McSpadden Possum Board Volume

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
one month ago
1,639 posts

You're right John -- we need to establish acoustic characteristics of a Dulcimer Standard Lap and how far individuals deviate from the standard.  I'll get right on that!

John Gribble
John Gribble
@john-gribble
one month ago
86 posts

Ken Hulme:

Possum boards (regardless of wood type) do increase volume.  How much?  No one has yet designed an experiment to test the concept (variables would include number and height of feet or standoff, Janka or other hardness rating of the p-board material, and some sort of quantitative measure of both lap an p-board loudness values.

Of course, you would also have to design a measurement protocol for the sonic charateristics of various types of laps—bony, flabby, etc. giggle2

IRENE
IRENE
@irene
one month ago
125 posts

Being that I don't have much lap.....and don't like using a bum strap....I put 3 little clear plastic bumpers on the backs of my dulcimers. (they have sticky backs)  I play on an adjustable table.   Nice and loud just right. I can control volume, and bow it and hammer it....easy cheesy on the adjustable little black table that you can get at Walmart.  Daughter in Hawaii has a white adjustable table and that worked just right too.  A dulcimer is ALWAYS set up in my living room so I can just stop and play anytime I want....

You can try those little plastic bumpers and take 'em off if you don't like them.   You can keep them on even while playing your dulcimer on your lap.   The old style of many dulcimers had wood permanent ones on the backs like many of the dulcimer makers are making now a days.   aloha, irene

Silverstrings
Silverstrings
@silverstrings
one month ago
16 posts

LD. Thanks, I am seriously thinking of going ahead with the possum board. Thanks for your input. I have 2 McSpadden’s with 26” vsl. One is redwood with walnut and the other is all walnut with some extra frets. I love them both!

LD
LD
@ld
one month ago
4 posts

Silverstrings...yes, no regrets.  I use it from time to time.  I was pleasantly surprised at the very balanced tone of the McSpadden dulcimer.  I love the 26 scale (have an athritic joint in my left wrist so the full size is a problem), and the spalted sycamore with the walnut back and sides sounds very rich.  My other dulcimers are largely all walnut, or walnut with butternut, and they are on the mellow, rich side.  Very nice, but I wanted something that would be warm with some sparkle.  The spalted sycamore did the trick.  Of all the dulcimers i have, this one is fast becoming my favorite all purpose one.  If you call McSpadden, I believe they would let you buy, and return if you don't like the possum board.  Just call.  They are really great to work with.  

 

LD

Silverstrings
Silverstrings
@silverstrings
one month ago
16 posts

LD, so you are at least glad you bought the MsSpadden possum board? I have a 26” dulcimer from them, too and love it. What does your Spalted Sycamore sound like and does it have Cherry sides and back? I am looking at one of theirs in the 26” vsl length. Thanks

Silverstrings
Silverstrings
@silverstrings
one month ago
16 posts

LD:

I just purchased a new McSpadden Spalted Sycamore top short scale dulcimer.  I also ordered the possum board.  I have never worked with one, and it clearly makes it louder.  I have not put a lot of time into it yet as the dulcimer really sounds true sitting flat on my lap, but my initial reaction is that it does bring out volume but some of the deeper tones got brighter.  Just an unscientific observation.  I have another brand dulcimer that completely loses the lower sound on my lap, and the maker will not make a possum board for me.  I think he sees it as an insult!  I may tackle that project myself.  Anyway, it certainly has a use, and in an ensemble setup, volume will be increased.  

 

robert schuler
robert schuler
@robert-schuler
one month ago
248 posts

Anybody who has played a dulcimer knows how much better they sound when the back is unrestrained. Possum boards really help but mostly they allow an easy way to free up the back plate to vibrate freely.Any hardwood will help reflect sound a little bit not very much. I did an experiment playing with my birch possum board then covering board with sheet  brass. Followed that by covering board with a cotton kitchen dish towel. There was barely any difference in volume. Just raising back of dulcimer any way you can is all you need.

Somewhere I saw someone who mounted a dulcimer on an acoustic table that acted as a resonator. I have to build one someday... Robert.

 

LD
LD
@ld
one month ago
4 posts

I just purchased a new McSpadden Spalted Sycamore top short scale dulcimer.  I also ordered the possum board.  I have never worked with one, and it clearly makes it louder.  I have not put a lot of time into it yet as the dulcimer really sounds true sitting flat on my lap, but my initial reaction is that it does bring out volume but some of the deeper tones got brighter.  Just an unscientific observation.  I have another brand dulcimer that completely loses the lower sound on my lap, and the maker will not make a possum board for me.  I think he sees it as an insult!  I may tackle that project myself.  Anyway, it certainly has a use, and in an ensemble setup, volume will be increased.  

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
one month ago
1,639 posts

Possum boards (regardless of wood type) do increase volume.  How much?  No one has yet designed an experiment to test the concept (variables would include number and height of feet or standoff, Janka or other hardness rating of the p-board material, and some sort of quantitative measure of both lap an p-board loudness values.

PapaSims
PapaSims
@papasims
one month ago
5 posts

Here's a pic of one I made.  Don't need the sound holes, but it does help with volume.

20170913-123235.jpg
20170913-123235.jpg  •  163KB

Silverstrings
Silverstrings
@silverstrings
one month ago
16 posts

I am thinking of getting a walnut possum board to increase the volume on my 2 McSpadden Dulcimers. Does anyone have one of these? I will be playing acoustically in groups mostly and am not ready to think of external pickups and amps. Thanks!