levers on a dulcimer?

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
4 years ago
32 posts

Bobby, in answer to your question to Dave about the Universal lever being a tension lever: No, it, too, changes the VSL. The only reason for the upward tension on the string is to provide a break point in string vibration and allow the string to sound clearly. If you look at the drawing of the engaged lever on the pdf you referenced (at the bottom right of page 2), you'll see that the string lies at the bottom of the v-groove, just as it would on an actual bridge. It's this contact plus the slight upward tension on the string that alters the VSL of the string. BTW, the Musicmaker bridge/guide pins just have grooves to seat the string, not holes.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
4 years ago
886 posts

Wout, I already play a dulcimer with a 1+ and 6+ fret as well as the octave equivalents of that. I fear that over time I will add more extra frets as I find a reason for the 4+ and so forth. But I like the simplicity of the diatonic fretboard and the more I thought about those harp levers the more I began wondering about something like that for a dulcimer.


Wout Blommers said:

Well, wouldn't the easiest way be a talk with Steve Eulberg about a chromatic dulcimer? Grin.gif




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Dusty T., Northern California
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Wout Blommers
@wout-blommers
4 years ago
101 posts

Well, wouldn't the easiest way be a talk with Steve Eulberg about a chromatic dulcimer? Grin.gif

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
4 years ago
886 posts

I have to admit that although I started this thread, I was probably ill equipped to do so since I don't build instruments and really don't even have the vocabulary to refer to parts of a harp accurately.

But you guys have been great in helping me think through this and even offering new and creative ideas.

David: I should have thought to just ask you about this stuff in the beginning. Those levers I saw on two small harps that basically just pushed on the strings to raise the pitch on the other side of a pin or something acting like a bridge might have been made by whoever made the harps. All those anyone else or I have found online seem to work like those you describe. I am now convinced those premade levers that reduce the VSL would not work on the dulcimer.

Bobby: I guess I did misunderstand you, and maybe that has to do with my limited understanding of modes. I had thought you imagined a lever (or maybe to) so that you could toggle back and forth between a DAd tuning and a DAC tuning. You could then play a medley of say "Red-Haired Boy" and "Gilderoy," which is basically the same tune but out of a minor mode without retuning.

Wout: I think you are right that nothing we could rig up would allow the pitch of a string to change as much as a fourth. But my original idea was not to replace tuning altogether but either to allow a momentary change in pitch to be a able to catch an accidentalor to allow a change from a D tuning to a C tuning. I play a lot in multi-instrument jams and out of a D tuning I can play in the key of G or use a capo to get the keys of G and A. But the other common key is C, and I have to retune all three strings for that. There isn't always time and I sometimes miss the first verse or so of the next song.

Skip, the whammy bar idea was just my way of thinking about how you might activate something to change the tuning of a string while you were playing. I imaged using the whammy not really to hear the bend, but to get from one extreme to another, with those extremes representing a 1/2 note or perhaps a whole note. I don't even know how much a normal whammy bar adjusts the pitch anyway. I was just trying to envisiona devise as simple to use as the button on chromatic harmonicas that shifts the pitch a half note.

Thanks again, everyone, for chiming in even if to help me realize what's not possible.




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Dusty T., Northern California
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Skip
@skip
4 years ago
219 posts

I think 2 different things are being discussed. One is quick adjust tuning and the the other is a tremelo/whammy bar that produces a sound like bending. I also think that both are possible with a bit of thought. The 1st could be done with an 'over center latch' in place of the nails on the tail end similar to some box/luggage latches. The 2nd would require some specific construction details on the tail end of the dulcimer, I have a couple of ideas already, although a modification of the over center latch concept may work also. I'm not sure if these things aren't already available or not.

Edit: Not sure of the rangeon the quick change, it would have to be within the capabilities of the strings for sure.

Wout Blommers
@wout-blommers
4 years ago
101 posts

The HipShot products are nice products, but I think not very useful on a dulcimer. They are designed being a bender (like pedal steel guitar effect) or extender, special on the bass dropping the E string to D without retuning. The dulcimer requires a larger range of detuning or uptuning, sometimes a 4th! And to add to more than one tuner one needs a large tuner head

Easy to tune from DAd to DAc and maybe to DGd, even DGc (when?), but DAA to DAc is not possible.

David Lynch
@david-lynch
4 years ago
42 posts

No Bobby, the lever pictured mounts in the same location that the others do.....at the appropriate distance down the face of the neck between the guide pin (aka bridge pin by most other makers) and the sound board. It is a variation of what I called a single pin lever. When in the off position the lever is parallel to the face of the neck as shown in the first line drawing on page two. When "ON" the lever is up and the string gets lifted a bit as shown in the second line drawiong.

To locate the sharping levers on a harp, you measure the VSL of the string which is the distance between the bridge pin and the face of the sound board where the string comes out of the body, divide that measurement by17.817 and subtract the result from the VSL. If that sounds familiar it is the same way you can figure out the location for say a 1.5 fret......measure the distance between the first fret and the bridge, divide and subtract.

Bobby Ratliff said:

Here's the type lever I was talking about:
http://www.harpkit.com/mm5/pdf/Instructions/Lever_U.pdf

I was saying bridge pin in my earlier posts I think. (Not too much up on the harp lingo). But it's called the guide pin, after some research, which either has a hole in it, or a machined groove around it. The hole, or the ring, would serve as a solid contact point, which, would be the termination of the vsl. So, that would mean this type of lever pictured is simply a tension type lever, which installs between the guide pin and the tuning pin.
I still think this type would work on a steep angled guitar type headstock, (it would need enough angle so as not to lift the string out of the string groove in the nut, and there would need to be enough space between the nut and stems of the tuning keys to install them). But it would be an unknown as to how much of a rise in pitch you would get until you tried it. They might also work on the bridge end of some dulcimers in the same area that John Henry mentioned his bead fine tuners. One could get all elaborate, and place them under both ends if they wanted. Spacing them just so, so one end would raise the pitch by 1/2 tone, the other a full tone, or 1-1/2 tone by flipping both ends.

Dusty..... I think you misread one of my comments, or, I misquoted....... I suggested using them under the bass and middle string, but not under the melody string. Although, I do think this type I linked above could be used under either string.

This has been a great thread Dusty....... I think it's great to discuss and think outside the box sometimes.

Robin Clark
@robin-clark
4 years ago
352 posts

You may to better replacing the tuners Dusty with Scruggs or the guitar/bass equivalent tuners that have fast adjust levers to move the pitch. I'm sure I've seen some electronic ones for guitar that shift the tuning for you. On the other hand it is probably easier and far cheaper to simply install extra frets!!!!

Of course, if you just want accidentals in a tune (rather than full key changes mid tune) then noter players have been snatching those between the frets on pure diatonic dulcimers for a long, long time - it is a pretty simple technique patricularly on an old staple fretted dulcimer with a high actionSmile.gif

David Lynch
@david-lynch
4 years ago
42 posts

I've never seen a lever placed between the bridge pic and the tuning lever. That must be a new design. All of the levers I have seen and used are meant to be mounted on the neck of the harp in between the bridge pin and the sound board. When the lever is raised it comes into contact with the string and creates a new , temporary break point in the string, raising it a half step. When the lever is lowered the break point goes away and because the string is now free to vibrate at it's original length it drops down to it's original pitch.

Although there are several different brands they all operate on one of two methods. The first is a single contact point style where a rotating cam on the lever raises a small bar up under the string, lifting it slightly and thus creating a new break point. The second style is a bit more complicated in that it uses a pair of pins. One is either fixed and lies just below the string....when the lever is activated it cause a moveable pin to drop down onto the string, pushing it down onto the fixed pin and then creating a small bend just beyond that fixed pin which gives it a break angle.

On the second two pin method, both pins move, one up and one down as the cam rotates. The easiest way to describe it would be to picture the face of a clock with the string running across the face from 9 to 3. the normal bridge pin would be off to the left of 9 and the sound board would be off to the right of 3. There would be one pin sticking out of the face of the clock at 4 and another at 10. When the lever is activated the clock face would rotate counter clockwise causing the pin at 4 to move to what would have been the 2 position and the 10 pin moves down to 8. The 2 o'clock pin becomes the new bridge (and break point).

In any case though, the change in pitch comes form a shorter VSL.

Now, all that being said, it would be possible to design a lever that could change the pitch, but it would have to be done by changing the string tension. For example, if there was enough room between the bridge and the end of the instrument you could put such a lever there that when activated would press down on the string. You could do the same thing at the tuning end on a flat head if there was sufficient flat surface to mount the lever. The problem I foresee is that of being able to control the amount of tension. On a harp the lever is either fully up or fully down....anything in between is likely to cause a buzz (not enough break) or incorrect pitch (break point in the wrong place) . I suppose you could install a standard single point lever so that when not in use the lever handle is up....just the opposite of how it would be on a harp. That would put the the pin above the string. Then by lowering the lever handle you cause the pin to bend the string down toward the fret board (if mounted behind the bridge) or peghead (if mounted between the nut and the tuner) That would make the string go sharp. But how much do you need to push down? Every string is going to be different, and even the base pitch of the string will affect the amount of "push" needed. IN other words, you could have it set up perfectly to change a d to a d# but if you tune down to a c and then used the lever to try to raise the pitch to a c#, it probably would be off.

BTW Dusty, is it possible you were looking at a wire strung harp? Those don't usually use a bridge pin with the string running right from the sound board to the tuner. That might explain what you saw.....a sharping lever with nothing between it and the tuning pin.


Dusty Turtle said:

Remember that the ones I saw this morning were onharps, so perhaps bridge is not the right words. In one case the leversbasically acted to pushon the string on the non-vibrating side of a metal post around which the stringbent just before it hit the pin, thus tightening the string. They did not seem to be adjustable, but they were not all identical, meaning there were different size levers for different strings. Another type hadits own horizontal metal bar on the lever itself. When the lever was engaged,it pushed on the string just past that metal bar, again tightening the string. Those,too, did not seem to be adjustablebut were different sizes.Obviously, the degree of precision here is pretty high. My cousin's harp--which I only saw one inebriated evening and did not examine closely since the idea had not yet occured to me touse these contraptions on another instrument--has levers that can be adjusted for each string.They may indeed be the kind that shorten the VSL.

For the record, I did a quick search online too, and the only prefabricated levers I could find that were sold independly of a harp were intended to change the VSL, too. That might be what my cousin has and as you've all pointed out, they would not work on a fretted instrument.

If it would be feasible at all to design a lever for use on the dulcimer, it would obviously involve a lot of work to get it to fit exactly right. My uncle makes autoharps (and puts fine tuners on those) and perhaps I'll ask him if it would be possible todesign something. Maybe the only reasonable use would be as Bobby said to change the tuning of the melody string so you could switch modes in the middle of a tune or medley. But I still like the idea of something resembling a whammy bar that could alter a string by a 1/2 note and then drop it back down. I guess I'll keep dreaming.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
4 years ago
886 posts

And yes, for those of you suggesting the hipshottuners, those look a lotmore promising!




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Dusty T., Northern California
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Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
4 years ago
886 posts

Remember that the ones I saw this morning were onharps, so perhaps bridge is not the right words. In one case the leversbasically acted to pushon the string on the non-vibrating side of a metal post around which the stringbent just before it hit the pin, thus tightening the string. They did not seem to be adjustable, but they were not all identical, meaning there were different size levers for different strings. Another type hadits own horizontal metal bar on the lever itself. When the lever was engaged,it pushed on the string just past that metal bar, again tightening the string. Those,too, did not seem to be adjustablebut were different sizes.Obviously, the degree of precision here is pretty high. My cousin's harp--which I only saw one inebriated evening and did not examine closely since the idea had not yet occured to me touse these contraptions on another instrument--has levers that can be adjusted for each string.They may indeed be the kind that shorten the VSL.

For the record, I did a quick search online too, and the only prefabricated levers I could find that were sold independly of a harp were intended to change the VSL, too. That might be what my cousin has and as you've all pointed out, they would not work on a fretted instrument.

If it would be feasible at all to design a lever for use on the dulcimer, it would obviously involve a lot of work to get it to fit exactly right. My uncle makes autoharps (and puts fine tuners on those) and perhaps I'll ask him if it would be possible todesign something. Maybe the only reasonable use would be as Bobby said to change the tuning of the melody string so you could switch modes in the middle of a tune or medley. But I still like the idea of something resembling a whammy bar that could alter a string by a 1/2 note and then drop it back down. I guess I'll keep dreaming.




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Dusty T., Northern California
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John Henry
@john-henry
4 years ago
337 posts

" If Dusty's right and there's a sharping lever out there that works between the bridge and the tail by increasing the string tension, that would be great. But I somehow doubt that such a feature would work without a lot of tinkering to make sure it always created the exact difference in tension needed for any gauge string that might be mounted."

? Like the 'bead' fine tuners I have on my old style Virginia instruments ?

JohnH

The Chinese yang ch'in (HD) uses a system of small 'rollers' to achieve a precise half tone change

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
4 years ago
32 posts

So far, I've found 13 brands of sharping levers (including all of the "standards"), none of which are designed to be mounted between the tuning pin and bridge pin. In each case, the purpose of the lever is to act as a new "bridge pin," thus shortening the length of the string. One set of installation instructions was quite specific that the lever only produce enough tension to make the resulting note sound clearly, so clearly (pun intended) levers aren't intended to work by increasing string tension.

If a sharping lever were mounted at the nut end, the effect would be as intended on the open string, but as soon as the string was fretted, the lever effect would be exactly that of a capo. If the lever is mounted at the bridge/saddle end, ahead of the bridge, again the open string would be raised a semitone. But, from the first fret onward, fret placement is based on a mathematical fraction of the distance from the nut to the (dulcimer's) bridge. By effectively creating a new "bridge" somewhat forward of the actual one, the action of the lever would be to make the note sounded at each fret successively sharper than a semitone from the original pitch.

If Dusty's right and there's a sharping lever out there that works between the bridge and the tail by increasing the string tension, that would be great. But I somehow doubt that such a feature would work without a lot of tinkering to make sure it always created the exact difference in tension needed for any gauge string that might be mounted.

Probably a violin type fine tuner could be invented that changed the string's tuning much more rapidly than do the present types, but then it would no longer be a "fine" tuner would it?

BTW, the hipshot products look good but at about $100 per, I'll pass. Grin.gif

Skip
@skip
4 years ago
219 posts

ESP or great minds?Grin.gifAnd you referenced the actual guitar tuners.

Skip
@skip
4 years ago
219 posts

They have these for bass guitars/ uprights. I don't know if they're available for guitars or not.

http://store.hipshotproducts.com/cart.php?m=product_list&c=6

They are really big though!

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
4 years ago
886 posts

Ivan, tune a string to a note. Any note. Now tune it a 1/2 note higher. That is all a lever does.

It might be that in the picture I posted the VSL appears to change. But on one harp I looked at this morning the levers were situated in between the bridge and the pin, so only the tension of the string is changed, not its vibrating length. In the other example I saw, the lever was itself a bridge. Each string went over a small horizontal pin, and it stopped vibrating there. The lever pushed a small piece of metal onto the string just after that pin, increasing the tension of the string. But the pin itself did not move, so the VSL did not change.

Ken is correct that the levers work essentially in the same way as fine tuners. Violin players do not have to change where they finger a note because they used the fine tuners. The tuners--like the levers--are situated on part of the string that does not vibrate.

There may be different models of levers that work in different ways. Maybe some really do change the VSL, and maybe that change in VSL would be enough to throw the fret pattern out of whack. I don't know. But there are at least a couple of examples of levers that don't alter the VSL at all.




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Dusty T., Northern California
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Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
4 years ago
32 posts

Dusty, I just took a measurement on the dulcimer I have in the office with me. If I remember correctly it has a 25-1/2" VSL. The distance from the zero fret to the first is 2.8". So, to raise the open string a semitone would require a lever that would shorten the string by roughly 1.4"+. If you think of effectively moving your bridge/saddle 1.4", I believe it would make a significant difference in fret placement. It's far more than compensation for string gauges, the VSL has been changed from 25.5" to about 24.1".

BTW, I checked online and the one source I could find stated that harp levers work by changing the VSL of the string. Obviously some tension must be applied, in order for the lever to be effective, but it's essentially the same as when you fret a string, you have to apply tension to press the string down to the fret, but it's the change in the VSL that you're actually trying to achieve.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
4 years ago
886 posts

I honestly think people are over-thinking the theoretical aspects of this issue.

The spacing of frets is determined both by the VSL and by the gauge of the string. That is why the best instruments have fully compensated fretboards. So obviously, anything you do to change the pitch of a string will alter slightly where the ideal frets would be. But I think a half tone would not be noticeable any more than switching from 12 to 14 gauge strings would be.

And on the harps I've seen, the VSL does not change. What changes is the tension of the string, for the lever sits in between the bridge and the zither pins and simply presses on the string enough to increase the pitch by exactly a half tone.

Yes, John, one of the ways I imaged using this would be toflip a lever while playing. I got the idea watching my cousing play the harp. She was running up the strings for an arpeggio but flipped the lever on one string for one note and then immediately after she played it, she flipped it back.

Could something like that work on the dulcimer? I don't know. That's one reason I posted this question. But those tremolo bars that electric guitarists use made me think it might be possible to rig something up.




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Dusty T., Northern California
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Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
4 years ago
32 posts

On a fretboard, the distance between frets is mathematically determined from the VSL. If the VSL is changed (shortened, in the case of a sharping lever) then the open string might be changed an exact semitone, but the successive frets, having been calculated on a longer VSL, will be more and more out of tune as one travels up the fretboard.

Sharping levers work on the VSL of the harp string, not (particularly) on the tension as fine tuners do. Sharping levers are placed on the "working" part of the string, fine tuners behind the bridge/saddle.

Bobby's right that such an arrangement could be used on the drone strings of one of his dulcimers, and that could possibly be useful.

folkfan
@folkfan
4 years ago
456 posts


folkfan said:

Using a lever which either bends the string or pinches it, depending on the brand, changes your VSL length. Example I used the pinch off or imobilizing at a certain point on the string method sort of like the Truitt levers. To go from a C on my bass to a D I have to pinch off at just about 2 5/8" inches in from the bridge. That makes my VSL go from 25 7/8" to about 23 2/8 " which means at the open position I have D but at the 7th fret it a sharpened E. So unless you are going for just the D at open on the string for your tune, sharping levers wouldn't work with a fretted dulcimer.

The levers aren't place beyond the bridge like fine tuners are. And depending on the string gauge and how much they stretch will make moving or adjusting the levers when ever you change gauges or even string sort of necessary. Harp strings aren't changed as often as dulcimer strings are. So I think I'm right in saying that there would be more of a need to adjust the positioning of the levers. Fortunately their screw holes are designed for this minute adjustment factor.

On the treble string if I go from G to A (slightly flat) my 7th hits a B almost right on. Just wish we could come up with a way to move the frets as quickly.

john p
@john-p
4 years ago
212 posts

I'm think I'm probably not understanding you then Dusty.

The second part certainly sounds do-able and obviously avoids the sort of problems that arise when using a capo.

It's the first part I don't get, Are you sugesting that you use the lever in play, rather than just when tuning/setting up. If so I don't understand how that works.

john

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
4 years ago
1,460 posts

Dusty. Your sharping lever is more or less like the fine tuners - beads or screw levers - used on violins and dulcimers with wooden tuners. Second cousin to a reverse capo.

The difference is the sharping lever gives you precisely a half tone difference. I'm pretty sure something like that could be made to work with a dulcimer, but you'd want a long space aft of the bridge and before the break or string pins in which it could operate. I don't think it would be feasible in the middle of a song, but

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
4 years ago
886 posts

John, maybe I am not explaining myself well. What the lever does is raise the pitch of a string by a 1/2 note. It is that simple. If the lever were active on a stringon a fretted instrument, then every fret would play a note 1/2 note higher than it would have with the lever down. So I got to wonderingwhether it might be possible to use a lever on a dulcimer so that you couldhitthe lever andplay the 1st fret to get the equivalent of a 1+ fret. If you could do that easily, then you mightbe able to play chromatic music without adding extra frets.

My second thought was that if you had a lever on every string, and the levers could adjust the tuning by a whole note, then you could easily go back and forth between a C tuning anda D tuning, for example.

Bobby had a more do-able idea of a lever on the melody string that would allow you to switch between aeolian tuning and mixolydian tuningjust by flipping the lever.

To be honest, I don't know modes that well, but I do know of some songs that go back and forth between major andminor keys, and the ability to change tunings like that in the middle of a song would sure be helpful.

john p said:

Hi Dusty,

I think there is a danger of misunderstanding what the semitone levers do. As I understand it, the harp is a diatonic instrument, and the levers don't add any extra frets.




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Dusty T., Northern California
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Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
4 years ago
886 posts

I think you are right, Bobby. The lever sits between the bridge and the zither pins. When you raise the lever, a small metal piece pushes down on the string, raising it a 1/2 note. There may be some other models, but I just looked at a one at my local music store and that's how it works.

Some harpists only put them on certain strings, but in the picture above each string has one and they are color-coded to help the player know which string is which. Obviously, nothing that elaborate would be needed for a dulcimer.




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Dusty T., Northern California
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john p
@john-p
4 years ago
212 posts

Hi Dusty,

I think there is a danger of misunderstanding what the semitone levers do. As I understand it, the harp is a diatonic instrument, and the levers don't add any extra frets. What they do is rearrange the pattern of intervals and are, in essence, movable frets. It's easy to see this as changing pitch but the reality is that you are doing the equivalent of moving the frets about.
For example, if you are set up to play a tune in C Ionian then it is not possible to play a tune in C Dorian without some sort of re-tuning. On a dulcimer you would do this by re-tuning your tonic to a position that gives you the right pattern of intervals. On a harp you would do this by leaving the tonic where it is and adjusting the set of intervals that follow from it. That is, you would flip the 3rd and 7th.

I have seen something like this on a banjo, no idea if this is used for tuning purposes, mainly it seems to be used to get a bend effect on notes.

john

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
4 years ago
886 posts

Bobby, I don't know if you were thinking backwards or not, but you clearly seem to understand what got me thinking about this to begin with.

Folkfan, why do you suggest a fretless dulcimer? On a fretless you could get any note you wanted anyway. I see the lever as a way to compensate for the limits of a diatonic fretboard.




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Dusty T., Northern California
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Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
4 years ago
886 posts

If I had the talent to play a fretless dulcimer,I wouldn't have this problem to begin with.

Shawn McCurdy said:

Now if you happened to have a fretless dulcimer.....Grin.gif




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Dusty T., Northern California
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"A good song makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you think."
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Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
4 years ago
886 posts

Ivan, my understanding is that the harp lever sharpens the string by exactly a 1/2 note. So a C becomes a C#,an F becomes and F# and so forth.If that same balance could be achieved on a dulcimer, then the lever would make every note a 1/2 note higher (not just the open string).

I imagine two possible uses. One would be if it were easily accessible like the tremoloor whammy bar on an electric guitar (or that littlebutton on chromatic harmonicas). When you wanted a notethat could only beplayed with a 1/2 fret, you could finger the fret just below the note andhit that lever to get the note you needed.

The second use would be if you could design those levers to alter the tone a full note instead of a 1/2 note.Then you could tune to C and flip all those levers to quickly get into D tuning. For those of us who play a lot in multi-instrument jams, that would be really helpful since there is not always time in between songs to re-tune 3 or 4 strings.

Ivan Bradley said:

Dusty, a harp lever works by shortening the VSL of an individual string, making it a semitone sharp. With a fretted instrument, shortening the VSL to make the string any significant amount sharp would play havoc with the fret spacing - they'd all be out of kilter except for the open string.




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Dusty T., Northern California
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folkfan
@folkfan
4 years ago
456 posts

Might work on a fretless dulcimer as it would change the VSL, but you'd need a couple of inches of flat fret board the height of the bridge and before the bridge to place a lever. With my strum, I think I'd end up snagging my right hand on a flipped up lever. As it is I have problems in the winter with snagging when I put on long sleeves.Frown.gifFrown.gif

Shawn McCurdy
@shawn-mccurdy
4 years ago
13 posts

Now if you happened to have a fretless dulcimer.....Grin.gif

Ivan Bradley
@ivan-bradley
4 years ago
32 posts

Dusty, a harp lever works by shortening the VSL of an individual string, making it a semitone sharp. With a fretted instrument, shortening the VSL to make the string any significant amount sharp would play havoc with the fret spacing - they'd all be out of kilter except for the open string.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
4 years ago
886 posts

Many of us are familiar with the levers that harpists use to adjust the tuning of a string by a 1/2 step. The obvious advantage is being able to play a diatonic instrument and still get those accidentals when necessary.

Has anyone ever triedinstallinglevers on a dulcimer? It might be done just on the melody string or on all strings, and it might be a way of playing chromatic music without adding all those pesky frets all over the place.

458_forums.jpg?width=350

If levers could adjust a string by a whole note, you could conceivably "flip the levers" to change from a C tuning to a D tuning.

Am I off my rocker or is this feasible?




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Dusty T., Northern California
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"A good song makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you think."
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updated by @dusty-turtle: 06/11/15 07:38:01AM