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Everything posted by Admin

  1. I've read a few accounts of trying nylon strings on a dulcimer. None really worked out well because of the way dulcimers are generally constructed. The strings are usually attached to tail block and the scroll/peg head. On instruments like a classical guitar or ukulele they're connected to the soundboard and the soundboard vibrates freely. Or on a violin they cross the bridge that vibrates the top plate directly. Nylon strings are much lower tension than steel strings and will have lower energy when you strum them. On a dulcimer you'd get a very weak sound. Aaron O'Rourke has som
  2. Looks like it's really coming along! In regards to the braces, they probably don't matter too much. Many of the dulcimers I have don't have any internal bracing at all. For the future: I've generally seen cross braces like that placed at the widest parts of the bouts and the narrowest parts of the waist. But that said, I don't think it matters enough to try to move them. You might consider a thin strip down the seam of the back to add some reinforcement there, but even that's probably not critical. My general thoughts on a first dulcimer build is to consider it a learning experi
  3. I like the common "medium" size frets that are found on a lot of instruments. I'm not sure about the exact size of fret wire though. There are a few different kinds of "medium." I spent a lot of time looking into different finishes. I talked with Warren May just after I built my instrument and before I finished it. The luthery I went to provided Shellac and Tru Oil and suggested those (shellac undercoat / Tru Oil top coats) for finishing. A lot of websites and Youtube videos also recommended it as an easy finish to apply. However, Warren suggested not using an oil based finished
  4. That does seem more complicated than necessary. You would be ok just gluing the fretboard to the top of the one-piece soundboard and leaving it at that. I did this for my dulcimer. The top is bookmatched/joined, but otherwise it's a solid piece the fretboard is glued to. Some builders will hollow out the underside of the fretboard and drill large holes through the soundboard into the cavity under the fretboard, but I don't think this adds too much other than making the instrument a bit lighter. The one I built has a solid fretboard and it's one of the louder dulcimers I have.
  5. Welcome! Feel free to discuss stick dulcimers / backpack dulcimers here. There are strong opinions on what is and is not a dulcimer. From a technical/taxonomic standpoint they don't fit the definition. From a practical standpoint they're closely related enough that I see no reason to exclude them (open tuning, diatonically fretted, usually tuned some variation of DAd). Certainly close enough anyone playing these would benefit from the tabs and many other techniques that are used on the mountain dulcimer: drone-melody, chord-melody, modal tunings, etc. My first diatonic instrument
  6. I did a little searching to see if I could find anything more about jamming online. One suggestion I saw that was interesting is having everyone in Zoom conference mute their microphones except for one song leader. Then having everyone play along with the song leader. Each person would only hear the song leader and themselves, but would allow some level of interaction and get around the delay issue that would happen with everyone playing together.
  7. Since most (if not all) of the dulcimer festivals and workshops that were planned through June have had to cancel due to COVID-19, I wanted to point out a couple online/virtual festivals that will be happening. It's not quite the same as getting together in person, but it's still a chance to spend a couple days learning from some great instructors. Two I know of: Berkeley Dulcimer Gathering on May 15th-17th QuaranTUNE Dulcimer Festival on June 5th-6th Hopefully some folks will be able to attend these virtual events. If you know of other online festivals or workshops taking p
  8. Hi Dawn, Welcome! I understand how you feel as most gatherings and festivals have been cancelled for the next couple months. Zoom itself is pretty easy to set up if you wanted to set something up to meet and chat. There would be some issues with folks trying to play instruments together live though. Delay (lag) in the video and audio stream would be an issue with any conferencing app. Imagine just two people trying to play together over an audio conference. One starts playing, and the audio is broadcast to the other person with a small delay. The second person hears the mu
  9. Click here to visit the forum for tab submissions
  10. The ability for users to upload and manage tabs is being developed, but not ready to use. In the mean time, please upload new tabs here as an attachment to a new topic that's the title of the song. You can attach a midi or mp3 in addition to the tab itself. When the tab upload feature is ready, I'll move all of the tabs in this forum into the tab database. Looking forward to all the new music!
  11. Hi Carolina, Thanks for your interest in submitting tabs! The page for uploading new tabs is still in development, so it's currently not possible for someone to add a tab to the tab section. That feature is coming though. What I can do in the mean time is create a forum for tab uploads and let folks post new there. When the new upload page is ready, I'll move all the ones in the forum into the tab database and after that they'll be able to be added directly.
  12. Ken, good eye, it is a body cradle for routing for binding.
  13. We used a slightly different method for forming the sides in the class I took. We heat bent the sides by spraying them with water and using a hot iron to hand form the rough shape, and then clamped them to a form template for a couple days. I cut the template out of plywood and the other pieces acted as a mold. The side held their shape pretty well when they were unclamped from the template. Then we used spreaders in the mold that the template was cut from to hold the sides while gluing. I can't speak to the pluses/minuses of doing either way, just offering a method we used.
  14. I looked around a bit for copies available online and I see what you mean! The hardback version seems to sell over $100, which is pretty pricey. The paperback version was much more reasonable when I was looking. It usually sells for around $20-$30.
  15. Hi Dylan, welcome! A book that may be helpful to you is Constructing the Mountain Dulcimer by Dean Kimball. I bought a copy of it last year before I took a workshop on dulcimer building at the Appalachian School of Luthery. Looking around at different books, it seemed to be one of the better regarded on the subject. While I didn't end up using the plans from the book, it did give me a good idea of all the pieces and how they would fit together. The book does have plans for both an hourglass and teardrop style and suggestions for tools that can be used for different stages. As @Note
  16. I haven't used his online classes, but I have taken a couple of his workshops and his in person 3-day intensive class. It looks like mountaindulcimeratoz.com is an online version of his current 4-day class. My understanding is his 4 day class is the 3-day intensive plus a day added for beginners to cover everyone. As you say he's a wonderful player and a great teacher. He has some instructional videos and sample lesson on his Youtube channel that might give you an idea of his teaching style. A nice thing about video is you can watch it as many times as you want to go over bits you're
  17. Per Dave's request, I've broken out the individual questions from this thread into their own topics. This thread was becoming a little unwieldy. Hopefully the individual topics will help people find what they're looking for a little easier. If you have any questions, feel free to post a new topic with your question!
  18. Thanks for the update, that is sad news. I was hoping that I'd have the chance to make it to this one.
  19. I just read a news article that John Prine passed away due to complications from COVID-19. He's famous for writing a number of songs, including Paradise. It's one of my favorites performed on the dulcimer and I know the song resonates with a lot of folks. Rest in peace, John.
  20. Thanks for the kind words, all! @KWL Would love to hear your flat picked version sometime!
  21. It's been a little bit, but I like playing this song, and decided to play it in a traditional style tonight. I don't play noter-drone all that much, but here's my take on it on an old Jethro Amburgey dulcimer. Audio recording 2020-04-06 21-49-22.aac
  22. I avoided them for a while because the first time I came across one (last summer) I had trouble with it as I wasn't use to it. In January I came across a beautiful dulcimer that I wanted to purchase and it had 1 1/2 and 8 1/2 frets on it. It took maybe a day to get use to them being there, though I don't really use them in the music I play currently. If you don't have any trouble fretting the 1st and 2nd fret close to the fret it shouldn't be a problem. If hitting both of those at the same time is difficult and you're hitting the middle of the space between the 1st and 2nd fret that
  23. This is very similar to how I arrived at playing the dulcimer. I found chords difficult on a guitar to get started. Melody's on one string? That I can do 🙂 Then started trying out partial chords and working chord-melody now. The ones I know of that fall into that category are Folkcraft, McSpadden, Blue Lion, and McCafferty. I think all of these are going to be high quality instruments. There's also Gary Gallier. People really like his instruments, but he's always got a wait list of a year or two. As noterman pointed out, there's more out there that others can weigh in on or you m
  24. No worries, there's a lot of terms out there in the music world. It may very well be a thing, possibly something specific to Folkcraft, I'm just familiar with the term. Someone else may chime in with some info about it. A radiused fretboard is a fretboard that has a slightly rounded top, kind of like a violin or guitar would have. Dulcimers usually have a completely flat fretboard. Stephen Seifert has a video on them I watched a few months ago. A radiused fretboard would be beneficial for someone who bars chords often (places one finger across all three strings) as the curve better f
  25. I'm not too familiar with the pickups they use. I know the NT-11 Magnetic is like what would be on an electric guitar - meaning it's picking up from the strings directly and not getting the acoustics of the instrument. If someone were putting sound through an effects pedal, a magnetic pickup has a "clean" sound and is probably better for that use, though it wouldn't have a lot of the acoustic properties of a dulcimer. The other two are acoustic pickups that would be influenced by the acoustic properties (shape, wood type, resonance, etc.) of the instrument. Basically the type of picku
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