Jump to content

All Activity

This stream auto-updates     

  1. Last week
  2. Tabledit file for finger positions and economy of motion. Finger Placement.pdf
  3. How To Become A Better Dulcimer Player - Part - 19 Finger Positions and Economy of Motion In my first article on “How to Become A Better Dulcimer Player - Part 1”, I briefly touched on the subject of finger positioning. A big impediment to smoother dulcimer playing is not using economy of motion and misplaced finger positioning. Are finger positions written in stone? Absolutely not; however, there are those combinations of finger positions that will result in economy of motion and smoother playing. As stated before, our instrument usually does not have much sustain or volume. One way to counteract this is to attempt to leave one or more fingers down on the current melody note/chord while moving on to the next melody note/chord. This is not always possible; however, it will work a large percentage of the time. I have attached a PDF file that I created using an example of the 1st fret on our instruments. You are essentially creating a barre chord with your index-middle-ring fingers to achieve your economy of motion. You then lift a finger or not and add your thumb to reach other notes. It is usually possible to reach up to the 4th fret with your thumb. The techniques are applicable at each fret as you move up the fret board of your instrument. If you are fortunate to have long fingers, you usually can move your index finger on the bass string 3 frets, i.e. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd frets. The same holds true as you move up the fret board. If you do not have long fingers, use your thumb on the bass string where indicated. My example is by no means complete for every possible finger combination. It it but a starting point to improve your playing. Finger Placement.pdf
  4. 1. Don't recognize the maker, but the design, with the pins in the side blocks, is NOT common. 2. Those ARE loop end strings. They start on one side, cross over the top, around a pin on the far side, then back to the start. What gauges? You'll need a micrometer to measure that. You'll also want to know the length of the longest string -- from loop end across to the pin and back. Where? Folkcraft may be able to help. I buy most of my strings from www.juststrings.com; but then I know exactly what I want. 3. Yes that crack in the pin line is "worrisome". Those holes probably should be re-drilled lower and new pins hammered in. At least the cracks should be filled with one of the more gel-like super glues, which should stop movement and tighten things up a hair.
  5. Hi folks, I was recently given a dulcimer that had spent 30 years gathering dust in a hot, dry attic. I'm told it has a much longer history, but its original owner, who possibly built it from a kit, died in 1990 and it hasn't been played since. I searched around and found a tuning chart and some youtube videos on tuning, and actually managed to get it sounding somewhat decent. Of course a few of the highest strings snapped while I was tuning it. A friend of mine who plays said the best place to get replacement strings is from the original manufacturer, but as I said, this thing is old, and maybe kit-built. There are no markings on it anywhere aside from the design around the sound holes. 1: Do any of you recognize this instrument? I'm seeing that most of the strings are long ones starting from one tuning pin, wrapping around the hitch pin, and looping back to a second tuning pin (effectively four strings per treble course). All the strings on the instrument appear to be of the same gauge. 2: if I need to order generic replacement strings, where should I get them, and what gauge? Searching around on the internet, I mainly see loop-end strings, which do not appear to be the kind this dulcimer was built for. 3. How worried should I be about the cracking you can see going through the bottom row of hitch pins? I suspect it may be pretty bad. This thing goes a full step flat in about a day. I'm having fun with it, but I have to do a LOT of tuning, and I worry it's eventually going to tear itself apart. Much obliged for any advice you can provide! Luke
  6. You're fine Kristie. What you have are a series of jigs (not usually called "forms") for building hourglass dulcimers of several shapes and sizes. Some of the jigs are for bending the side boards, some are for laying out the sound holes and fretboard, etc. It would take someone a certain amount of 'studying' to figure out how and in what combinations Mr. Green used to make his instruments.
  7. I got these from a local estate sale in Springfield Mo. I thought they were too neat to leave behind. the picture of the finished one is his son. I wish I had gotten more info on them.
  8. I am sorry if I'm not doing this correctly. I purchased these forms from a local estate. I do not know anything about the craft of Dulcimer making but could not leave them there. Any info on Dave Green or exactly what I have would be appreciated, there are 29 pieces & im not sure what matches. Thanks
  9. Earlier
  10. If you have not seen the following link you will find it very informative. https://blogs.loc.gov/folklife/2020/05/margaret-macarthur/ I would suggest contacting the Vermont Folklife Center, which seems to own her life collection: https://www.vermontfolklifecenter.org/
  11. I'm looking for a book by Margaret MacArthur called "how to play a macarthur harp and other zither instruments." It has been listed on Amazon but is out of print. Please contact Alice Waits-Richmond at awrichmond2@frontier.com.
  12. The Fishin' Hole is a song that is still in copyright status but here is a copy on Pinterest where it is played mostly on the bass string and middle string. The melody can also be played on the melody string(s) except where intervals require either an extra fret or the middle string. Dave Pinterest
  13. I forgot to mention that if you look through the tablature list here on Everything Dulcimer, many of the tab files made by Steve Smith have the songs in DAA and DAD tuning in the same file. Dave
  14. Another note on finding tablature for a given tuning, there are many tunes in DAA tuning in the tablature section here on Everything Dulcimer. Also, songs written in DAC or DAG tablature seldom require any extra frets. I also have several tablature files with mp3 files to accompany the tablature on my OneDrive. Dave's OneDrive Also, Mapes has been expanding there string sets and now they offer custom sets for mountain dulcimers. They also offer string on reels for people who want to make their own string sets. For your dulcimer lighter strings might be easier on the tuning pegs, but you may need to try different string gauges along with learn how well the peg dope works. Here is a link to Mapes and maybe the .011 .011 .020W set might be a good place to start in 80/20 Bronze or Phosphor Bronze. Mapes Good Luck with your dulcimer Dave
  15. Hi, I would suggest this new resource: Melanie Johnston - TablEdit Manual, PC Version "62 pages of "how to" instruction for creating your own beautiful notation and dulcimer tab. Melanie's TablEdit Manual makes great-looking notation achievable for even the novice music publisher."The screenshots were made using a PC but the program works the same on MacOS. You can also visit our new forum: https://groups.io/g/tabledit/topics Matthieu
  16. Strings are strings are strings as a friend says. There are only a handful of companies in the world that make what is called music wire. They sell the stuff, in mile-long rolls of various diameters to companies who add windings of various kinds to some of the wire, to make wound bass strings. They also sell miles of plain string to companies like D'Addario, D'arco, Martin, and others, who cut it into lengths and put loop or ball ends on the cut lengths. So. Brand really doesn't matter. But some sellers are more expensive than others. I usually buy in bulk -- a dozen strings of a given gauge at a time. But I also buy sets of dulcimer strings. My go-to sources is www.justystrings.com. Their private label string sets are under $5.
  17. Thank you both so much for such detailed information...wow. It’s nice to hear from experts. I’m fairly new to dulcimers and I just loved the look and style of this dulcimer. I’m not hung up on DAD or DAA. I have a small 20” dulcimer made by Keith Young in the 70’s that’s tuned DAD. I will try different tunings and purchase new strings. Any suggestions where to purchase strings and brand? I’m familiar with Folk Craft and The Dulcimer Shoppe. thank you again, Kevin
  18. Where are the strings breaking? If in the middle, I would blame poor quality strings or old / corroded strings, or wrong gauge as others have said if at the bridge or one of the nuts or at the tuning peg, check that location for burrs or roughness that is cutting the string.
  19. This is a great song, has anyone transposed this for the DAD dulicmer tuning?
  20. Anytime you get a second hand instrument, it's a good thing to change strings. One at a time -- do NOT take them all off them put them all back. If the bridge or nut aren't in exactly the right place it can really mess things up if one or both fall out of place, and string tension will keep them where they belong. What is the VSL? That's the distance between the inside edge of the nut and the inside edge of the bridge. THAT, plus what you want for the home tuning, is what tells you which strings to buy. There are charts and calculators, but virtually ALL pre-packaged sets of "dulcimer" strings will work if the VSL is around 27"--28". Brand is irrelevant. As the Admin says, since your new friend does not have the 6+ fret, tuning to an Ionian/Major scale (DAA, CGG) is the best option. Some folks will tell you all sorts of nonsense about DAA/CGG tunings, but I've been playing in those tunings, without a 6+ fret, for decades -- and have hundreds of tunes in my repertoire. Plus more in other tunings. There are actually very few tunes in the common dulcimer canon which require the 6+ fret. All it means is that you will actually have to learn to tune and re-tune -- get to know -- your dulcimer. You won't find much Tab for songs in DAA, but there is an easy way to convert DAd tab to DAA. Also, if you really must play in the modern Chord-Melody style in stead of more traditionally, and this is your only or primary dulcimer, then I respectfully suggest you learn to play in DAA Chord-Melody rather than DAd. There is a rather nice article by now a sadly deceased gentleman named Merv Rowley, in which he discussed DAA Chord melody playing and gives charts of the chord positions for the various notes. Most of us who use more traditional instruments like yours with the wooden pegs, keep a bottle of Peg Drops or Peg Dope around. It lasts forever! A couple drops on the peg shaft will fix the slipping. Loosen a peg, put a couple drops on the shaft where it will be in the holes, and re-tighten the peg. Always best to push and twist when settling a peg in place. Set the string a bit sharp and let it sink into correct tune as the string relaxes a tiny bit. If you have any further questions, please post them here, or send me private messages if you like. I have a number of resources for new players which you may find useful.
  21. Welcome! Feel free to ask any questions you have and we'll try to help you out. Regarding the strings - most of the time a DAA set will make it up into DAd, though depending on the exact gauge they may not. Also if the strings are older you may want to go ahead and change them anyways. Looking at the fretboard, your dulcimer doesn't have a 6 1/2 fret on it so a 1-5-5 tuning like DAA or CGG may be better for playing most tunes. These are tuning for playing the major scale from the 3rd fret up to the 10th fret, also known as Ionian mode. Without the 6 1/2 fret if it's tuned DAd, it will play the Mixolydian mode from the open string. This is close to the Major scale/Ionian mode, but the 7th note (6th fret) is flat. A 6 1/2 fret allows it to play the major scale from the open string up to the 7th fret. It's possible to play major scale tunes in DAd without a 6 1/2 fret, but you'll either need to avoid tunes that call for the 6 1/2 fret, play that note on the middle string (9th fret on middle string is the same note as the 6 1/2 on the melody string), or possibly have a 6 1/2 fret added to the instrument. DAA is a perfectly good option too, though less common now. Either way you'll have a lot of fun, but I would recommend changing the string if they're more than a year or two old.
  22. Hello everyone, I just purchased a vintage tear drop dulcimer and was wondering if I should tune to DAA or DAD. I tried to tune the melody string to D but there was to much tension so I defaulted to DAA. I have a few questions as a beginner☺️ - Do I need to purchase new strings in order to reach a DAD tuning? - The wood pegs tend to slip at times and I loose the tuning. I pushed the pegs inward to bite tight on the peg hole. Any thoughts to keep the pegs tight? Anything used to coat the pegs to keep them tight? Lastly, does anyone know or have met John D. Young the builder? How rare is this instrument? It’s so beautiful... I really love it and the sweet crisp sound. (See photos) Thank you for your assistance. Kevin
  23. New price. $500 including shipping to lower 48.
  24. You can play the bass part on a standard dulcimer. Great Is Thy Faithfulness - Melody and Bass.pdf Great Is Thy Faithfulness - Melody and Bass.mid
  1. Load more activity
  • Create New...