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NoterMan last won the day on April 15

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  1. No maker's label when you look inside either sound hole? Are the bottom or top made from plywood? I don't immediately recognize the off-center sound holes arrangement; nor the fleurs de lys and round designs.
  2. Couldn't begin to guess without a lot of photos to judge by -- closeups of the pinblock side and tuning pin side, bridges, etc. whole back. top and sides, etc.
  3. The dulcimer can be tuned to ANY of the 8 keys: A, B, C, D, E, F, G and their sharps or flats. However, any given set of string gauges will only allow the instrument to be tuned to 3 or 4 keys without strings breaking or being too floppy to sound correctly. Generally speaking, the instrument is tuned to a particular key by tuning the bass string to that note. If you are playing/singing for yourself or with others who agree, then you all tune to the same keynote. Most dulcimers are tuned and played together in the key of D -- the D just one note higher than middle C on a piano. The middle drone and melody strings are then tuned relative to that bass string. The middle drone is usually tuned a musical fifth higher than the bass. In the key of D, that would be A. The melody string can then be tuned to a variety of notes depending on the nature of the music being played. Most commonly the melody string is tuned to A, or to d -- one octave higher than the bass D. These tunings are expressed as DAA and DAd, or as 1-5-5 and 1-5-8 which represent the spacings of the notes. Because of the diatonic nature of the fretboard, the dulcimer will do a great deal of transposing of notes from one key to another. If you have the tabulature, or work out which notes to play for a particular tune in a specific key and tuning, then the same frets will play the song whether you are tuned to DAA or its other key equivalents. AEE, BFF, CGG, DAA, EBB, FCC, and GDD for example all play the same tune with the same fret numbers. For example, the tune Frere Jacques can be expressed as: 3..4..5..3 3..4..5..3 5..6..7 5..6..7 7..8..7..6..5.....3 7..8..7..6..5.....3 3..0..3 3..0...3
  4. What you have is NOT a hammered dulcimer. It is a Salterio mexicano -- a Mexican 'plucked psaltery' with a very old history in that country. It is played with ten fingerpicks and sounds absolutely wonderful. Many, many years ago (30+) at a dulcimer festival in Arizona, I had the great pleasure of meeting and hearing a young Mexican lady who at the time was their national champion player, along with her classical pianist husband. She was phenomenal. Their duets on piano and salterio were otherworldly! Here's the Wikipedia entry on the Salterio: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salterio_(Mexico)
  5. Pictures, or it didn't happen!
  6. I found pix of a couple of instruments by him, but he must not make/sell many since he has no website, no Facebook presence, and no presence on MeWe. The instruments look good -- almost too good -- meaning it's strange that he has built such professional looking instruments but no one seems to know him. There are several builders of banjimers/banjammers/dulcijos, notably Mike Clemmer from North Carolina, a well respected builder and player. I've even built a couple myself.
  7. If you're doing re-enactment, your dulcimer without the 6+ fret, tuned DAA, Ddd (not DAd) or (with a new bass string) ddd, is most appropriate for the CW era. Lots of great music back then too. Several of us build and play early dulcemores from the mid 1800s rather than modern dulcimers.
  8. You can play DAd tab on a DAA tuned dulcimer by adding 3 to each number on the melody string. You won't be able to play chord-melody chords but you can play just the melody. When you come to one of those pesky 6+ numbers, you play fret 9 instead of fret 9+ (because, of course, you don't haver a 9+ fet either!).
  9. The "trick" of a Lute shaped dulcimer is to not cross the line into a stick instrument with a neck. I would make it a real "teardrop", wide and deep, with a true rounded tail end. Then I'd add a steeply down-angled peg box. It would have to be relatively short scaled, so that body would not be too 'stretched' looking. Hmmm, I'm in the middle of another project just now, but I'll start looking through my scrap pile and see what wide planks I can come up with...
  10. Not being a collector of Tab books (I play by ear), I know of Lorraine and her reputation as a performer and writer. That she spends time helping the budding Renaissance player get set up correctly says a lot for the quality of her work. The other book I've not seen either, but from what you say I don't think I'd trust it. The author is doing a great dis-service to his(er) audience by not explaining what's going on. Playing with thin, unwound strings isn't as uncommon as many dulcimer players think. If you know of Phyllis Gaskins and the Galax style dulcimer, that's what she uses, and the tradition there is to use all 9 or 10 gauge strings and tune ddd or ccc. I think I would split the difference between what Lorraine is suggesting, and what the Strothers Calculator says -- perhaps a 13 or 14 bass string and 10 for the middle drone and melody. It does sound as if you need/want a dulcimer specifically set up for Renaissance music. Using modern gauges and tunings will certainly render a different sound than the music intended. Personally I would build a round-backed, deep-bodied, extreme-teardrop dulcimer, to mimic, more or less, the shape of a lute but without a neck. Hmmmm... Now where'd I put those wide 1/8" planks....
  11. Not sure what you mean about those tunings calling for a middle string and two melody strings, Admin. The Gdd tuning you mentioned above is a standard key of G 1-5-5 tuning with bass of G plus middle drone d and melody string d. Gauges of 12 and 9 for G and d on 27" VSL are VERY light indeed. The Strothers String Calculator recommends 15 and 10. Those books could be recommending non-wound bass strings -- very common among traditional dulcimer players as it helps give that 'high silvery' sound we love so much. Fat wound bass strings add a 'mushiness' to the sound of a string which is common and accepted by most as part of "mellow", but not what traditionalists like to hear.
  12. Sheer memorization, Dave. I listen to a song 50, 100, 200, or more times, until I can sing/hum or whistle it; on demand. At that point I sit down and pick out the melody tab for it, and play it regularly for about a week in between other tunes. By that time it's imbedded in my long term memory along with a couple hundred other tunes. When I perform I have a Cheat Sheet which has the opening measures of either the tunes in the set I'm going to play, or a general page of maybe a hundred tunes with opening measures (thank Murphy for adjustable lettering in word processors!) printed two columns about 50 lines each. I have my cheat sheets in a sheet protector that I can clip to a music stand.
  13. Shake Sugaree was written in 1966, and should still be under copyright protection. Not exactly a well known song. .It was written by Elizabeth Cotton, one-time nanny to Pete Seegar, who also wrote the classic Freight Train. Shake Sugaree is a simple tune and should be very easy to tab out yourself.
  14. Welcome "back" to dulcimer! Sounds like you've got a good "support" group there, I wish we had something like that where I live. I play mostly Celtic -- Scottish Border Ballads mostly -- at local Open Mics and similar performance venues. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask!
  15. Welcome to the "New/Old Everything Dulcimer! You're gonna love your Ferguson when it arrives, I'm sure. In the Jam Sessions section , under Introductions, tell us about yourself and your dulcimer journey!
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