Got myself a book to start out with

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
2 months ago
1,483 posts

@sunvalleylaw, don't feel you have to abandon techniques you developed playing the guitar. I also came to the dulcimer from the guitar, and when I bought my first dulcimer I got a 12-pack of those pointy, triangular, Herdim picks.  I never took to them, gave them away at a festival, and went back to the same Tortex picks you use.  I tend to use the green .88 ones when there is a little more slack in the strings and the blue 1.0 ones when the strings are nice and tight.  If you are only strumming across all the strings, those big, pointy, floppy picks are fine.  But if you want to flatpick and play long single-note runs, you need a bit more control.

Since noter/drone players can handle higher action than those of us who fret with our fingers, a lot of dulcimers are made with higher action.  By all means, do what you can to get the action as low as possible without causing any strings to buzz.

It seems you are well on your way to ensuring you are comfortable playing your instrument.  That will certainly allow you to progress quickly.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

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

@dusty-turtle Starting to make a little headway on the song. Bit by bit.  Along the way, loosened the strings and worked the saddle out, took down the action just a bit.  Still seems high as compared to what I am used to.  But will take my time in working it down.  The tuning for this song makes the strings feel pretty slack as compared to what I am used to feeling, so I am getting used to fretting and pick action as well.  My normal pick holding style is very guitar oriented, so am learning how I want to adapt that.  I am finding for now that my .88 Dunlop Tortex feels best.  I just cannot get comfortable and happy with floppy picks, and the sharp pointed triangle ones seem too sharp for my tastes.  But this will continue to evolve.  Tried to rip the edge of my fingernail on my index finger off a time or tow playing with this.  A symptom of my sometimes sloppiness in pick holding. 

Bottom line, learning this and learning to make the sounds I want with clean tones and effect is good for me, . . . And fun!


updated by @sunvalleylaw: 07/30/21 12:34:31PM
Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
2 months ago
1,483 posts

That video is super clear, isn't it?  By the way, that practice of using the same chord shape and moving it around the fretboard is what Joellen calls "parallel" chords. It is an easy approach to learn (well, the left hand is, anyway), since the fingers stay in the same shape and you just have to move them up and down the fretboard.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

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

i’ve been reading a little bit and also watching a little bit and now have my dulcimer tuned to this tuning and I am working on this piece as a starting point to start learning my way around. Fun!

sunvalleylaw
@sunvalleylaw
2 months ago
10 posts

Thanks folks!  Will check out Berman’s work too.  As I do want to I learn a little bit about more traditional playing. But after paging through last night, am really excited for Joellen’s too.  And it appears that she signed it, and sent a nice little email when she shipped my order.  Very nice!

I want to learn some traditional, for the learning of it, but in no way want to stop at that and plan to be percussive and experimental, and even add jazz tones and notes in if I can find them.  And I like mixing in foundational “beginner” concepts that can always be reaffirmed, with more advanced concepts, and I know a lot of theory and the guitar fretboard and piano keyboard already, so would not want a beginners only book.  I would get bored with that.  BUT, it is important to consider ergonomic body and hand mechanics, fretting and strumming techniques, staying in time, etc. and expand as I go and become familiar.  

Thanks for the input!

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
2 months ago
1,227 posts

I don't know anything about the Lapidus book yet, I believe, Joellen Lapidus introduced Joni Mitchell to the mountain dulcimer and to using the mountain dulcimer percussively.  

A group whose music I really like, Appalasia, has a mountain dulcimer player who is also a percussion player-- Jeff Berman.  He uses the mountain dulcimer in a percussive fashion, too.   http://appalasia.com/bios 

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
2 months ago
1,483 posts

@sunvalleylaw, that book is by Joellen Lapidus, who was a pioneering dulcimer player and maker several decades ago and is still active and influential today.  Her book is one of the few that mixes stuff for beginners with very advanced material on rhythmic strumming and chords and stuff.  It will serve you very well.  Joellen still plays both traditional songs in a drone style and other jazzy stuff with chords.  She also experiments with different tunings, more than most people, I think.  I'm sure you'll learn a lot there, although you should keep your eyes open for other instructional material that might be free online. And of course, when you're ready, you can contact Joellen directly or find her at a dulcimer festival.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

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

I am interested in modern chord style, rhythmic, percussive style, probably some alternate tunings.  I picked myself up this book.  Is this a good resource?

Any other suggestions?

Thanks!  

Steve.