The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #60344   Message #966004
Posted By: GUEST,leeneia
11-Jun-03 - 04:08 PM
Thread Name: Building a mountain dulcimer
Subject: RE: Building a mountain dulcimer
Well, Booster, you don't tell us much about yourself, so I'm going to offer some comments about the lap dulcimer. If you know all this, then perhaps they will help someone else reading this.

1. As for the "cheap" dulcimer you have now, how high are the strings off the fret board? A U.S. five-cent piece should just fit between the strings and the board. If the strings are too high, they are too hard to play.

2. How old are your strings? Perhaps they have lost their pep.

3. Have you tried using a finger pick? I pluck my melody string with a thumbpick, a Herco light. It is red and almost heart-shaped. It is also rather soft, and doesn't create an ugly twang.

4. Are you using a tuner or something similar to keep it truly in tune? If you are merely tuning it to itself, it will not be as resonant as it should.

5. Have you developed strum patterns which hit all three strings? The more strings you hit, the more sound you get. (I don't bother with the second melody string.)

6. Have you played it on your back porch early on a Sunday morning before anybody else was up? This works best if you have a cat to keep you company.