Noters?

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Noters?

Postby dholeton » Thu Jun 15, 2017 6:52 pm

When playing dulcimer with a noter, I usually hold the noter with my thumb on top, which requires the fretboard to be about one inch high.

Attached is a picture of the noters that I use and listed below are descriptions of each noter.

1. First from the left is a scrap of walnut I use exclusively on the sheitholt I built this year. It is about 5 inches long and about 1/4 inch square on the end that notes the strings.

2. Second from left is a noter made from dogwood. I use it on my dogwood dulcimer. It is about 1/2 inch wide but works well with the fret spacing on that dulcimer.

3. Third from left is another 1/2 inch wide noter made of dogwood that I use on any dulcimer.

4. Fourth from left is a noter I made for enabling the middle string (it plays the melody string and can be tilted to reach the middle string)

5. Fifth from left is an ebony noter that came with my McSpadden dulcimer kit I obtained in 1978.

6. Sixth from left is a hardwood noter (rock maple?) that came with a McSpadden dulcimer kit some time in this millennium.

7. Seventh from left is a scrap of walnut I used mostly on my 1978 kit dulcimer.
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My_Noters.jpg
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Re: Noters?

Postby dholeton » Thu Jun 15, 2017 6:54 pm

What kind of noter do you use?

1. Is the noter made of wood or some other material?

2. Is the noter wide or thin where it contacts the strings?

3. Is the noter rounded or square where it contacts the strings?

4. Do you just play the melody string, or do you play other strings with the noter?

5. Do you play some songs with one noter, then on the same dulcimer use a different noter for other songs?

6. Does the noter make a lot of noise when moving from fret to fret?

7. Do you mind if the noter makes noise while moving from fret to fret?

8. Do you have a technique that minimizes noter noise moving from fret to fret?

9. When using a noter, do you hold it with your thumb on top or your index finger on top? How do you hold the noter?

10. What do you do for maintenance for the noter? Do you use sandpaper to remove the grooves where the noter contacts the strings?

11. How long does a noter last?

Do you have any other descriptions about the noter or tips for using a noter?

Thanks

Dave
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Re: Noters?

Postby Banjimer » Thu Jun 15, 2017 9:13 pm

1-3. I use a four-inch length of 1/4 inch walnut dowel for my noter. I made a whole batch of these from three-foot lengths of 1/4 inch walnut dowel. I cut the longer dowel into 4-inch lengths, sanded them smooth, soaked them in fretboard oil, and wiped off the excess oil. I made over 50 of these in about an hour and a half. They've lasted me several years and will probably last me a lifetime.

4. Melody String Only. If I need a note on the middle or bass string, I usually finger-dance instead.

5. Same style noter for all songs played noter style.

6-8. My noter makes minimal noise, usually just a sliding noise, which is a feature of noter-drone playing. Unlike a round noter it has a full 1/4 inch in contact with the string.

9. When noting I prefer the thumb on top with my index finger sliding along the side of the fretboard.

10. Since my noter is a square piece of dowel it lasts quite awhile as it has four sides on each end. I suppose I could re-sand and re-oil the noters, but I usually misplace them or lose them long before they wear out.

11. The noters usually get lost or misplaced well before they wear out. However, since my preferred noter is inexpensive and easy to make, I usually just replace them with a new one if and when they do wear out.
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Re: Noters?

Postby KenH » Thu Jun 15, 2017 10:04 pm

See the article I posted here several years ago called Get Noterized.

1. Is the noter made of wood or some other material?
Several kinds of wood, brass tubing, bamboo, malachite (stone), and turkey quill base

2. Is the noter wide or thin where it contacts the strings?
Narrow

3. Is the noter rounded or square where it contacts the strings?
Nearly all my noters are 1/2" diameter round, not flat.

4. Do you just play the melody string, or do you play other strings with the noter?
Almost exclusively the melody string(s).

5. Do you play some songs with one noter, then on the same dulcimer use a different noter for other songs?
I often use different noters on the same instrument; particularly when I'm looking for a special sound or effect for a particular song.

6. Does the noter make a lot of noise when moving from fret to fret?
Not unless I'm tired or my hands are "lazy".

7. Do you mind if the noter makes noise while moving from fret to fret?
Not usually.

8. Do you have a technique that minimizes noter noise moving from fret to fret?
Teach yourself to be "light fingered". Slightly ease the down pressure when sliding from note to note.

9. When using a noter, do you hold it with your thumb on top or your index finger on top? How do you hold the noter?
99% of the time I'm Index on Top; occasionally (and if the fretboard is tall enough) I'll play Thumb on Top.

10. What do you do for maintenance for the noter? Do you use sandpaper to remove the grooves where the noter contacts the strings?
Sand out the grooves periodically (or shorten the length); rub lanolin or oil in occasionally.

11. How long does a noter last?
Years to decades. I normally use only VERY hard woods with high Janka ratings or bamboo.
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Re: Noters?

Postby strumelia » Thu Jun 15, 2017 10:17 pm

Dave, is there a particular reason you are asking all these extensive and very specific noter questions? Just wondering.
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Re: Noters?

Postby joe sanguinette » Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:40 am

a popsickle stick works for me
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Re: Noters?

Postby danc9 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:09 am

1. Mostly bamboo, sometimes a custom wooden one with ebony inlay.
2. Bamboo thin, wood wide.
3. Bamboo round, the wood is square.
4. Melody, fret less on one tune.
5. No
6. A little.
7. No
8. No
9. Thumb over, finger over and sometimes in between.
10. No, replace worn out ones.
11. A few years.
Noter play is very personal. If it feels “right” in your hand it is correct! See Robin Clarks’ video on advanced noter play……

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Re: Noters?

Postby dholeton » Fri Jun 16, 2017 8:53 am

Thanks everyone for all of the inputs.

My walnut noter gets grooves in it and spreads the double melody strings at times, so I sand the grooves away. Sooner or later it will be too small to use and I'll need to find another.

I haven't tried bamboo yet and I think I have some laying around, so maybe I'll try bamboo next.

I didn't think of using oil on the noter, that is something I think I'll try also.

My 1/2" wide dogwood noter works great on my 29" VSL dulcimer with 14 frets. The fret spacing is plenty wide and for whatever reason it just works. The dogwood is very hard and does not get grooves where it contacts the strings. The same noter doesn't work on my 27.5" VSL scheitholt with 15 frets.

Most of the inputs so far are from those of us who make our own noters but there are some luthiers that sell noters (like the one at the web site below).
https://www.musicalinstrumentshoppe.com/product/600897/roosebeck-deluxe-noter-and-pick-for-mountain-dulcimer/?origin=google_product_ads&gclid=CJ2j2MuvwtQCFYQ7gQodROYOKQ


Dave, is there a particular reason you are asking all these extensive and very specific noter questions? Just wondering.


Lisa, a noter gathering was suggested a while back. Maybe that gathering will eventually happen and this post might be supportive of that gathering. I think playing with a noter might be becoming more popular (or at least it has been more popular with me in the last few years). I think getting extensive inputs from others on what they use for noters will help anyone who is considering to start playing with a noter. (The inputs so far have provided some noter ideas I haven't tried yet). If something is already published that covers many of the details, maybe it will be revisited here like Ken's "Get Noterized" article and Robins video on advanced noter play.

Also, is Robins video on advanced noter play here on ED? Does anyone have the url?

Thanks
Dave
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Re: Noters?

Postby danc9 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 3:57 pm

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Re: Noters?

Postby dholeton » Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:18 pm

Thanks Dan
Robin's video provides a lot of techniques for using a noter. It looks like he might be using bamboo for a noter. I'm trying to find a way to be a little bit cleaner with playing an open note and then trying to bring the noter back onto the strings without making a lot of noise. Robin's technique shows some ways to do that. Also, I found his "holding the noter" video.

Thanks
Dave
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Re: Noters?

Postby fortytwo » Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:03 pm

Have several, most round. One is glass, but small diameter - about 1/4 inch. Has more zing than most.

99.9 % of the time I use a 1/2 inch diameter bamboo about 4 inches long. Bought a garden stake and made a few, gave all but one away. Play noter 90 % of the time and have used this bamboo stick for 8-10 years. Hard as steel and has never developed a groove. Use at an angle on the bass string if necessary, but can't avoid some squeek there.

Thumb on top most of the time.

As with fingers, only enough pressure to make the string contact the fret is needed.

Mostly use a 4 equidistant configuration with an F# closest to the bass string. My Baritone has 5 strings with a partial 6 1/2 fret and played with a noter on a single melody string (ADF#da).
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Re: Noters?

Postby joe sanguinette » Sat Jun 17, 2017 5:18 am

Lynn McSpadden once told me to try a little hand lotion on the noter
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