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Posts posted by Admin

  1. 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:


  2. 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:


  3. 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. 

  4. 9 minutes ago, Carla Maxwell said:


    The Delta Blues Dulcimer Revival has been rescheduled to November 5-7, 2020. All other details are the same. www.DeltaBluesDulcimerRevival.com

    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!

  5. I'll try to outline to basics of getting started:

    1. select File->New to bring up the New Tablature dialog
    2. 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
    3. 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)
    4. Press OK
    5. 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.
    6. select the type of note you want (quarter, half, whole, eighth, etc) from the note pallet (it's one of the floating windows)
    7. press the number of the fret you want to finger there
    8. press the Tab key on your keyboard to move to the next note


    • 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 🙂 


  6. I started working on Rosin the Bow/Beau yesterday.  It's just coincidence on the timing, but we'll say it's for St. Patrick's day 😃

    I'll take a look at some of the other songs mentioned and see if there's some simple arrangements that would be easy to pick up. 

  7. Hi Stephen,

       I think you're spot on.  My first dulcimer had a scale length over 29 inches.  Even with large hands I find it a stretch to play some chords and there is a lot of movement going up and down the fret board. It does have a really nice tone though.  The instruments I play the most are 25-26 inch VSL and it's much more comfortable and easier to get around the fretboard.

       I've only dabbled in chromatic briefly (I'm still learning diatonic), but I think you're on to something with slides producing a diatonic scale.  I've recently started playing a dulcimer with a 1+ fret more often and it does make it a little more difficult to play tunes with slides across 1 to 2 and I find myself hopping the 1+ to avoid the out of scale note.

        What are some of your tips for getting started with playing chromatic?  It feels like a bit of a jump from diatonic where a lot of the music theory is built right into the fretboard 🙂

  8. 13 hours ago, dholeton said:

    It looks like the tablature section is getting close to being ready. 

    It's coming along. 😃  The page is usable, though there's still some work to do.  The  format of the tab page was just something quick I put together to be able to test.  I'm working on something a little better.  There are also some tabs that only exist as a jpg or gif instead of a pdf and those aren't displayed yet, but that info is already in the site database.

    13 hours ago, dholeton said:

    Since all of the tablature looks like everything that was saved in a zip file from the previous Everything Dulcimer site, I decided to check on the tablature I had previously provided.  In reviewing the csv file in the data from the previous site, I wasn't able to find where the names of the contributors were saved for all entries in the file (column Q on my import).  I also found 1443 files listed in the csv file and using copy and paste of the file names on the tablature page I also counted 1443 files.  So I had to go from memory to find my tablature files  I found 31 files by title that I think I had uploaded (there might be one or two I missed).  When I clicked on the PDF I could tell all 31 files were my contributions from the past (which doubles as another partial audit on the files  being uploaded correctly; GREAT JOB!!!!).

    Thanks!  You are correct, it is the files from the zip archive from the old site.  The csv file lacks a header, so what the columns mean is a bit of guess work.  There are a few columns that I'm still uncertain what they mean.  The 7th column is always empty.  There are also three columns that sometimes contain "yes" and I haven't figured out what those might correlate with.

    13 hours ago, dholeton said:

    I was happy to experience clicking on "midi" provided an mp3 file if an mp3 file had been previously loaded.  Clicking on "midi" also provided a way to listen to the midi file if a midi file had previously been loaded.  All of my mp3 files or midi files matched my 31 tablature files where an audio file had been previously loaded.

    The site is building the page with the audio file that was there.  I had assumed (incorrectly) that they were all midi files, which is why they're labeled that way.  I'll change the header to something more generic and have the script note where something is MIDI, MP3 or otherwise.  I just did something similar for the Lyrics column.  I originally thought they were all ABC files, but there are some plain text files scattered in there as well.

    Overall the csv file was rough around the edges and required some effort to turn into a working database.  There's a lot of mangled Unicode characters in later lines that needed to be fixed.  There's also a good number of unescaped line breaks, commas and quotation marks sprinkled in throughout the file.  

    I'm glad you looked at it and were able to verify some of the files lined up.  I spot checked some as I added blocks to the database.  For the ones I checked, the files were all in the right place and were linked to the right song entry.

    13 hours ago, dholeton said:

    So, before the previous Everything Dulcimer site went off line, I had made a list of my files and noted that some of them needed editing.  I also wanted to add mp3 files where my original upload either didn't have an mp3 or I wanted to replace my midi files with mp3 files.  One of the things I decided along the way of providing tablature was that I'd prefer to provide mp3 files since it provides what the song sounds like on a dulcimer.  Mp3 files might also prove that the tablature can actually be played on a dulcimer!  I couldn't find that previous list, so I made a new one.

    Please let us know when and how we can start uploading new tablature and/or corrections to our existing tablature.

    I think the idea for MP3 files is great.  It definitely would be nice to hear how a tab would sound on a dulcimer.  It wouldn't be difficult to have both a MIDI version and an MP3 version of songs in the list.  MIDI can be good to have for listening to how different instruments would sound.

    I'll give everyone a heads up when it's ready for new uploads. Updates will definitely be welcome. It's still a little ways off, but I have been testing account logins and file uploads in the background.

  9. If you can post a photo of the tuner that would be helpful.  There are a couple different types of tuning machines used on dulcimers.  I searched for photos of Hughes Dulcimers and it looks like they use tuners designed for classical guitars, but it would be good to see your specific ones.

    As NoterMan said, I've also haven't come across wood contracting and causing a tuner to lock up on an instrument with geared tuners.  I'd think it would more likely be the tuner being bent or something stopping the gears from turning.

  10. On 2/8/2020 at 1:54 AM, Carla Maxwell said:

    I love the Spotted Pony tune! When I was learning to play the dulcimer, I actually found Spotted Pony to be hard to jam with others, after playing repeatedly on my own. It was probably my inability to keep up with the speed of everyone else's playing that was the problem. Whoever you jam with, make sure they are patient and fun to play with, especially while you're learning! :classic_smile:

    Speed is definitely something I have to work on.  Especially with chord-melody style 🙂 I still have a lot of practice to put in.  I mainly join the slow jams or beginner jams at the festivals I go to.  There is a local dulcimer club in my area and I would like to join them some time.  

    I've attached a recording of my attempt at Spotted Pony in chord-melody style.  I recorded it this morning on a dulcimer that I built last year.  It's such a fun tune to play!

    Audio recording 2020-02-09 10-34-00.aac

  11. On 2/8/2020 at 10:15 AM, KWL said:

    Using a book like Steve Seifert's Join the Jam is a good way to learn all these tunes. There are others who have published jam tune books. Perhaps we could compile a list of the books that have jam tunes.

    These are great resources!  I have Steve Seifert and Dave Haas' jam books that I picked up at Kentucky Music Week last year.  They definitely help a lot. I think it's a great idea to compile a list of these as references so people can know what's out there. I wasn't aware of them until I saw them at the festival.  They're definitely great to have at jams and cover a lot of the tunes.

    What I think would be a good supplement for someone starting out would be a list of songs that are likely to be played in slower jams.  I find I enjoy the jams more when I know a couple of the songs and can play along without trying to learn everything on the spot.  I do enjoy learning new songs and there's definitely something to be said for being able to read hands and play along. I'm still working on those skills 🙂  I'm going to try to make a list of songs this year at the jams I go to as I'll still be doing slower/beginner jams and maybe that can help others who are just getting started.

  12. 1 hour ago, Carla Maxwell said:

    You Are My Sunshine and Buffalo Gals are great ones for confident beginners/intermediate players to jam with. 


    30 minutes ago, Carla Maxwell said:

    Arkansas Traveler is another good one! I'm sitting here listening to my husband playing it on a jocimer while a friend plays a fiddle and they are jamming!

    Thanks for these suggestions, I'll give these a shot😃   I've been working on Spotted Pony lately.  I heard it at the first jam I went to and loved the tune.  I was able to learn it drone-melody style in DAA a few months ago.  The last week or so I've gone  back to learn it in DAD (melody across strings at speed can be tough) and also learning to play it with chord-melody now.  It's definitely pushing the edge of what I'm ready for.

  13. That's a beautiful venue you have and it's a great opportunity for combining international travel with playing dulcimer. 😃  I would love to go if I can make everything come together.  I haven't visited Australia before and it would an exciting place to visit.

    Have you lined instructors and classes up?  I remember seeing an event last year hosted in the UK (Nonesuch dulcimer club, I think?) that has instructors from the US.  I can imagine some might enjoy doing lessons in Australia as well!  Are there many local dulcimer clubs there?

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