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Everything posted by NoterMan

  1. Move your feet/body as you move up the fretboard, not just your hands. Are you tense because you are aren't familiar with the music and are reading the tab and trying to multi-task?
  2. A video closeup showing you fingerpicking as we can see and hear what you're doing and when the buzzing/noise happens would be a good thing to post. There are probably two dozen reasons strings can twang and buzz!!
  3. Removeable feet. Don't that beat all! I don't understand why anyone would want such things; but whatever works, works. If a dulcimer has feet you just set it in your lap if there's not table handy; feet don't get in the way of that.
  4. Are you looking for a flat guitar style tuning head or a scroll head? Modern tuners, zither pins or wooden pegs?.
  5. Welcome to the world of dulcimer! Glad to hear that Stephen's class is working out for you. I've not done any classes on-line, since I play traditionally not modern chord melody, and there has been nothing available. I learned to play 40+ years ago when there weren't any other players with a couple hundred miles. It was more than 10 years before I even was able to attend a festival, and that's where I met Stephen the first time, along with Robert Force, Aubrey Atwater and a number of other dulcimer icons.
  6. 1. Hot is at least hottest tap hot, preferably boiling to start. I have a length of 3" PVC pipe, capped on one end, that is my soaking tank, I've also used a length of raingutter or a large plastic tote box. The smaller the tank the less water you need. Put the sides in the tank and if flat, weight them down. Then pour hot-to-boiling water on to submerge them. I have an electric teakettle that boils a couple of quarts of water, quickly, and I'll start with that and a large pot of water boiling on my stove-top (or a camp stove in my garage/workshop). I'll let the strips soak for a co
  7. As I said above, the hourglass is the most difficult of the standard shapes to build. And the hardest part is the shaping of the sides. The easiest way to do that is to hot-water soak the sides for a couple hours to soften them. Then bend the side pieces into a jig which then holds them while they dry. I've attached a couple pix of simple peg jigs. Jig 1 is almost too simple but will work just fine. I prefer to use 1/2" dowels in a 3/4 plywood or chipboard base, similar to Jig 2 but without as many dowels. Make the dowels about 1/8" shorter than the height of the sides. That way,
  8. Hi Dylan; welcome to dulcimer building! Building plans for dulcimers are not common; and the ones I've seen are not particularly useful. A couple builders like myself and others here will do you a lot more good! The dulcimer is a very simple instrument to begin with; very forgiving (that is it is easy to make a dulcimer that sounds good). Cherry is a good wood. So are walnut, maple and all of the other Eastern hardwoods -- which is what the old timers used. Truth be told, a very good wood for dulcimers is ordinary poplar. It is inexpensive, works easily and the results sound good.
  9. It is with heavy hearts that we announce the cancellation of the 2020 Berea Traditional Dulcimer Gathering. Due, of course to the effects of Covid-19. The Good News is that we'll be back next year -- May 2021!! And, we already have a lot of the planning and schedule done! As soon as possible we will announce the *actual* dates for next year. Those who pre-registered by Paypal can expect a refund from us in the next few days. Those who pre-paid by check, please contact kenhulme@mindspring.com and send me your address again please.
  10. Things keep on the way they are, the Stephen Foster Retreat may be the first festival of the 2020 season!!
  11. Not bad at all. A leetle heavy on the drones perhaps, but that might just be my ears.
  12. More complicated… not more difficult. I don't recommend adding any extra frets.
  13. Where are you in Florida. I'm south of Sarasota on the Gulf Coast. There is a fairly large community of players up around Tampa and other places. There is the Mount Dora Festival up in the middle of the State. And the Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat which Guy & Sherri George and Bing Futch host in Homosassa Springs. But both those festivals are over. Most dulcimer things here take place earlier in the year before the temperatures heat up. Mount Dora is in early/mid February, and Homosassa is likewise earlier in the year -- late February/early March. That way the events dr
  14. Folkcraft and McSpadden make good dulcimers, granted. But they build commercial dulcimers "for the masses" not for YOU. If you want a "high end" professional dulcimer" why not contact a builder like Dave "Harpmaker" Lynch, Kevin messenger, or any number of other builders out there, and have them build you exactly what you want -- rather than try to find a commercial model dulcimer that sort of fits your needs. You aren't, generally speaking, going to pay much, if any more for a custom dulcimer than you are for a "high end" commercial instrument. FWIW, your definition of "playing
  15. The VSL (Vibrating String Length) of a fretboard (not its Length) -- 25" vs 27" or 30" -- has absolutely nothing to do with the "same deep sound" or any sound that comes from a dulcimer. What does affect the sound quality is the overall number of cubic inches of space inside the body, and the area of the sound holes relative to that volume. More cubic inches general means a deeper, more "mellow" sound. Re -- small hands -- a 2" difference in VSL (Vibrating String Length) means almost nothing in terms of playability. The spacing between the frets is vary little changed with a 2' diff
  16. ...and easier to build that cigar-box guitars! Welcome. You got questions? We make up pretty good answers.
  17. Since there is so much YouTube and teacher specific video these days, I suspect that learning without a teacher beside you will be reasonably easy. You'll learn techniques and then have to perfect them on you own anyway. Sheet music and tabulature is readily available. Steve Eulberg of Dulcimer Crossing has some good intros to tabulature and how to play videos on YouTube. Buying one on-line is feasible, but the chances of it arriving in-tune and are probably not good. There are a LOT of strings! Your first lesson will be "how to tune my new Hammered Dulcimer".
  18. "Concerned about...lack of music and songs I recognize..." What kind(s) of music do you know and love? There are TONS of Celtic music for the HD -- virtually all of O'Carolan's compositions and the Chieftain's just to mention a few hundred pieces. There are thousands of other tunes and songs arranged for HD, plus many more original compositions. There are both diatonic and chromatic Hammered Dulcimers. The chromatic HD's range is limited only by your ability to play. The music may not be quite as 'rich' as that of a piano because of the 2 hammers vs 10 fingers thing, but I don't
  19. Nice recording. I've heard Rosin played at that speed a lot, and play it nearly that fast myself. An Irish "wake song" isn't a dirge. But it's not a fast fiddle tune, either! The Parting Glass, on the other hand is nearly a dirge, and best sung a capella rather than being accompanied by anything.
  20. I play Irish and other Celtic music all year around. Have more than a dozen Celtic tunes in my repertoire, including on the Irish side: Foggy Dew, Black Velvet Band, Wind That Shakes The Barley, Roddy McCorley, Banks of the Ban, and Risin' of the Moon. I'll be playing at a local Irish pub on the 17th.
  21. Ken Hulme wrote an article several years ago called The Uncontrite Modal Folker that was a good overview of Modes, Modal Tunings, and how they apply to the dulcimer. It was on the original Everything Dulcimer. You can find him on Facebook. If you ask, he'll probably give you a copy.
  22. Those are the really inexpensive tuners, not the ones KenL was talking about with the adjustment screw... First step is to find new tuners. Second step is to slack all the strings and remove them being sure to mark exactly where the bridge goes so it can be replaced correctly. If you have to, cut the string on the tuner which isn't working properly. Then check again to see if there's any way to get the tuner moving. Third step would be order a new set of four tuners; best to replace all of them at the same time.
  23. Virtually all tuner shaft are the same size. The shaft of the tuner is the part that goes through the wood, and around which the string is wound. Guitar tuners often have a plastic sleeve over the tuner shaft, but thiose can be removed. I don't think I've ever seen the wood contract around a shaft hole, let alone so tightly that the tuner won't work. Wood just doesn't do that; the holes are drilled sufficiently oversize. However the shaft might be bent and not turning. The screws which hold the tuner in place -- a photo posted here would be worth a thousand words, easily, BTW... Even
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