Where to get a dulcimer & best way to learn?

Help for new mountain dulcimer players of all ages!

Re: Where to get a dulcimer & best way to learn?

Postby bret » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:45 pm

Contacting Godin went about as I expected :lol: Though they did send a quick courteous reply "Hi Bret, Our factory is not set up to offer custom options...sorry! Regards, <name removed>"

So I'll keep looking for someone who has experience with fret work. Dave, if you're willing and able, I'd be happy to send it out to you. The "staple" method on the body seems to be a good path, but I don't know if you have the tools or experience doing that.

I'm in the same boat with "practicing" on the Merlin. I'm sure I'd make some beginner mistakes the first few times and end up with a mess :lol: I wouldn't mind getting into making dulcimers in the distant future. I've seen some videos on Youtube and I do enjoy woodwork, though I've never had a lot of time to practice. My grandfather was a carpenter and I loved the chance to work with some scraps in his shop or help him on something he was working on.

At the moment though, I just have enough time to start learning to play it. Nothing wrong with that, no one has time to make all the things they use :)
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Re: Where to get a dulcimer & best way to learn?

Postby dholeton » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:40 am

Bret
Have you contacted Appalachian Bluegrass, a music shop in Catonsville, Maryland and/or is Catonsville in your area? The shop sells Seagull Merlins and it appears there is a repair shop that will work on just about any musical instrument.
Dave

http://www.appbluegrass.com/product-category/dulcimers/
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Re: Where to get a dulcimer & best way to learn?

Postby kwl » Fri Sep 08, 2017 6:58 pm

I haven't been to Appalachian Bluegrass in years, but it is a great store. They did not sell dulcimers back then. I would stop in to look at banjo when I was visiting hospitals in the area.

Ken
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Re: Where to get a dulcimer & best way to learn?

Postby bret » Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:44 pm

Just wanted to add an update. On September 16th I attended the dulcimer workshop at House of Musical Traditions with Karen Buglass. It was great to meet some other people playing the dulcimer and to have a chance to play one for a couple hours. Great stuff :D

I considered buying the instrument I used in the class (a loaner from HMT), but it had friction pegs. From my experience with the violin, I know this would be a source of frustration, so I decided against it.

Over the past couple weeks I've been looking at number of instruments on the Folkcraft site. I'd most settled around a D series (deeper/taller body), but I listed to a couple more traditional size instruments over the past couple days and they swayed me over. The deeper body sounds a bit muddier to my ear. So this afternoon I ordered one :D Hopefully it'll be here sometime this week.

Thanks again to everyone for all the help. Karen pointed me to a couple festivals taking place next summer and I'm planning to go to some of those. (Kentucky Music Week and Dulcimer U are on my radar).
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Re: Where to get a dulcimer & best way to learn?

Postby kwl » Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:36 pm

Thanks for the update Bret. Glad to hear about your new dulcimer. Although I have been to neither of those festivals, I have friends who have been to both of them. The comments have been very positive. I hope to get to one or both of them.

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Re: Where to get a dulcimer & best way to learn?

Postby bret » Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:26 pm

kwl wrote:Thanks for the update Bret. Glad to hear about your new dulcimer. Although I have been to neither of those festivals, I have friends who have been to both of them. The comments have been very positive. I hope to get to one or both of them.


Perhaps I'll bump into you or some of the other folks here at one of them :) Unfortunately, Karen confirmed at the workshop that most of the dulcimer groups around here no longer meet. She did pass me contact information for one, and now that I have a dulcimer I'm going to try to get in contact with them and see if they're still meeting regularly.

Regarding the dulcimer itself, it's a sweet instrument. The craftsmanship is top notch and the wood is really beautiful. And wow, it just fills the room with sound. I really enjoy playing it and time just seems to slip away when I'm messing around on it. I've gotten a bit more comfortable with the overhand style of fretting, though chords are still a challenge and I mostly stick with melody lines.

Now my biggest fear is that DAS may be starting to set in... :lol:
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Re: Where to get a dulcimer & best way to learn?

Postby Judy K » Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:09 am

Congrats on your new dulcimer, bret. Sounds like it is a sweet instrument.

DAS is an easily caught ailment. As the owner of at least a dozen dulcimers, I haven't quite been cured yet -- but may be in remission at the moment. 8)
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Re: Where to get a dulcimer & best way to learn?

Postby bret » Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:23 pm

Judy K wrote:DAS is an easily caught ailment. As the owner of at least a dozen dulcimers, I haven't quite been cured yet -- but may be in remission at the moment. 8)


"I've got a fever, and the only prescription... is more Cowbell!" ...er Dulcimer! :lol:
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Re: Where to get a dulcimer & best way to learn?

Postby Judy K » Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:48 pm

bret wrote:"I've got a fever, and the only prescription... is more Cowbell!" ...er Dulcimer! :lol:


:lol:
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Re: Where to get a dulcimer & best way to learn?

Postby bret » Sat Oct 21, 2017 4:18 pm

Just a little progress report - I started working on Whiskey Before Breakfast today. It's something I've heard a number of times while investigating the dulcimer and I finally decided to look up a tab for it. Here's my attempt at the main part of the melody. I'm amazed this is coming out of an instrument I'm playing :)

https://clyp.it/50roi3wq?token=694a18f9 ... 3523a9d454
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Re: Where to get a dulcimer & best way to learn?

Postby Judy K » Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:42 am

The dulcimer is an amazing instrument. First time players can play recognizable tunes quickly; experienced players can wring great music out of 3 or 4 strings.

Your clip is nice, bret. Now get to work on the rest of the tune. 8)
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Re: Where to get a dulcimer & best way to learn?

Postby bret » Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:13 pm

Thanks for the kind words! I really enjoy playing that song. I meant to upload a full version sooner, but I was on a business trip down to Florida and then had a wedding to attend and a charity race to run with a friend. Finally got some down time this evening. My legs are tried, but my hands are still going :lol:

Here's the full song: https://clyp.it/ibua21wj
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