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Everything posted by NoterMan

  1. FWIW -- it would have been better to post this under Building Dulcimers, not under the general topic of Hammered Dulcimer Beginners... I don't normally build HDs, having more than enough fun with the Mountain Dulcemore and other instruments. However if I were to build a Hammered Dulcimer, the plans I would use are those by Randy "Ardie" Davis -- A Dulcimer Builder's Do-It-Yourself Guidebook for the Hobbist. you can find it on Amazon and other places. Several builders who I admire and respect use Ardie's plans with great results. Drill parallel stock, not tapered. Then sand the tapers in with a table or spindle sander or even just a handheld belt sander flipped on it's back. Your experience with a run-away router is exactly why I will never own one or use it for building delicate things like dulcimers.
  2. Contact John & Karen Keane and the Arkladulcifest Facebook page. They should have some ideas of local groups in that area.
  3. I inset both the outside Melody string and the Bass string 1/8" in from the edge of the fret board no matter how wide. Put the middle drone half way between those two. Put the inner Melody string 1/8" in from the outer Melody string.
  4. Nice playing. But how can a waltz be a sea chanty??? One is a slow dance tune, the other a sailor's work song. Especially played that slowly!! The time and tempo fit none of the dozen or or sea chanties which I know of. As far as I can see and hear that tune is a waltz, plain and simple.
  5. I know that "ebonizing" stain, and have a bottle of my own -- made from a steel wool pad. Guess I've never let it get that dark on my projects... Very nice. I've never had to use a peg shaver with commercial pegs... they already come with the 1:30 taper so all you haver to do is ream out the holes.
  6. Beautifully done Greg! That was one magnificent piece curly maple! We always learn something, every time we build another dulcimer. What did you use to stain the maple? A tobacco-based stain like some of the old Kentucky rifles? One suggestion I'll make for your next build is to open up the bottom of the channel in your scroll head. A closed bottom makes it really hard sometimes to get a string around and through a tuning peg. I've had a couple closed head and hated stringing and re-stringing them compared to an open bottom head. I sure wish you'd have put traditional violin style wooden pegs on there. Commercial pegs are really inexpensive (I get 1/4 size pegs for about $1 each) and if you have an inexpensive tapered reamer they are easy to install and easy to tune.
  7. Anne Bowman is one of the premiere dulcimer players in Oz. Richard Troughear is perhaps the most scientifically oriented dulcimer builders in the world. There are three or four other dulcimer players I've heard of Downunder. But as you know, Oz is huge -- the size and same basic shape as the US -- and I've not heard of any Gatherings of dulcimer folk. I know Anne from Facebook dulcimer groups. She lives in Leura, NSW. If anyone knows what's going on there, she will. Tell he I said G'day!
  8. Nora -- you might want to contact Dennis directly at the e-mail address he listed above. I'm not sure he checks in here very often, at least this early in the Festival planning process...
  9. Another 3-stringer here. I played with 4 strings for many years. But one time I broke a doubled melody string, and noticed virtually no difference in sound volume.
  10. Glad to hear you're keeping Mount Dora alive, Dennis. If you would like a Traditional Dulcimer Techniques class for the Festival next year, drop me a note. You may remember a couple years ago when George Haggerty was scheduled to do a Trad workshop but had to cancel for emergency heart surgery -- I filled in for him...
  11. Looks like you've got another nice build underway. FWIW, these are technically NOT a dulcimer. These have a neck (fretboard) which extends beyond the body -- as do guitars, mandolins, banjos, etc. By internationally accepted definitions of musical instruments, a dulcimer has NO Neck -- no fretboard extending beyond the body. What you're making is best called a Diatonic Stick.
  12. Christian -- that's great -- we don't often see a 6 string dulcimer set up as a bass instrument. Who made it? The inlay is certainly striking at the head. Do you have full length pictures. I'll bet your standard 6 string has some serious bass/baritone depth of it's own with the doubled Middle and Bass Drone courses. FWIW, we don't normally refer to dulcimer strings as having "upper" or "lower" courses -- the dulcimer isn't held vertically like a guitar, so there is no up or down. The usual terminology is Melody/Middle Drone/Bass Drone.
  13. DAd and DAA are so very close that hardly anyone ever tries to build specifically for either of those tunings; and then they aren't using Mean Tone intonation and they are among a handful of those building traditional olde tyme replicas and similar instruments of the Pre-Revival era -- not modern dulcimers like McSpad, FolkCraft, etc.. Generally speaking you need two pieces of information and a tool to figure out which strings to use for the tuning you want: You need to know the VSL (Vibrating String Length) between the Nut and Bridge, and the Open tuning you want to use primarily -- DAA, DAd, CGG, CGc etc. You also need to know the link to the Strothers String Gauge Calculator tool: Tom & Missy Strothers | String Choice You enter the VSL to the nearest .01", then you select a string to determine the gauge you need. Note that Mixolydian tunings are designated DAd or CGc not DAD or CGC. The Capital D designates the Bass string; the lower case d designated the one-octave-higher-pitch Melody string. The capital A or G indicates that that note is in the same octave as the Bass string. The calculator is notably "light". You can easily choose strings which are somewhat heavier -- a suggested .010 string can easily be a .011 or even .012. This variability allows for simple re-tuning from DAd to CGc or even down to BFb; and up from DAd to EBe and perhaps to FCf. If you try to tune above F, there is a serious chance you'll break the bass string. If you tune below B, the strings will be so floppy they won't sound properly.
  14. Wow! For a 20" VSL that sure has a lot of sound -- both volume and quality; I love the deep bass you've got going there. The sound is probably due to the thin planks all around. Very nice! Dulcimer builders really don't much target tap tone frequency. Only a few builders seriously consider the concept. The dulcimer is more or less the last of the Western "folk instruments" and there has been very little scientific (quantitative rather than qualitative) research into the factors which make the sound of either the "modern dulcimers" like yours or the "traditional dulcemores" like I build these days.
  15. Any reason for bumping the year-and-a-half-old Welcome post up again Alice?
  16. Nice! Good work! Post a sound clip so we can hear it!
  17. Nic Hambas makes some fabulous instruments. he made my first custom MD. If you can post some pix of his bowed dulcimer, it will go a long way towards helping you see it!
  18. When we refer to a hollowed fretboard we mean down the length (except under a strum hollow) turning the fretboard into an inverted U shape. This reduces the mass of the fretboard and gives a tiny bit more soundboard to vibrate. The other hollowing -- crosswise -- is called an arched fretboard. There is no real need for top braces -- the top already has that massive brace (called the fretboard) running down it's length. Some of us re-inforce the area around delicate sound holes with thin pasteboard or veneer on the underside, but true top braces are not necessary.
  19. Where are you from? Nice choice of woods. Build looks very nice. Good job for working from on-line stuff without asking questions first. The build seems over-built by modern techniques -- stub ends of the tuning head inside the box, all those kerf strips, very thick scroll head bits, heavy braces. These days almost no one uses kerf strips unless they are going to install bindings at the side/top and side/back junctions -- the kerf gives you somethings to glue the binding to. Modern glues such as TiteBond are so much stronger than hide glues and earlier glues that there is no need today for the extra glue surfaces of kerf strips. Cross braces only need to be 1/4" x 3.8" maximum. How thick are the bottom/top/sides? Is the fretboard hollowed underneath?
  20. Can't help, Mary, sorry. I'm on the Gulf Coast...
  21. Noter & Drone style, strummed with a pick or plectrum, gives you the most volume for solo play.
  22. Looks really nice, Anthony. Well done!
  23. Registration is closed for 2021. We have 34 attendees!!
  24. Are you just looking for more tab to play? Or interested in the history as well? There are are several good resources for history. What kind of music are you interested in playing? Blue Grass, American Folk, World Folk, Celtic Fiddle Tunes? Anglo-Scottish Ballads? Hymns and other religious music? Americana? There are thousands or resources, depending on what it is you're looking for.
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