Fingering in Place of a Noter

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
5 months ago
1,940 posts

If you google "Don Pedi Youtube" you'll find at least 8 recordings of Don's playing.  Notparticularly "instructional videos".  The folks who make their living with dulcimer don't tend to give away a lot.  But you'll also find links to Don's website with all of his available materials.  

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
5 months ago
1,579 posts

The David Schnaufer instructional video may not be available on YouTube.  I think I bought a DVD of it years ago.  My memory is that it was put out by Homespun Tapes.  You can find a few videos of him playing though, and lots of videos of Don Pedi playing.

For one example, here is Don Pedi playing Sally's God Mud Between Her Toes . As Dan and Ken have said, he is the absolute master of the fingerdancing approach and is a font of information about traditional tunes. His website is http://donpedi.com/ .




--
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

updated by @dusty-turtle: 01/20/22 03:09:01PM
Jimmy G
Jimmy G
@jimmy-g
5 months ago
5 posts

Thanks all who responded! Dusty, I tried to review the David Schaufner video you suggested, but my attempts at searching got me nowhere. Same for the Don Pedi reference. If they are all on YouTube, could one of you guide me to find both of them, please. 

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
5 months ago
1,940 posts

Yep -- what Dan said.  Don Pedi is probably THE current master of traditional Fingerdancing.  Check out his videoes, how-tos, classes and festival appearances.

Dan
Dan
@dan
5 months ago
156 posts

I say go to the master, Don Pedi.

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
5 months ago
1,940 posts

If you are Fingerdancing on just the melody string, use whatever combination of fingers in any order that doesn't tie your fingers in knots as you move up and down the fretboard!  

If you change over to Chord-Melody style playing, then which finger get usedon which string is more important.

Dusty has pretty well laid it all out for you there...

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
5 months ago
1,579 posts

Jimmy, there is no single way to do this. What works best for you is what's best.

And I think you are right to work on one thing at a time.  Don't think about adding chord strums until you have figured out the left-hand fingering.

In David Schnaufer's instructional video, he demonstrates how he uses three fingers (no pinky or thumb) to move up and down the fretboard.  As he moves higher than his hand position he uses his index finger, and as he moves lower, he uses his ring finger.

Personally, I use all my fingers since I need all the help I can get!  Most of the time I approach the fretboard the way guitarists and violin players do, where you try to minimize hand movement and keep your hand in one position as long as you can, with each finger assigned a fret position.  Each position is named for the lowest fret.  So if you use your pinky on the first fret and your ring finger on the second fret and so forth, that would be called first position.  If you use your pinky on the second fret and your ring finger on the third fret and so forth, that would be second position.

However, whereas on the guitar or mandolin, each fret is of equal size, the dulcimer is missing some frets, so you might sometimes skip a fret. In second position, I might use my pinky on 1 and my ring finger on 2, but then my index finger on 3, skipping my middle finger.  Find what is comfortable for you.

Some people use their thumb a lot on the melody string, turning the thumb to the side a bit to be able to use the edge of the nail and slide around like a noter. I do that occasionally out of chord positions, but not most of the time, since using your thumb comfortably means the other fingers don't line up on the melody string as easily.

However . . . and you may not want to do this . . . once you are using your fingers you are no longer limited to the melody string, and "My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean" is a good example of why.  The song begins with a big jump from 4 to 9, and even goes down to 2 on a couple of occasions.  That's a big jump. It's fun with a noter, but not so fun with your fingers.

But if you are tuned DAd, then any note on the melody string is also found on the middle string three frets higher.  So the first note of the song could be the 7 on the middle string.  That 2 on the melody is also the 5 on the middle string.  The whole song can be played between 5 and 9, which is a much easier stretch, isn't it?  Attached you'll find the melody of the tune using both melody and middle strings.  Give it a try and see what you think.




--
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
Jimmy G
Jimmy G
@jimmy-g
5 months ago
5 posts

I’m learning how to play the MD again after many years. I’d like to stop using a noter for the melody and use my fingers as a noter substitute instead. I need suggestions about how to approach assigning  my L, R, M, I, T fingers to playing a piece. I’ve attached a score sample that id like to work on. Are there general guidelines to do what I want to accomplish. (I think it might be easier to add chord strums later if I get my fingers trained to work with intervals‘ now. Right?) Thanks to any help anyone can give me. 🤓