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Beginer's mountain dulcimer?

Hagman 09 Dec 14 - 09:07 PM
Hagman 09 Dec 14 - 09:08 PM
nickp 10 Dec 14 - 06:37 AM
GUEST,Rahere 10 Dec 14 - 07:23 AM
Jack Campin 10 Dec 14 - 08:31 AM
GMGough 10 Dec 14 - 09:07 AM
PHJim 10 Dec 14 - 09:18 AM
GUEST,Arkie 10 Dec 14 - 09:25 AM
nickp 10 Dec 14 - 09:26 AM
GUEST,Rahere 10 Dec 14 - 10:19 AM
PHJim 10 Dec 14 - 11:10 AM
GUEST,leeneia 10 Dec 14 - 11:21 AM
nickp 10 Dec 14 - 01:16 PM
Jack Campin 10 Dec 14 - 02:19 PM
nickp 11 Dec 14 - 03:24 PM
Andrez 13 Dec 14 - 05:17 PM
Andrez 13 Dec 14 - 05:18 PM
Hagman 13 Dec 14 - 07:27 PM
Andrez 14 Dec 14 - 04:58 AM
Andrez 14 Dec 14 - 05:03 AM
GUEST,BigDaddy 15 Dec 14 - 12:28 AM
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Subject: Beginner's mountain dulcimer?
From: Hagman
Date: 09 Dec 14 - 09:07 PM

Have a young friend interested in picking up a mountain dulcimer (aka Applachian dulcimer).

He's a newbie, so doesn't want to buy top-end at this stage, in case it's not really his bag.

Any suggestions for make, model, etc.?

Tips, tricks, caveats?

Books, videos?

He's in Australia, so freight is a factor...

Any help would be appreciated.


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Subject: RE: Beginer's mountain dulcimer?
From: Hagman
Date: 09 Dec 14 - 09:08 PM

Obviously meant "Beginner's".

Hope his dulcimer playing is better than my proof-reading.....


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Subject: RE: Beginer's mountain dulcimer?
From: nickp
Date: 10 Dec 14 - 06:37 AM

One of the better makes is McSpadden. They are US based so that might not help. Make sure they get one with the extra '6.5' fret


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Subject: RE: Beginer's mountain dulcimer?
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 10 Dec 14 - 07:23 AM

There's an entire beginners section on EverythingDulcimer.com. The site covers all forms of dulcimer, hammered, bowed and Mountain.
A waist strap's very useful, although some people play it cradled.
A few plecs and a slip-in on the side to house the one he settles on
Something to harden the left hand - fingering thin metal strings...
A side-gripping capo with single string stops.


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Subject: RE: Beginer's mountain dulcimer?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Dec 14 - 08:31 AM

This guy is in Australia and looks like he knows what he's doing:

http://www.dulcimers.com.au/


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Subject: RE: Beginer's mountain dulcimer?
From: GMGough
Date: 10 Dec 14 - 09:07 AM

Definitely get the extra six and a half fret.

I started with Neal Hellman's "Richard Farina Dulcimer Book" and Leo
Kretzner's "Dulcimer Fair". Both great books for chords as well as tunes
- especially if you have the albums. Neal released his book as a free
PDF some time ago. I can't find a current link on the web but I
shouldn't think Neal would mind if you sent me a PM.


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Subject: RE: Beginer's mountain dulcimer?
From: PHJim
Date: 10 Dec 14 - 09:18 AM

GUEST:Rahere suggested a side gripping capo. I'm not sure what that is, but my dulcimer capo is a chop-stick with an elastic band that goes around the body of the dulcimer. I also have a single string capo that is made from a Bic pen lid.


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Subject: RE: Beginer's mountain dulcimer?
From: GUEST,Arkie
Date: 10 Dec 14 - 09:25 AM

I would also recommend a McSpadden. If the instrument is ordered without having a chance to actually try it out, one can be assured the McSpadden will look nice, be accurately fretted, action set appropriately, and will sound good. It has been many years now since I built dulcimers in the McSpadden shop but we used to see a lot of instruments that were not really playable. That may no longer be true but it is a concern. I think they still ship outside the country. Finding a used instrument may also be an option. Again the McSpadden will be a good choice if one is available.


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Subject: RE: Beginer's mountain dulcimer?
From: nickp
Date: 10 Dec 14 - 09:26 AM

Nice suggestion Jack C.

typical capos can be found here.

Brass ones are the best although expensive. Wooden ones tend to flex a little and so don't grip cleanly (my wife uses both) on her McSpaddens.


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Subject: RE: Beginer's mountain dulcimer?
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 10 Dec 14 - 10:19 AM

I was too lazy to look it up - it's a spider mini capo.

It's got a lever clamp to hold a bridge over the strings, which carries cam-action stops, so you can set up for more than just a single key, extending the options that 6.5 offers.


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Subject: RE: Beginer's mountain dulcimer?
From: PHJim
Date: 10 Dec 14 - 11:10 AM

chopstick/elastic band capo

Bic pen cap partial capo


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Subject: RE: Beginer's mountain dulcimer?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 10 Dec 14 - 11:21 AM

My first fretted (mountain) dulcimer was made from a Black Mountain instruments kit. It was easy to put together, but my husband and I are both used to woodworking.

I still play it, especially taking it on trips.

Their kits ranged from $136 to $155. I think that a kit would ship better than a finished instrument.

I don't play it on my lap - that absorbs the sound. I play dulcimer on a table, using Blu-tak to fasten it down. It's much louder that way.

IMPORTANT - When you are done playing, don't yank the dulcimer off the Blu-tak. Push your fingertips between the Blu-tak and the table, loosen the Blu-tak and then peel it off the dulcimer.

Why? I found that bottom was coming off my dulcimer and I had to glue it back on.


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Subject: RE: Beginer's mountain dulcimer?
From: nickp
Date: 10 Dec 14 - 01:16 PM

To get round the loss of sound make (or buy if there's a suitable one) a 'possum board'. Basically a flat piece of wood that lifts the instrument off the knees and allows it to resonate. Although McSpadden sell them for their models I'm in the process of making one from an old pine shelf about 1/2 inch deep. Several examples of photos by googling.


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Subject: RE: Beginer's mountain dulcimer?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Dec 14 - 02:19 PM

It's surprisingly difficult to find a picture that illustrates why it's called a possum board:

http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/photograph/16886/possum-skins-drying


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Subject: RE: Beginer's mountain dulcimer?
From: nickp
Date: 11 Dec 14 - 03:24 PM

Ah! So that's it! *grin*


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Subject: RE: Beginer's mountain dulcimer?
From: Andrez
Date: 13 Dec 14 - 05:17 PM

It would be useful to know what sate your friend is in Hagman. Here is a link to a maker in Melbourne.

http://www.wildwoodinstruments.com.au

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: Beginer's mountain dulcimer?
From: Andrez
Date: 13 Dec 14 - 05:18 PM

That should be "State" of course!

Andrez


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Subject: RE: Beginer's mountain dulcimer?
From: Hagman
Date: 13 Dec 14 - 07:27 PM

Most grateful for all the advice. Thanks, all. Most valuable information, and all will be heeded.

(We're in Melbourne, Andrez - and I know the Daylesford area - it's just up the highway about 90 mins...)


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Subject: RE: Beginer's mountain dulcimer?
From: Andrez
Date: 14 Dec 14 - 04:58 AM

Hey so am I. Wanna catch up for a coffee in inner Melb H?

We could PM if you like.

Cheers

Andrez


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Subject: RE: Beginer's mountain dulcimer?
From: Andrez
Date: 14 Dec 14 - 05:03 AM

Hmmm shoulda mentioned I got a dulcimer o' me own but a bit rusty playing these days. It was made by Morgan McKay. Not sure if he's still with us or not but I tried googling and found what might be Morgan with a music shop in Warburton.

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: Beginer's mountain dulcimer?
From: GUEST,BigDaddy
Date: 15 Dec 14 - 12:28 AM

McSpadden around $400 here. Black Mountain closer to $200. Depends on how much money the beginner has to play with.


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