The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #56098   Message #876277
Posted By: JohnInKansas
27-Jan-03 - 10:58 PM
Thread Name: Mountain dulcimers: shape and sound
Subject: RE: Mountain dulcimers: shape and sound
For those brave enough to perform in public, there is - sort of - a "best of both worlds" between the traditional and the modern world of noise.

Several of the "name" makers will equip a very trad designed lap dulcimer with an inconspicuous internal pickup, so that you can "plug in" when you want to be louder. Just be advised that the pickup can just about double the price on a lower-range instrument.

My own family dulcimist has had trouble being heard at sessions. (Mostly a complaint of others who want to hear what she's doing - she's more inclined toward not wanting them to hear her). I rigged a "clip on" pickup (from somebody's junkbox) so she could plug in - so now the complaint is that she refuses to turn the amp up enough to be heard. At least now she doesn't complain about not being loud enough, since she can choose her own level.

If you're only worried about "participation levels" at small jams, you can actually get at least "fair" results with one of those little clip-on pickups people use with their electronic tuners - plugged into a $39 karaoke box from WallyWorld. The tone won't be the greatest, but the other instruments tend to "cover" the nuances anyhow; and you can "amp-up" just enough so that your accomplicesassociates can tell where you are in the melody. It probably won't make you feel like a "star," but it may make it easier for your buddies to play with you.