Homer Ledford String Size

All strummers welcome!

Homer Ledford String Size

Postby danbogler » Thu Aug 17, 2017 8:02 pm

I have just bought a Ledford Dulcimer and will probably play in Cgg

What size strings would you suggest ?

I was thinking 11- 11 -11- 22 wound but I am sure that someone has already figured out what strings it takes

So, any advice ?
danbogler
Junior Mbr (0-50 posts)
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:39 pm

Re: Homer Ledford String Size

Postby danc9 » Fri Aug 18, 2017 7:13 am

That would be a good place to start. String size is some what personal preference; light verses heavier strings. If you are chording the middle drone, you may want a little heavier string?



DAN
www.dulcimore.com
User avatar
danc9
Super Mbr (501-2000 posts)
 
Posts: 538
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:04 pm
Location: New Tazewell, TN

Re: Homer Ledford String Size

Postby danbogler » Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:09 am

Thanks

Gonna try 12-12-12--23 Wound
danbogler
Junior Mbr (0-50 posts)
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:39 pm

Re: Homer Ledford String Size

Postby Banjimer » Fri Aug 18, 2017 2:31 pm

Your chosen gauges (.012-.012-.012-.023) should work fine. If you have problems with the wooden tuning pegs holding under tension, you may find that a lighter gauge is required. The bass string, in particular, may have to be reduced to a .020 gauge string. Many of Homer's later dulcimers were equipped with violin fine-tuners. If you have these they will be a great help in raising the pitch slightly without further increasing the tension on the strings.
Banjimer
Super Mbr (501-2000 posts)
 
Posts: 631
Joined: Sat May 11, 2002 3:22 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: Homer Ledford String Size

Postby danbogler » Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:50 pm

Thanks

And it does have fine tuners

Thanks again
danbogler
Junior Mbr (0-50 posts)
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:39 pm

Re: Homer Ledford String Size

Postby Robin the Busker » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:20 am

I'd go a little heavier for CGG on a Ledford. I use 0.022w bass, 0.012, 0.012 twin middle and 0.013 melody on my staple fretted Ledford - but usually tune up to D# or E.

The key of C is a little low for those gauges and both intonation and volume suffer. I know that Homer (or Alvey) talk about tuning to CGG in 'The Dulcimer Maker' and also Jean Ritchie talks about CGG in the dulcimer book. But in the early recordings of Jean and the video of Homer playing in concert both are up at D# - and it makes quite a difference to the tone, intonation and power of the instrument.

I wouldn't worry about tuning up on older dulcimers or using heavier strings - you can always ease everything back after playing. I was playing my Leonard Glen dulcimer (28" VSL 0.022w, 0.012, 0.012) on Saturday at a session with a flute player and I ended up tuned to G,d,d to fit in with his instrument. That's a 5th above where you are thinking about tuning your Ledford with the same strings!

Robin
User avatar
Robin the Busker
Super Mbr (501-2000 posts)
 
Posts: 1751
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 5:03 pm
Location: Snowdonia, Wales

Re: Homer Ledford String Size

Postby danbogler » Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:39 am

Thanks for the advice. Right now I have it 23W - 14 - 12 melody in CGG and both the tone and intonation are not very good although a lot of it may be that I am just not used to putting that much pressure on the string when I fret as my hands are a little weak due to PD. The action is very high. But if I try to lower the action by sanding down the bottom of the moveable bridge it would lower the intonation and it is already flat on the 1st and 2nd frets - and I don't want to refret such a beautiful example of dulcimer history

So, I guess my next step is to tune it up to at least a D and see what happens. Playing McSpaddens all these years will ruin a fellow as they are so easy to play!

Thanks for all the help
danbogler
Junior Mbr (0-50 posts)
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:39 pm

Re: Homer Ledford String Size

Postby Robin the Busker » Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:02 am

A little more tension (higher pitch) will pull the instrument more into pitch. But the 1st fret, 5th fret and 8th fret are always going to record as flat on an electronic tuner because Homer used just intonation not equal temperament. Try using a noter it will make the higher action much easier to handle.

Also try tuning the strings to a perfect 5th by ear. It can be easier than struggling with a tuner, and more accurate!!!

If you get the pitching and floating bridge position right then Homers dulcimers will play beautifully in tune in a natural harmonic intonation. He knew what he was doing when he set his fret intonation on his dulcimers, it just takes a little experimentation to find the sweet point.

Ive got an mp3 somewhere of my Ledford playing pretty much every fret (Danny Boy) if i can find it I'll post it here.

Robin

Found it !
http://k007.kiwi6.com/hotlink/9n0jqdqxn ... may_14.mp3
User avatar
Robin the Busker
Super Mbr (501-2000 posts)
 
Posts: 1751
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 5:03 pm
Location: Snowdonia, Wales


Return to Playing Mountain Dulcimers

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider] and 13 guests

cron