and I adopted the moniker and all. Literally just got my dulcimer yesterday and then read the decidedly lukewarm opine of Roosebeck instruments but what's done is done. Anyone want to donate a dulcimer to someone that made a mistake? All said I sat down learning The Water is Wide and muddled through. If anything the challenge is getting those hand positions which are different from bass AND different from the balalaika. At least the balalaika prepped me for using my thumb so there's that.

I've played electric bass guitar for around 31 years. Rolling the clock back to being young and rebellious...

 

cluster07.jpg

And then there was this stint doing cow punk...

jamieanger.jpg

And at the same time STILL playing angry music...

LOS07.jpg

All that folded up about ten years ago and I pretty much just tinkered on the bass and got bored so picked up the balalaika last year to try my hand at Russian folk music. After a year I decided to branch out again and ordered the dulcimer and joined here as I really miss being a part of a musical community. I appreciate the warm welcomes so far and look forward to getting stuck in with yet another new instrument.

Let's see... In the last ten years I spend a lot of my time when not working painting figures for wargaming. The gaming is mostly to justify painting as that relaxes me even more than playing music. Honestly, when I'm not in a band playing live I kind of get depressed about the music thing. right now I'm working on an American Civil War project, probably what ignited the interest in the dulcimer.

mich02.jpg

mich01.jpg

Also done a plethora of fantasy/sci fi stuff over the years.

 

warriormaidens01.jpgwarriors01.jpg

And that's about it for the moment. Look forward to getting to know this community and learning about yet another instrument.

 

 


updated by @twogunbob: 12/13/18 12:07:04PM
string hopper
string hopper
@string-hopper
10 months ago
1 posts

Hi everyone! I am finally getting the time to get on to this forum, I am coming in from the old Everything Dulcimer forum (Asterhunter). My wife Sharon and I play and practice a lot together, and play in public every once in a while. We have a fairly active YouTube channel, one of our latest is here:

I'm sure I'll find some old friends here!

David Elosser

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
last year
1,687 posts

Welcome Lisa!

For determining whether your instrument is playable or needs work, I'd suggest you create a new discussion in the following Forum:

https://fotmd.com/forums/forum/instruments-discuss-specific-features-luthiers-instrument-problems-questions

-use the Plus (+) button to create a new discussion.

I also suggest you look over our site Groups and join any that interest you- that makes it even more FUN to be on the site!   :)

https://fotmd.com/group

Be sure to explore the various links along the TOP navigation bar to get familiar with the site layout.

And here's a forum for asking questions when you can't figure out the site settings or how to post something: 

https://fotmd.com/forums/forum/site-questions-how-do-i

hamster




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
 
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