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EverythingDulcimer

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Thanks - it has been removed.
  5. 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/
  6. Welcome! You can go just about anywhere for wood. Dulcimers are often built out of some type of Walnut or Cherry. Various types of mahogany are also fairly popular in modern instruments. Really though, most common hardwoods should work fairly well. Sometimes tops will be done in some type of spruce/pine/cedar or butternut. The slots in the fretboard are fairly straightforward to cut, especially on a flat fretboard. I used a Dozuki Saw (brand of japanese pull saw) to cut the frets on the instruments I've built. With that type of saw just a lay out the fret spacing on the fretboard and then gently pull it the saw across the marks. Check the depth as you go and go a little deeper if needed. Once it starts to form a slot it will generally stay straight in the groove. They do make fretsaws specifically for fretting, but any saw that will give a clean cut the right width for the tang on the fret to fit in will work. I've had good luck with the pull saw so I can recommend that. Since you've built yourself a side bender, you're well on your way to building an hourglass without much trouble. I know Cedar Creek Dulcimers and McSpadden Dulcimers both offer hourglass kits for under $200. That might the way to go for a first build as you'll have all the wood pre-cut and fretboard slots cut. You'd just have to glue it together and do the finishing work on it. They also come with the option of pre-cut sound holes - which can be the most delicate work depending on the shape. Hopefully that helps. Feel free to ask more questions and we'd love to see your build once you get it together!
  7. Thanks for sharing this! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 🙂
  8. I've mostly used Terry McCafferty's capos for the reasons you mention. They're well built and easy to take on and off. I've never had to fuss with them to get them to hold, they just work. I've also heard a lot of good things about Ron Ewing's capos, but I haven't had the chance to try one yet.
  9. Joe Collins makes what he calls the "working class" capo. It's just a bolt, a wing nut, some vinyl tubing and cork for the sides. If you're looking to save money it might be cheaper to get one from him than buying larger quantities of the stuff to make it. Here's a link with a photo of his: https://jcdulcimer.ecwid.com/#!/Working-Class-Capo/p/51492762/category=34442728 I would think it would be fairly straightforward with wood/cork sandwich for the sides being the only part that might require some tools. If I had to guess, I'd say he used a hole saw drill bit to punch them out.
  10. There's a lot available now due to the pandemic. Stephen Seifert and Dulcimer Crossing both have online / on demand videos. Bing Futch gives full access to his vault of videos and books if you subscribe to his Patreon for $5 a month. There's a lot of video lessons from festival workshops in there. Then there are individual workshops that instructors do live. To name a few: Erin Mae Joe Collins Jessica Comeau Aubrey Atwater Carol Walker And for a festival, the North Georgia Foothills Dulcimer Association festival is coming up in a couple weeks. Registration was extended, but ends tomorrow for that one. Hope that helps!
  11. Thanks for the extra photos, it's a interesting instrument 🙂 Sometimes they will have the maker's info written inside the instrument if you can see anything in there. It might give a clue to the age. For strings, I would take it to music shop and ask them to measure the ones that are still on there. They can measure them with calipers or a micrometer and tell you the exact size and probably sell you single strings. Many of them will be the same thickness, though you may want a thicker string for strings tuned lower. If you're able to measure the distance between the saddle and the metal fret closest to the tuning pegs we can use a calculator based on the intended tuning to recommend some gauges.
  12. What does the crown on the frets look like? Do they have a well rounded top with a single point of contact for the string or are they possibly a little flat?
  13. Greetings! It looks like a type of hummel / hommel. They can be tuned similarly to a dulcimer with the drone strings being the root and 5th of the scale and then the melody strings being tuned to the mode you want to play (5th for Ionian, 4th for Aoelian, 8th for Mixolydian, etc.). So for example CGG or DAA tuning could just be extended to match the number of strings. A tuning like CGGG-GGGGGG would work for playing major scale/ionian mode songs.
  14. 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.
  15. Unfortunately all the plans I've seen are full size. I think this may be a case where you'll have to scale an existing plan down or design your own. One thing that may be helpful to think about if you scale one down yourself - you probably want to keep the fretboard width (and string spacing) at or near regular width so it doesn't impact the playability.
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