Some Bowed Dulcimer Questions

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Some Bowed Dulcimer Questions

Postby dtmd » Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:25 am

Does anyone know the builder Ray's Rootworks out of Canada. He is making a 4 string fretless instrument that you can play with a bow. Would my Bowed dulcimer friends consider this a bowed dulcimer?

What tab music is available to start learning to play bd if someone were to purchase a bd instrument?

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Dennis
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Re: Some Bowed Dulcimer Questions

Postby dtmd » Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:35 am

Additionally would you do 4 equidistant strings? What would the tuning be for each string? Would/could you do a double melody string on the bd or is equidistant the better configuration?

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Re: Some Bowed Dulcimer Questions

Postby strumelia » Tue Mar 17, 2015 1:01 pm

dtmd wrote:Does anyone know the builder Ray's Rootworks out of Canada. He is making a 4 string fretless instrument that you can play with a bow. Would my Bowed dulcimer friends consider this a bowed dulcimer?


Could be a violin. 8)
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Re: Some Bowed Dulcimer Questions

Postby dtmd » Tue Mar 17, 2015 8:34 pm

The instrument has a body with a guitar neck about 23 inches long. It is fret less like a violin but you hold it on your lap like a bowed dulcimer. You can bow it like a cello or strum it like a guitar. Each produces a different sound. I wonder if played with a bow if you could use bd tab and use bd playing techniques.
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Re: Some Bowed Dulcimer Questions

Postby dtmd » Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:07 pm

Here is The Root by Rays Rootworks. It is 4 strings tuned Dadd. It may be strummed or bowed. The base sits on your lap and the neck rests on your shoulder and you bow it like a regular bowed dulcimer. Would it be better strung as 4 equidistant strings? If so what should each string be tuned? What are your opinion of this instrument being used as a bowed dulcimer. It is fret less!
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Re: Some Bowed Dulcimer Questions

Postby dtmd » Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:11 pm

Here is the pic
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Re: Some Bowed Dulcimer Questions

Postby Ken Bloom » Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:37 am

Hi Dennis,

A lot depends on what this instrument looks like on the inside. Not having frets I think the strummed sound would be a bit muted since the fingered strings would not have a sharp singing edge to sound from. When bowed I would expect the tone to be rather harsh since the soundboard looks to be hardwood. There is no benefit to having a doubled string on a bowed instrument so four equidistant would be the thing or even just three strings. The standard tuning for a standard bowed dulcimer is DAD. I play in all keys out of that tuning since most of my instruments are chromatically fretted. For a four stringed instrument I usually add a low G to that tuning, extending the range down a fifth.
Bowed and plucked instruments operate quite differently and having one instrument that does both well is at best, very difficult. If it sounds good bowed then the sound will be rather short and a bit muffled when plucked. If it sounds great strummed, it will most likely be both quiet and harsh when bowed. Easy bowing requires heavier strings. Great sounding plucking requires lighter gauge strings. These comments are all rather general and are based on almost twenty years of building and playing bowed dulcimers. YMMV. Maybe this instrument is fabulous sounding. I don't know. I hope this is helpful.

Ken Bloom
http://www.boweddulcimer.com
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Re: Some Bowed Dulcimer Questions

Postby dtmd » Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:38 am

Ken that is very helpful. The back of the instrument is very unique. It is in the shape of a Nautilus shell with a partial resonator encapsulated. When fretting it has a more mystical sitar sound in the higher range. When bowed it has a more cello sound. I find myself very enthralled with the earthiness of this instrument and the marriage of esthetics to nature and to sound.

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Re: Some Bowed Dulcimer Questions

Postby Ken Bloom » Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:54 am

Hi Dennis,

If you love it, get it. i hope that it fulfills everything you want from it. Each builder has his or her own goals. Hopefully those goals are in agreeement with the folks who play their instruments. Good luck and let me know if I can help you further.

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