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EverythingDulcimer

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  1. The link you posted is just one image. Can you give a better picture of the label? I can make out the words "Salterios" and "Atlizaya"(?) which I would guess are the brand, model or manufacturer. And then it says "Reproducion de ..." which means "Reproduction of ...". I was thinking "Salterios" is somehow related to Psaltery and Google translate confirms that's the spanish word for psalteries. I don't personally know much about hammered dulcimers, others will know more, but the label will likely be the most helpful thing to track down more info. edit: Is what I'm think of as the label, actually the business card you mentioned?
  2. Hi Carla, Sorry to hear you have to cancel. Things are still dicey with the pandemic, so probably the right call. Have you considered doing an online workshop? I've attended a few over Zoom and those have gone well.
  3. Hi Elizabeth, Welcome to the site. I'm not familiar with that maker and I haven't seen one by them before. Doing a little searching, the only thing I came up with is probably the same listing you're looking at. There was also a reference to someone with that name starting a dulcimer club ~25-ish years ago but that was about all I could find. It could be a one off / personal instrument that they built for themselves. I remember seeing a class last year for building this style of instrument, I think it was at the Black Mountain festival. So it could be something like that as well.
  4. A luthier (instrument builder/repairer) would probably be the way to go to have one added. Most dulcimer builders can do that for you, but local places that work with fretted instruments (guitars for example) would have the tools to do it. They basically need to saw a new slot for it, hammer in the fret wire and then dress it so it's the right shape/height and doesn't have sharp edges. DAD is the most common tuning you'll find in modern books and publications and also at jams / workshops. It's still fairly common to retune the dulcimer to play in other modes (like DAC for the minor key), but most classes and instruction books will assume you're set up for and starting in DAD with a 6+ fret.
  5. Feel free to post any questions as you come across them! You might consider having a 6+ fret added if you want to explore more. With that and a string change you can set up to play in DAD with most modern material you'll find.
  6. Glad to help 🙂 In regards to your book, the 6+ won't generally be a problem playing DAD tunes on DAA as it will be the 9th fret as I mentioned above. The regular 6 fret is where you may run into a little difficulty. You could bend the 8th fret to get that note if needed. Most DAD tunes in modern books are going to be D Major (Ionian mode) songs and will mostly use the 6+ fret and rarely the 6. In that case, just add 3 to the fret numbers on the melody string and you're all set. If you come across a song in DAD with a lot of 6 frets and no 6+, it's a probably a song in Mixolydian mode and is intended be played on a dulcimer like yours without the 6+ fret, but tuned up to DAD. An example of this would be Old Joe Clark. You're not likely to run into too many of these, so not something to worry too much about, but worth being aware of. Happy playing!
  7. If it's actually a DAA tab that's calling for a 6+ note on the melody string (G#) that would be odd, but without the extra fret you'd need to bend as KWL said. But do you mean playing a DAD tab on DAA? If so the 6+ fret would be the 9th fret. An easy way to convert DAD to DAA is to just add 3 to the tab notes. (0 would be 3).
  8. Yeah, the other book (Renaissance Ayres) doesn't go into set up or technique. The intro was probably a bit of an unnecessary turn off. It's essentially just a book of tab, which themselves seem ok, but it's pretty barebones otherwise. I unfortunately haven't met Phyllis. I signed up for her Galax class last year, but her husband was ill and she wasn't able to make it. We did get to try out Galax dulcimers, but it was just a brief intro without her there. Yep, with a couple books using these tunings I'll probably set up a dulcimer for it the next time I need to restring. I would like to hear how it's intended to sound since Lorraine went into such detail in her book. That would be great to see a lute style dulcimer. One book I came across (I think Robert Force's) listed the lute style as a major type along with hourglass, tear drop, etc. I believe there was a picture, but I've never seen actually seen one.
  9. I saw a copy of An Elizabethan Songbook by Lorraine Lee up there if you're looking for that one. I couldn't find the others again, but they're sure to come back up. Thanks for pointing me to Steve's site, I hadn't seen those before. I may have to pick up a couple of those. I love this style of music.
  10. I just meant in terms of the string gauges on a "standard" dulcimer, though they're on the very light side even for that. Gdd is 1-5-5 as you mentioned and these could be played in DAA, but it would be like playing something for a standard dulcimer on a baritone. The tuning they call for is tuned up to where a ginger dulcimer would sit, but on a 27 inch scale length. You're right that it's asking for an unwound bass string of 0.012 tuned to G and the middle and melody strings being 0.009 tuned to d. This is from "An Elizabethan Songbook" by Lorraine Lee. She dedicated 7 pages at the front of the book going into detail on how to setup the dulcimer for these songs, techniques for playing them and her notation. It's nice that it's there. I read through that section a bit and there's 4 tuning in total it uses. Gdd, Gdc, Add, and Adc, all with those thing gauge strings. The Renaissance Ayres book uses the same tunings, but it doesn't have any explanation on the setup. It actually spends a page basically saying "you're on your own" 😂 An actual quote from the intro: "Diagrams of dulcimer parts, and elementary books on how to play the dulcimer are easily available; however, since this little book is not intended to be a book of instructions, they are intentionally omitted. I am also leaving out the musical staff, key and time signatures, etc." It's just tabs with note names and that's all there is.
  11. The ones I have are: Renaissance Ayres Arrangements for Dulcimer Written for Dilettanti Book I by P. B. Dickerman An Elizabethan Songbook With Arrangements for the Appalachian Dulcimer by Lorraine A. Lee Nonesuch for Dulcimer by Roger Nicholson Musicks Delight on the Dulcimer or the New Elizabethan by Roger Nicholson I picked all of these up on eBay. I'm sure these would work in other tunings. I just found it interesting that they seem to mostly call for a middle string and 2 melody stings. They don't call for a low bass string though I'm sure it would be fine with one. I could probably also figure out another tuning that would work, but it would be neat to play/hear them as they're written. Blue Lions are nice instruments. I've heard a few but haven't had a chance to play one myself yet. Hopefully when festivals start up again I'll get a chance to try one. I've mostly been going between a Folkroots and a McCafferty lately.
  12. That's great info, I'll definitely consider getting a set of the ProPiks. Unfortunately she didn't mention the brand she uses as it was just a quick demo, but I grabbed a screenshot from the videos she sent. Maybe you recognize the brand?
  13. This is one of my favorite things about the mountain dulcimer! When I first became interested in learning music and learning, the Lute was the instrument I wanted to learn. Turned out there were only a few Lute teachers in the US and I couldn't get in contact with the one near me. (This was before online video lessons had started to take off.) So I decided on something that they're lots of teachers for: violin. Oops! When I switched to Baritone Ukulele the first thing I bought were a few books of Lute music that had been arranged to for the Uke. It quickly got too difficult for a beginner, but I loved the sound. I get some of that with slower pieces on the Dulcimer, which is great. Coincidentally I just got a few books of Elizabethan tunes for dulcimer last week. The only problem is the tunings are things I haven't seen before and I'll need to set up an instrument specifically for them. For example Gdd where the G is one step below the A in DAd. They recommended .012 gauge for the G and .009 for the D strings on a 27 inch scale. I'm curious to hear how it will sound.
  14. Thanks for this! I was just watching Aubrey Atwater's workshop on 4 string equidistant and she did a couple demos of finger picking with 4 strings. She used finger picks, which sounded great and that got me interested in getting a set to try out. I've only done finger picking with just the pads of my fingers which produces a soft lute-like sound. It sounds good for some things, but it's very muted. Do you have any thoughts on which of those might be good for a beginner to start with?
  15. @NoterMan I went with the default account when setting up the forums. I'll eventually come up with a better username 🙂
  16. @Ardenvoir Welcome back 🙂 I wish the posts from old forums had been available, but they went down with the old site. We'll build it back up in time 🙂
  17. I checked all of Stephen Seifert's books (I have his USB), not in any of those. It's not in Dave Haas' Jam book or Fiddle Tunes book either. I also went through most of the stuff Bing Futch has put out, also not there. It's also not in the older books like Cripple Creek Dulcimer Book or Best Dulcimer Method Yet. You may have to tab this one out from sheet music or by ear.
  18. Yep, those are the notes for a G Major pentatonic scale. That's a way to play it. You can also play it in "the box" with 3 on the bass, 4 on the bass, 5 on the bass, 3 on the middle, 4 on the middle. And catching 3, 4, and 5 on the melody for higher notes. The 5th fret on the middle string is F# and not in the scale. The E minor pentatonic scale can be played similarly at the first fret. It's the same notes, but in the order E G B A D. Those are at the 1, 3, and 4 frets on the bass, middle and melody.
  19. Anchoring can be useful for better control of the pick. You'll see it most often with finger picking or flat picking styles of play, though there are some performers, like Bing Futch, who anchor when they're strumming as well. I think most players don't anchor when strumming though. I've seen some anchor with their thumb on the side of the fret board for finger picking. Another common way is for the pinky or ring finger or both to anchor on the far side of the fret board or on the top. I've seen that both with flat picking and finger picking styles. I find that technique helpful especially when flat picking to easily locate the strings without looking. Some dulcimers do have wrist rests built in, and some vendors like McSpadden offer them as an add on for their dulcimers. Try some things and see what works best for you 🙂 This is a recent video on the McSpadden wrist rest if you're curious:
  20. It sounds like you may not be pressing hard enough on the frets. That could account for issues 2, 3, and 4. They tend to require more pressure on the higher number frets. I've had difficulty with this myself. Recently I've been working on playing a version of Whiskey Before Breakfast that plays in the upper octave (7th fret up) and all of these are true. The notes being more difficult to pluck is due to the shorter vibrating string length when fretting higher up. These are inherent problems in playing in the upper notes. Some things that might help: Try tuning down a whole step and see if it's easier (If you're playing DAd, try CGc for example) Lighter gauge strings may make it easier to play In addition to the above, a thinner pick may help with the strings being harder to pluck. Hopefully some of that will help. Let us know what you try and if it's helpful.
  21. I made a quick recording of a freshly tuned dulcimer for DAdd and DAAA. Maybe these will help as a tuning reference. DAAA.mp3 DAdd.mp3
  22. What string gauges did you go with? For DAdd you'll probably want something around a .012 on the melody strings, .015 on the middle, and .024 on the bass. Up or down a thousandth of an inch or two should still be ok. For DAAA you might go with 0.014 on the 3 A strings and .024 on the bass. As Ken mentioned, you may just be tuned an octave low. The strings are usually tight enough to sound at that point when tuning up, but will be very floppy. Assuming the string gauges are good, one thing you can try is to slowly increase the tension until the strings feel right and see what the tuning looks like at that point. And then adjust up or down a little to DAdd.
  23. Good catch Ken - reading it the other way threw me off. It is indeed a nickel on the 7th fret!
  24. The dime at the first fret, nickle at the last on top of the 7th fret is a good rule of thumb. It's not really related to skill level, but more so ease of play and intonation. When the string is pressed down, the tension on it is raised. Lower action will be easier to press down (less force needed) when fretting and less fatiguing. There's another effect going on related to the string tension. The more the string has to be pressed down, the higher the tension will be when it's fretted and this can affect intonation (how close the fretted notes are to what they're intended be). This is usually slight and doesn't significantly affect playing, but keeping the action low will reduce intonation problems. Sometimes fret spacing will be designed for higher action or you'll hear about compensated bridges that slightly change the vibrating string length (VSL) to compensation for different tension. Not something to worry about to get a playable instrument, but just giving you some background if you want to dig deeper. I wouldn't worry about it for this build as it's not extremely critical. One other question that may come up is the string gauge. For the 27" VSL you chose, .012 for melody, .015 for middle, and .024 (wound) for bass should work well if you're planning to tune DAdd.
  25. That's great! I've been taking some online dulcimer lessons over the past few weeks and they've worked out really well. I still prefer meeting in person, but online classes have been fun too. Barely 2 weeks until Quarantune, I'm looking forward to it!
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