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EverythingDulcimer

Introductions - How did you start playing a dulcimer? What do you enjoy about it?


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I had trouble with the acoustic guitar due to arthritis in my left thumb so I built a four string cigar box guitar (you can't get cigar boxes in Europe so I built one) so I could manage the width of the neck and the spacing of the strings.  I fretted it guitar style (cromatic) but it was a bit tinny so I built a four string dulcimer - also cromatic. 

That was OK-ish but didn't sound very good so I built another - just a simple rectangular box type - but with a great deal more care and a slightly larger sound-box and diatonic this time.   I am extremely pleased and a little proud with the quality of the sound, the action is just right, all the frets ring true.   The piezo pickups I bought on-line aren't too good and I assume need a pre-amp before going into the hi-fi; I think this needs me to know about output watts/amps/things of the pick up and commonality with the amp so I don't think it's worth any effort until I manage my first arena gig.  Seriously - if this sets you thinking about messing about making music during Covid lockdown then have a google around for cigar box guitar parts and you'll find tuning machine heads, strings and ideas.  A bit difficult though to find tabs for any other than traditional ole folksie songs like Boilin' Cabbages (  🙂 ) no ofense meant!

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Welcome Colin!  Where are you in Europe?  The UK?  We've got several contact there.  Glad to hear you've had fun in lockdown building instruments -- it was a good use of your time.   I hardly ever use electronic amplification, but when I do I use inexpensive stick-on type that seem to work well enough.  IMHO the dulcimer was never intended to be electronically amped. 

What kinds of songs/music  are you looking to play?  There are thousands of dulcimer tab for everything from children's songs to blues to jazz to rock to Shostakovich -- if you know where to look.  You won't, however find much modern contemporary music because it is still covered by international copyrights. which makes it expensive or difficult to print in books or duplicate and make available to folks.  You can play it for you own use but not for performances, paid or unpaid.  

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Thanks Noterman -  I'll run the risk of going off topic a bit here.  We moved to Spain 20 years ago and we're half way between Barcelona and Valencia, far away from resort hotels and golf courses.  I'm plugging away at learning the dulcimer, my tutor of choice for the present is Brett Ridgeway's Youtube channel but I'm also searching out tablature for English folk-rock bands - Steeleye Span, Fleetwood Mac but polyphony and a cappella twangs sonorously and is worth a try.   I amped my builds only because I wanted to deafen the surrounding countryside with my riffs and trills, but we have no neighbours so nothing's  lost.

What I find interesting is that there is a plethera of sites dedicated to tabs for the guitar and it seems they get round the copyright issues by saying in effect 'this is my own work, I am not profiting from it, I'm putting it up for educational use'.  I suppose it is a lack of demand issue. Am  interested in this matter but perhaps it's for another thread?

 

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Nice area.  I know the region from Barcelona north along the coast past Figueres, past the village of Llado and over the first foothill.  My Brit partner's father retired there 40 years ago.

Steeleye Span and Fleetwood Mac are two great folk-rock bands for sure.  You'll probably have to pick out the melodies yourself though.  If you can find sheet music for the songs, it's relatively easy to work up the melodies.     Yeah.  we do need to discuss guitar site mis-use of music in another thread.

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