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Dulcijo: Anyone Play?

Mr Happy 13 Sep 07 - 10:30 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 13 Sep 07 - 10:38 AM
Mr Happy 13 Sep 07 - 10:43 AM
dick greenhaus 13 Sep 07 - 11:18 AM
GUEST,Russ 13 Sep 07 - 11:52 AM
Mr Happy 13 Sep 07 - 12:00 PM
Bernard 14 Sep 07 - 10:59 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 14 Sep 07 - 11:05 AM
Bernard 14 Sep 07 - 11:57 AM
GUEST,Russ 14 Sep 07 - 12:02 PM
Sean Belt 14 Sep 07 - 02:14 PM
Azizi 14 Sep 07 - 10:48 PM
Azizi 14 Sep 07 - 11:13 PM
Mark H. 15 Sep 07 - 06:06 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 15 Sep 07 - 09:00 AM
Mark H. 15 Sep 07 - 12:54 PM
GUEST,Michael Fox 29 Sep 07 - 04:52 PM
GUEST,Michael Fox 29 Sep 07 - 05:16 PM
Dan Schatz 29 Sep 07 - 11:32 PM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Sep 07 - 02:21 PM
GUEST,Jim 01 Oct 07 - 11:47 AM
The Sandman 01 Oct 07 - 02:31 PM
GUEST,Jim 01 Oct 07 - 05:08 PM
The Sandman 01 Oct 07 - 05:12 PM
Ernest 02 Oct 07 - 02:17 AM
Dave Hanson 02 Oct 07 - 09:04 AM
fretless 02 Oct 07 - 12:05 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 02 Oct 07 - 12:22 PM
GUEST,Jim 02 Oct 07 - 01:00 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Oct 07 - 01:58 PM
GUEST,Jim 02 Oct 07 - 05:06 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Oct 07 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,Dulciman 21 Mar 08 - 06:08 AM
Jack Campin 21 Mar 08 - 06:35 AM
GUEST,John Rubery 25 Mar 08 - 02:21 PM
Harmonium Hero 28 Mar 08 - 10:43 AM
GUEST,Dulcijo Owner 29 Sep 10 - 12:31 PM
GUEST,cockneybanjo 12 Nov 11 - 09:58 AM
GUEST,Carapace49 28 Jan 12 - 09:34 PM
GUEST,randymor 29 Jan 12 - 04:15 AM
GUEST 29 Jan 12 - 05:00 AM
GUEST 09 Sep 12 - 05:14 PM
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Subject: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 10:30 AM

While looking for info on 'Hangmans Reel, came across a vid onYoutube of a guy playing a Dulcijo.

I've never seen one in UK sessions, anyone know about them?

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYZgHpCR9DI


I found this US site.

Can they be got in Britain?


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 10:38 AM

Met the man himself in June this year, only three strings and a surprisingly good sound. He does have a web site which I have a note of somewhere here. You might be able to find it putting Dulcijo into your search engine.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 10:43 AM

First post should've included this:


http://ezfolk.com/dulcijo/


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 11:18 AM

sort of a castrated 5-string, no?


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 11:52 AM

Have a friend who plays one.

The problem for me that a dulcijo is neither.

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 12:00 PM

GUEST,Russ,

Are you + friend in UK?


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: Bernard
Date: 14 Sep 07 - 10:59 AM

Hmmmm... can't see the point, meself. I play lap dulcimer and 5-string banjo, amongst other things, and don't see any advantage in combining the two - especially as you end up with something which, as Guest Russ says, is neither.

Some instruments 'transfer' to a banjo hybrid and become something very useful, such as the banjo-mandolin and banjo-ukulele.

I've never been able to see the point of a banjo-guitar (or whatever they call them!) other than as a chord-strummer that will cut through - but the resonator guitar does a better job anyway.

Tom Bliss may have some thoughts - he has a cross between a dulcimer and a mandolin sort of thingy... handy for playing dulcmier stuff whilst standing up... I suppose this Dulcijo fills a similar niche?


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 14 Sep 07 - 11:05 AM

errrmmmm... $399.00 for that dulcjo !!!???


..and how much would it cost to just take 2 strings and a few frets
off a spare banjo ??????


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: Bernard
Date: 14 Sep 07 - 11:57 AM

Eggcisely!


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 14 Sep 07 - 12:02 PM

Mr Happy,

I'm in Delware, USA.

Although I am unenthusiastic, my friend loves her dulcijo.

The problem I have, and this is purely a personal preference, is that when she plays the thing she plays it like a "dixieland" banjo and it sounds like a very bad tenor banjo played with a plectrum.

She is an excellent flat picker and unfortunately when she flat picks the thing it sounds like a bad dulcimer.

She is one of a number of excellent dulcimer players I know who work hard to make a good dulcimer sound like a bad something else.

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: Sean Belt
Date: 14 Sep 07 - 02:14 PM

Like Bernard above, I play both lap dulcimer and 5-string banjo as well as other strings. I think I can safely say that IMHO, whether you call it a dulcijo or a banjimer or whatever, it manages to combine the worst qualities of both instruments while leaving aside any of the good.


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: Azizi
Date: 14 Sep 07 - 10:48 PM

I was curious about when the first Dulcijo was made.

Here's an excerpt from History of the Dulcijo
by Michael Fox http://ezfolk.com/dulcijo/history/history.html:

"In the mid 1980s I came up with the idea that the diatonic scale of the dulcimer and the dulcimer style of playing the melody on the first string would lend itself well to clawhammer banjo so I made my first Dulcijo. It had a 4-inch round drum that had a piece of spruce rather than skin or plastic for a head. I loved playing that original Dulcijo but the volume was really low and it could only be heard clearly by the person playing it. I then tried a mandolin-type body but I preferred the banjo sound. A little later I found a Pakistan hand drum with a goat skin head. It sounded great but in humid weather the skin got soggy and it had no brackets to tighten the drum head. We now use a maple rim with a plastic head and brackets for adjusting head tension."


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: Azizi
Date: 14 Sep 07 - 11:13 PM

With all due respect to the creativity and inventiveness of Michael Fox, I hope that it will not be considered off-topic to share these two online articles about the African origin of the banjo.

http://shlomomusic.com/banjoancestors_w.a.luteorigin.htm
"The Origin of West African Lutes"

and

http://shlomomusic.com/banjoancestors_intro.htm
"Banjo Ancestors: From Ancient Egypt to West Africa"

[both sites including photos and drawings]


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: Mark H.
Date: 15 Sep 07 - 06:06 AM

"I've never been able to see the point of a banjo-guitar (or whatever they call them!) other than as a chord-strummer that will cut through - but the resonator guitar does a better job anyway."
- Bernard.

I've found the 6-string banjo to be great for all sorts of stuff, particularly jug band music and old-time. As a chord strummer it's fine, but the most useful style for me has always been Travis picking with lots of rhythmic accents. Ragtime music sounds good on it too. I've used a resonator guitar in exactly the same ways, and that's more versatile, I'll admit.
In the 1920s some jazz men played the 6-string; the best-known was Johnny St. Cyr but there were others of note. It is not a hybrid instrument like the dulcijo. Why not give it a go?


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 15 Sep 07 - 09:00 AM

Six string banjo/guitar in addition to Johnny St Cyr there was of course PapaCharlie Jackson also from New Orleans and of course Sam McGhee. Like a banjo mandolin it doesn't quite fit in everywhere but in the right place is very effective.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: Mark H.
Date: 15 Sep 07 - 12:54 PM

Thanks for the link, Mr. Happy. That's a sweet-sounding 'jo, and a fine little band too.


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: GUEST,Michael Fox
Date: 29 Sep 07 - 04:52 PM

Hello
I appreciate the interest in the dulcijo. After years of confusion, I wish I had not named my instrument a dulcijo. It is confused with other instruments. If you take a dulcimer and install a banjo drum some folks call that a dulcijo. My instrument takes a banjo and adds a diatonic scale, reduces the number of strings to three, and reduces the size of drum to 8 inches. The advantage of this is it promotes the playing of the melody in the high range of the instrument similar to the dulcimer. It utilizes the full scale of the instrument being the melody is played all on the first string and uses the second string for a drone. The regular banjo could be played like this, but most folks stay on the first five frets of the banjo because going down the neck is to complex with all the unused frets. Steve Martin on "Youtube", gives a great example of utilizing the fingerboard playing Scotland the Brave on clawhammer banjo. The dulcijo makes that style easier. I like that style, some may not. Yhe dulcijo unlike a dulcimer or strumstick, adds the short third string to give the added rhythm quality of the clawhammer banjo and the small drum brings out the high end of the instrument louder and clearer than an 11 inch drum commonly found on five string banjos.
Thanks
Michael Fox
dulcijo.com


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: GUEST,Michael Fox
Date: 29 Sep 07 - 05:16 PM

Sorry
It was Steve Martin on youtube playing Loch Lomond not Scotland the Brave.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtsErVLpy0k&mode=related&search=

Thanks
Michael Fox
Dulcijo.com


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 29 Sep 07 - 11:32 PM

Keith Young makes an instrument called a "banjimer" which is sort of the reverse of the dulcijo. It's a teardrop dulcimer with the bridge set on a banjo head. Scroll down to look at it.

Dan Schatz


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Sep 07 - 02:21 PM

Looks fun to play. I'd agree with punkfolkrocker "take 2 strings and a few frets off a spare banjo ". I just might do that some time.


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 11:47 AM

Re:"take 2 strings and a few frets off a spare banjo ".

The quality of sound you get depends on the instrument (as well as the player). If you take two strings and some frets off a Gibson Mastertone or a White Lady, you'll probably get a nice sounding dulcijo, but it will cost you a pretty penny and you might as well buy a dulcijo. If you take two strings and a few frets off a cheap banjo, you'll probably get a cheap sounding dulcijo and you'd be better off buying one that was designed as a dulcijo.


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 02:31 PM

I would imagine taking frets off a banjo is not a good idea,the fretting positions of a dulci jo are surely going to be completely different?,


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 05:08 PM

Capt. Birdseye,
      No, You'd just remove frets 1,3,6,8,11,13,15,18,20... In other words, leave the white keys and take out the flats and sharps. Of course that's a simlified explanation.


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 05:12 PM

If I were going to play the Dulcijo,I would rather buy a new one.


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: Ernest
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 02:17 AM

Why would someone ruin a perfectly playable banjo?


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 09:04 AM

Pointless instrument, like a six string banjo, designed for someone who wants to sound like a banjo player but can't be arsed to learn to play a proper banjo.

eric


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: fretless
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 12:05 PM

It sounds good on the demos included on the Web site linked above by Mr. Happy, part of which, of course, is because it is being played well. I'm concerned that in the absence of the "extra" notes thata are lost in simplifying the keyboard would result in music that lacks subtlety. But then, I'm a sucker for weird banjos.

Did anyone pick up on the offer, in the linked site here, for a free banjo just for completing an online survey? I don't usually believe in offers for free stuff, but I'd go for this one if someone could vouch for the offer.


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 12:22 PM

Red Eric,

I think that you will find that the six string banjo largely came into being so that guitar players could be heard (without learning new chord shapes)when in the studios in the early days of group recording when the relatively quiet guitar could not be. e.g; Johnny St Cyr. Would that bePointles?

Re the guy who makes and plays the instrument under discussion here I believe that you will find that he certainly has "been arsed" or taken the trouble to learn and play the regular banjo. I have watched him play in session playing his dulcijo with banjo, guitar, fiddle and hammered dulcmer and it was very effective. As someone who does a little on the regular five string I was impressed.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 01:00 PM

As the six string banjo made it possible for guitar players to play the banjo with no learning curve, so did the tenor and plectrum guitars make it possible for banjo players to play the guitar with no learning curve.
This summer I had a chance to play a mandolin body with a five string neck and it sounded great played clawhammer style. I've also had a chance to play a five string Dobro and liked the sound it made (not at all like a slide Dobro).
Tommy Tedesco, one of the most recorded guitarists, played banjo, mandolin, bouzouki, and many other fretted instruments. He tuned them all like a guitar, and used his considerable guitar skills to play them.


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 01:58 PM

One three-string instrument that can be tuned and played like a dulcimer is the balalaika. Or, I suppose, the other way round.


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 05:06 PM

McGraith,
Isn't the balalaika fretted chromatically?


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 01:35 PM

Yes - but you'd just leave out the frets you didn't want. Mark them, if need be, to make that easier.


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: GUEST,Dulciman
Date: 21 Mar 08 - 06:08 AM

I built something simalar to a Dulcijo using a cigar box. I like that sound it makes.


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Mar 08 - 06:35 AM

Lindsay Porteous in Scotland has built dozens of instruments like dulcijos over the years (three courses, diatonic fretting, small soundbox). He has a houseful of them and I don't find any of them very effective.

A much more convincing instrument is the Turkish cumbus-tanbur (cumbus body with a tanbur neck, i.e. much longer than a dulcijo). You play a tanbur on the upper two courses rather than just one - the player's left hand rarely moves far from the middle of the neck. It's quite often bowed ("yayli tanbur") and there are a few YouTube videos of it in action. The fretting is microtonal and it can play the full repertoire of Turkish and Greek art music.


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: GUEST,John Rubery
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 02:21 PM

As someone who has always secretly wanted to play banjo but never done so because of frightening all the neighbours cats and dogs, at the age of 67 I decided to build a 'Dulcijo'. I used information from homemade banjo.org site (which gives plans for a simple full size 5 string) and modifed the finger board to a diatonic scale. With nylon strings and a skin from melanex drawing sheet it has a sweet tone and gives me many hours of enjoyment. What if it is a hybrid if you enjoy playing the Dulcijo does it really matter?


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 28 Mar 08 - 10:43 AM

I'd just like to clear up any confusion arising from the use of the term 'six-string banjo' in a couple of the above posts. The six-string banjo is not the same instrument as the guitar banjo. It has five long stings plus the octave string. It's like a five-string with the addition of a low G. The seven-sting banjo has the low G, with a C string between this and the D. These banjos are not just for people who "can't be arsed learning to play a proper banjo". One might just as well claim that the fretted banjo is for people who "can't be arsed learning to play a proper banjo".
Light blue touch paper and leg it... John Kelly.


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: GUEST,Dulcijo Owner
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 12:31 PM

I know this is an old thread but as I found it when searching for Dulcijo related 'stuff' others considering the instrument may do so too.

Several years ago I got interested in Old Time music and admitted a facination with the banjo. Being a Guitar player of limited ability I considered whether I could actually learn to play a 5 string so when I came across the Dulcijo thought that may well be a good place to start.

I purchased a Dulcijo from Michael and spent a bit of time getting the BumDitTy pattern down (REALLLL EASY on this instrument). as anyone who has seen the vids of Michael playing it soes make a pleasant sound, very much like a 5-string banjo. I got a few tunes down on it and made pretty fast progress. After about a year I bit the bullet and got myself a 5-string and the step up was not significant. I now play my five string almost exclusivly and use double thumbing, drop thumb and basic bumditty patterns. I still drag out my Dulcijo occasionally and play it mainly as Michael suggests with more double thumb. I also get my son (7) playing on it now and then and he can handle it with some ease. I really should play it more (although I would never sell it) but I really love my 5string :-)

The comments stating that its an instrument for those that cant be @rsed to learn 5string are not valid IMHO. The instrument was, true, a stepping stone for me but there are many players of both Dulcijo and banjo - Michael himself included is a very well accomplished and seasoned 5string player (check out his EZfolk site for some great clawhammer tunes played on a 5string). The Dulcijo has a related but seperate tone to a 5string and is played in the higher range, mostly in a melodic fashion with much fewer brushes and could probably combine well when played with a 5string.

My final comment will be that I am considering buying my next five string from Michael (he makes some lovely, light weight 10inch banjos).


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: GUEST,cockneybanjo
Date: 12 Nov 11 - 09:58 AM

I saw this thread while searching about after seeing a thing called the "licketysplit banjo", which seems to be a three-string banjo about 23" scale length with diatonic frets and a small banjo-style body, 8" by the looks of it.

From what I can see there are various versions of this instrument, under various names. Some have a short re-entrant string, some have three strings the same length. Most have wooden soundboxes, some have banjo-type ones made from small hand drums. At least one variant is sold in two different lengths, referred to as "D" and "G" tunings, which I take to be like the difference between G scale and A scale 5-string banjos.

I note that the dulcijo.com website refers to it being best suited to playing in D or A, so I assume it's tuned dAD or aDA?

As far as I can see, it is played in a clawhammer style or with a plectrum. You could just as easily play a 5-string banjo in that fashion, quite a few people do.

Apart from being simple to make and easy to play, because the diatonic fretting means all the chords are either one finger or barre, I don't really see the point. It appears to be necessary to retune or use a capo to play in other chords or minors, which I suppose is to be expected of a diatonic fretboard.

It seems to have the disadvantage of being very light and needs holding onto while playing, like - say - a cookie-tin banjo or banjo-uke. I suspect that like a banjo-uke, it's the sort of thing that is fun in small doses but people would soon feel it had made its contribution.


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: GUEST,Carapace49
Date: 28 Jan 12 - 09:34 PM

Dulcijos are much more robust than our last poster suggests. Michael Fox has won several straightup competitions against 5-string players, & to play it well requires as much effort. The effort is just redirected toward making the instrument reallly sing without having to devote so much of your energy to solving chord complexities. Dulcijos are simple to retune to your chosen key. I find the instrument challenging & fun...much more of a musician's instrument than the Lickety Split...which is just a glorified strumstick. IMHO


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: GUEST,randymor
Date: 29 Jan 12 - 04:15 AM

Dulcijos are pretty easy to build and play. If you can build a 3-string cigar box guitar, or a cake/cookie tin stick-dulcimer, then you can build a dulcijo. What you use as a sound box is not as important as the string arrangement and tuning. It uses a stick- or mountain-dulcimer style diatonic fretboard. But, unlike a stick dulcimer the third string is not a bass string, but rather a 3/4 length melody string with the tuner just above the 4th fret as I recall. This arrangement, with the re-entrantly tuned 3rd short drone string makes it sound more banjo-y as compared to stick dulcimers like the McNally Strumstick. This arrangement of strings and re-entrant tuning also makes the instrument ideal for playing clawhammer style. For more info, you can check out this discussion on Cigar Box Nation: link.

-Rand


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jan 12 - 05:00 AM

To answer Cockneybanjo's question, the dulcijo is typically tuned to
A'-A-D as follows:

String 1: D (a whole step above middle C)
String 2: A (below middle C)
String 3: A' (an octave higher than String 2)

Also, the "variants" to the "licketysplit banjo" you mentioned (the ones with "three strings the same length" with wooden soundboxes and built and "sold in two different lengths, referred to as 'D' and 'G' tunings"), sounds to me to be the McNally Strumstick. As he (Bob McNally) holds the trademark on "Strumstick", this type of instrument made by other makers is sold under dozens of different names, with "stick dulcimer" apparently emerging from the others as the best generic name for this class of instruments. All feature the diatonic fretboard of the mountain dulcimer, 3 strings (or courses), and the same tunings and tablature. The main difference is that string 1 and 3 have been reversed so that they are in the same order as on a guitar -- which makes the instrument easier to play. The mountain dulcimer is played sitting with the instrument on a table, or in your lap in front of you. To be playable with a noter (stick), the string 1 is the one closest to your nose. So, to find tabs, check out websites pertaining to mountain dulcimers, stick dulcimers, cigar box guitars and/or canjos. Same for dulcijos, except for maybe clawhammer, in which case www.ez-folk.com might be best for.

Most of what you said is correct. The dulcijo is not really an instrument being marketed to experienced banjo player, but rather to novice ("want-to-be") instrument player who are otherwise intimidated by 5 (or 6) strings and 12 notes per octave. As such, it's a great instrument for beginners.

-Rand.


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Subject: RE: Dulcijo: Anyone Play?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Sep 12 - 05:14 PM

Hello
I appreciate your interest in the dulcijo. I market the dulcijo to anyone interested in having fun playing music (which to me is what it is all about). I truly believe that playing a dulcijo can improve the playing of a chromatic banjo. I have been amazed at how the dulcijo has been accepted at the fiddlers conventions in the southern USA where clawhammer banjo is very popular. When I first played in competitions I thought I may get disqualified for not having five strings but was pleasantly surprised the judges and crowds were very receptive. I feel sometimes the dulcijo has a bit unfair advantage over the 5-string chromatic banjo because of its ability to bring out the melody so clearly on the high end of the scale. 5-string banjo players could do this but seldom do because of the complexity of dealing with all the unused, unnecessary frets. I still appreciate the 5-string chromatic banjo but I feel the dulcijo is a completely different instrument that just like any banjo, is liked buy some, and not by others.


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