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EverythingDulcimer

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  1. I started out with diatonic and have only dabbled occasionally with chromatic. Being familiar with the fret pattern on a diatonic, I didn't have a lot of difficulty adjusting to playing on chromatic but there are tradeoffs. The extra frets (there are only 4 more in addition to a diatonic with a 6+ fret) weren't a huge barrier for me, but they do require more precise playing. I often play a little further back from the fret when playing some chords than I probably should but on a diatonic that's less of an issue as long as it's not buzzing. Visually a chromatic lacks the wide/narrow spaces which can be a helpful guide. Diatonic is a little more forgiving/intuitive there. The biggest sound difference I notice is in slides. On a diatonic all the notes except (6 or 6+) will be in the scale so slides sound a bit different on chromatic. Often I think the diatonic slides sound better in the music I play. For playing some genres like Jazz, being able to change to any key during the same song or getting 7th, diminished, 9th, etc. chords in any key is something that would be a struggle on a diatonic instrument. It's possible to get some of it with alternate tunings on a diatonic dulcimer, but like guitar, chord shapes on a chromatic are completely movable and will play the same type of chord anywhere on the fretboard, which is handy if you might need to play in any of the 12 keys. For playing fiddle tunes or Appalachian/European/Medieval folk music, the a diatonic is perfect for that. Most of the repertoire usually stays within a key/mode, so at most you may need to transpose the music or retune the dulcimer.
  2. Welcome! You're on the right track. That fret is usually called the "six and a half fret" so as not cause confusion with instruments that don't have it. On tab it'll usually be noted as 6+, 6.5, or 6½. Most of the dulcimers made these days will have the 6.5 fret. Sometimes there will also be a fret between 1 and 2 added, which is the "one and a half fret", likewise notated as 1+, 1.5, or 1½. Rarely someone will have other half frets added between other whole steps. That's unusual if you have tab that notates the octave as 8. I haven't seen dulcimer tab written that way before, that's usually kept as 7 with any extra frets indicated as above. It makes it easier when switching instruments to not have to renumber the frets and also allows tabs to be used across dulcimers. (Say if your dulcimer has a 1+ fret, all the numbers past 1 don't get pushed up again) The only exception I've seen is for fully chromatic dulcimer where sometimes numbering like a guitar is used (0,1,2,3,4... with 12 being the octave) instead of 0, 0+, 1, 1+, 2, 2+, 3, 4, 5, 5+, 6, 6+, 7, etc. Though I've seen that tabbed both ways and sometimes the author of a tab will provide both for people familiar with one system or the other.
  3. Those are old style friction tuners. The tension is controlled by the tightness of the screw in the center. If it's too lose they'll slip. The ones on the left appear to be cracked too. If you're looking for direct replacements, those wouldn't be hard to swap out. They're just held in by the nut on the inside of peg box. Stew Mac may have something that would work: https://www.stewmac.com/search/?q=friction+tuners I notice they have just the knobs further down the page, which might be an option if the shaft on the old ones matches those knobs. You might also consider replacing them with geared tuners. That's a bit more work. It's possible to do at home, but it might be worth having a luthier tackle that job as it would probably require drilling out the holes a bit holes for the size of the tuner and also the locator pins to keep them in the right orientation. Also would need to make sure the side of the scroll is thick enough for the tuner.
  4. It looks like the top two lines (AD) are for DAd tuning, showing just middle and melody string and the bottom two lines (DA) are for DAA tuning. You could play that in DAA on the melody string or on the middle string tuned DAd. On the DA lines all the notes are on the A string. It's just showing the melody in the tab, the fingering for chords isn't listed.
  5. Thanks, it's been added and the festival list is updated for 2022.
  6. You can click on someone's profile picture to see their latest activity on the site. The "About Me" section is a separate tab to the right of that on the desktop: On Mobile, it's a drop down from their activity:
  7. Backyard instruments will ship them completely built and painted, ready to play: https://www.backyardmusic.com/dulcimers/simplicity-dulcimer.html Stock they come without the 6.5 fret, but you can add that fret here: https://www.backyardmusic.com/dulcimers/extra-fret.html The 6.5 isn't traditional, but most modern dulcimers have it and most of the videos and workshops made these days will use it.
  8. Sorry to hear the sad news. I only knew of Sam from coming across a very beautiful mountain dulcimer he built and a reference to the album below he played it on. I had no idea about the hammered dulcimer connection or his role in bringing it back. Is there a place to learn more about him?
  9. Hi Loleea, welcome! $75 for a good condition McSpadden is an excellent price. Used ones seem to go for a lot, so I think you got a great deal! I don't know too much about that specific model, I think GCC means it's a Ginger with a Cherry body and Cherry top. One way you might be able to tell if it's laminate is to look at the edges of the sound holes. If the wood grain is visible on the edge and goes all the way through then it's probably solid wood. Even if it is laminate, that can sound pretty good. I've seen a video where Jim Woods (the recent previous owner of McSpadden) talk about the switch from laminate to solid wood. They liked the acoustic properties of the laminate the used, it just became unavailable and so they had to switch to something else and decided to go with solid wood instead of another type of laminate. I have a McSpadden from the late 70s that's laminate and I think it sounds great. If you enjoy the sound and you find it comfortable to play, that's all that matters. Either way, at $75 I think you got a great deal.
  10. Hi @Kyu Frohman, Not sure if you've found this TablEdit video tutorial yet, but it may be helpful: https://tabledit.com/help/english/arrangeit.shtml It covers a lot of the features someone is likely to use and walks through examples of using them.
  11. I tend to prefer playing 3 string instruments. On a 4 string instrument, I find the double string has a few downsides. It's hard to press down as it's double the force needed to press down one string. They also tend to bunch up together when fretting with fingers, especially if you're using a lot of slides. It's claimed a double string is louder, but I haven't heard a lot of difference in volume going between a single and doubled melody string. It's nearly impossible to tune them perfectly in unison, so I think what would be heard more is the slight dissonance between them, which might cut through the drones a bit if you're strumming a lot. On a lot of modern instruments the strings are well balanced so they all sound a similar volume. It might be something you want to try for yourself, but I've tended to find it getting in the way more than any benefit. One case where it would be helpful is if you want to switch between 4-string equidistant and 3-string on the same instrument. On all the dulcimers I have that were set up for a double melody, I've taken one off and left just 3 or loosened one and secured it off the fretboard to use later if I want to play 4-string equidistant.
  12. I second what NoterMan suggested. Do you have a particular genre of music you're interested in learning now? The next step might be to identify some songs you like and look at skills associated with playing them, like flatpicking or fingerpicking, to go beyond a basic strum.
  13. I recommend DAd tuning to start as it's become the most common and you'll find more resources (tab/workshop/videos) for learning it. Having the middle and melody strings tuned differently also gives access to more notes without moving your hand by playing across strings and allows for playing wider chord voicing. On DAA the middle and melody string gauges are often the same. For DAd, the melody is usually a lighter gauge. You can use a string gauge calculator to dial in the exact gauges for your instrument based on VSL, but some common sets of gauges for DAd are .024, .013, .011 or .025, .014, .012. I'd lean to slightly lighter gauges on the double melody string as it requires twice as much pressure to fret as a single string of the same gauge.
  14. Thanks - it has been removed.
  15. MobileSheets is the app most people seem to use on Android. There's more out there, but MobileSheets is the closest in terms of features to forScore, the most popular iPad app. https://www.zubersoft.com/mobilesheets/
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