John Molineux uses a striker on a mountain dulcimer

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
last year
1,168 posts

I'm happy you folks enjoyed seeing this!  

I've tried a striker yet wasn't very good at it.  I've tried to make my husband use a striker on the mountain dulcimer (much like a person would use fiddlesticks) while I played it yet he wasn't interested in sticking it out with me. omadulcimer1  

NateBuildsToys
NateBuildsToys
@natebuildstoys
last year
57 posts

Very fascinating. I first started playing dulcimer using a colored pencil for a striker. At the time i was listening to a blues artist named eddie jones who played a diddley bow with a whittled stick and thought maybe i was bringing a new technique over to the dulcimer. Of course it makes sense that a great player has already thought of it and developed mastery with it. I gave up pretty soon on the colored pencil so it's awesome to see what a skilled version of what i was trying looks like. Personally I found it very difficult to utilize the percussion while still keeping the sound sweet and pretty and I made a striker wrapped in felt, which i found gives the dulcimer a sound almost like a piano.

hugssandi
@hugssandi
last year
252 posts

WOW!!!  Would love to learn such cool stuff.  Life keeps happening~which is GOOD~but I am not really progressing.  Love this so much!

IRENE
IRENE
@irene
2 years ago
175 posts

I've been away down in Tyler, Texas with my brother that has also taking to making instruments.   He's made several ukulele's and guitars and his intruments are awesome.  So we finished 2 dulcimers and had sooooooo much fun working in his shop.   He has a big shop and one shirt that says it all, "I'm one tool away from greatness".  I missed going to this site daily like I do when I'm home.  I've loved using a little hammer, Lois displayed the one that I use now.  I'll see if I can get someone to film me playing THE LITTLE DRUMMER BOY while using my striker.  I LOVED seeing the videos of folks using the "fiddlesticks" I Use that expression ALL THE TIME........now I have a visual of how they are used and what they're called.  OH TOOOOOOOOOOO FUN.  aloha, irene

Lois Sprengnether Keel
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
2 years ago
184 posts

Thank heavens this site offers a way to review as I'm in only intermittently lately.  Saw this about strikers & wanted to show a simple one I was given (so they must be inexpensive).  It was part of last year's Christmas dulcimer workshop at Elderly Instruments in Lansing, Michigan, so they may carry them.  It's about an 1/8th of an inch thick & my husband thinks it may be oak.  I'm adding a photo as many of you could make one.  I'm using mine for the last verse of Good King Wenceslaus.

striker.jpg
striker.jpg  •  40KB

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
2 years ago
1,168 posts

@marg I hadn't thought of weighting the chopstick some way when I've given using a striker tries.  Thanks for the idea!

marg
@marg
2 years ago
536 posts

This is from a few years ago, I was just trying to hammer a tune. I wanted something other then strum strum with a pick. I am using a chopstick with a brass sleeve over the end I strike with. 

 

robert schuler
robert schuler
@robert-schuler
2 years ago
243 posts

Thanks Robin for such a lovely video. I use a hammer from my hammered dulcimer. HD hammers have just the right balance, making it easier to pick out individual notes, and create that distinctive bouncy sound... Robert

 

 

 

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
2 years ago
1,168 posts

@bryan-fridlund I've imagined Doug Thomson's hammer is used that way.  It may feel more balanced in the hand than a found object of some kind used as a striker.

Bryan Fridlund
Bryan Fridlund
@bryan-fridlund
2 years ago
3 posts

Doug Thomson at www.banjomer.com makes a fretted dulcimer hammer. I wonder if it could be used as a “striker”?  

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
2 years ago
1,168 posts

Thank you for the name correction, @pierre-yves-donnio and @john-shaw!  I've edited the posting.  

From my experience of trying to use a striker, John Shaw's pointing-out the important factor of having a loose well-balanced hold is true.  


updated by @robin-thompson: 11/30/19 03:59:30PM
Steven Berger
Steven Berger
@steven-berger
2 years ago
131 posts

I've tried this with knitting needles.....to me, playing this way is about as easy as touching your nose with your elbow!boggling

John Shaw
John Shaw
@john-shaw
2 years ago
60 posts

John Molineux uses a chopstick or a ball point pen.  The "secret" of his technique is that he holds the stick very loosely, well balanced so that it bounces a little and does a few further light hits on the string.  (This is something I've never been able to manage, as I can't stop myself holding it far too stiffly.)

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
2 years ago
1,960 posts

Be sure to look at these two other fun discussions on the use of strikers (also called "fiddlesticks" technique)... they include a video showing use on an epinette, which is like a small mtn dulcimer:

https://fotmd.com/forums/forum/general-mountain-dulcimer-or-music-discussions/4572/fiddlesticks#r4575

https://fotmd.com/forums/forum/general-mountain-dulcimer-or-music-discussions/22623/oh-fiddlesticks

jive




--
Site Owner

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

updated by @strumelia: 11/30/19 12:59:22PM
Gale A Barr
Gale A Barr
@gale-a-barr
2 years ago
54 posts

That use of a striker is fun and intriguing. I will try this but anyone seen any videos of mountain dulcimer instructors using this technique? 

Pierre-Yves Donnio
Pierre-Yves Donnio
@pierre-yves-donnio
2 years ago
7 posts

The player is not John Renbourn (who is the one with the guitar, on right at the beginning of the video) but the great John Molineux

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
2 years ago
1,168 posts

I do not know what was being used as a striker in the video yet I've used a chopstick when I've tried the technique.  

Dan
Dan
@dan
2 years ago
128 posts

Irene showed us how to do this @ the Berea Gathering!

ukgb
@ukgb
2 years ago
2 posts

Ballad Gal:

I was fascinated with the striker, too. Wonder what he was using as the striker?

Chopstick?

Ballad Gal
Ballad Gal
@ballad-gal
2 years ago
25 posts

I was fascinated with the striker, too. Wonder what he was using as the striker?

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
2 years ago
1,420 posts

His playing and singing are good enough (you gotta love the little smile as he sings the slightly bawdy lines) but the rhythms he gets with that striker are just amazing.  I'm in awe.




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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
Susie
Susie
@susie
2 years ago
418 posts

That was a really neat video. Loved the song and the music. Thanks for sharing. 

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
2 years ago
1,168 posts

Though it doesn't come until near the end of the video, I was fascinated with seeing how Mr Molineux used the striker.  


updated by @robin-thompson: 11/30/19 03:55:04PM