Psychedelic dulcimer: White Rabbit

Sam Edelston
03/27/22 09:37:51AM

It's been way too long since I posted a new video. Here's one.

I was teaching a rock dulcimer class recently, talking about music from Woodstock, and in my preparation for it, I came upon Jefferson Airplane's song, White Rabbit.

This song is interesting for a couple of reasons: It's fairly easy to play, it doesn't use any special frets, and it's in the Phrygian mode.

This is played on my wonderful Folkcraft chromatic, tuned CGC, in E Phrygian. (On a DAD dulcimer, that would be F# Phrygian.) 

On the floor underneath it, one channel is going through a Headrush Pedalboard, which uses digital models of effect pedals and amps. (This is my first video using the Headrush.) I divided it into two sub-channels: Sub-channel 1 is where you most clearly hear the melody - through a compressor, wah, tape echo, and reverb. Sub-channel 2 thickens the sound with a different compressor, octave, chorus, and rotary. They come together in a model of a Fender amp. 

The other pickup just goes through a Boss SYN-300 synth pedal, which adds some lower octaves and helps spread the sound out time-wise. I also added some echo and chorus at the amp.

Note: While I perform the song here as an instrumental, it does have lyrics which, while trippy and sometimes strange, aren't true to either of Lewis Carroll's "Alice" books. Personally, I lean toward Mr. Carroll, though even he could come up with lines like, " None of my poultry are officers."