Slipping Dulcimer!

Help for new mountain dulcimer players of all ages!

Slipping Dulcimer!

Postby Aussie70 » Wed Dec 20, 2017 6:15 pm

I am having problems with stopping my dulcimer slipping on my legs. Tried different positions but still seem to chase it!
I don’t want to damage the wood. Have been using a synthetic non slip mat, but have noticed changes to back of dulcimer. Bought a chamois but that doesn’t work....far too stiff. Would appreciate any suggestions...help etc.
Cheers from Down Under!
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Re: Slipping Dulcimer!

Postby GrantOlson » Wed Dec 20, 2017 7:27 pm

My teacher uses a strap, but puts it around her back, rather than under her legs. Or, if you use a shorter chair/stool your legs will be at a different angle.
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Re: Slipping Dulcimer!

Postby asterhunter » Wed Dec 20, 2017 9:34 pm

I use a strap also, but I also often use one of those rubber kitchen cabinet shelf liners. Drape the liner over your lap and your dulcimer definitely won't slip unless you are a really aggressive strummer!

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Re: Slipping Dulcimer!

Postby KenH » Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:42 pm

If the chamois you bought I stiff, beat it with a didgeridoo to soften, then rub some light oil into the leather. :mrgreen: I've never seen a stiff chamois skin! Speaking of skin, any other kind of thin leather, other than goat, should help stop skidding.

Biggest thing, IMHO, is how you sit, and how the dulcimer sits on your lap.
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Re: Slipping Dulcimer!

Postby Banjimer » Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:05 pm

I've seen three solutions to the problem of the dulcimer slipping off one's lap.

1. Raise your knees by resting your feet on a footstool. Specially designed footstools can sometimes be purchased from one of the dulcimer vendors. The Dulcimer Bag Lady used to sell these. They were made by her husband, who has been deceased for several years now. I would assume someone else probably sells something similar.
2. Put a strap on the dulcimer and then anchor the dulcimer by running the strap either under your legs or behind your back. Folkcraft is one vendor that sells these straps. Ron Ewing also sells these dulcimer straps. For this solution you will need at least one and possibly two strap buttons depending upon whether your chosen strap requires a strap button or has ties to attach to the peghead end of your dulcimer. The other end of these straps slips over a strap button at the tail end of the dulcimer.
3. Place a piece of rubberized shelf liner, chamois, or deerskin across your lap. The shelf liners can normally be purchased at the local Family Dollar or Dollar General store for as little as one or two dollars.
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Re: Slipping Dulcimer!

Postby Judy K » Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:46 am

Aussie, you can put the dulcimer on a table or a dulcimer stand instead of your lap, if you like. I have three dulcimer stands, 2 professionally made and one a D-I-Y converted lap tray/table. All three stands work well for me. A friend told me he usually put his dulcimer across the arms of his easy chair to play. I've also seen a video of someone sitting in the floor cross-legged while playing.

Hope you find something that works well for you. :)
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Re: Slipping Dulcimer!

Postby Aussie70 » Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:05 am

Thank you all!
All great suggestions....have to pay.... “beating the chamois with a didgeridoo”!
What my husband found in our shed has solved the problem and definitely in line with your suggestions. Very soft leather, it’s origins, or more to the point why we had it may interest you. What appears or feels like aeons ago....we had a Western style saddlery, importing from USA quality western riding equipment. Saddles, clothing all for the very limited market of western style riding in Australia. I specialised in making individual and personalised chaps for our western equitation customers! Long finished now...still some suede leather in the shed! I never thought 30 years ago I should be using it for it’s now new purpose!
I wondered about a strap, but decided no at this stage. Play sometimes on the table, but do prefer on my lap. You are right re the height of chair etc...still working on that.
Again thank you all
H
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Re: Slipping Dulcimer!

Postby bret » Fri Dec 22, 2017 3:22 am

At the first dulcimer workshop I went to back in September, the teacher gave us squares of kitchen liner to put on top of our legs. She called the "leg locks" :) They're great at holding the dulcimer in place, and I imagine your suede leather is just as good.

Having a chair at a height so your legs are parallel to the floor is very helpful too. Since adjusting my chair, I haven't needed the shelf liners at all. I usually play my dulcimer in my computer chair and it is adjustable height and has adjustable arms. I drop the arms down as low as they go, which is well below where I'd hit them with my arms. I also drop the seat down until my legs are parallel to the floor. The dulcimer just stays put. I do keep the squares of shelf liner in my dulcimer case in the event I end up somewhere I can't adjust the chair. They do a great job and I haven't revisited the idea of a strap since learning about them.
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Re: Slipping Dulcimer!

Postby DulciBob81 » Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:58 pm

I had also had this problem. I ended up building a playing stand put of some scrap wood my father in law had. I now prefer playing on a stand as opposed to in my lap. If you have the means to get one, I highly recommend it.
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Re: Slipping Dulcimer!

Postby Aussie70 » Fri Dec 22, 2017 5:31 pm

Again thank you.
I had tried the “rubber” slip mats. The one I used had a rib type pattern...unfortunately it left a very slight imprint on the back of dulcimer. I can only just feel it....but didn’t want to take chance if got worse.
Finding the right height chair I agree is a must. I am short so struggle with what works and portability. Already have stool for painting...(for me to sit on...not paint)..but that is too low. Working on it though.
Cheers
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Re: Slipping Dulcimer!

Postby bret » Mon Dec 25, 2017 12:45 pm

Interesting! I haven't noticed any wear yet on the dulcimer from the shelf liner. I'll keep a look out for it though. This is the stuff I bought: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002AS9N9O

It feels more like a foam than a rubbery feel. Not sure what it's actually made of.
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