Introduce Yourself!

Shelley1
Shelley1
@shelley1
one month ago
4 posts

Ken Hulme:

Welcome to the family, Shelley!  

Thank you!

Shelley1
Shelley1
@shelley1
one month ago
4 posts

Lois Sprengnether Keel:


winker See how infectious the folk instrument world can be?!?



Oh I can see that! Love it!


LisavB:


Hi Shelley!  


I did things in the opposite direction.  Made a cardboard dulcimer as an art project a couple of years ago, fell in love with playing it.  Then I "had" to build a black walnut one from a kit (a little over a year ago).  Then I got tempted by a Fender acoustic guitar bundle on Amazon last December.  Fell in love with that, too.  And got a shell pink Fender Strat in April.  Love my dulcimers (well, I rarely play the cardboard one now--it sounds really good, but no 6+ fret, alas) and my guitars, but in different ways and for different reasons!  It is starting to look like a musical instrument zoo around here.  They all have little stands.  Some day when I retire, I want to get back into the recorder...I have several of those...



I'm going to need to see a photo of that cardboard dulcimer, I think. And the shell pink Strat! 

Shelley1
Shelley1
@shelley1
one month ago
4 posts

Lois Sprengnether Keel:

Hi Shelley!

Like you, my introduction to folk music was guitar & I still sometimes go that way, but really am delighted to have found the MD.  Since you're currently pretty much stuck indoors, you'll find lots to learn through prowling FOTMD.  Be warned though, you show traces of the disease I have . . . developing a musical petting zoo.  Even being stuck inside can't protect you.  I blame my infection all the way back to Girl Scout days when I earned the Dabbler badge.  For those with a specialized form of the disease, it's Dulcimer Acquisition Disease to match the common tuning of DAd.  My husband has been fighting his own form of this with banjos.  It's not fatal and is fun whether you succumb to it or not.

Oh, the zoo is overflowing. I recently added up all the instruments I have and it's embarrassing. Time to prune. Thank you for the welcome!

Lois Sprengnether Keel
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
one month ago
176 posts

winker See how infectious the folk instrument world can be?!?

LisavB
LisavB
@lisavb
one month ago
30 posts

Hi Shelley!  

I did things in the opposite direction.  Made a cardboard dulcimer as an art project a couple of years ago, fell in love with playing it.  Then I "had" to build a black walnut one from a kit (a little over a year ago).  Then I got tempted by a Fender acoustic guitar bundle on Amazon last December.  Fell in love with that, too.  And got a shell pink Fender Strat in April.  Love my dulcimers (well, I rarely play the cardboard one now--it sounds really good, but no 6+ fret, alas) and my guitars, but in different ways and for different reasons!  It is starting to look like a musical instrument zoo around here.  They all have little stands.  Some day when I retire, I want to get back into the recorder...I have several of those...

Lois Sprengnether Keel
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
one month ago
176 posts

Hi Shelley!

Like you, my introduction to folk music was guitar & I still sometimes go that way, but really am delighted to have found the MD.  Since you're currently pretty much stuck indoors, you'll find lots to learn through prowling FOTMD.  Be warned though, you show traces of the disease I have . . . developing a musical petting zoo.  Even being stuck inside can't protect you.  I blame my infection all the way back to Girl Scout days when I earned the Dabbler badge.  For those with a specialized form of the disease, it's Dulcimer Acquisition Disease to match the common tuning of DAd.  My husband has been fighting his own form of this with banjos.  It's not fatal and is fun whether you succumb to it or not.

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
one month ago
1,055 posts

@shelley1 Great to have you here!  There's lots to see on the site-- enjoy poking around!  




--
Robin T
one of the Moderators here :)
Keep a song in your heart!
Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
one month ago
1,739 posts

Welcome to the family, Shelley!  

Shelley1
Shelley1
@shelley1
one month ago
4 posts

Hi! My name is Shelley and I'm new to the dulcimer world and this site. I started playing about two weeks ago and love it! I'm played guitar since I was 13, and am learning to play a couple of other instruments, but nothing has grabbed my interest the way the dulcimer has. (With the exception of the guitar—LOVE my guitars.) I'm looking forward to learning what I can and hanging out with you!

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
2 months ago
1,291 posts

Welcome back, @Wendell-G (artist formerly known as Geckostar).




--
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
Wendell G
Wendell G
@wendell-g
2 months ago
3 posts

Hi everyone.  I am Wendell G. and was formerly a member here under the name Geckostar97.  An extremely busy work schedule, working from home due to Covid-19 pandemic, a couple of small other things and well...all of my instruments went unplayed for too long.  I am so happy to be back as a member of FOTMD.  I look forward to many discussions and getting my calluses back on my finger tips for guitar and mountain dulcimer playing!  Thank you for so many kind welcome messages.

John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
6 months ago
220 posts

Thanks for your post, DoC!  Sorry things are gloomy across The Pond.  Things are somewhat gloomy here as well, what with the pesky COVID virus preparation shutting things down and generally making a nuisance of itself.  We need to rise above it, and dulcimers sure help re-focus us on nicer things!  I'm confident that you'll make the McSpadden modifications with no trouble at all.  Best wishes for a successful outcome.

dockildare
@dockildare
6 months ago
6 posts

Hello to y'all from a gloomy United Kingdom.  I tend to go by the name DoC, reside in Derbyshire.  I recently acquired a '84 or '86 McSpadden that was originally intended as a 4 string dulcimer but was finished off as 3 string.  Whilst I love it as it is, I find it lacks something that 4 strings add - so I've ordered a few extra bits and am going to revert it back to being a 4 string.  Fingers crossed I don't mess it up in the meantime, but I have worked on and built guitars before so am hoping for the best.

Just want to say thanks to all those who have already welcomed me to the forum, even though this is my first post here.

Buckeye67
Buckeye67
@buckeye67
7 months ago
5 posts
Jim Phillips:

Buckeye67,

You are indeed very fortunate!  The Dayton dulcimer club is probably one of the best clubs in the US.  They have many events during the year.  I have contacts that are leaders of the group and have other information about the club.  If you want to send a PRIVATE MESSAGE to me, I will send information to you.

Since both of you are military,  I am posting some pictures of one instrument that I recently built.  A mother here in Ohio had me build this instrument to honor her son as he retired from the USAF. She was having a hard time deciding on sound holes. She decided on the "stars", since they are a prominent part of the USAF insignia.

Please see attached images.

Jim Phillips


That's a lovely instrument! I'll shoot you a PM when I get home from work. :-)
Jim Phillips
Jim Phillips
@jim-at-gcreek
7 months ago
13 posts

Buckeye67,

You are indeed very fortunate!  The Dayton dulcimer club is probably one of the best clubs in the US.  They have many events during the year.  I have contacts that are leaders of the group and have other information about the club.  If you want to send a PRIVATE MESSAGE to me, I will send information to you.

Since both of you are military,  I am posting some pictures of one instrument that I recently built.  A mother here in Ohio had me build this instrument to honor her son as he retired from the USAF. She was having a hard time deciding on sound holes. She decided on the "stars", since they are a prominent part of the USAF insignia.

Please see attached images.

Jim Phillips

Sapele3.JPG
Sapele3.JPG  •  210KB

Sapele2.jpg
Sapele2.jpg  •  6.5MB

Sapele1.jpg
Sapele1.jpg  •  6.9MB

Buckeye67
Buckeye67
@buckeye67
7 months ago
5 posts
Jim Phillips:

Buckeye67,

Many thanks to you and your wife for serving and protecting us.

I am also a “Buckeye”.  I live in central Ohio - play and build dulcimers.  I am also from Appalachia.  Family was from Buchanan County, VA - maybe 50 miles from Pikeville.  I have a son that lives in Cincinnati and I would be glad to send you information about playing.  I know players who are involved in string clubs in southern Ohio.  I think playing with a club is a great way to learn.

Jim Phillips


Hi Jim,

Thank you! We'll be moving to the Dayton area (WPAFB). I agree completely about learning with a group/club. When I started playing ITM I was fortunate to find Cincinnati's Riley School of Irish Music. I've seen that there's a dulcimer club in Dayton that I was going to check out, but would love info on Cincinnati happenings as well.
Appalachiandreamer
Appalachiandreamer
@appalachiandreamer
7 months ago
10 posts
That is absolutely beautiful! Unfortunately technology is only as good as it user. I totality missed the groups under the menu. The last social media I used was AOL in the 80’s if you would call it that. I would love to be able to call upon the experience found on FOTMD how every I’m just starting and don’t have enough knowledge about the process. I did join that group last nite and as suggested started a post. I am trying to find some good books on the subject and what is good and important in them as well as maybe give experienced builders new resources they may have not know. I listed a few that I found through one builders web page. Most are out of print since the 70’s but have all but one on the way. I look forward the discussions and thank you all for point me in the right way!
Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
7 months ago
1,739 posts

@Appalachiandreamer -- We've talked quite a few new builders through their first dulcimer in that Group.  We can get you going with designs, materials, hand-holding help... whatever you want/need.

I see you're from North Carolina.   You might be interested too see  that I build a pretty rare North Carolina dulcimer style called a Holly Leaf shape.  The original was built in Burnsville, NC around the time of the "recent unpleasantness" -- 1860s.  It's a traditional dulcemore  -- that is it's not suited for playing modern three-finger chord-melody style, but rather for traditional noter & drone style playing.  

My Burnsville.JPG
My Burnsville.JPG  •  95KB


updated by @ken-hulme: 02/12/20 10:35:09PM
Appalachiandreamer
Appalachiandreamer
@appalachiandreamer
7 months ago
10 posts
Thank you very much that’s a big help
Banjimer
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
7 months ago
111 posts

At the top of the Home Page click on "Groups".  Then scroll down to the "Dulcimer Making" group and click on that.  You can join that group by clicking the "Join" button.  Once you are a member of the group, you can post your questions to other members of the dulcimer making group for discussion by clicking on the "+ sign" in the upper right-hand corner and creating a topic for discussion.

If you want to discuss deceased dulcimer makers, you can join the "Dulcimer History" group in the same manner and post your questions there.

Appalachiandreamer
Appalachiandreamer
@appalachiandreamer
7 months ago
10 posts
Not sure if I have missed it or if this is the right place to put this post request as I am not a social media person this being my first forum group. My attempts to used search engine in forum for a subjects or topics and even post my name has not gone well. Is there a forum started for new to making mountain dulcimer or could we make one. Could call it “So you want to make a mountain dulcimer.” Was looking for schools, books, tools, jigs, resources, maybe internships, etc. Reviews of such things to aid a person in getting started and avoid the junk and pit falls. With and were some of our fine members could start/post bio on their work and how and why they got into making dulcimers. Links to their web site. Maybe well as about their innovations, style, technique and writing or publications. As we all have looked at those that came before us, Leadford Uncle Ed, Presnell etc, can we have a place to marvel a greats still among us. FOTMD might become the best reference for those folks looking to learn more about the makers of their instrument long after personal web pages go down. Thanks for you time and reflections
Jim Phillips
Jim Phillips
@jim-at-gcreek
7 months ago
13 posts

Buckeye67,

Many thanks to you and your wife for serving and protecting us.

I am also a “Buckeye”.  I live in central Ohio - play and build dulcimers.  I am also from Appalachia.  Family was from Buchanan County, VA - maybe 50 miles from Pikeville.  I have a son that lives in Cincinnati and I would be glad to send you information about playing.  I know players who are involved in string clubs in southern Ohio.  I think playing with a club is a great way to learn.

Jim Phillips

Buckeye67
Buckeye67
@buckeye67
7 months ago
5 posts

Hey everyone,

I'm originally from SW Ohio, served in the US Army and worked in law enforcement nearly all my adult life.  My wife is still in the USAF, which has had us move from Ohio to Texas and to Michigan where we currently live.  This summer, we'll be moving back to SW Ohio and this September we'll be welcoming our first baby!  My mom's side of the family is from Pike County, KY (she was born in Hardy), and having roots in Appalachia, I have an avid interest in the people, culture, history and music of the mountains.

I mostly play traditional Irish music (whistle and flute), but also throw in some Breton, Scottish and Galician tunes as well (Breton tunes would sit very well on the Dulcimer, I think).

I don't own a dulcimer yet, but plan on getting one and getting started learning to play soon.  Doing research on them is what led me to the forums here. 

Thanks for having me, and I look forward to starting this journey. :)

 

Appalachiandreamer
Appalachiandreamer
@appalachiandreamer
7 months ago
10 posts
No worries I do it all the time and my writing can be quite disjunctive. Auto corrections can be a pain. At least that is my story.
Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
7 months ago
1,055 posts

@Appalachiandreamer Yes, please post your Amburgey photo!  Also, I misread your comment about MJAmburgey-- my mistake.  




--
Robin T
one of the Moderators here :)
Keep a song in your heart!
Appalachiandreamer
Appalachiandreamer
@appalachiandreamer
7 months ago
10 posts
No I just have a A. Jethro Amburgey. It is one of the last ones he made before his pasting. I believe by just a few days. I saw his son’s on this site which prompted me to join. I will post some pictures under fiery first dulcimer soon if you all would like
Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
7 months ago
1,055 posts

Welcome, @scott-collier & @Appalachiandreamer!  

Scott, Bob G makes beautiful instruments-- enjoy your visit!  

AD, A Jethro Amburgey and  MJethro Amburgey-- wow!  Enjoy them!  




--
Robin T
one of the Moderators here :)
Keep a song in your heart!
Appalachiandreamer
Appalachiandreamer
@appalachiandreamer
7 months ago
10 posts
Hello to all and thank you for letting me join this site. A little about myself: I grow up in central North Carolina and headed to the mountains for college before moving all over the US, and the world with the US Army. After a medical discharge, I returned to college finishing Poli Sci and Nursing degrees. It is also were I meet and married the love of my life, a coastal North Carolinian. Do to her strong family ties and values this is were I live today but the mountains still call to me. So much so I have a clause or arrangement if you will that when those obligations pass on, we are heading for those hills Westward.
As fate would have it, the injuries from the Army came back sooner that I hoped they would. I tore up my back and hips with a bad jump out of one of those fine Air Force planes. Although painful I could get around ok until one morning I could not get up at all. Turns out I compressed a few nerves and it took the VA 18 months to get it fixed. That left me with permanent damage in my back and leg. I’m unable to work due to only being able to sit up and stand for a few hours at a time. So, I am now retired early.
Retirement sucks! I have never been one to sit on my butt so I got into gardening, which got me into bee keeping to pay for the gardening which lead to gardening for the bees. The thinking was to, although limited, rehab my back so I could get back to work. Both it has just gotten harder and hard to do. Which leads me to the mountain dulcimer.
Some fifteen plus years ago while visiting my mother on Beach Mountain on vacation she had me take her to see a dulcimer maker. I thought at the time what any odd looking instrument. I really didn’t think more of them till this pass year when I put my daughter in a school that teaches mountain dulcimer and folk music. So with my mother having two that are sitting around I started to research. The more history I learned the more I fell in love with them and the music they make. So I have committed to learning to play and maybe building my own.
A little while ago I came across a Jethro Amburgey dulcimer sitting in the Salvation Army and picked it up. As I continue to research I came across picture that looked very much like the one I have signed in the strum hallow on this site. In the forum “Tell us about your VERY FIRST dulcimer” two years ago a Morris Jethro Amburgey #42. The information that came from that post I was reading and I knew that this was the place that I needed to come learn and ask questions.
I know that this maybe little to much for intro and a first post. I shall read through the rules and other guidelines provided. But I did want to thank very one and look forward to getting to you.
Scott Collier
Scott Collier
@scott-collier
7 months ago
14 posts
Well it's been a long time but I'm coming back. Name is Scott and I've been away for a while but I've gotten the itch again. Going to Have an instrument made be Bob Gerard hopefully. I'm meeting with him this Saturday. Looking forward to renewing old friendships here!
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
8 months ago
1,769 posts

Hi there Marc, and welcome!

To answer your question- yes any videos or audios of the playing of non-public domain tunes/songs must be added to posts in the Rockin Free World group.  That is to keep our site's Video and Audio collections free of copyrighted materials that are part of our hosted collections.  Doesn't matter if you arranged the version or not in this case. 
(And of course if you composed your own material you can post it even if you copyrighted it..you own the copyright.)

Hope you enjoy it here..  bananawave




--
Site Owner

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

updated by @strumelia: 01/15/20 09:52:52PM
glowhazel
@glowhazel
8 months ago
3 posts

Hello!  My name's Marc, and I'm currently living in northern Virginia.  2020 is going to be my year for diving headfirst into all things dulcimer.  Thanks everyone who's already sent their kind welcome messages. :)

One quick question, if that's permissible here: seems like if I want to share any videos of myself playing non-public domain or non-traditional music (i.e. covers of licensed songs) then they need to go in the "Rockin in the Free World" group.  Is this important even if the arrangement is my own?

John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
8 months ago
220 posts

Welcome to the group, Rain Dog!  This is a great resource for dulcimer new-bies.  Ask a lot of questions if you like.  One of us (at least) should be able to help you out.  Have a good day!

Rain Dog
Rain Dog
@rain-dog
8 months ago
19 posts
Hello to my new friends (otMD). I'm Peter from Indiana, but "I am a rain dog too". I'll try to keep my dulcimer story short. I got my dulcimer for Christmas when I was 15. Had no idea what it was. It came with a folded sheet of paper as instructions. I was into hard rock at the time and really wasn't interested in strumming "Go Tell Aunt Rodie". I did get the book " The Easiest Way To Play Dulcimer Yet". While on vacation in Tennessee probably the following year or so and began trying to learn a little, but it went out of tune constantly. Very frustrating for a teen. Flash forward 30 or so years and I decided to learn guitar ( thanks to Guitar Hero). Still working on that. I had mentioned to my wife, some time ago, I was thinking of making a cigar box guitar. She has been encouraging me to build one, and I started contemplating making a chromatic one. So I thought, I should pull my dulcimer out of the closet. I've kept it in its original shipping box for, now 40 years and messed with it off and on. Now after a little wood putty and some plastic washers it stays in tune. I've been enjoying Blue Grass on my guitar journey. The stars aligned and I found this site. Gonna hit "post" now before I read this and decide I didn't keep it short.
Bob
Bob
@bob
9 months ago
88 posts

Hi Patrick, I think you will find that a great many bagpipe tunes (particularly Scotts and Irish) lend perfectly to the mountain dulcimer (though you probably already know that!)  I play the cauld wind Scottish Smallpipes (somewhat) and love to try my pipe tunes on the mountain dulcimer; seems a perfect combination.  Best wishes!

Recovering Baptist
Recovering Baptist
@recovering-baptist
9 months ago
5 posts
Ken, I spent a lot of weekends at Merv and Joannes home. Merv made a beautiful Myrtle dulcimer for my wedding present. He was such a kind hearted person. I really miss both of them. I sometimes joined him at festivals, played and demonstrated his dulcimers. Wonderful memories.
Recovering Baptist
Recovering Baptist
@recovering-baptist
9 months ago
5 posts
Ken Hulme:

I had the great honor and pleasure of doing a minor repair on one of Merv's personal instruments for him, a year or so before he passed away.  He was a great builder and promoter of chord-melody in DAAS as well as the 1-3-5 tuning...

Recovering Baptist
Recovering Baptist
@recovering-baptist
9 months ago
5 posts
Hi Patrick. Welcome. I’m new here, too. Recently got back into dulcimer. I was active during the eighties until late nineties. Joined FOTMD a few weeks ago to reconnect.

RB
Recovering Baptist
Recovering Baptist
@recovering-baptist
9 months ago
5 posts
Mr. Woolery:
Hi! I’m Patrick Woolery. I mostly play banjo and bagpipes, but want to expand my horizons to include the dulcimer.

I don’t have a lot to contribute at the moment, but I’m hoping being part of a community will help keep me motivated to learn.

Patrick
Terry Wilson
Terry Wilson
@terry-wilson
9 months ago
290 posts
Welcome, Patrick. You will find FOTMD to be a wonderful place to visit. You can make many new friends who will be most happy to give you advice and encouragement.

Happy New Year!🎆
Mr. Woolery
Mr. Woolery
@mr-woolery
9 months ago
3 posts
Hi! I’m Patrick Woolery. I mostly play banjo and bagpipes, but want to expand my horizons to include the dulcimer.

I don’t have a lot to contribute at the moment, but I’m hoping being part of a community will help keep me motivated to learn.

Patrick
Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
9 months ago
1,739 posts

I had the great honor and pleasure of doing a minor repair on one of Merv's personal instruments for him, a year or so before he passed away.  He was a great builder and promoter of chord-melody in DAAS as well as the 1-3-5 tuning...

Recovering Baptist
Recovering Baptist
@recovering-baptist
9 months ago
5 posts

My name is Tom Campbell. I first played a dulcimer in summer of 1983. Merv and Jo Rowley introduced me to the mountain dulcimer.  I met them at the Rockford Folk Festival in Rockford, Illinois. Merv and Jo were like parents to me. Merv was a master luthier and Jo a very talented artist.  I love Merv's dulcimers. I look forward to getting know some new folks who share the same love that I have for the dulcimer and old time music. 

Merry Christmas

 RB

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
10 months ago
1,055 posts

Good to have you folks here!  

@vicki-moore There is a rich mountain dulcimer history in the Smokies.  The last time I was in that neck of the woods was several years ago so I'm of no help on being able to offer specific suggestions.  Perhaps you would like to post a thread in this section: https://fotmd.com/forums/forum/off-topic-discussions

@garyinwyoming How neat you were able to find a couple other players out your way!  Happy strumming! 




--
Robin T
one of the Moderators here :)
Keep a song in your heart!
GaryinWYoming
GaryinWYoming
@garyinwyoming
10 months ago
3 posts

Hi, my name is Gary and I just recently joined.  I live in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  Not exactly dulcimer country but, I did manage to find a couple of other people here that play mountain dulcimer.  I'll post a picture of my mountain dulcimer when I get a chance. nod

Vicki Moore
Vicki Moore
@vicki-moore
10 months ago
14 posts

Hello from northern VT!  Even though I really am not much of a traveler at all, I am considering a road (or air) trip to the Smokey Mountains - there, I have said it and maybe that will help me to follow through with it. Any suggestions or advice from anyone out there in MD land?

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
10 months ago
1,769 posts

Hi there @sal-monella !  I posted a response to your beginner book discussion in the General Forum, where I mention some of the factors you'll encounter if playing your stick dulcimers with mountain dulcimer tab books, here:

https://fotmd.com/forums/forum/general-mountain-dulcimer-or-music-discussions/36238/beginners-dulcimer-book#r36239

Welcome to the site!  bananawave




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10 months ago
1,739 posts

Welcome Sal-Monella!     Interesting handle you have there.

There really is no consensus as to  best book to learn any aspect of dulcimer. 

Realize, of course that there is a big difference between playing one of those stick instruments and playing a true dulcimer.  For starters the strings are 'backwards'.  Also unless you lay that stick flat on your lap, no dulcimer playing instructions are going to make any sense.  


updated by @ken-hulme: 11/24/19 10:53:06PM
Sal Monella
Sal Monella
@sal-monella
10 months ago
2 posts

Howdy,

As you can see by my profile, I'm new to the dulcimer. I have made a couple stick dulcimers and a Strumbly, but really haven't learned to play one. That is what I am commencing to do by joining FOTMD. The thing I was wondering was how can I search, or is the info already out there, about the memberships idea of the "BEST" beginners book for learning dulcimer. I believe that I will want to take a stab at finger picking at some point in time as well. So maybe a book that has some sort of progression in that direction is what I'm looking for.

Thank you in advance for any help with this topic.

-Sal

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
11 months ago
1,769 posts

Ron, welcome to fotmd!  i suggest you start a new discussion in our general Forums area for your guitar tuning question, rather than asking about it in this "Introduce Yourself" discussion.

Go to the general forum area and use the plus button+ to start a new discussion.  :)

(When you, be sure to give us the scale length (length in inches between nut and bridge) of your guitar. You'll likely have to change some strings and maybe remove other strings from your guitar. Remember too when you ask about a '4 string dulcimer'...that a guitar does not have a pair of closely set strings like most 4 string dulcimers have on the melody string.)

Please do start your new separate discussion in the forums, so we can help you further there in it.  :)




--
Site Owner

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

updated by @strumelia: 11/11/19 12:16:30PM
RonD
RonD
@rond
11 months ago
10 posts

Hello,  Thank You for the welcome.

I cannot get a dulcimer until late winter,  in the meanwhile, is there a way to tune a guitar to at least a three string dulcimer

preferrably four in the usual aadd?

Thanks, Ronald

Susie
Susie
@susie
11 months ago
375 posts

Matthew, happy to hear you're making music again!

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
11 months ago
1,055 posts

Matthew, I'm glad you're playing again!  




--
Robin T
one of the Moderators here :)
Keep a song in your heart!
Jim Fawcett
Jim Fawcett
@jim-fawcett
11 months ago
90 posts

Matthew, good to see you back. By the way, we're usually in the chat room in the morning. Just to let you know.




--
Site Moderator

updated by @jim-fawcett: 10/30/19 04:44:14PM
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
11 months ago
1,769 posts

Hi Matthew!  How great that something so lovely as music is helping your Parkinson symptoms. I'm glad you're back to playing!  Good luck with your exploration of a chromatic dulcimer.




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Matthew Andrew
Matthew Andrew
@matthew-andrew
11 months ago
3 posts

Hi all! I have been away for a while, having issues with Parkinson's. back to playing again, as it seems to help me. Especially interested in chromatic dulcimers now!

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
last year
1,769 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
last year
1,739 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
last year
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
last year
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
last year
1,739 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
last year
111 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
last year
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
last year
1,739 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
last year
111 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
last year
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
last year
1,739 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
last year
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
last year
7 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
last year
290 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
last year
1,769 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
last year
4 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
last year
163 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
last year
7 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
last year
290 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
last year
653 posts

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

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

 
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