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Everything posted by NoterMan

  1. Pictures, or it didn't happen!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!).
  5. 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...
  6. 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....
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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!
  11. 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!
  12. Not quite the same as the original ED. The name is the same, the format of the forum has been copied, and the original Tab collection. The Admin here is anonymous for some reason; rather than a personality we can relate to and with.
  13. The only disadvantage to a hammered dulcimer is carting it around to and at festivals and such. However many folks use some form of collapsible cart these days, which makes it easy. Like Ardenvoir, I think you can be perfectly happy playing by yourself at home, but getting out and getting together with others challenges you to learn and improve you skills. I don't know where you live, but I strongly advise getting involved in a local dulcimer club, even if it means an all day trip once a month to get together with other HD and MD players.
  14. I tabbed it out in DAA years ago, and play it once in awhile. But like KWL I've never seen published dulcimer tab or sheet music. Have you checked Steve Seifert's Join the Jam books? It might possibly be in there. Also check with Sam Edelson and Tull Glazner they do a lot of modern music.
  15. OK then. I understand wanting to make pegs, I guess. Here's a link on how to make and use a peg shaft taper cutter using your reamer and some scrap hardwood. Rustic but effective and 'way less than the $90+ for a commercial peg shaper. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kt75XRPvimU Getting the taper of the peg and the taper of the hole to match is the critical part of making wooden pegs work well.
  16. That's the one. The price has gone up a bit since I bought mine, I guess. Unless you're really into historical accuracy building a replica, modern violin tuning pegs work great, look good, and are pretty darn cheap. And with a reamer you drill regular 1/4" holes through the scroll head, then turn the reamer in to open the holes out at the correct taper to make a perfect fit. You also adjust how much of each peg you want sticking out. Here's a link to International Violin, where I get the pegs I use. I usually get 3/4 size pegs for a regular size dulcimer for under $1 each for plain Ebony or $1.75 each for Rosewood (there are lots of styles): https://www.internationalviolin.com/Shop/accessories-bridges-chinrests-endpins-fingerboards-tailpieces-and-more/pegs/violin-pegs
  17. Great idea Carolina. Your article assumes we're all tuned in DAd, which many people are not. What is the Key of G pentatonic scale? Is that G-A-B-D-E? That would be frets 3-4-5-7-8 on the open D string(s), correct?
  18. Lookin' forward to hearing/seeing you play that new friend! No reason your teardrop or elliptical (slightly different) can't be at least as wide as the wide bout on your hourglass. I can't remember if we got the final specs on your build... Anyway, 6"-8" is just fine. Sometimes width is defined by the wood you have handy... The cubic inches "under the hood) are a major definer of the mellowness of the sound. Less cubic (1.5" or less) is more "high silvery", where 2-3" is more mellow... Pear wood is more than hard enough for pegs, and would be beautiful. Do you have the taper cutter and taper reamer for making the holes and tapering the shafts? If not, I can recommend a couple things. IMHO it's worth a few bucks for the special taper reamer (about $15). With the reamer you can also make a simple but functional shaft taper jig. There are a couple of design possibilities for the scroll head. First is to make it from one solid block of wood. The other is to built it up with two side plates, a head piece and disks for the scroll. Either way you really do want to have it "bottomless" to make putting strings on a lot easier. I would suggest starting a new thread for your teardrop, so that posterity can more easily see what is going one with each dulcimer build.
  19. Any things to report Dylan? How did the tuning to the sound samples go?
  20. Good ideas, DulcimerJim. Although your #1 won't work if there is little or no instrument "behind the saddle" like some of my instruments. Otherwise, I suspect this is what Melody is referring to. The drawback -- to my ear -- is that your picking is so close to the bridge that you get a 'sharper', more tinny sound. Your #2 idea seems to me to be the most all around useful.
  21. I don't think there is any "standard" anchoring place. Each player finds whatever works for him/er self. It could be the edge, or a sound hole, or the side of the fretboard. The "anchor" is just resting a finger, or the edge of the picking hand. Experiment and see what works for you. Start by watching several of Bings videos without the sound, so you focus on his hand technique, and see what you can discover where/how he is 'anchoring'.
  22. Do you mean an actual object like a pickguard, or just a location somewhere on the top? I have seen the occasional dulcimer with a designed "wrist rest" at the tail end -- a sort of wooden arch over the the bridge area. Most players, certainly the expert players who I know, don't anchor or rest their wrist when strumming. We're moving up and down the fretboard with the pick, so that the strum is happening closest to the center of the vibrating string as its length changes. Personally, I'm an 'outie' strummer more than an 'innie' or back-and-forth strummer, so I often use my little finger to tap the instrument back on my lap during the 'backstroke' from my out-strum.
  23. I only ever put about two loops on the tuning pegs. Through the hole, around and back through the hole again; and trim off the rest. A zillion loops around the peg before you come up to tune does nothing to make tuning any easier and just makes the tuning head look cluttered. Where did that melody string break? At the tuner end or the loop end or in the middle? With those gauges of strings on that VSL you should NOT be trying to tune up to the key G. A set of strings like that can tune from BFF to FCC without being too floppy or too tight, but they will not allow you to tune up to key of G without breaking usually the bass string. Admin posted above good audio clips of what the D tunings should sound like. I suggest you try to duplicate one of those and learn to play it, rather than searching for some 'clear open note' that you associate with dulcimers. Those audio clips are what dulcimer players play in the key of D. We usually play together in the key of D, but as solo performers/players play in anything from B to F without changing strings, and up in G or down in A with different string sets.
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