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Appalachian Dulcimer

MikeRebec 28 Nov 07 - 03:23 PM
Desert Dancer 28 Nov 07 - 03:32 PM
Les in Chorlton 28 Nov 07 - 04:19 PM
Jack Blandiver 28 Nov 07 - 04:27 PM
MikeRebec 28 Nov 07 - 05:15 PM
Sorcha 28 Nov 07 - 05:49 PM
katlaughing 28 Nov 07 - 06:01 PM
katlaughing 28 Nov 07 - 06:12 PM
Jack Blandiver 29 Nov 07 - 04:54 AM
Les in Chorlton 29 Nov 07 - 06:28 AM
GUEST,clockwatcher 29 Nov 07 - 07:51 AM
Jack Blandiver 29 Nov 07 - 09:16 AM
Les in Chorlton 29 Nov 07 - 09:40 AM
Jack Blandiver 29 Nov 07 - 09:52 AM
GUEST,leeneia 29 Nov 07 - 10:19 AM
Les in Chorlton 29 Nov 07 - 11:19 AM
Jack Blandiver 29 Nov 07 - 12:59 PM
Les in Chorlton 29 Nov 07 - 01:13 PM
MikeRebec 29 Nov 07 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,Arkie 29 Nov 07 - 01:42 PM
GUEST,Dulcimer42 29 Nov 07 - 02:29 PM
MikeRebec 29 Nov 07 - 04:05 PM
Irene M 29 Nov 07 - 04:38 PM
katlaughing 29 Nov 07 - 05:11 PM
Bobert 29 Nov 07 - 06:24 PM
Les in Chorlton 30 Nov 07 - 03:45 AM
Jack Blandiver 30 Nov 07 - 04:12 AM
Les in Chorlton 30 Nov 07 - 04:31 AM
GUEST,leeneia 30 Nov 07 - 10:54 AM
MikeRebec 30 Nov 07 - 01:26 PM
Les in Chorlton 30 Nov 07 - 01:43 PM
katlaughing 30 Nov 07 - 02:06 PM
MikeRebec 30 Nov 07 - 02:13 PM
Sean Belt 30 Nov 07 - 02:40 PM
katlaughing 30 Nov 07 - 04:05 PM
Bobert 30 Nov 07 - 05:01 PM
GUEST,Arkie 30 Nov 07 - 08:26 PM
katlaughing 01 Dec 07 - 12:19 AM
The Fooles Troupe 01 Dec 07 - 04:01 AM
Canberra Chris 01 Dec 07 - 04:42 AM
GUEST,strad 01 Dec 07 - 06:27 AM
Bobert 01 Dec 07 - 08:15 AM
Irene M 01 Dec 07 - 10:41 AM
katlaughing 19 Jan 09 - 01:03 PM
GUEST,GUEST dulcimer player 19 Jan 09 - 04:59 PM
Myrtle's cook 20 Jan 09 - 08:35 AM
GUEST,leeneia 20 Jan 09 - 11:40 AM
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Subject: Appalacian Dulcimer
From: MikeRebec
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 03:23 PM

Regular readers and contributors to this forum will, perhaps, know me as a rennaissance woodwind player, ex-of Rebec, a group who did the club and festival scene back in the 1970s/80s. At the time I played mainly woodwinds with a spattering of glockenspiel, guitar, bowed psaltery and other exotica. I played the Appalacian dulcimer also but not in the exquisite finger style played by such as Roger Nicholson. I have recently bought another, (my original went with my wife in the split!) an American made model and am very pleased with it. It has a lovely tone and responsive to play.
I am messaging to ask if anyone has any tips on good published tutors. I have the record Nonesuch for Dulcimer by Roger Nicholson as well as the tab booklet, both of which I bought many years ago and they have been gathering dust so I ahve decided to put them to good use. The tab booklet is lovely and the pieces quite challenging.
Any tips from anyone out there?


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 03:32 PM

[just fixing the subject spelling]


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 04:19 PM

I think you should consider finding people who play mandola, guitar and Bohdran and practicing good tunes in my kitchen


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 04:27 PM

Not a direct answer I knw, but I play an antique Hungarian Citera, one the family of European Board Zithers (Langeliek, Hummel, Langspil, Epinette des Vosgues etc.) of which the Appalachian Dulcimer is the more well known descendent.

Have a look at May Carol for an idea of how it sounds.


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: MikeRebec
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 05:15 PM

Thanks very much Sedayne for this absolutely wonderful clip. I have a particular interest in Hungary; I played there a couple of times in the early 1990s and learnt some of the language before I went.I an also keen to get a set of hungarian bagpipes and have someone looking out for me over there.
I read recently that the Appalacian dulcimer is not strictly speaking a dulcimer but a variation on the board zither family. I have always been a little hazy re the difference between dulcimers, zithers and psalteries. Perhaps you could clarify?
Viszontlatasra as they say in Hungary!


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: Sorcha
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 05:49 PM

Are you going to finger pick or strum? Noter or fingers? Chords?


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: katlaughing
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 06:01 PM

Lot more strings on a zither or psaltery than on a dulcimer. Usually a mtn. dulcimer only has three or four strings. The Mother of the Appalachian Dulcimer, Jean Ritchie, is a member, here, under the moniker "kytrad." We've had a lot of threads with great advice and I highly recommend her book and also a book by "Larkin."

Here's Jean's site: Jean Ritchie and, here's the other book: Larkin Bryant.

I'll go see what old threads I can dig up.

Nice piece, Sedayne.

kat


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: katlaughing
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 06:12 PM

Here are a couple which might be of interest:

Unusual Dulcimer playing

Learning to play Mountain Dulcimer (started out specific to the UK.)

If you put "dulcimer" in the search box for titles of thread, then set the age filter back you find will lots more.

Good luck. I love my "dulcimore," but I need to do more with her!


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 29 Nov 07 - 04:54 AM

The common feature of all the European Board Zithers is the diatonic finger board; the earliest iconographical evidence for this would appear to be the instrument Praetorius illustrates as a 'Schietholt' although other authorities (Hortense Panum for one) would trace this instrument (which she somewhat bafflingly calls a 'Balk Monochord') back to the monochordal 'canons' of Pythagoras!

So much for the history; the reality is a fairly ubiquitous distribution throughout Europe, from the Hungarian Citera to the Norwegian Langeliek (and Icelandic Langspil), taking in the French Epinette des Vogues & the Swedish Hummel on the way, and more besides, which would at least imply an ancient origin even though the evidence is a bit thin on the ground.

All these instruments have a diatonic finger board, although on the Citera, this is augmented by a second row of frets giving the 'missing' notes of the scale without detracting from the character of the diatonic fretting. Like the other European board zithers, the remaining strings are drones - up to twenty over three octaves (!) - which means you're fairly limited as to what key you can play in, unless you buy another Citera (I have two on the go right now...)

Essentially ZITHER is a category of stringed instrument in which the strings run the full length of the soundbox - so this includes the psaltery, Appalachian Dulcimer, Langeliek, Humel, Epinette, Citera, Hammer Dulcimers, Kantele, Santur, Koto, Kanun etc.

Being an American instrument, I would assume the Appalachian Dulcimer derives in some way from the European Board Zithers - certainly there's a lot of discussion about this on line. To this end, I've recently joined a Dulcimer Forum which you might be intersted in:

Dulcimer Player's Forum

And not forgetting the venerable Nonesuch Dulcimer Club

Have fun!


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 29 Nov 07 - 06:28 AM

Did the European Zither and its predecessors have steel or at least metal strings?

Is their any evidence of ealier models with gut strings?


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: GUEST,clockwatcher
Date: 29 Nov 07 - 07:51 AM

By the way, I know the ladies tend to have the upper hand these days, but what kind of a separation/divorce would deprive a musician of his instrument ?


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 29 Nov 07 - 09:16 AM

Interesting question, Les - all the examples of the European Board Zither I know of, including the Mountain Dulcimer, have metal strings; a lot of Hungarian Citeras being strung with fencing and / or piano wire, or anything else that came to hand.

I can't see any practical reason why gut wouldn't have been used, but having once strung an old Mountain Dulcimer with nylon I wasn't too impressed with the results. I guess it's all down to the resonance of what really is quite a primitive piece of kit generally made by village carpenters rather than skilled luthiers. That said a lot of Northern European Bowed Lyres (jouhikko, talharp etc.) are of an even more basic construction & tend to be strung with twisted horse-hair! Have a look at:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=2iw7zyyVRAw

The German Concert Zithers on the other hand, seem to be exclusively strung with gut (see Ebay for numerous examples) unlike the 'Chord Harps' & 'Autoharps' which again are metal.

Thanks for the kind words by the way, Kat & Mike - much appreciated; Youtube makes for a lovely virtual singaround...


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 29 Nov 07 - 09:40 AM

A was looking for a marker date. Steel strings became generally available about ...... well I don't know. i guess 18C?

They make all kinds of new instruments possible because they have a big bright sound - good for dance I suspect


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 29 Nov 07 - 09:52 AM

There's been metal strings as long as there's been metal & the technology to draw wire; early (Celtic) harps were strung with bronze & certain Ancient Egyptian instruments were too. Metal strings were known in Ancient Greece so we're talking ancient antiquity here!

I don't think it's a matter of one thing replacing another, rather a matter of horses for courses (forgive the pun!).


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 29 Nov 07 - 10:19 AM

I have borrowed or owned a few books on playing dulcimer. Most overwhelm with too many tunings and too many fussy tab charts. I don't think I've kept even one of them.

Here's how I play:

1. I put a thumbpick on my right thumb. Different picks produce slightly different sounds. You can play without the thumbpick, but the sound is pretty soft.

2. Have you ever played piano or guitar [or similar]? If so, you will have mastered strumming and fingerpicking. I use the right hand to do one or the other, usually fingerpicking.

3. Tune the dulcimer in D-A-A. The fat string farthest away is the D below middle C, same as on a guitar. The other strings are both tuned to the A above that.

The higher-pitched string closest to you is called the melody string. Some people put two melody strings on, very close together, but I dont.

To tune the dulcimer to itself, press down near the fourth fret of the D string, producing an A. Match the other strings to it.

4. I don't know if you have a 6 1/2 fret [produces G#) so I'll assume you don't here.

5. Play a scale in D. D is the third fret, abt 18 cm from the left end. Use a finger on the left hand to push down on the string near the 3rd fret. Use the fingers of the right hand to pick out a pattern.

[Some people play all their melody notes with the index finger of the left hand, sliding it from place to place. I don't think that's a good idea - too much pressure and no rest for that index finger. I flicker my left hand, playing the melody with various fingers, the way a piano player would.]

Here's the beauty of D A A. For most notes, you will get a good chord by using your left index finger to play the melody string and another finger, either middle or index. (whichever is comfortable) to fret the D string one fret behind the melody string.

Try that, moving up the scale. It is very simple, and very harmonious.

Two exceptions - For the note B, you have to put the second finger on the A [middle]string where the note G is. This produces a G chord.

You will get a prettier accomapaniment to the note A if you put your second finger on the A string at the 5th fret [F#]. This gives you a nice D chord.

Now sound out a song that you know by heart. If it has

eighth note - just hit the melody string with the thumb pick

quarter note - melody string followed by one pluck of the middle string (use a fingertip)

longer note - hit the melody note with the thumb pick, then pluck out a soft, running chord accomapaniment with your other fingertips, using one sound per eighth note A half note, for instance, gets four notes. Try melody-A string-Dstring-A string, for example. Or you could just brush your fingers over all the strings and let the sound die away. It's your choice.

A dotted quarter would get three plucks or a shorter brush.

If you want a loud sound, make the same moves with the left hand but use a triangular pick in the right hand to brush [whack] all the strings. Actually, I forego the pick and just use the backs of my nails. It's easier on the hands.

Once in a while, I just forget all chords and wham it. Some people, that's all they do. I pity them. But for release of aggression, try On the Bridge of Avignon or As We March-ed Down to Fenario without any chords. It can be done.
=========

Minor songs: to play minor songs, I tune the dulcimer G-A-D. Then I used simple music theory to find where the chords are. ["Here's a D, here's an F, here's an A. This must be D minor!"] The chords don't fit a simple pattern, as in D-A-A, but they are playable. I bought the package of small stickers in different colors [they kind of stickers they sell for kids] and used them to mark the chords. For example, two blue stars mark the frets for Dm. I put the stickers on the left end of the spaces so they aren't being rubbed all the time.
They've been there at least two years with no damage to the dulcimer.


Print this out, try playing and see if you like it. If it works for you, I'll tell you more.


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 29 Nov 07 - 11:19 AM

"There's been metal strings as long as there's been metal & the technology to draw wire; early (Celtic) harps were strung with bronze & certain Ancient Egyptian instruments were too. Metal strings were known in Ancient Greece so we're talking ancient antiquity here!"

was the technology good enough to produce a range of wire perhaps including wrapped wire to give a range of pitch?


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 29 Nov 07 - 12:59 PM

Difficult to say for sure, Les - but look at the jewellery that's survived and you get some idea that pretty much anything was possible. Some of the tomb paintings from Ancient Egypt depict harps with strings that must have been in excess of six foot in length; one can only ponder what they were like, but plain gut of this length would be unweildy. Maybe some sort of 'cat-line' / multi-core arrangement seems likely, but if they could draw wire of the delicacy we see in the jewellery (of this length!) then who can say? Never underestimate the ancients!


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 29 Nov 07 - 01:13 PM

Thanks Sedayne,

I wouldn't underestimate, but technologies do have limitations


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: MikeRebec
Date: 29 Nov 07 - 01:35 PM

Thanks everyone. I've just got in from work and was very pleased to find all this advice which i shall be looking into. My instrument has four strings; the first a double course followed by two singles and I am experimenting with Ionian and Dorian modes although I realise that there are many others. As I said, I used to play it many years ago but only a simple strumming style. Sorcha,I now want to try a more adventurous finger picking style and yes, I do play the guitar although fairly basically as I am essentially a woodwind and bagpipe player.
Thanks especially for the history Sedayne and the playing description leeneia and katlaughing for the book tips. And thanks Les for...well just for being Les!


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: GUEST,Arkie
Date: 29 Nov 07 - 01:42 PM

Mike, Since you already play several instruments, if you play by ear, you should have many tunes in your head.   That is an important step. You should also be familiar with the diatonic scale which accounts for the unique spacing on the appalachian dulcimer fret board. Most dulcimers made by modern builders have a #fret between the sixth and seventh frets, sometimes called 6# in dulcimer tab books. While the earliest historical dulcimers did not have this fret, someone, possibly Howie Mitchell, discovered the addition would give a lot more versatility to the instrument particularly in the DAD tuning which I still call a Mixolydian tuning. With your background you would probably be interested in the various tunings which allow the Appalachian dulcimer to play in a variety of modal scales which you probably used in rennaissance music. Since you are interested in fingerstyle playing and already familiar with Roger Nicholson, you might also look for recordings by Dan Evans another superb English player, Jerry Rockwell, an American player, I think Jerry has a web site, and Mark Tindle. There are quite a few other fine fingerpickers as well.   The magazine Dulcimer Players News prints tabs and arrangements. In the US there are quite a few dulcimer gatherings scattered around the country where one can learn and share ideas and be exposed to some great music and people.


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: GUEST,Dulcimer42
Date: 29 Nov 07 - 02:29 PM

Go to www.TullGlazener.com    He is a master dulcimer player and teacher. You'll find lots of information, instruction and music there.


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: MikeRebec
Date: 29 Nov 07 - 04:05 PM

Thanks to these last two contribotors. That's what the Mudcat Forum is all about I guess; all of us sharing our knowledge and expertise in the furtherance of music and the enjoyment thereof.
Arkie, my dulcimer does indeed have that extra fret (6#)and I am having to adjust the tabs in the Roger Nicholson book (not too onerous)and looking at the photo of his instrument on the book and album covers it's obvious that his instrument does inded lack that fret. Yes, over the last 30 years or so I do have a large repertoire of tunes that I can adapt.
Dulcimer 42 thanks for this link. My weekend is going to be full following up all this advice. Thanks a bunch everyone; I knew the world of dulcimer players out there wouldn't let me down!
Mike.


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: Irene M
Date: 29 Nov 07 - 04:38 PM

I have a dulcimer made in 1977 by a friend, now long dead, Michael Shephard, who lived in Taynuilt, Argyll.
He was a clever so and so. He made and supplied a couple of removable frets. Copper sheet with a fret soldered on. They clip onto the fingerboard where required.


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: katlaughing
Date: 29 Nov 07 - 05:11 PM

Oh, I'll have to go look. I think we had something, recently, about removable frets somebody is marketing!

Arkie, thanks for the list. I am listening to a very nice youtube video of Jerry Rockwell.

This kid does some neat stuff on his: More youtube dulcimer playing.

This one is good in that you can see what he's doing with his fingers and strumming pretty well and he gets pretty fancy with plucking and all: Click Here.

(I am adding these as I love dulcimer and it's fun to watch the different folks.)


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: Bobert
Date: 29 Nov 07 - 06:24 PM

Now I know I'll get the ***blast*** for this but the mountain (Applalacian) dulcimer is one of the easiest stringed instruments to play...

There just aren't that many fingered combinations on the freting hand that work and, in essence, even though it is a 4 stringed instrument it really is fretted as only a 3 stringed instrument seein' as the top strings are fingered together...

Now for the picking hand, you also don't have but so many combinations... Strum or pick... It's still purdy mush a 3 stringed instrument...

Changing tunings does not change the over all geometry of the instrument so here's my advice:

Just play the thing!!! The only difference between good mountain dulcimer players and average ones (which I consider myself) is the amount of time invested in playing the danged thing... Anyone who plays a tenor geetar or a banjo should be able to play amountain dulcimer average with just a couple hours practice...

So my advice again is to just play the thing...

Okay, now I am ready to get a good Catbox Blast so blast away...

LOL...

B~


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 30 Nov 07 - 03:45 AM

Hobgoblin in Manchester have an enormous dulcimer with 2 finger boards facing opposite ways. two people could play at the same time - facing each other, as it were.

Is this a one of?


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 30 Nov 07 - 04:12 AM

That would be a Courting Dulcimer, Les; the idea being that it would be played by a young couple sitting facing one another, & as long as the old folks could hear them duetting, they could be sure no hanky-panky was afoot... Lots about them on the web.

Where is Hobgoblin in Manchester by the way? I'll have to check it out next time I'm in.


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 30 Nov 07 - 04:31 AM

Thanks Sedayne,

it's above the legendary "Johnny Roadhouse" music shop on Oxford Road.

http://www.hobgoblin.com/manchester/index.php

It really does have a most amazing collection of stuff.


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 30 Nov 07 - 10:54 AM

Bobert, I agree that the dulcimer is very easy to play. I don't think it's quite as easy as you said, but MikeRebec is a musician, and he will probably make great progress given a few pointers.


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: MikeRebec
Date: 30 Nov 07 - 01:26 PM

Here here! Thanks leeneia. Yes Bobert I agree that it's very, very easy to play the simple style of just strumming with a soft plectrum whilst fretting with the left hand even faster tunes. Perhaps the hardest thing is to keep the bugger balanced on your knees! However, the finger picking style is a little more challenging, for me at least, and our last cointributor is correct in that a few pointers from more experienced players will make a great difference to my progress. However, when I am going to get time to practice all the other instruments I play? God only knows. (cue Beach Boys!!!) I'll never be an excellent player of one instrument as I just want to play so many instruments but even though I spread myself so thinly I at least get the enjoyment of the great diversity of the instruments I play. The only thing I don't touch is brass as the embouchure I really find impossible. I'm even having a go on the 'cello at the moment! You must all think I'm mad!


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 30 Nov 07 - 01:43 PM

Mad? No Mike not at all

Quick get round withe the straight jacket


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: katlaughing
Date: 30 Nov 07 - 02:06 PM

I have a strip of no-slip shelf liner material LIKE THIS to use under my lap dulcimer. It works great to keep it on my lap and the shelf liner is just the right size and you can cut it to length.


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: MikeRebec
Date: 30 Nov 07 - 02:13 PM

I had a look Kat. Very amusing yet also very practical I'm sure. $26.14; a bargain but the postage would be crippling! I'm sure I can pick some up in England.


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: Sean Belt
Date: 30 Nov 07 - 02:40 PM

Bobert, I'd say it's about like any other musical instrument (and I play many of the stringed ones including the Appalachian dulcimer) in that it's relatively easy to learn to play. However, it takes some time and dedication to learn to play it well.


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: katlaughing
Date: 30 Nov 07 - 04:05 PM

Mike, I'll reckon you could get it just about anywhere and for a lot less. It is available in grocery stores and places like WalMart over here. The dulcimer place I bought my instrument from calls it a LapLoc no slip pad and sells them in their kits(scroll down)for $6. I hadn't thought of them for a link when I posted above.:-)


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: Bobert
Date: 30 Nov 07 - 05:01 PM

Well, that's purdy much what I've said... The more you play it the easier it gets... And if one allready plays other stringed instruments and has gotten the finger-picking down then you are half way there to being able to play a lap (church, Appalacian) dulcimer well... Now I do recommend using finger "picks" even though I finger pick guitars without them... They give you a little more favorable picking geometry with the thing on yer lap...

Yes, holding the sumabich on the lap is a problem and requires some work on the knee on the frtting hand... Also, I know it is a sin but you can cheat a little by placing yer picky finger down on the top of the dulcimer while figer picking it provides a little stability on the "stern" end of the instrument...

BTW, in case folks aren't aware of it being called a church dulcimer, it is because it was used as the only accompanyiing instrument in many rural churches where organs or pianos were not affordable...

B~


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: GUEST,Arkie
Date: 30 Nov 07 - 08:26 PM

Many players use straps to hold the dulcimer in place and it also helps to have seating the right height.

I am seeing more players flat picking on dulcimer these days and they get an effect similar to finger picking.


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: katlaughing
Date: 01 Dec 07 - 12:19 AM

Guess I have sinned then as I use my pinkie for stability sometimes.:-0


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 01 Dec 07 - 04:01 AM

ooooooooooooooo.......


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: Canberra Chris
Date: 01 Dec 07 - 04:42 AM

Please don't 'pity' those of us who don't play chords on the dulcimer. We are using it as a modal instrument, as designed to create a different kind of harmonic effect. By all means treat it as a three string guitar with missing frets - that's fun too!

May I suggest a drawback to using grippy cloths to keep it still, which I have done too? A significant part of the sound of the instrument comes from the vibration of the under board, and a grippy cloth damps it more.

I sometimes play it on a surface than can transmit some additional resonance, even a table - or try a drum!

I have just bought a 'Notebook Caddy', which is designed as a minimal computer table for a notebook computer. It looks more like a super cantilevered music stand on castors, with a board top that can adjust to any angle or height, and can slide in to hold a dulcimer in the natural playing position just above your sitting thighs, but secure and giving extra resonance. Great music stand too!

Chris


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: GUEST,strad
Date: 01 Dec 07 - 06:27 AM

Non-slip material is usually available at yacht chandlers. It stops the plates and drinks landing in your lap when the boat is canted over.


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: Bobert
Date: 01 Dec 07 - 08:15 AM

Oh, I forgot... Another interestin' thing you can do with the lap dulcimer is use the heavy slide that dobro players use.. Now that is real sinful... But it works... And sounds great once one perfects the technique of playin' with a slide...

I play an unfretted cigar-box geeter with a slide... It is similar in some respects to the dulcimer so there is a lot of "positive transference"... I've also played tenor geeters going back to the 60's and the finger picking is similar...

And, lastly...

...bad Kat, bad...

Awww, jus' funnin'... I hold my pinky down purdy hard when playin' my dulcimers (I own 2) 'cause it's the most stabilizing way I have figured out to keep the bugger from wandering away...

B~


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: Irene M
Date: 01 Dec 07 - 10:41 AM

Mike,
Try Lakeland Ltd.

I have a strip of stick-on furry draught excluder on the back of my dulcimer. Can't sit it on a solid surface, but works fine on my lap.


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: katlaughing
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 01:03 PM

There's a lot of fun stuff, info, and precursors to the Appalachian dulcimer to be found at Wilfried Ulrich's site from Germany. I don't know if that link will show the English translation or not. Pretty neat stuff!


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: GUEST,GUEST dulcimer player
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 04:59 PM

A strip of none slip fabric across my knees stops the dulcimer from sliding. Got mine ( a sizeable roll) from a caravanning shop, also stops things rolling round in caravan cupboards! Cost less than a tenner.


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: Myrtle's cook
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 08:35 AM

I use a chamois leather to stop my dulcimer skidding away, it doesn't seem to dampen the sound any worse than playing direct onto jeans+leg. Think I got that tip from one of Jean Ritchie's books.


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Subject: RE: Appalachian Dulcimer
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 11:40 AM

I don't play mine on my lap. I decided that doing that was forcing me to tense up my shoulders too long.

My husband, a six-footer, wanted to buy a 'pub table' which is higher than the usual dining table. I find that the pub table is a nice height for playing dulcimer for me (5'3") if I stand up. Sitting works too, but somehow standing is more relaxed.


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