Songbird coloring question

Just hammerers

Songbird coloring question

Postby Casper » Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:50 am

Hi,

I recently purchased a Songbird 16/15 Phoebe. I really like it. I have noticed something I did not expect. I ordered it standard and not with the dark stain. An unexpected result is I have trouble seeing the strings against the light wood. If I had it to do over I would have spent the extra for the dark finish but it is a little late for that. Sending it back and paying for an upgrade is not an option for me at this time.

I looked into putting a darker stain on it over the lighter color. I asked a woodworker I know and he thought it wouldn't be simple as I would need to scratch the surface with sandpaper to make the darker stain hold. To do a good job I would need to remove the strings, with all the adventures that go with that.

Does anyone know of a way I could increase visibility of the strings against a light background that would not affect the sound or look absurd?

Thank you all for any feedback.
Casper
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Re: Songbird coloring question

Postby Shape note singer » Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:24 am

Dear Casper,

Before you make any changes to your instrument, perhaps it might be wise to try an experiment or two first.

Just temporarily, try sliding strips of something black or dark brown between the strings and the sound board,
such as pieces of cloth, felt, construction paper, whatever you might have on hand.

Then try playing for awhile to see if the darker background actually does help.
Give it some time. You may be able to tell what background color you prefer this way.

I have seen a player with pieces of leather/ suede cut to a size and shape that fits between the bridges, laying on top of the soundboard, but under the strings. The leather is just the right weight and texture to stay in place without attachments and it might be a good temporary fix, without the major undertaking of a refinishing job.

P.S. But doesn’t that muffle the the tone horribly, you say? Check out this youTube: Sounds good to me!
https://youtu.be/8AEP0deSNRA
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Re: Songbird coloring question

Postby Neilwm » Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:33 pm

Casper,
You should look at the bridge markers and not the strings. This seems like a perfect time to retrain yourself to do that.

Enjoy the Songbird.

Neil
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Re: Songbird coloring question

Postby Casper » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:07 pm

Thank you to both of you. I will use the leather idea and the link is wonderful music. I also appreciate the suggestion of using the bridge markers. Those are two wonderful solutions and will make my music much more enjoyable.

Again, a big thank you.
Casper
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Re: Songbird coloring question

Postby asterhunter » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:53 pm

Neilwm wrote:Casper,
You should look at the bridge markers and not the strings. This seems like a perfect time to retrain yourself to do that.

Enjoy the Songbird.

Neil


What Neil said. With time I got to the point where I can see the bridge markers out of the corner of my eyes so I don't have to jerk my eyes around so much.

I assume you bought the Songbird package that comes with a beginners book. The hammered dulcimer is really a unique animal and the beginner really needs to spend some time learning the basics. The book will help, but also check out hammered dulcimer beginners tutorials on YouTube. The HD has a bit of a steep learning curve at the beginning, but give yourself a few weeks hammering out the basics (pun intended) and the rest is pretty much downhill.

David Elosser
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Re: Songbird coloring question

Postby Casper » Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:20 am

I appreciate all the kind help from everyone here.
Casper
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Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2016 9:18 am


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