I grew up in Detroit, MI, and started playing mtn dulcimer in 1975 after having played drums and guitar. The first dulcimer I ever saw was when Brian Jones played one at a Rolling Stones concert, on "Ruby Tuesday." I subsequently saw one here or there at folk music events and finally had to get one after having a chance to play one and staying up till the wee hours doing so.
I took a few lessons with Margaret MacArthur who was very influential on me in left-hand technique such as hammer-ons and pull-offs. But instead of finger picking with right hand as she did I've always used a pick and done a strum + picking out single strings combination. I try to give pieces a strong beat, especially on the upbeat. I listen to almost anything under the sun.
I play four equal strings, D-A-D-D, low to high. I wouldn't be without it - along with a 1.5 fret. Four equidistant is most common in the greater Boston area due to Lorraine Lee's longtime teaching around there, and it's otherwise a bit rare, I find. Lorraine and I met a year after I'd spent time with Margaret MacArthur. We both played three-string dulcimers, mine D-A-D and hers the uncommon A-D-D. It was a "worlds collide" experience for both of us. I had bass notes for chords and little bass runs, she had beautiful treble triads - and neither of us could play the others arrangements. I saw Lorraine about a year later, and we had both gone to four equidistant strings - the best of both worlds! The rest is histerical (sic).
What I'd love to find is a six-equidistant (or at least 5), to get REAL bass notes - down to the 'drop D' bass string of a guitar. Sam Rizetta built one, a prototype that I played in a happy daze and I'd suffer much to have. But I can't pay him enough to build another - he has too many back orders for his hammered dulcimers!
Besides here, I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone/text at 909-896-2483.
Best regards to all,
PS - I've even figured out how to change the little comments under picture. I'm a bit slow, but persistent.
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