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Melody Farrand

Proper playing position

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I've noticed that while I'm playing, I tense up.  I'm really short, so I can not easily play with the dulcimer on my lap.  I set it on a keyboard stand.  But I find myself bunching up my shoulders as I move up the fretboard while playing.  Suggestions?

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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.

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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?   

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I set the stand at a little lower than elbow height.  Then, I angled the dulcimer to be closer to my right side like this \.  That seems to help, but I don't see how you could have the room to play more than one note at a time in the upper registers.  Should I angle it the other way?

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Move your body to the right as you move your hands to the right.  Literally take a step right, then as you go back down, a step left.  'Way in the upper end of the fretboard you seldom find songs with more than one or two notes (Londonderry Air comes to mind)  unless you're transposing the entire tune higher up.

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Does anyone have any suggestions to use as a stand in place of a keyboard stand?  My keyboard stand is partially broken.  So, I can only set it at one height.

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Does anyone have any suggestions to use as a stand in place of a keyboard stand?  My keyboard stand is partially broken.  So, I can only set it at one height.

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Posted (edited)

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.

Edited by Skip

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Posted (edited)

I use a wooden stand made for mountain dulcimers.  Here is a link with more information.

Dave

 

 

Edited by dholeton

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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.

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I only want a playing stand to be one height -- the right height.  I use a waiter's tray table which is the perfect height for me.  When I was experimenting I made a simple stand to hold my dulcimer at heights which varied 1" until I found the perfect height for me.  Then I found a tray table and adjusted the straps until I have it the perfect height.

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Has anyone heard anything concerning 

Jack Ferguson 
Appalachian Flutes & Dulcimers 
 
I found his site on Etsy.  He makes dulcimers with the Fishman pickup. It's a lot more affordable than a folkcraft.

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This should have been its own thread --- it's much better that way -- and your question and subject won't be lost --  if you don't tack something unrelated to this topic of Playing Position on here.   You're lucky I even spotted this question.

To answer your question, Jack Ferguson has been building for some time, and makes really good modern dulcimers.

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