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Everything posted by KWL

  1. 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. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  2. That is a bummer because when we make mistakes like I did above people will get frustrated if they try the link. Oh, well, nothing is perfect including this site.
  3. Well, Dave, that explains it. I stay logged in to TTAD, so it works when I click on. I'll go back and edit the original post to let folks know they have to join TTAD to see it. Well, I tried to do that, before I posted this and can't find a way to edit the post. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  4. Hmm, Dave, when I click on it, it takes me directly to the Traditional Appalachian Dulcimore site. You should be able to view the photos over there. Look under Pre-Appalachian Dulcimore, Zitter 2 Restoration. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  5. Ralph's books are the best available works at the present time with regard to the mountain dulcimer. L. Allen Smith's, A Catalogue of Pre-Revival Applachian Dulcimers, is the other invaluable resource, but it is out of print and when it does come up for sale goes for over $100, sometimes over $200. Henry Mercer did an article on scheitholts back in the early 20th Century. I'll try to find my link to that for you. Charles Seeger (Pete's father) also published an article on the Appalachian dulcimer. I think it was in the Journal of American Folklore, but I'll need to check that. If you can find Wilfried Ulrich's The Story of the Hummel, that gives a good history from the German perspective. Originally published in German, it was translated into English by my friend Christa Farnon. Interesting it is subtitled "German Scheitholt). I think it is still in print. Do a search online for it. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  6. The top is western red cedar which I purchased from a lumber yard many years ago (Hechinger's) which had stores in Maryland and Pennsylvania. I was looking through some fence uprights and saw two pieces that were quarter sawn so I bought them. They stood upright in my garage for over 38 years. When I decided to make this dulcimer, I took a look at these. I resewed them at my friends shop and have enough wood to make at least 8 dulcimer tops. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  7. The term "scheitholt" and its derivative spellings is only known it a small area of the Tyrolean Alps. Mercer did base his name on what was published by Praetorius. I am very familiar with the work of Praetorius and his 3 volume set. His world was not all that large and he worked with what he knew. I don't know how far afield he traveled from Thuringia but he did study in Frankfort, and conceivably could have visited southern Bavaria. I would he assume he was familiar with the scheitholt. My point is that he used that name and because he did Mercer assumed all instruments that looked like the one drawn for the Syntagma Musicum were called scheitholts. I think that ignores the name of the instrument in other parts Germany and Europe. L. Allen Smith continued to use "scheitholt" in his A Catalogue of Pre-Revival Appalachian Dulcimers and dulcimer historian Ralph Lee Smith does as well. I think this gives a somewhat false ancestry for the mountain dulcimer. Ralph and I have discussed this. I believe his point is that this is not worth arguing about. I will continue to refer the pre-dulcimer instruments found here in the United States as PA German zitters or simply zitters. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  8. A luthier friend of mine purchased some paduk (an African wood) to build a couple of guitars. He had some scraps leftover which I told him would be enough to make the back and sides of dulcimer. He also told me that it was difficult to bend, so I decided to make a teardrop dulcimer. I also decided to make a guitar-style peg head which is the first time I ever did this. e are some photos of the dulcimer.
  9. In September 2019 on The Traditional Appalachian Dulcimore forum I was made aware of two zitters that were up for auction on eBay. I purchased them with the intention of restoring them to playing condition. Recently on started working on one of the; the one that had the least damage. Here is a photo of it before I began work on it. It you would like to follow the progress, join The Traditional Appalachian Dulcimore site http://thetraditionalappalachiandulcimore.com to follow the progress on this restoration. After this restoration is done, I will start on restoring zitter 1 which is a little more complicated.
  10. Before the mountain dulcimer there were a group of instruments from Northern Europe that had diatonic fretting, mostly directly on the sound board (top). Because of a mistake made by Henry Mercer these are erroneously called "scheitholts." A more accurate term for the American version is "zitter." Most often I modify that to "Pennsylvania German zitter." In Germany these instruments are called "Hummels." Attached is a photo of a reproduction I made of an instrument in the Landis Valley Farm and Museum collection in Lancaster, PA. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  11. I grew up in New Jersey across the river from NYC. My grandfather lived with us and spent hours sitting in the living room listening to radio. He often tuned in to WNYC (I think those were the call letters). One day I heard Oscar Brands show whose guest was Jean Ritchie. She was playing an instrument called a dulcimer. I really liked the sound of the instrument, but the only information I could find described a hammered dulcimer. I kept that sound in the back of mind, graduated high school, and college. In 1971 while working in Shenandoah National Part I heard that sound again in the campground at Loft Mountain. A woman was playing an Appalachian dulcimer. In 1974 I built my first Appalachian dulcimer. I became acquainted with Maddie MacNeil which working in Shenandoah and eventual hooked up with her again as a columnist for Dulcimer Players News. I met Ralph Lee Smith in 1974 at a coffee house in Washington, D.C. Living in DC at that time I met quite a few dulcimer players and builders. I've been on this dulcimer journey a long time.
  12. Thank you, Dave. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  13. Yes, John, I had some experience before building the HDs. It was helpful to have good plans and manual on how to do the construction. I think I purchased four or five books on building HDs before tackling the project.' Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  14. This is the best mountain dulcimer stand I have found. http://www.dulcimerbaglady.com/woodendulcimerstand.htm Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  15. This is my latest build. The back and sides are paduk. The top is western red cedar. The fret board is maple. The peg head and end piece are made of maple and walnut from scrap I had left over after making a laminated guitar neck. It is based on Scott Antes plan for dulcimer construction. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  16. Dave, that's a good looking project. I like using the zither pins for tuning. It is a very simple design, but effective. Thanks for sharing. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  17. I'm not a skilled HD player. I mostly just hammer out a melody to demonstrate the instrument which was how I started playing. A friend and I would do school programs on the Appalachian or mountain dulcimer. In the talks I would mention the HD and show a picture. I decided it would be better to have one to show and play for the students, so I purchased plans and made a 16/15 HD. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  18. It depends on your definition of "nice" I guess. An entry level McSpadden dulcimer costs around $500 and a Folkcraft around $700. You can purchase instruments from individual builders for a lot less which are as good or better than the big companies. I would avoid the inexpensive dulcimers made in Eastern Europe or Asia unless you have the skill to tweak them in to playing shape. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  19. BEREA TRADITIONAL DULCIMER GATHERING http://www.dulcimore.com/berea/berea_home.html REGISTRATION OPEN We are now accepting registrations for the 2020 Gathering, to be held at Berea College, Berea, KY May 14th -- 17th Send your Contact Information to: berea.traditional.gathering@gmail.com Registration Fee -- $20 -- applies directly to your dorm lodging. If you are not staying in the dorm, the money goes into our Coffee & Snack Fund so we can buy a pot and coffee and snacks for folks to share... Send Registration via Paypal to kenhulme@gmail.com or PM for directions to send a paper check. Please do not respond here....
  20. KWL


    I'm glad to see the new Everything Dulcimer site. How do we add festivals to the list?
  21. I just registered and am on here.
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