New to Mountain Dulcimer

Help for new mountain dulcimer players of all ages!

New to Mountain Dulcimer

Postby Aussie70 » Fri Aug 25, 2017 10:02 pm

Have recently returned from USA the proud owner of a mountain dulcimer bought from John of BigivyArts at the Ashe County Blue Grass & Old Time Fiddlers Convention. Yes from Australia visiting my daughter in Maryland. We had a wonderful time at the Festival itself, my Grandchildren throwing themselves into the barn dance on the Friday night. It was the first time I heard a dulcimer....and it did not take me long to make the decision to purchase one from John Maddocks BigivyArts who was very helpful. My greatest challenge was to get it back to Australia in one piece! Achieved even with an inspection in San Francisco, requiring some very careful unpacking and repacking. Full marks to the inspector. So I am home with a couple of books, Utube and a very rudimentary knowledge of music from teaching myself on an electronic organ! 70 is my age so need to get cracking on this my latest challenge. I'm doing OK with tuning DADD (help from husband ukulele not 1 but 4...he just likes them...also teaching self), and working through "first lessons dulcimer by Joyce Ochs". I am quite surprised at how quickly I am picking it up! Unfortunately I can't get the sound files to work at this point but moving on. I have tried several plectrums but they sound very clacky. Is this possibly my technique re holding and using? Any pointers would be appreciated. I have gone back to using the back of my finger nails....are their any rules about this? I also note in many videos that the strumming and picking is done on the fretboard rather than closer to the bridge....any reason?
I live in a small country town in South Australia. Not a lot of action with regard to music opportunities. Any help will be gratefully accepted.
Cheers from Downunder
Aussie70
Junior Mbr (0-50 posts)
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2017 12:43 am
Location: South Australia

Re: New to Mountain Dulcimer

Postby dholeton » Fri Aug 25, 2017 10:57 pm

Welcome to our dulcimer community. You will get lots of feedback here. I'll offer my opinion on a couple of your questions.

Pick clack. Maybe the pick is too large and too thin and/or you might be holding it too loosely. You might also be hitting the strings too hard. I like a small triangular pick that is about 2.5 centimeters or 1 inch from any flat side of the triangle to the opposite point of the triangle. I use Fender Medium picks and trim them to the shape I prefer (I make them smaller).

Using finger nails is fine, any technique that sounds good to you is perfect. You will hear many people here say there is no right or wrong way to play a dulcimer.

As for strumming over the fretboard versus near the strum hollow, the sound might be a little louder and sweeter over the fretboard if the pick doesn't make too much noise hitting the fretboard. I prefer to play over the strum hollow.

I'll stop here and I'm sure others will offer additional tips.

Best of luck

Dave
User avatar
dholeton
Super Mbr (501-2000 posts)
 
Posts: 748
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2009 8:27 pm
Location: Clinton, TN

Re: New to Mountain Dulcimer

Postby Aussie70 » Sat Aug 26, 2017 5:32 am

Thank you Dave. Will relook at the picks I am using with a different eye now! I did get quite a selection when in USA. "Strum hollow" that's what it is called! I was able to get the files to work to go with the book. Had to use lap top rather than iPad but all good. Thank you for the welcome too Dave.
Aussie70
Junior Mbr (0-50 posts)
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2017 12:43 am
Location: South Australia

Re: New to Mountain Dulcimer

Postby strumelia » Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:06 am

Aussie70 wrote:I live in a small country town in South Australia. Not a lot of action with regard to music opportunities. Any help will be gratefully accepted.
Cheers from Downunder


Hi Aussie, you might also want to check this group for mountain dulcimer players living in Australia: https://fotmd.com/strumelia/group/61/aussietalk -there could possibly be someone near where you live that you could actually get together with to play or learn from.
User avatar
strumelia
Super Mbr (501-2000 posts)
 
Posts: 1761
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:05 pm
Location: Upstate New york

Re: New to Mountain Dulcimer

Postby Aussie70 » Sun Sep 03, 2017 2:06 am

Hi and thank you Strumelia!
I've not had any success with Australian links but not too worried at this time. Will follow up later. Husband and I going to a Blue Grass Festival in October so may be able to find some contacts there. We certainly don't have the number of festivals or opportunities as in USA so very pleased when we found this one.
I feel as though I know you through your Utube videos! They have been of tremendous help to me....thank you. I am inclined to want to rush ahead too quickly then get cross with self when not getting results...so have scaled right back and spending more time on just strumming and rhythm.
I will be back to the USA in November and just wishing I could bring my dulcimer back with me...probably better to buy a second and leave with my daughter and 2 grandchildren. I just love seeing them have the opportunity to play and learn on instruments...they get such enjoyment out of it all.
So for now back to strumming
Cheers from Down Under
Aussie70
Junior Mbr (0-50 posts)
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2017 12:43 am
Location: South Australia

Re: New to Mountain Dulcimer

Postby Marc Mathieu » Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:06 pm

Hi Aussie70.
Are you near Daylesford ?
You can look up my friends Adrian Kosky & Carla Maxwell.
Here's Adrian's website: http://adriankosky.com/
Hope you can connect with them sometimes.
User avatar
Marc Mathieu
Super Mbr (501-2000 posts)
 
Posts: 1785
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2002 10:45 pm
Location: Hearst, Ontario, Canada

Re: New to Mountain Dulcimer

Postby Aussie70 » Sat Sep 30, 2017 9:52 pm

Thank you Marc and excuse my tardiness for not responding.
Have been out and about over last few weeks.
Have Adrian Kosky's number....his email link apparently not working. Have not contacted yet but will be doing so shortly. Unfortunately Daylesford about 500 miles from me; in itself not a problem as move around Australia with motor home.
Thank you for taking time to help me.
Cheers
Heather
Aussie70
Junior Mbr (0-50 posts)
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2017 12:43 am
Location: South Australia


Return to Mountain Dulcimer Beginner's Area

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest