Number of dulcimers

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty
9 years ago
1,738 posts

Jan is really onto something. If you can whistle a tune, it means your brain has learned to associate different sizes in the opening of your lips to get different pitches. When you hum or sing, your brain has learned exactly how much to stretch or relax your vocal chord to get a certain pitch.

When you learn an instrument, your brain can also learn how high up a string you have to move to get a pitch. It's just a matter of doing it enough that you can train your brain in that manner.

When you first learned to whistle, you couldn't do "I've Been Working on the Railroad" right away; your brain how to learn to associate the opening of your mouth with different pitches. It took some practice.  The dulcimer takes practice, too.  One reason I don't like to look at tab is that I want to see where on the fretboard I am getting different tones, so that my brain can learn those distances. Sometimes I sing the fret numbers while I play to reinforce the connection between the fretboard and the notes that are in my brain. And I spend a lot of time just trying to find simple melodies on the dulcimer.  Not to learn the songs, but to practice letting my brain figure out where to find the right pitch. The more you do it, the better you get.

 




--
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
Sam
Sam
@sam
9 years ago
169 posts

Upside ... I only need one DVD ... :(




--
The Dulcimer. If you want to preserve it, jam it!
5kwkdw3
@5kwkdw3
9 years ago
31 posts

On the other hand, don't make the mistake of thinking the reason I don't need the tab is that I have taken the time and energy to memorize how to play hundreds of tunes!  I have trouble memorizing anything, so don't anyone give me props for something I haven't done--and probably couldn't do  

I didn't mean to say that I'd memorized a bunch either.  It's just I can see the melodies on the fretboard when I hear the name of the tune.  It might take a couple of plucks to find my spot, but then I whip out a dulcimer tune much the same one would indeed, whistle a tune.  I forced myself to memorize specific Handel and Bach organ pieces, but can also count the number on one hand.  If I learn a new one, then sure as anything one of the previous ones will go out my other ear.   Some dulcimer pieces are in fact memorized, but still in just barely the double digits like Greensleeves.  I memorized a particular take on that song in tab.  I memorized not the tune per se, as all probably can whistle that one, I have the frets in mind.  Where the fingers go and what fret to go to next type of memory.

marg
@marg
9 years ago
616 posts

    I think we all have our own way of playing, I was saying what mine was - not due to age or medical conditions. I am a visual person, I have done art all my life, now I am playing the dulcimer. It is a wonderful journey and alone the way I'm making sweet sounds.

Jan Potts
Jan Potts
@jan-potts
9 years ago
400 posts

Marg, I think you misunderstood what I was saying, since I wasn't saying that playing by ear should come naturally to a person....

My point was that aging and certain medical conditions can affect whatever it is that we may do without really thinking about it, whether that means whistling songs we've heard on the radio, singing snippets of camp songs  from childhood, or picking out a tune we know on an instrument.  This is different for everyone...for instance, I play music by ear, but can't dance.  The only kind of dancing I can do is where you have a set of steps that you follow, like in folk dancing, line dancing, etc.  But to just hear music and dance?  That's when MY body has no clue what to do.......it wants a set of directions....I can't just do what "feels natural" to other people.  I think that's a lot like people who need tab-the "set of directions"--in order to produce the music.  So don't feel like you're being dissed if you need the tab.

On the other hand, don't make the mistake of thinking the reason I don't need the tab is that I have taken the time and energy to memorize howto play hundreds of tunes!  I have trouble memorizing anything, so don't anyone give me props for something I haven't done--and probably couldn't do   music




--
Jan Potts, Lexington, KY
Site Moderator

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." Henry Van Dyke
5kwkdw3
@5kwkdw3
9 years ago
31 posts

I knew that standard music notation was out for me even though originally musically trained to read it.  I thought that Tab was all I would ever use for the dulcimer, but I've found a peculiar thing when it gets right down to it.  I cannot read tab and play at the same time.  I'm familiar with this dilemma since there is one other instrument that this situation comes into play.  Self taught on the organ, but never taught to read bass clef.  I just knew that a note of bass clef and what it looked like (in an all treble clef world) was actually two notes lower than what I really should be playing.  In other words if I was to see what looked like an "A", then that meant I should be playing a C instead.  And so on and so on.  So for me to "sight read" a two part piece of music (say a hymn) I'd have to move up all the bass clef notes by two and play the treble as it reads.  This is cumbersome at best and darn confusing at worst.  Especially the three staff music of the music greats that some if not all specifically wrote for the organ.  There is one staff of treble and then two of bass clef.  That really is nasty.  What I'd do is my counting exercise for a line of bass and memorize it.  I'd go over and over that stretch of music until I had it down.  Then I'd play that while sight reading the treble clef.  I'd get pretty good at that part with my left and right hands and then I'd spend time learning the bass clef line for the pedals.  Of course that involves (you hear of "finger dancing") well this was feet dancing as they old birds wanted to put more notes in there that'd take three pair of feet to do it correctly (not sure how those authors did it?).  Once that was committed to memory I'd play back, still sight reading the treble all three stafs.  Wow, what a work out.   Well the dulcimer was no different with the tab.  I'd go through the motions learning a song and its chords and when I was actually playing with the tab, the tab was only there for reference.  I'd be playing the song from memory or later to be found, by ear.  In fact it became so obvious that I was not reading the tab, but playing from sight and sound memory that I took to asking my wife to name a tune.  She would and I'd plunk around a couple of notes and soon enough I was playing out the melody and after just a run through or two, I was adding harmonies and chords.  Not knowing what the chords were or the notes for that matter, just what they looked like on the fretboard and sounded like to my ear.  I still use tab now, but only to learn a tune or direct the start of said tune, then the rest is solely be ear.  Not sure why that is for me, but that's surely what I caught myself doing and continue to do so.  It does make it much easier to not have paper music falling all over the place and needing to turn a page and such.  Kevin.

Sheryl St. Clare
Sheryl St. Clare
@sheryl-st-clare
9 years ago
259 posts

My memory is not what it used to be either. Playing instruments, learning new songs, and striving to play better helps me focus. Which in my opion, sure beats forcing myself to do Sudoku and crossword puzzles! 

marg
@marg
9 years ago
616 posts

I think we are all concern when we forget. One of the best things i read, true or not - not sure but if or when we forget things - it is not necessary a form of dementia.   it's when we don't know we forgot something or don't know what, say a dulcimer even is would be a larger concern. Yes we forget as we get older or when we just have too many things going on but i'm hoping it is not an early sign of bigger problems.

    Now me, sorry but I can not play without a tab, no matter how many times I have played the tune. I am a visual person, to say it should come naturally does not work for me. Maybe, if I had been involved with music all my life it would but I am happy to be able to strum a tune with a tab and - the dulcimer and I are happy. 

Jan Potts
Jan Potts
@jan-potts
9 years ago
400 posts

Interesting comments--especially since I just re-read yesterday what I had written 2 months ago and realized I hadn't taken into account circumstances where you lose the ability to easily do what used to just come naturally.  Mostly, I just wanted to make the point that people who do not understand "playing by ear" (which KenH described so well) ARE able to hum or whistle while they're working or otherwise engaged, without giving much thought to what the song is and how it goes....it just sort of "comes out".   Not always with the right words or notes, sometimes, though, I might add!

 

 

 

1




--
Jan Potts, Lexington, KY
Site Moderator

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." Henry Van Dyke
Patty from Virginia
Patty from Virginia
@patty-from-virginia
9 years ago
231 posts

Sam, you put together a well written response so your brain still seems to be working well. Sometimes I have a problem remembering how a tune goes. It's helpful to me to listen to videos on Youtube or Vimeo or even going to a jam to get the tune in my head. Sometimes I do that a couple of times. That helps me. As my Excel instructor would say, "practice makes better" and she's right. I like how she said practice doesn't make perfect. None of us can get to perfect. I find that when I look at the tab or music and keep practicing it (until I'm just about sick of it, lol) then I really get it in my head. 

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
9 years ago
1,437 posts

Sam, I can well imagine that's difficult, frustrating.  With a family history of dementia, I've felt concern over some of my own lapses.  If I'm on the road to dementia, I'm hoping I'll always love music, appreciate it some way. 

 

Sam
Sam
@sam
9 years ago
169 posts

Jan said -  "But nearly everyone has tunes that they hum or whistle....tunes they never set out to memorize.  I have never, yet, observed a person start to whistle and then stop and look up the music for whatever it was they were going to whistle..........."

I have a peculiar problem probably associated with the early stages (or maybe not so early) of dementia. Many times I can't remember the name of a VERY well known song or hymn (Amazing Grace for example). Then sometimes I cannot remember a single note of that song, no matter how many times I've heard it or even played the melody on a dulcimer. Sometimes I'll strum across the strings while going up and down the fretboard with my noter. Sometimes I hit it or it comes to me and sometimes it doesn't ... at all, for some period of time (minutes, days etc.). I also forget which way to move the noter to go up or down in pitch. It's maddening. I can never play a song all the way through anymore. Happens with whistling too and I've whistled since I was a little feller. 




--
The Dulcimer. If you want to preserve it, jam it!
Jan Potts
Jan Potts
@jan-potts
9 years ago
400 posts

Ken Hulme:
  With experience, you aren't really playing 'fret position', so much as you 'know' where the next sound needs to come from and your fingers just go there .  When you pick up a different instrument, you just "run the scales" a couple times, or play your favorite tune, and your brain keys your fingers into the correct spacings.


This seems to be a pretty good explanation of what it means to "play by ear".  There are folks who think that the term means a person has a "good ear for music" and has memorized hundreds of songs.  giggle2


Memorized?  I can't even remember a phone number!  But nearly everyone has tunes that they hum or whistle....tunes they never set out to memorize.  I have never, yet, observed a person start to whistle and then stop and look up the music for whatever it was they were going to whistle........... whistle


 




--
Jan Potts, Lexington, KY
Site Moderator

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." Henry Van Dyke
5kwkdw3
@5kwkdw3
9 years ago
31 posts

Ken I play some of the same instruments (not guitar however) and I do have a problem with fret spacings and different instruments.  I guess it's what you are most use to?  When I started wanting to teach myself bowed instruments I started with the violin and had nothing but trouble.  I then found that my fingers were wider than the spacings between frets if the violin had any.  In other words I had to move my finger before placing my adjacent finger on the fingerboard.  This made it very inconvenient to say the least.  Then after a measure or two, I found that my mandolin VSL if you will was 13 3/4", which happened to be identical to a viola I'd been looking at.  Sure enough I picked it up and immediately started whipping out tune after tune.  I didn't have to look at the fingerboard any longer, just place my fingers and play.  Made it so much easier.  Kevin.

Monica
Monica
@monica
9 years ago
64 posts

I only held my first dulcimer on January 20th, 2015 and I already caught the DAD bug. As I learn new peices amd become better aquainted with the current 2 dulcimers I have. I do prefer certain songs played on each. Also the more dulcimers , you won't ever get bored of playing when you can just reach for a different sound. 

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
9 years ago
1,107 posts

Playing guitar, banjo, and (occasionally) mandolin besides my dulcimers, I am always dealing with different size (length) fret boards. It's never been a problem.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

marg
@marg
9 years ago
616 posts

"Your brain keys your fingers"

I hear coffee is good for the brain, I should always have plenty on hand coffee music

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
9 years ago
2,129 posts

Marg -- in reality, once you have some experience,  it's not much of a problem -- as long as you're not swapping from shortest to longest with each song! 

With experience, you aren't really playing 'fret position', so much as you 'know' where the next sound needs to come from and your fingers just go there.  When you pick up a different instrument, you just "run the scales" a couple times, or play your favorite tune, and your brain keys your fingers into the correct spacings.

5kwkdw3
@5kwkdw3
9 years ago
31 posts

"In having a collection of dulcimers if they are not all the same size, how much of a problem is it for your fingers to land on the desire fret?"

Try going from a 29" baritone to playing a 17" octave dulcimer and you'll be landing all over the place.

marg
@marg
9 years ago
616 posts

In having a collection of dulcimers if they are not all the same size, how much of a problem is it for your fingers to land on the desire fret?

5kwkdw3
@5kwkdw3
9 years ago
31 posts

Thanks Jan, I couldn't have put it any better myself and yes I too have experienced this very thing myslef.  To quote you:.....

"Now, with dulcimers--after a bumpy start-- I finally have a better focus on what I want (and why)--and that focus is narrowing all the time!"

My collection of 25 did nothing but tell me what it is I'm happy with and what it'd take to produce a viable instrument for self entertainment and for accompanyment with my wife or other instruments.  Woods again not so important, but durability and play is most important to me.  I've entrenched myself to the desire to own and play six string instruments (dulcimer that is) and have them tuned to the key of G or baritone in the dulcimer family even though I'll be as apt to play the melody line with harmonies along with it.  This is what made it so easy to select the features of my next Probst instrument and know what would be important to me in the purchase.  It's still hard to shake some of the interests of that collection namely the beautiful woods and laminations of woods found in a Nic Hambas dulcimer or the haunting sounds produced by His bowed dulcimer as well.  It just happens to be a truth that I do not exceptionally play a bowed instrument and that of a bowed dulcimer so I know to stay away from them as they are only an expense to an otherwise overburdened budjet of dulcimer collecting.

I'm still a fan of the unique and different and that produced many of the dulcimer examples in my former collection and is something I have to constantly guard against lest it happen all over again.  That and there are entirely too many dulcimers out there to collect (I'm talking types of dulcimers here) and if you only had one of each (doable unlike every mineral in the world) it would still be way to many different instruments to try and master.  A slide dulcimer, walking dulcimer, mountain dulcimer, hammered dulcimer, bowed dulcimer, may all have the name dulcimer in common and may also have a diatonic scale in common, but that is where the similarities end and then you realize that you have several entirely different instruments each of which have a learning curve that will not transfer to any of the other instruments listed here.  It would be like picking an instrument from each of every division in a modern orchastra and thinking that you'd be albe to play and excell at each and every one of thim.  As I've posted prior to this, my brother and I have had the oportunity to learn a number of different instruments, but that doesn't mean that we were good at any one of them.  No rather it meant that we were lackluster on every one of them and it distracted us from excelling on any specific one of them.  Now that I know this, I will keep my collection to one type "The Mountain Dulcimer" and one mode and tuning G of mixilydian mode and stick there for the next forseeable future until I get to where I actually can play a few tunes and play by ear songs that I've never attempted before.  Kevin.

 

Jan Potts
Jan Potts
@jan-potts
9 years ago
400 posts

Colleen said, "I'm not sure what people with 10+ dulcimers do."

Here's one of Dana McCall's solutions:

http://fotmd.com/dana-r-mccall/gallery/3974/dulcimer-wall




--
Jan Potts, Lexington, KY
Site Moderator

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." Henry Van Dyke
Jan Potts
Jan Potts
@jan-potts
9 years ago
400 posts

Bob Reinsel:
I once asked my brother what he wanted for his birthday.  He said "CDs and Music Scores."  I replied, "you already have tons of CDs and music scores."  and ye said "yes... but I don't have them all."  


Bob, I used to collect rocks and minerals.  I would attend shows and buy lots of specimens of ones I didn't have.  Then one day it dawned on me that I could NEVER own a specimen of EVERY kind of rock and mineral in the world.....and that's the day my R&MAD was healed.


Now, with dulcimers--after a bumpy start-- I finally have a better focus on what I want (and why)--and that focus is narrowing all the time!  smile


 




--
Jan Potts, Lexington, KY
Site Moderator

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." Henry Van Dyke
Lexie R Oakley
Lexie R Oakley
@lexie-r-oakley
9 years ago
229 posts

You got a great dulci Marg and a good deal. You'll have it singing and I hope we will hear it.

Sheryl St. Clare
Sheryl St. Clare
@sheryl-st-clare
9 years ago
259 posts

Looks pretty Marg. Can't wait to hear how she sounds.

Colleen Hailey
Colleen Hailey
@colleen-hailey
9 years ago
67 posts

Oh, your dulcimer looks lovely, marg. Glad that it had a problem that could be easily fixed. My eBay dulcimer was new, so nothing structurally wrong with it (though oddly, it only has 11 frets). All of my dulcimers are out on their own little stands. I was very happy that one of my older stands fit the new acquisition. I'm much less likely to play if the dulcimer isn't out of its case. I'm not sure what folks with 10+ dulcimers do.

marg
@marg
9 years ago
616 posts

  colleen-hailey ,

I'm not far behind you. I picked up a dulcimer today I had been debating on. It's listed under the discussion 'Old Red Stain' I was able to get it for pocket $ because it has it's tuner pegs knobs needing to be replaced. Not a big deal but I have to order them, no one around here has any stocked.

I usually play DAD but since I was down to 3 strings and didn't want to wind the last to tight, ended up tuned DAA. It has a very nice sound and can't wait to get it all taken care of, just a few simple knobs between workable and not. The members guessed it was maybe from the 70's but it looks brand new, the tuners knobs breaking I think is more from old age. 

Next question, each time we add a dulcimer to our collection, how do we rearrange to make it fit, that it is out and can be played and enjoyed.

5kwkdw3
@5kwkdw3
9 years ago
31 posts

Thank you so much for the kind words Marg.  I too am hoping for a similar blessing in my play as was evedent with my organ abilities.  I had a rather short upsweep in abilities during my church organist time due primarily I feel to the fact that I was using that talent in God's service.  It's amazing what God can do with an otherwise unusable week talent (I thought?).  So it is with my new Probst, as I look forward to getting involved with a few other church instrumentallists to again do service to God.  That brings me to a heading of looking for all things Hymnal in dulcimer tabliature and parts of a larger group of instruments in music written for church play.  I really loved how my earlier dulcimer worked so well with a harp, viola, violin and one time we also had a cello to add to the group.   Great fun and thanks again, marg.  Kevin.

marg
@marg
9 years ago
616 posts

Kevin,

I glad you are on the mend and soon with have some new favorites. Maybe from this  'horrible time ' you will create some interesting new tones to your music. Wishing you and your family all the best.

5kwkdw3
@5kwkdw3
9 years ago
31 posts

Well I've growned numerous times of this and other sites about the fall of my great dulcimer collection.  25 at one time down to zip, nada, nothing at all, not even a jaw harp in the larger instrument collection as a whole.  This of all things because my family needed to eat.  Well I'm on the mend from that horrible time in my life and now I can say it's only a matter of a little wait.  Thanks to folks on this site and to Rick Probst looking about on this site (ED as well) Rick saw my desire to obtain one of my two most favored dulcimers.  I knew that the other I could no longer obtain (a Ron Ewing double) since he told me in no uncertain terms that the one double he main for me was his first and very last double that he'd ever make.  Too much work he said.  I favored that double and my Probst about equal so my choice was easy to make.  When once again getting back into playing a dulcimer it would have to be a Probst.

After a few emails between Rick and I it was determined to make the instrument much like my former Probst dulcimer was.  Rick even kept all the information on that instrument including pictures so it was very easy to note the various aspects of that instrument in order to incorporate them into the newest Probst dulcimer made for me.  Fiddle back curly maple back and sides, 1/4" deeper to facilitate baritone use.  Ebony fingerboard, bridge and binding.  Six string with octave strings on the bass drone pairs.  Ebony peghead overlay.  Mahogany for under the fredboard, heel, and peghead. Standard Probst F hole sound holes on the upper bout and sound hole on the lower bout.  Chrome Gotoh 18 to 1 tuning machines and chrome strap buttons.  A strip of ebony inbetween the two pieces of the back wood.  And finally I think?  A very nice Bag Lady fully padded case for the instrument that fits it to a tee and has backpack straps for easy toting of the instrument.  That and it makes packing and shipping the finished instrument much, much easier.  Put the dulcimer in the bag, wrap the bag, address the box the bag is in and off it goes via UPS, FedEx, etc.  I know that there is a way to post pictures directly on the posting or at least a photobucket link to look at it at photobucket's site, but each and every time I try to insert that information I get a window telling me that my browser doesn't allow that and I should use the ctrl/X/C/V shorcut keys to get it here.  I tried and ...... Nothing at all.  Maybe I'll teach myself just how to do that in the future,  Trust me it is an absolute georgous instrument to be seen.  The contrast of the ebony against the fiddleback maple is just right in my book.

Yep the deposit is in and contruction is commencing on this build.  I can't wait already for this to be finished.  Already I've caught myself on what might be my next instrument and I have to catch myself otherwise I'll get the fam back in the poor house and have 50 dulcimers.  I've heard and experienced the same thing with dulcimers as with guns.  You never can have enough and can always accept just one more.  Well I've first curtailed my investment in firearms and am happy with the ones I have, I will also make peace with my single Probst dulcimer.  This understanding that there may be just one more dulcimer purchased to include the DAA end of things (or in my case GDD) a fifth lower tuning of the same.  Now what will accomplish this possible second dulcimer may be anything I remember liking when I was on a full roll collecting wise.  I do indeed like the all cherry McSpadden mentioned a few posts earlier, but I'll probably purchase a Ron Ewing baritone dulcimette which is more likely named a 3/4 dulcimer.  Ron extends and baritonizes his dulcimette or octave dulcimer.  This gets you into the half way department allowing a tuning of standard A baritone tuning or in my case as in the probst I'll be in G or gDD.

That way I'll have no good excuse to get any others as I will own a dulcimer in the two modes that I know how to play in and they both will be tuned in the same key.  I've found that the need and or the difference between use of a Mixalydian tuned instrument vs the ionian version is a matter of where does the song start and end.  If on the root then the dAD is preferred by me and if it starts a fifth lower (as in Amazing Grace) it is preferred to be in DAA.  Pictures will be learned and posted when I get my hands on the instrument.  YEAH!!!   Kevin.

 

 

marg
@marg
9 years ago
616 posts

Love the storys - 'impulse buy' all to funny. i hope you will enjoy it.

Colleen Hailey
Colleen Hailey
@colleen-hailey
9 years ago
67 posts

Well, that didn't last long.  Impulse buy this morning.  I'm thinking of deleting Ebay from all of my gadgets.  As of next Tuesday will have a new 6 string added to my collection.  I don't have any other 6 strings, so I'm feeling only sort of guilty.

D. chitwood
D. chitwood
@d-chitwood
9 years ago
139 posts

That's a bit like asking a woman how many shoes is enough or asking a man how many guns is enough. winky

I have a teardrop that was made for me when I was about 26. It has been a dust-collector for 28 years but has a nice sound. I also own a cherry McSpadden that is my go-to and I have a hankering for a beauty that I saw on youtube while looking for a play along westphalia waltz tune. 

Colleen Hailey
Colleen Hailey
@colleen-hailey
9 years ago
67 posts

I've got 3 playable dulcimers, plus one that my Dad made from a kit for me when i was 12--its wall art. I was up to 5 last year, but sold 2 at a festival. My Ron Gibson is my main go-to dulcimer and the David Lynch student model is my back-up for emergencies. The third dulcimer is a little travel one that I only use when I, well, travel. My DAD has abated quite a bit, but is still lurking in the background. I expect that I'll pick up another one eventually. Or two...

marg
@marg
9 years ago
616 posts

I like the 'village' idea, all having their own personallity. 

Jan Potts
Jan Potts
@jan-potts
9 years ago
400 posts

As Rob Lackey said, some folks collect dulcimers because of their history, who made them, what materials were used, the artistic quality, and the variety of tones, etc.  Also, our tastes in a "go to" instrument (the one(s) we use all they time) changes over time...  Some are more suited for using in a large jam than others.  Some are great for recording purposes.  Some have the easy playability that we need in an instructional setting.  Some we want to travel with and some we want to be able to let other folks use and enjoy.  So some of us lterally have a "village" of dulcimers!




--
Jan Potts, Lexington, KY
Site Moderator

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." Henry Van Dyke

updated by @jan-potts: 07/28/15 03:50:04PM
Sam
Sam
@sam
9 years ago
169 posts

I will never be an accomplished player on ANYONE'S dulcimer so, I'll keep whitt'ling out one now and then till I'm happy with one of my own. It would be difficult to limit myself to one. I don't think I could. 




--
The Dulcimer. If you want to preserve it, jam it!
marg
@marg
9 years ago
616 posts

All too true, Patty

Patty from Virginia
Patty from Virginia
@patty-from-virginia
9 years ago
231 posts

I swore I'd only have two dulcimers. Now I have five! If had the money and the space I'd buy a dulcimer from each maker who is a member of FOTMD. I've seen pictures posted of some lovely instruments by these builders. I do have one made by Kevin Messinger and one made by Dan Cox. I think my friend Carrie said it best, we all eventually get DAD: Dulcimer Acquistion Disease, LOL 

Lexie R Oakley
Lexie R Oakley
@lexie-r-oakley
9 years ago
229 posts

Thank you Ken for clearing the fingerdancing up....I play Noter/drone with a stick and have heard others say they play with fingers but refer to it as noter/drone. I know it makes a difference to my ears, I like the sound when playing with a stick best. I think these people play this way cause they also say the haven't got the hang of playing with a noter so they use their finger.

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
9 years ago
2,129 posts

Lexie -- it can't be Noter & Drone style if you don't use a noter -- a separate stick, not your finger or thumb.  Playing with finger/thumb fretting the melody string, but not playing chords, is usually called Fingerdancing or Melody-Drone style.

Lexie R Oakley
Lexie R Oakley
@lexie-r-oakley
9 years ago
229 posts

Yes Marg, we will never have just one and always want another! I am really into the history of the mountain dulcimer and enjoy the sounds of the early players and the early lutheriers and so admire the folks who build the replicas and the sweet sounds.

Some folks play noter with their fingers/thumb and guess it works, as long as you enjoy playing this is what is important. Thanks for posting this topic, I have enjoyed reading all the comments.

marg
@marg
9 years ago
616 posts

Lexie,

I can see we will never be finished. I was listening to some sound clips on a few dulcimers for sale, I couldn't pick the one I liked best but 3. I will try again and see if I still pick the same ones. I don't play noter so I like the tones more mellow but I do slide my thrumb a lot and like the silvery sweet slide sounds that can make. All too funny thinking one will ever do.

Lexie R Oakley
Lexie R Oakley
@lexie-r-oakley
9 years ago
229 posts

Early in my "Dulci Journey" I chose to play Noter/Drone and purchase my Dulcimers from FOTMD friend's who build copy's from the ole' time builders and players.

My first dulcimer is an Apple Creek, it was an ok dulcimer to learn the basics from and then I purchased from Robert Schuler a butternut dulcimer based on A. W. Jefferies and then a copy of "Uncle Ed Thomas, made of walnut with a mean tone fret board setup by Kevin Messanger. Both these dulcimers are exceptional for playing noter/drone, they both have the silvery sweet old time sound and are beautifully made and really my dream dulcimers.

Uh no, I am not finished with purchasing other dulcimers, my wish list is to in the future buy a Virginia Hogfiddle by Bobby Ratliff, but I am not sure he is building again. Also I would love a TMB and a Just Intonation again by Robert Schuler. If I think on it the list would become too long so I will stop there.

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
9 years ago
2,129 posts

Nice shot.  We get some White Pelicans here too, but not this far inland (15 miles upriver).  They're out on the ponds and bays of Pine Island.

marg
@marg
9 years ago
616 posts

Ken,

    I am from new orleans so I am not surprise to see a brown pelican but when several white ones landed on the pond, I was like a kid running around trying to get a shot of them. It's just with the phone but will enclose the pic. I love playing outside, it's the reason I got the dulciborn, to be hear over the pond and up past the sunsets.

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
9 years ago
2,129 posts

Marg -  yes I built and sold/gave away pretty close to 300 dulcimers over the years.  I don't have any pix of my dulcimers here at the boat (too many other things to take pix of).  I'll post some later. 

We have spoonbills over at the Ding Darling Refuge on Sanibel island, not here on the Caloosahatchee.  But we do have eagles, ospreys, night herons, GB herons, and two species of egrets, plus ibis, brown pelican and assorted gulls/terns that hang around the marina where I live.

5kwkdw3
@5kwkdw3
9 years ago
31 posts

marg:
I love eveyones replies, sounds like 'buying the next dulcimer' is just another part of learning the dulcimer experience. We don't know what it is we like, to we try them out. Some we keep, some find a new home while we try yet another till one day, we have the ones we have been searching for. Many years can go by and what we were looking for in the beginning is not necessary what we are looking for later on, just as our playing can change over time. Thank you all, I think as we look for our next dulcimer it is all a part of where we are going with learing the dulcimer.

Boy if you had worded my post, I could have been a lot shorter.  You've got it my friend.  The two modes I made mention of even though I played in them both a bunch, now with the prospects of only one dulcimer I know immediately which mode will be chosen.  I also have an offer to build a full size double and of course I'd be back at having both modes.  Time and finances will tell.  The one comes with a six month wait and I'm back to testing my patience on that decision so.......  Kevin. (P.S. it really is a desease so you might as well catch it and enjoy the ride)

marg
@marg
9 years ago
616 posts

ken, 

You say you have 4, 2 traditional and 2 modern but I read you have built 300, very impressive to have played so many fine instruments even briefly.

I like your photos of the birds, I have herons, spoonbills, pelicans, an eagle and a few other types visit the pond behind my home. Haven't seen yours but would be nice.

marg
@marg
9 years ago
616 posts

I love eveyones replies, sounds like 'buying the next dulcimer' is just another part of learning the dulcimer experience. We don't know what it is we like, to we try them out. Some we keep, some find a new home while we try yet another till one day, we have the ones we have been searching for. Many years can go by and what we were looking for in the beginning is not necessary what we are looking for later on, just as our playing can change over time.

Thank you all, I think as we look for our next dulcimer it is all a part of where we are going with learing the dulcimer.


updated by @marg: 07/21/15 12:07:35AM
5kwkdw3
@5kwkdw3
9 years ago
31 posts

Well I've been the full gammut on dulcimer collecting.  At first all I knew was the hourglass vs. the more traditional teardrop.  Oh and of course there are different Modes that are played so I soon after starting acquired an hourglass in DAd and a teardrop in DAA.  Those were the two modes I ended up playing in.  Not because of those modes particularly (wait I just said tunings and not the Mixalodian and Ionian modes respectively), but because that's the tunings/modes that all of the tab books were written in.  Now far as that goes I knew standard notation backwards and forewards, but early on I decided upon tab and to not care about what notes I was playing.  By not caring I didn't have to count from the open string to what the note actually was. So another mode was not going to tempt me, but how about a different dulcimer?

Yep, that did it.  I saw a book that had a courting dulcimer and I had to have one.  I commisioned one to be built in solid cherry.  Great large instrument and was rarely played as built, but for me solo, I now could play in the two modes I knew just by flipping the instrument around and having a go at the other side.  Great!  Then I messed around with a slide guitar and loved the sound only to find out that a dulcimer was made with "high strings" to be played with a slide.  Yep one of those too please.  Then I saw a "walking dulcimer".  Strung backwards and nifty as all get out, that was the next insturment in my house.  All this with three courses or four strings, Melody course was a pair of course.  That was until I found out about a church or six string dulcimer (after which I only buy six string dulcimers).  Then I heard about an octave sized one and then a baritone octave sized one (Ron Ewing here) as well as a true baritone.  With Ron Ewing I found that the hourglass and teardrop was not the only two shapes.  He lists a few of his own including the Aorell, which has an hourglass double bout side next to the player and a modified teardrop (higher bout in the center rather than lower on the instrument) opposite the player.  With this instrument you get a larger sound body for deeper tones but maintain a close to the body hourglass for easy play. 

There are reasons for each of the above mentioned variations on a similar theme and some you realize are really important (at least to you they are), both from a sound or looks department.  The last variation I obtained was a double dulcimer.  Like the courting dulcimer with two fretboards, but these are aligned so that both can be played by one person.  No flipping or having to get your neighbor to play a tune.  Did I mention electronic pickups?  Our predecessors in this venture called DD dulcimer desease, didn't really have a problem as they (if they were fortunate) had one instrument and that's it. Changing modes meant changing tunings which meant occasionally breaking a few strings.  And although with my courting and with the double I tried to do it with one instrument, it would not cover all of the reasons that my collection rose to 25 pieces.  Each one of those instruments was different in some manner, be it modes, pitch (most were pitched in G a fifth lower than normal and the rest in D), and then the last problem for me was woods and finishes.  Yep color made me buy it (I'd tell my wife), well that never went over at all with her.  Now do to expensive problems I had and that of my family I was forced into a big instrument sell off, now trying to recapture the best of the best in my (what will probably now be) last instrument of dulcimer persuation.  I don't know if I'll be able to talk the builder into it, but I'm sure going to give it a try since I know if I can get it, I'll not be tempted as before into a house full of dulcimers.  Most of my fellow dulcimer players have around three to half a dozen.  I was most happy with that same number as I had the two modes I play in covered and an octave one to be able to play on trips I had to do to see doctors.  That worked out the best.

Second to that as I was liquidating my collection was to have the double in the two different modes.  Again so I could play any tab that I had in a familiar mode.  Lastly and what I will be content with after all those dollars went by by, will be to get a really special dulcimer that will most likely be converted and strung in G a fifth lower than the standard D and to have six strings, but not in unison as I'd done before.  Rather this six string dulcimer with have octave strings on the lower two drones while the melody string pair will indeed be in unison.  I will take pictures and show all once I have what will be my very last dulcimer that I'll be perfectly content with.  Unless you can see ahead and ilimenate all the fluff in the dulcimer world and settle into what you know will make you happy, you'll be destined as was I to buy a bunch of dulcimers and keep them, or as you asked in the OP, to sell one in order to buy the next.  That by the way is exactly was I was doing, but only when I happened to have 25 of them sitting in the house.  Best of luck to you my friend and please be sure to post whatever you decide and end up with.  Kevin.

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
9 years ago
1,437 posts

I have 7 Appalachian dulcimers here at home and two out on loan.  A few are diatonic instruments and a few have the 6.5 and 13.5 frets also.  I use a variety of tunings; my box dulcimer is always strung with light gauge strings and tuned to ddd.  Each instrument has a unique voice-- and I like that! 

Sheryl St. Clare
Sheryl St. Clare
@sheryl-st-clare
9 years ago
259 posts

I saw a stick dulcimer at the flea market on Sunday. It was pretty old, and someone had replaced the pegs with cheap plastic ones. That didn’t stop me; I figured I could replace them. It was pretty nice otherwise, but then I found out he wanted a hundred for it. I picked it up to look at it more closely, and maybe talk him down.  But then I saw some cracks in the bridge. It needed strings, bridge work, and tuners. Thought I almost had dulcimer number 2…

Caleb Dan Bennett
Caleb Dan Bennett
@caleb-dan-bennett
9 years ago
8 posts

I now have five dulcimers and a strum stick. I thought the more dulcimers I have the better I would be able to play. lol  Didn't work that way! lol

My first was a used Apple Creek student or kit, not sure, I bought used. My next one was a McSpadden teardrop I ordered custom made. then I got a like new McNally strum stick off of Craig'sList. I bought a like new used McSpadden hour glass all walnut. My last two I made myself, a mini dulcimer and a ginger sized dulcimer. I am now making a stick dulcimer of my own design. lol When will it stop?! lol

 

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
9 years ago
2,129 posts

I have two traditional dulcimers, and two "modern".

The Traditionals have narrow, thin bodies for that 'high silvery' sound I love:

a John Knopf Uncle Ed Thomas replica.  3 strings, wooden pegs, footed for playing on a possum board

a Bobby Ratliff Virginia Hogfiddle. 3 strings, autoharp tunning pegs

 

The two Moderns are:

Harpmaker Student, slighly customized -- higher fretboard for N&D playing, special short head with autoharp tuning pins, and 3 strings

Til Holloway -- made by my dulcimer building mentor.  Doubled melody strings, 6+ fret.  I have this one in memory of Til.

 

Would I sell any of them?  I dunno -- make me an outrageous offer!

marg
@marg
9 years ago
616 posts

A interesting post for us beginners world be where members posted photos of their favorites. Would give us an idea of how many are around and what it is that makes the dulcimer a favorite one. 

marg
@marg
9 years ago
616 posts

Love it' 'just one more' and yes there are more out there and beautiful. 

 ok so I need to look not just for another but the next one.

Oh boy, I think I will need not just a space but a room.

 Thanks

Bob Reinsel
Bob Reinsel
@bob-reinsel
9 years ago
80 posts

I once asked my brother what he wanted for his birthday.  He said "CDs and Music Scores."  I replied, "you already have tons of CDs and music scores."  and ye said "yes... but I don't have them all."  




--
Bob
Site Moderator

The greatest music is made for love, not for money -- Greg Lake
Rob N Lackey
Rob N Lackey
@rob-n-lackey
9 years ago
420 posts

Well, I'm probably not the best person to answer this, but I have between 25 - 30.  They range from knock about loaners for beginners to collectables.  Yes, I have some of the ones I play regularly tuned differently.  How many do I need?  Just one more, that's all.  Actually, I am looking for "just one more" to share stage duties with my Rockwell as I've been taking around one that developed a couple of small cracks.  On the table beside me is a small one tuned DAd and a larger one tuned DAA in case I need to try out a tune.  Space, budget and desire are all considerations.

marg
@marg
9 years ago
616 posts

    I have 3 dulcimers, 2 I play all the time and both tuned the same. The third, I lend out if someone is trying to decide if they are instreated. I am looking for another and that would make 4 but not thinking of selling any of the ones I have. I can't decide between a nice unique one for playing and having in a different key or a knock around one for practice, grandkids, travel or friends. I can see I will be looking for yet another soon after this next one. How many is too many where one would need to find a new home - Is it based on favorites or space and budget?

marg
@marg
9 years ago
616 posts

    What  is the advage number of dulcimers members have and once we reach the number that fits, if we would want another - would we than sell one or just have yet another dulcimer and a new favorite?


updated by @marg: 08/01/23 07:29:31AM