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EverythingDulcimer

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  1. Take a look at the 'new builder looking for advice' post here if you haven't already. It may give you a good start I try to use 1/4 swan wood for the fretboard, trying to keep warping to a minimum.
  2. If you're using a pick currently, switch to thumb/fingers or a leather pick may work for strumming.
  3. I saw a plan several years ago where they butt glued the top to the fretboard. Seemed odd but it looked like it was caused by the building procedure. I don't remember the details though other than the fretboard, tuning head, head/tail stock were all one piece of wood. Yes, i would glue the top and fret board now, it;s easier to clamp. You might dry fit/mark first so nothing is twisted out of line when assembling top to box later.
  4. The 3 braces across the back is OK, none on the top. The top already has a really big brace with the fretboard. The multipiece fretboard is OK also, It could be done to eliminate warp, because of lack of good fretboard wood or simply to have the contrast. Two piece tops/backs allow bookmatcing and the use of narrower stock and is normal, although the edge is usually glued to the bottom.
  5. If you're playing noter/drone , you will probably need to move the MD or your body. Playing chord/melody/melody, changing how you finger chords [hand position], may help, eg., point fingers to the right [bridge] instead of generally towards the tuners, which may put your index finger on the melody string instead of the bass string.
  6. I use my bare fingers/thumb, no nails, for both fingerpicking, [multiple notes] and ''flatpicking' [single notes/strums]. The sound is softer and smoother. I use fingerpicks or a plectrum [guitar style pick] occasionally when I wand loud, but the sound is harsh to me, especially since I play resonator dulcimer most of the time.
  7. Try any table, box, or stand that is about as tall as the top of your knee/lap when sitting. one of those little portable ironing boards on a coffee table? or modify a tv tray by cutting off the lower side of the legs? or another chair or stool in front of you with something to adjust the dulcimer to a comfortable level? I modified a wheeled laundry cart when I wanted to play while standing. It turned out to be just the right height for me, maybe a wee bit high but I could move around to compensate for any awkwardness.
  8. Are you using bare fingers or ?? Try picking fairly lightly a see if there is a buzz. Move up and down the fret board to try and locate a high fret. Picking too hard could be it also, especially on low actions [strings close too the fretboard]. A common method to check actipn is to slide a dime under the strings at the 1st fret and place a nickel on the top of the 7th fret. the coins should slide through the gap.
  9. The stand may be placing the dulcimer too high. Most things I've read say the best working level is at elbow height, maybe a little bit lower. It may also help to move the dulcimer a bit more towards your fingering hand or play standing up so you can move around. I've done that a few times.
  10. I use a 100w light in a ceramic holder stuck in side a piece of aluminum pipe [~4.5dia x 1/4 ' thk x ~10" long. I run some water over the wood and press it over the hot pipe until it begins to give, you can feel the lignon soften the hotter the wood gets. I move it sideways over the pipe to make the radius I want. I draw the pattern on some butcher paper for the shape i want. I use an adjustable peg style jig for gluing. I made a fretboard cutter from a tile cutter, bought a fret blade from StewMac [I think] and make the guides by drilling holes with a mill/drill in an aluminum strip. Tape the strip on the fretboard. I have a tapered pin on the cutter that fits into the holes on the strip, then zip, zip, zip, fret slots located correctly. I do need to make a new strip for any vsl changes of course.
  11. It depends on how you feel about piano music by its self. The hammered dulcimer is the ancestor of the piano. Just about any music you like [melody] can be played on a chromatic HD. There are limits to that on the more common diatonic HDs. The reason for saying 'melody' Is a piano responds to finger input [10], the HD to hands [2]. so it limits the bass line. Like any other solo instrument, it depends on your motivation and interest.
  12. The nice thing about a chromatic is you can play chords in any key. All that is required is learning the chord patterns in your tuning. Using a 1-3-5 tuning, a capo, or 4 equidistant strings, can help.
  13. I built mine also. I was advised by a pro builder/player in Mt View, AR., to do some research before I did. Started building MD's as I learned about, and acquired material for, the HD. I haven't played it in years though.
  14. Nothing [continue playing], as long as you have all of the notes called for. Some of these notes may require extra frets [probably the 1+/8+] or a chromatic MD. The change of the key in the notation is to make writing the tune simpler/faster/easier, in this case not having to use the 'b' [flat] sign or the C/C# is not used.
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