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Everything posted by Admin

  1. 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 music and starts playing in time to what they're hearing, but they're really playing a little behind because of the delay even though it sounds to them as though they are playing in time. The second person's microphone picks up their playing and sends it back to the first with an additional delay. So the first person is hearing the second person lagging behind them by the delay it takes for what they play to get to the second person, and then a second delay for the audio from the second person to get to them. That's going to be really tough! Now imagine that with a group of people who all have different delays between them and you can imagine it would be a bit of a mess. One idea you might try is having everyone prepare a song to play individually so timing wouldn't be an issue. Or maybe just have a get together to chat and socialize on the video conference without playing. If you have someone who can edit a video together, everyone could record themselves individually playing along to a click track or the same recording of a song, and then someone could edit the individual performances together and play that back over zoom. I'd love to hear if you Ukulele group has come up with some ideas that work. Any ways to stay connected and keep playing during this time is great. Btw, there are a couple virtual dulcimer festivals coming up. The Berkeley Dulcimer Festival is going to be online this year. Also someone is putting together the QuaranTuned Dulcimer Festival in early June that has a lot of well known instructors teaching.
  2. Click here to visit the forum for tab submissions
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. Ken, good eye, it is a body cradle for routing for binding.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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 @NoterMan said, your mom's hand size will probably be biggest factor in the fretboard size (VSL). If she has smaller hands it might be helpful to build it with a shorter scale length that might be more comfortable for her to play.
  9. 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 working on 🙂 He suggested we record the intensives and I made audio recordings of all three days. It's helpful to go back and listen when I'm working on a skill and video would be even better. This is the video he did for his 3-day intensive. It would probably give a good idea of what he'll cover in the online lessons. If you take the plunge let us know what you think!
  10. 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!
  11. Thanks for the update, that is sad news. I was hoping that I'd have the chance to make it to this one.
  12. 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.
  13. Thanks for the kind words, all! @KWL Would love to hear your flat picked version sometime!
  14. 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
  15. 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 might be an issue. That said, adding a fret is pretty simple. Any guitar shop / luthier should be able to do it if you get it without one and want to add one. They can also be removed and filled in. I know you were looking at Folkcraft and they've kind of gone to putting the 1 1/2 on most of theirs by default.
  16. 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 might try searching around a bit for info on their instruments.
  17. 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 fits the shape of the hand instead of having to try to get their finger completely flat. I'm not sure how beneficial it would be for most players. There's probably more beneift on a guitar where it's common to bar the strings and place additional fingers for chords from an underhanded position. Regarding string length and sounds - Instruments are unique things, they all kind of have their own character. Even instruments with the same wood, from the same maker often have some difference in tone. I think in general a longer scale length on a dulcimer will have a little bit richer tone. Dulcimer makers tend to use the same gauge strings on their dulcimers when changing VSL (vibrating string length). Lengthening the VSL and keeping the string gauge the same means the tension in the string has to go up to be in tune. This is probably the main contributor to the difference in sound. It takes more energy to sound the higher tension strings, which means the dulcimer may produce a stronger sound with more overtones and more volume. The trade off, in addition to wider fret spacing, is that it takes more force to push the string down to the fret. So it would also require a little more hand strength for fretting a longer VSL. I started out with a 29 1/4" VSL from Folkcraft, mainly because of hearing about the rich tone. It does have a nice tone, but even with larger hands it's a stretch for some chords. I've found about 26" is more comfortable for me to play, so I end up playing shorter scale more often. If you look at some pros like Bing Futch and Stephen Seifert, they tend to play shorter scale dulcimers (25"-26") in most of their videos. So it probably doesn't matter that much in the end in terms of sounding good. I feel like comfort in playing would be more of a consideration. Since you mention you have really small hands - have you looked at McSpadden's Ginger dulcimers? Those are 23 3/16" scale length and might be a good fit.
  18. 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 pickup that would normally be found on an acoustic guitar. Other than that I don't know much about those pickups specifically. I'm not sure what these are exactly. Do you mean a Galax back? Those are meant to add a "false" second back to the instrument to allow the regular back of the instrument to vibrate more freely. Playing the instrument on your lap mutes it somewhat, and the galax back is meant to allow the instrument to resonate more freely by keeping the actual back raised up off the lap. Not sure what a "breakaway box" is. Do you have a link for it or an example we can look at?
  19. I poked around Youtube for a bit and found this tutorial on using TablEdit. I haven't watched through the whole thing, but it seems like a good intro.
  20. I haven't played a MaxDAD myself, but I have seen a couple videos on them. Bing Futch has a good video on Youtube, and there's a couple of Dave Haas playing linked on Folkcraft's site. As you say, it's essentially a Bass and Standard dulcimer combined. A bass dulcimer is usually tuned an octave below a standard dulcimer as D'A'D. Where a standard dulcimer would be DAd. Putting those together you'd have D'A'DAd. Or put another way, the two additional strings on the MaxDAD are an octave lower than the low D and A on a standard dulcimer. I'm sure some other tunings are possible. This is Bing's video on it:
  21. It sounds like you're looking at Folkcraft's dulcimers. I have an FSH and D series and look at their store occasionally. The FSH is their thinner traditional style body. The D series is their deeper body dulcimer under the Folkroots brand. The H seems to be pretty much the same as a D series with a few upgrades - namely an ebony fretboard. I think the H series also use to be distinguished by a flat guitar style peg head instead of a scroll, but I've noticed a lot of their new inventory has switched to Flat heads pretty much across the board. Not sure if that's a new standard for them or just what they've done recently. My impression is that deeper body instruments tend to have a "boomier" bass response than the thinner body. I think it's a richer sound, but probably a little less traditional. Folkcraft use to do videos of all their instruments, which was nice to hear an instrument before buying, but I haven't seen those on new instruments when I've looked. If you check Youtube you can find examples from older videos they did with the FSH and D/H series. Might give you an idea of the sound differences. Here's a link to their channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/richardashfolkcraft/videos
  22. Oil based paint should provide good protection for wood. If some type of clear finish wasn't available or too expensive, paint's a good option. Ed Thomas could have done it for aesthetic reasons, or maybe just due to cost/availability of material. Through some twist of fate, the few Thomas dulcimers I've encountered in person were all unpainted ones.
  23. Hi Irma, I just noticed this. For some reason I didn't get a notification about your post. No worries - your festival is already on the list!
  24. Great timing, I was just looking around for festival updates as a lot of the ones in April are being cancelled or postponed. Glad to hear it will still take place this year and that you're able to reschedule! Hope you are well, stay safe!
  25. I'll try to outline to basics of getting started: select File->New to bring up the New Tablature dialog Click only one of the checkboxes for a single instrument and in the drop down next to the checkbox select "Dulcimer DAD" or "Dulcimer DAA" as appropriate Choose the number of measures you'd like in your song, the timing (default is 4/4), and the scale (probably D Major unless you know you're using a different scale) Press OK Click on greyed out full rest symbol in the tab area of the music staff. You can click any of the 3 strings. The full rest is shown on the melody line. select the type of note you want (quarter, half, whole, eighth, etc) from the note pallet (it's one of the floating windows) press the number of the fret you want to finger there press the Tab key on your keyboard to move to the next note Tips: You can click on the other strings above/below notes you've already entered to to put notes on all three strings if you want to show chords. If you're familiar with a piano keyboard, you can use the keyboard toolbox to input notes instead of pressing numbers For half frets, press + after the number. For example 6.5 would be entered as 6+ If one of the pallets you want isn't visible, they're turned on and off through the View->Palletes menu Hopefully that will help get you started 🙂
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