Sustain volume when sliding to a lower fret

NateBuildsToys
NateBuildsToys
@nate
10 months ago
247 posts

When I'm making a long slide with my thumb, I often pluck the string partway through the slide. Sometimes at half the distance I'm sliding to, sometimes wherever it fits into the rhythm nicely, sometimes to emphasize a specific not along the way.

jimws
@jimws
10 months ago
10 posts

Dusty thanks for the recommendations, I'm working on the song with all the suggestions made so far.    I may have to break up the slide with a hammer-on

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty
10 months ago
1,728 posts

Some loss of volume when employing multiple slides or hammer-ons consecutively is inevitable.  A pickup goes a long way to solving that problem, and some dulcimer fretboards are more responsive than others.  So a lot of this is out of your hands (so to speak).

However, if you slide more deliberately and sharply from one fret to the next, you can create some extra pressure that will increase the volume and make the move sound more like a hammer-on.  That is hard to do if you are sliding across several frets to get to a single note, however.  This is something to work on. 

In general, I do not consider the tablature indications for the left-hand legato techniques (hammers, pulls, slides) to be mandatory parts of the tablature.  Depending on your fingering, a slide may be more appropriate than a hammer or pull or vice versa, so you have to take the tablature as a suggestion and develop your own approach.  You might simply break up that long slide and pick the string again at some point to get the volume you need.  You might also reduce the volume of the rest of the tune so that the loss of volume from the extended slide is less noticeable. And since good artists deliberately vary the dynamics of their playing, you might embrace the loss of volume as an expressive part of the arrangement.




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Dusty T., Northern California
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jimws
@jimws
10 months ago
10 posts

Thanks all for responding.  Yes, Ken I am playing across the strings & the downward slide is on the Melody string. I've also texted Brett & based on what you & Brett are saying I need to work on my slide skills for this tune.  It's beautiful so now it's a simple matter of working to finesse this tune.

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
10 months ago
1,426 posts

I only play with a noter and it is challenging to me to get the exact sound I want when sliding to a lower fret.  It is a balance of noter pressure with speed (I'm talking getting a nice "falling away" sound on a slower tune) to get the sound I want.  I don't do it well consistently-- it's hit and miss for me. 

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10 months ago
2,124 posts

@jimws --   The effect you describe is not related to the dulcimer or it's maker.

I assume you're playing Chords or Fingerdance style rather than Noter&Drone. 

Have you listened to Brett's rendition?  Or just read the tab/SMN?  Are you certain that the volume reducing to zero is not intentional? 

Are you sure you are maintaining the same downward pressure from one end of the slide to another?  As Nate suggests, maintaining the volume of a slide is easier with a noter than with fingers.  

NateBuildsToys
NateBuildsToys
@nate
10 months ago
247 posts

I dont know much, but from my experience, moving the noter across the frets as fast as possible makes the note noticeably more pronounced than moving it slower, when you are hitting each fret along the way. I think one technique tries to give the intermittent slide where each fret along the way is heard as it slides into the next, while another technique tries to slide along the string without touching the frets for a more consistent sliding tone. I feel that denser noter material allows the sliding to be heard better. For example, a delicate touch  passing over the frets using an actual glass slide or ceramic slide seems to be the loudest for me. When pressing down to 'bump' each fret along the way, I prefer to use a dense piece of wood hitting each fret hard to excite the string. I also will sometimes pluck the string mid slide, or will lift off and hammer down with the noter to accent the note I'm ending on.

Hope this was useful

Nate

jimws
@jimws
10 months ago
10 posts

I read these forums frequently and am immensely appreciative of the feedback and comments from many of the commenters.  Thanks.

I have a Warren May dulcimer with which I am very pleased regarding the looks, sound and sustain when sliding to higher frets.  However, I am playing Brett Ridgeways version of St Annes Reel and the 2nd half of the piece slides down multiple frets and the volume basically disappears.

Is there a trick I don't know?  Would it make a difference if I changed the string height?

P.S.  My dulcimer does not have any type of pickup.  Is that my only option?

Thanks in advance