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Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?

katlaughing 16 Jul 03 - 01:54 PM
black walnut 16 Jul 03 - 02:01 PM
KateG 16 Jul 03 - 02:21 PM
GUEST,Russ 16 Jul 03 - 11:11 PM
rangeroger 16 Jul 03 - 11:30 PM
Bert 17 Jul 03 - 02:08 AM
katlaughing 17 Jul 03 - 11:44 AM
JohnInKansas 17 Jul 03 - 01:08 PM
katlaughing 17 Jul 03 - 01:13 PM
JohnInKansas 17 Jul 03 - 01:44 PM
katlaughing 17 Jul 03 - 02:01 PM
JohnInKansas 17 Jul 03 - 02:22 PM
Ely 17 Jul 03 - 03:39 PM
KateG 17 Jul 03 - 06:12 PM
katlaughing 17 Jul 03 - 10:58 PM
JohnInKansas 18 Jul 03 - 01:00 AM
katlaughing 18 Jul 03 - 03:12 AM
JohnInKansas 18 Jul 03 - 03:40 AM
GUEST,grahamehood@pwcsnet.co.uk 18 Jul 03 - 08:21 AM
GUEST,dwain 18 Jul 03 - 09:15 AM
katlaughing 18 Jul 03 - 11:05 AM
GUEST,dwain@bearmeadow.com 18 Jul 03 - 11:51 AM
KateG 18 Jul 03 - 02:06 PM
katlaughing 18 Jul 03 - 02:20 PM
GUEST,dwain@bearmeadow.com 18 Jul 03 - 02:53 PM
katlaughing 18 Jul 03 - 05:39 PM
rangeroger 18 Jul 03 - 10:55 PM
Bear Meadow 19 Jul 03 - 09:34 AM
katlaughing 19 Jul 03 - 02:54 PM
clansfolk 20 Jul 03 - 06:14 AM
maldenny 20 Jul 03 - 09:20 AM
Bear Meadow 20 Jul 03 - 02:17 PM
JohnInKansas 20 Jul 03 - 02:35 PM
katlaughing 20 Jul 03 - 03:11 PM
JohnInKansas 20 Jul 03 - 04:49 PM
katlaughing 20 Jul 03 - 05:42 PM
clansfolk 21 Jul 03 - 04:54 AM
JohnInKansas 21 Jul 03 - 06:25 AM
maldenny 21 Jul 03 - 06:39 AM
JohnInKansas 21 Jul 03 - 08:20 AM
clansfolk 22 Jul 03 - 05:19 AM
JohnInKansas 22 Jul 03 - 07:59 AM
clansfolk 22 Jul 03 - 12:37 PM
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Subject: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use th
From: katlaughing
Date: 16 Jul 03 - 01:54 PM

Have any of you used these before: Flexi-frets?.

Thanks,

kat


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: black walnut
Date: 16 Jul 03 - 02:01 PM

Kat - Dwain made my (black walnut) dulcimer and it's heavenly! He's a great instrument maker (he made Lorraine Hammond's dulcimer) and a wonderful person to boot. I've never tried the flexi-frets but I imagine that if anyone was seriously into trying them, Dwain would do it right.

~b.w.


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: KateG
Date: 16 Jul 03 - 02:21 PM

I tried one of Dwain's dulcimers at a festival a while back. It had the extra 1 1/2 fret (don't know if it was a flexi). Beautiful instrument, but on short acquaintance that extra fret was throwing me off completely. I needed more than 20 minutes to get used to it. On the other hand, the flexi idea makes a lot of sense, and I've been tempted. The ones I saw on his instruments looked nice and the fretboard was smooth when they were out (a consideration if you like to slide between notes with your fingers). A number of folks on the Sweet Music Digest, have them and like them. Proper installation would be critical.


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 16 Jul 03 - 11:11 PM

If you add enough frets to a dulcimer you can turn it into a dreadful little guitar.


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: rangeroger
Date: 16 Jul 03 - 11:30 PM

Just after I got my dulcimer,I had a 7 1/2 fret installed because I needed it for some fiddle tunes. I think the idea of addeing or subtracting frets is interesting, but I don't think I want my fingerboard grooved to do it.

rr


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: Bert
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 02:08 AM

...but I don't think I want my fingerboard grooved to do it...
Then get really traditional and tie a fret on with gut where you need it..


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 11:44 AM

If the fingerboard is smooth when these are out, then one doesn't need to get it grooved, right? I am a little confused on how you get one of these to stay in place if you don't get your instrument grooved, though.

LOL, Russ, good one!

Bert, I don't think my cats would like that!

Thanks for your comments and info, everyone.

kat


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 01:08 PM

Kat -

If you click on one of the pictures at the link you gave, you get a slightly enlarged picture. Saving that to a file and enlarging, in your own photo/image program, to where it starts to pixilate (about an additional 3x) you can see quite clearly(?) that a very wide fret groove has been cut into the fretboard, and a sort of "barrel" installed, into which the "fret" is inserted, and from which it can apparently be removed.

This is rather "major surgery" to your fretboard, and would, presumedly, mean that you'd have to let the seller do the installation. These don't appear to be something you can just "snap onto" your existing dulcimer.

Although the site you linked is rather vague, my impression is that this is really something he expects to put on a dulcimer he builds for you, although some have noted after-installation on those built by some others.

One might question why, if you need a fret "sometimes," you should not just install the fret conventionally, and "ignore" it when you don't need it. No real need to take it out just because you don't use it in "this tune." Alternatively, one might use "flexi frets" for all of the frets, since - as advertised - this makes refretting much simpler (provided this maker stays in business).

The real question is whether you should really be adding frets to a dulcimer. The long and admirable heritage of the instrument is partly because it is an instrument that has been developed to play a certain kind of music - simple folk(?) tunes for small audiences.

The addition of the 6.5 fret, and perhaps even the 1.5, doesn't make it "not a dulcimer;" but does allow you to shift to a more comfortable range where you can sing along. Much beyond that, though, should likely be seen as a symptom of "instrument envy" that probably means you should get a banjo - or mandolin (those being the most common transitions for frustrated bluegrassers who have only a dulcimer to play with.

In other words, if you want to play music in a style inappropriate to your fine folk instrument, don't bastardize the instrument by trying to make it something it's not meant to be. Get an instrument appropriate to the new music that interests you. (mando or 4-string banjo are good choices, often).

There are other sides to this argument; but most of those I've known who've pushed them end up with a mandolin - eventually.

John


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 01:13 PM

Makes sense to me, John, and other than maybe the 1 1/2, I am QUITE happy with my *simple* instrument, no bluegrasser envy here.:-) I love the Aeolian, anyway; I just need to learn more tunes in it. I certainly don't want to do any major surgery to my dulcimer. I couldn't tell from the online enlarge picture what was going on, so thanks for that.


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 01:44 PM

Kat -

The picture pixilates badly before you can get enough enlargement to see how the flexi goes into the "mount," but it's obviously pretty major surgery.

It appears to be a finely crafted installation, and may have its uses; but I'm afraid it impresses me as a "solution in search of a problem."

The dulcimer gang that shows up at Winfield every year, at the "Holstein Racing Society" tent, includes a number of players who have done some really exotic modified and special-build semi-dulcimer creations. Floating fretboards with fiddle bridges, chromatic fretboards, etc. I have to admire their inventiveness, done some of it myself, but one must ask - "but why?".

John


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 02:01 PM

Indeed, John, I think I'd just move on to a different instrument. The only thing I would prefer is a wider fretboard as I think I would find it easier to chord, etc. if the strings were farther apart. My hand and fingers cramp badly when I try to do too much of it as is. Though, I have to say, until I get out and find some others to play with, I find just using my finger or a noter quite satisfying. So far, the chances of finding another mountain dulcimer player in the near vicinity don't look very good. I'm not quite ready to be an instigator through ads and flyers.:-)


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 02:22 PM

It's a thing to do in secret - ?????

Quite likely there are at least a few around. They do seem to be most everywhere, but quiet. Lin (a.k.a. SWMBO) has found quite a few just by being seen with her "strange apparatus" in public, although we've not done much "joining" with the dulcimer crowd. Too many friends with gitars.

John


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: Ely
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 03:39 PM

I've never even heard of these, but my feeling is that, if you need that many frets, you're just a frustrated mandolin player, anyway, and you need to admit it.

I've tried chromatic dulcimers and I think they're a bad idea. I think the 7 1/2 fret is a good idea because you need it to play most modern tunes and it's unobtrusive. Certain partial frets are fine (I've played for 10 years and never wished I had them, but I know some who use them). Overall, though, my feeling is that if you can't get it by retuning, cross-strumming, or capo-ing, you shouldn't be trying it on the dulcimer


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: KateG
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 06:12 PM

KatLaughing -- JohnInKansas is right, dulcimer players ARE all over the place, once you start looking. The Dulcimer Player News website
http://www.dpnews.com/

has a page listing dulcimer groups in virtually every state of the union. If you are in the NW New Jersey/NE Pennsylvania area, PM me and I'll hook you up with some really nice folks.


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 10:58 PM

Thanks, Kate, for the kind offer, but that's not necessarily the case in the outback of the wild West.:-) I appreciate the link and will see what I can do to drum/bohran(**bg**) up some others through the links, but a quick check shows no clubs in WY, where we used to be and only two in CO, where we are, but those two are across the Rockies, several hours' drives from us.

I know there must be some others out there, but so far, in talking to the best harp maker around here, the people at the fav. venue of folkies, plus the local contra dance people, no one knows of any. I have a feeling most of them are probably out in the small hill/mtn towns away from the valley we are in, but I will keep an eye out. Before we moved here I was excited because I had found a site for a dulcimer club HERE, but when we got here, the site was gone and no one knew a thing about it.

JohninKS, since leaving my parents' home, I've done mostly solitary playing, mostly because I never thought of myself as a performer (except with my brother's classical concerts) and also because I didn't know any Folkies where I was at...I am now mightily kicking myself for not being more interested when we lived in Mystic, lo those several years ago...though that was all pre-Internet and pre-Mudcat.

So...I don't mind playing for my own pleasure, but have felt confident enough in the past couple of years to go play at hospice and a couple of other places. I don't feel physically up to instigating a lot on my own right now, though I am working on that, too, and I don't pack my dulcimer around, partly because I don't want to be put on the spot and partly because we just don't frequent likely places, just yet. We've only been in this area for a year and it has taken a while to get settled. I assure you it's never crossed my mind that it was something to do "in secret!" I think that's more likely in the "Pays to be a jerk" thread. *bg*

Thanks, everyone.


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 01:00 AM

Kat -

Part of the charm of the dulcimer is that you can sit in a corner and entertain yourself, and that seems to be what quite a few do. That doesn't mean that they're not willing to get together with like-minded folk, and it shouldn't stop you from finding a few fellow strummers.

I would note, though, that just because a club lists a contact address in a particular city doesn't necessarily mean that's where they meet, or that they're not a good source for contacts outside that area.

The Rocky Mountain club probably functions pretty much in the central Denver area - since it's large enough to provide for enough activity. The Durango club is a little WSW of Denver, and is maybe a little more likely to included a "dispersed" membership, although it's hard to say whether their group extends to your area – unless you make contact with them.
I do find persons (at Owl Mountain "Lessons") offering to give "fretted dulcimer" lessons in Parker, Golden, Denver, Fort Collins, Boulder - Nederland (a little North, but still on the East side), Manitou Springs, and Westminster. None listed by this site for Wyoming or Utah, though.

Although not a bluegrass instrument, lots of "folkies" get mislead into believing that they like bluegrass (until they grow upmature) so you might find compatible souls in or around a bluegrass club. There are likely to be more bg clubs than dulcimer clubs almost anywhere. Just take your earplugs and watch the crowd. Split out the healthy ones and make your own herd.

[Note: Bluegrass is great music, but as played by far too many self-proclaimed bluegrassers, it's "shut-up-and-listen-to-me-I'm-the-star" music, often painfully overamped, especially at small festivals. Even Bill Monroe complained that "everybody tries to play it too fast." But it is the name under which a lot of people meet, many of whom really should/would be "folkers," or at least "old-timeys."]

It may take some time, but they'll come when they find they have a new leader…(?)

John


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: katlaughing
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 03:12 AM

LOL, John...no leader in me, at the moment! Thanks for your encouragement, though. I will contact those clubs mentioned, however, I am nowhere near the eastern slope, most places over there are at least 6 hours one way from me by the time one gets to their final destination and that is either over the top of the Continental Divide at about 12,000 feet or up and through the Eisenhower Tunnel, just over 11,000 feet and over. Traffic on the Eastern Slope is one reason I do not live there and would undertake driving in it only under duress.:-)

Durango is over two very high mtn. passes, at least that many hours away; not a trip to consider lightly, though I do love that area. The distances on a map don't look that great, but when you add in that most of the road to Durango is two-lane over one mountain pass just over 10,000 feet and another pass which is just over 11,000 feet, they take time. From Denver, it may look as though Durango is just a little south, but it is an even farther drive from there than where I am at, at about 8.5 hours one way.

A lot of travel time, in the car or otherwise is just not possible for me, so I'll see if any of those Eastern-slopers know of any players over here. BTW, where did you see the Durango one listed? The only clubs I saw were on the Eastern Slope.

Thanks,

kat


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 03:40 AM

Kat -

Been through there many times, and spent some extended time in and around Denver & Boulder. Just wasn't sure where you are now.

As to the leader thing - a very wise person (in my opinion) once told me that the best way to lead is to listen carefully until you see where the herd wants to go, then - if it's an ok thing - give them a nudge in that direction and then get there a little ahead of them.

First - you have to find/gather your herd...

Can't really say what the prospects are, but "they's dogies out thar som'ars."

John


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: GUEST,grahamehood@pwcsnet.co.uk
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 08:21 AM

I played a gig at the Cheddar folk club in Somerset about 15 years ago and the residents were a husband and wife duo called Macanabba.
She had a dulcimer with a removable 6 1/2 fret. The fret was mounted on a piece of dowel which fitted into a horizontal hole drilled from side to side of the fingerboard with a gap on top. When you didn't need the extra fret you took the dowel out and replaced it "upside down" and the unfretted side of the dowel filled the gap in the fingerboard.
I personally usually use DAD tuning with a capo and have no problem using the 6 1/2 fret.

Grahame Hood, Bromley Kent


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: GUEST,dwain
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 09:15 AM

Hi,

I haven't been aware of this forum until today, when a friend pointed out this thread to me. But I thought I'd put an oar in, as the inventor of FlexiFrets, just in case any of you still had a question you'd like to ask about this thread.

To answer a couple of questions than have come up already: FlexiFrets consists of a 3/32X3/32" brass channel with a .016" slot in the top. This is mounted in a groove milled into the dulcimer fretboard. Then a piece of conventional fretwire slides into the groove in the top of the channel. It is held in by the spring tension of the sides of the groove against the fretwire tang. This tension can be adjusted by a very simple procedure, to accomodate wear. Someone remarked that getting the channel installed at the right height would be critical, and that is indeed true.

As for the rationale behind creating them, I noticed over some years that many dulcimer players struggled with the decision whether to get "extra" or chromatic frets installed. The problem is, modern music is chromatic, yet the charm of the dulcimer is that is the one remaining clear window into an older modal music. On the dulcimer's diatonic fretboard, modal music is obvious. But how to play chromatic music is not obvious.

Of course, there are many answers to this dilemma, as some of you have pointed out. But I thought that what I could contribute would be a removable fret, so that chromatic music was available yet the dulcimer could easily be returned to its primal diatonic state, almost pristine (except for that little slot which is hardly more than the thickness of a business card).


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: katlaughing
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 11:05 AM

Dwain, delighted to *see* you here! Thanks so much for the further explanation...much appreciated! Now that you know about us, I hope we will see more of you.:-)

John, I'm a'lookin'! I 'spose them ol' ancestral cattle-herdin' genes will come in handy.

All the best,

kat


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: GUEST,dwain@bearmeadow.com
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 11:51 AM

Thanks, Kat! This looks like a lively bunch. I'll see if there's a place to make a remark now and then. Perhaps the viewpoint of a luthier will come in handy here, from time to time...

Dwain


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: KateG
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 02:06 PM

In my experience, if you take your dulcimer out for an airing, more dulcimers will appear out of nowhere. I take mine to our County's annual history day, and play it while waiting for business at my partner's and my book booth (a low stress way to get used to playing in public). It never fails...someone walks up to me and either says "A dulcimer, I have one of those at home," or "A dulcimer, I've always wanted to play one of those." I encourage them to come to our dulcimer club, you might look for a similar venue to find congenial folks to play with. And dulcimers don't have to play by themselves. The folks in my club also play hammer dulcimer, flute, mandolin, banjo, autoharp, folk harp, guitar, harmonica....and particularly at jams the attitude is "anything goes," as long as it's in tune, and moderately in tempo.

Happy strumming,
KateG


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: katlaughing
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 02:20 PM

Thanks, when I have the energy I am sure that will happen. For now, I've just printed out some more songs to learn from the great link above for "Hopping John" and others.

Dwain, it is free and painless to join the Mudcat and yes, you could say we are a "lively" bunch...if you're really brave and want to have some more fun, check out the BS threads down below these music ones! The "Squid squishers and haunts" tavern thread might be a good place to start.

Thanks, everyone,

kat


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: GUEST,dwain@bearmeadow.com
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 02:53 PM

...The "Squid squishers and haunts" tavern thread might be a good place to start.

MyOhMyOhMy... (c; I've already found a couple other threads on dulcimers, too. Cool place!

Dwain


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: katlaughing
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 05:39 PM

As its founder and tireless "wunderkid," Max, says, "Welcome, welcome, welcome to the Mudcat Cafe!"


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: rangeroger
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 10:55 PM

Dwain,glad you came to visit. Please stick around and join in.We really don't bite.A luthier is always welcome.

I'm glad you explained more about the flexi-frets. As I stated earlier I had a 6 1/2 (not a 7 1/2. Had to get the bugger out and count 'em) added, but I'm not to sure about the extra grooves in the finger-board.

However, the concept of adding the extra frets in a short time to play different tunes is intriguing. I would have to see the system already installed on a dulcimer to really form an opinion.

Yes,Bert, I know. If I didn't want grooves, I would have a fretless dulcimer.

rr


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: Bear Meadow
Date: 19 Jul 03 - 09:34 AM

Thanks, Raneroger, I just signed up!

About those grooves: yes, FlexiFrets can be distracting for some people. There is the 3/32" brass band across the fretboard when the fret is removed (I tried various dyes and oxidations to match that to the wood, but it all wears off pretty fast), and the little groove. But, maybe you'll come across a dulcimer that has them installed if you go to dulcimer festivals. You won't really be aware of it if the fret is installed, though. I go to a few festivals, mostly in the northeast, if you ever get up that way...

Best,
Dwain


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: katlaughing
Date: 19 Jul 03 - 02:54 PM

Welcome, once again, glad to see you've joined us, Dwaine!


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: clansfolk
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 06:14 AM

Been thinking for some time if there is a way to have an adjustable fretting system for a stick dulcimer using some sort of eccentric cam system running through the neck and spring? system for the frets...    then you could rotate the neck rod for different fretting/key variations....

If anyone else has been there (after all I'm in the UK and if you mention dulcimers here the best response you get is someone pulling out a pair of wooden hammers!) let me know how successful it was - or any other thought you have

cheers

Pete


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: maldenny
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 09:20 AM

To save a number of nice dulcimers being unnecessarily butchered, why not try a "Bulbul Tarang". It looks like a cross between a cheaply made dulcimer and a cash register, the cash register keys stopping the strings right across the fretboard and the right hand using a pick as per a normal dulcimer.

I bought one as a curiosity in Bristol (UK) recently, and, just like buses, within a month three had appeared at our weekly session! It doesn't sound too much like a dulcimer, and has a sound of its own, but it sounds really nice on medieval or traditional French tunes.

If anyone is interested I can give more info.

Mal


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: Bear Meadow
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 02:17 PM

This Bulbul Tarang does sound interesting. Is it similar to a hurdy gurdy without a wheel? And do you know where it hails from? The name suggests somewhere in southeast Asia.

Dwain


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 02:35 PM

Dwaine - it sounds more like something someone made up because "gnarat lublub" was hard to pronounce.

Actually, I've seen a couple of different instruments using that name in "street jams" at Winfield, but the few examples seemed to be different (from each other); and I didn't have a chance to discuss them with the operators. The ones I saw appeared maybe to be homebuilts. It would be interesting to know if there's a "tradition" for an instrument by that name.

(It should be noted that in many of the "street jams" at Winfield, verbal coherence is not a requirement.)

John


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: katlaughing
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 03:11 PM

According to this website, it is known as the (East)Indian Banjo and looks VERY interesting! Thanks, Mal!


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 04:49 PM

Kat -

The description sounds more like an Indian dulcimer to me. The notes on tuning don't give much info, just that you should "find a pleasant tone." That's dulcimer talk.

I was a little disappointed that the link from that page says it's used with a 7-note scale, but gave no information on the intervals for the scale. Another #$@! research project, I guess.

The reference to drone strings implies it would be suitable for music similar to hurdy gurdy, or dulcimer, but with a mechanism more like the zither fad thing (US) from the 50s. We still see those at yard sales occasionally.

Maybe I'll wait on the research until maldenny cuts a CD.

John


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: katlaughing
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 05:42 PM

Yes, John, it sounds more like dulcimer talk to me, too, but I was going by what the website said.:-) I know what kind of instrument I want next!


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: clansfolk
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 04:54 AM

Or maybe try a saz?

I have a bulbul which has been great fun have a look plays like a piano sound like a small dulcimer..

still want ideas for changing fretting on a stick dulcimer via cam system I can't believe I'm the first to have had this idea


Pete


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 06:25 AM

clansfolk -

Stick dulcimers, it that's what you really mean, are usually pretty crude, and idosycratic in design. In order to comment on your idea for "changing frets," we'd need to have some idea of which idiot-syncatrism you've applied - or intend to apply to your stick dulcimer.

As an offhand comment, yes, you can change the frets - but from what and to what. I'm afraid you'll have to have some rationale for doing something useful before you'll get much comment.

A conventional dulcimer is a pretty highly-developed and standardized instrument. A couple(?) of hundred years of experimentation have resulted in instruments which, even when they look a little (or a lot)different, all function in much the same way. If you start messing around arbitrarily with fret positions, you're not building a dulcimer. What it is, I can't say - but dulcimer it ain't.

If you were speaking of a conventional dulcimer, and the intent were only to move a fret or two - in and out of functional use - I'd have to warn that the acoustics of a conventional dulcimer are strongly agin' ya from the start. The dulcimer has no bridge to transmit the sound efficiently from the string to any large "radiating surface" to make it heard. The majority of the sound transmission from the string into the soundbox is through the fret in use at for the note being sounded. Anything that breaks the rigid sound conducting path between the fret, through the fingerboard, to the box, will destroy the "voice" of the instrument.

This is not to say that a "movable" fret can't be made with a decent sonic path, but on principle I'd have to say that few "amateurs" are likely to stumble on a way of doing it, and even a fairly decent - and $uitably $killed/experienced/intere$ted/available de$igner/luthier/nuclearweapon$engineer would probably need to re$ort to preci$ion part$ and exotic (for a dulcimer) material$ to get the job done in a satisfactorily functional manner.

"Stick dulcimer" doesn't really define what kind of instrument you're talking about.
"Moving the frets" doesn't really tell us what you want to do.
And there's no mention of WHY.

As your banker would say - "Ya got no business plan, ya get no help here."

Note that I'm not saying you have a bad idea. I just can't tell what your idea is.

John


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: maldenny
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 06:39 AM

I'll record our bulbul tarang duo (must be the only one this side of Delhi!) next time we get together, and I'll put it on our website together with a photo. Let you know when it's done.

For info, the third BBT that arrived at our session had piano-type keys, rather than our typewriter keys, and was said to be a Japanese "Tashi Koto". From memory, I think a koto is a sort of Japanese dulcimer of some sort (maybe tashi means "poor man's").

Mal


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 08:20 AM

The International Shakuhachi Society - Biography: Yuize Shin'ichi -, describes his specialty as "koto," and pictures him with what appears to be a 3-string vaguely "banjo-ish" instrument. Based on this, and some additional floundering around the web, I would presume that the instrument shown is a "standard koto."

No joy in finding what a "tashi koto" might be, although a couple of sites say that "tashi" is the name used in a dojo for a karate master of 9th dan who is over 50 years old. That's a big help(?)

The link posted by kat at 20 Jul 03 - 03:11 PM shows pictures of the Bulbul Tarang with "pianoish" keys and "typewriter" keys, and indicates that the typewriter keys are more common, because they're cheaper, but implies that the piano key version is not rare. The different keys thus would not necessarily indicate a Japanese, rather than Indian, instrument. More likely just a Japanese name for the East Indian instrument? - (assuming that the origin of the thing was in India.)

John


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: clansfolk
Date: 22 Jul 03 - 05:19 AM

john -

read previous threads - stick dulcimer quite an accepted term for this far more versatile instrument - but then I'm from the UK and treat people with a less sarcastic attitude - If you don't know the answer - just say so.....

may I also suggest you check your keyboard as some of the letters appear to be wrong...... or are you just trying to be "clever?"

male cow excreta area appears to suit you better


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 Jul 03 - 07:59 AM

clansfolk

You may have given more information in other threads, but you asked the question here; and as posted in this thread, there is no indication of what changes you would like to make to fret positions - or even of what positions you would like to use as a starting point.

You also gave no indication of any purpose in making changes.

Without some rationale, and a reasonably precise indication for what particular instrument configuration you have in mind, it is almost impossible for anyone to comment. And no one did.

I thought I sensed some disappointment in your objection that there was no reply. My intent was to tell you what additional information might elicit some reply. I also attempted to comment, as much as possible, on some difficulties you might run into - in order to give you some sense of why more, and what kind of, information would be helpful.

I can't tell from "read previous threads" whether you read previous threads and reached a conclusion, or if you mean I should read some other threads(?). Another miscommunication; but if there are other threads with information pertinent to your request, you - the "asker" - should tell us where they are.

The stick dulcimer is a well known type, but has no "settled configuration." Such instruments are made in many ways, and discussing details of construction requires knowing which of those many kinds are the subject.

I have read quite a few threads in which Brits claim that USerans don't understand sarcasm. Maybe it works both ways. I had no intent to belittle - just to suggest what you might do that would be helpful.

If you're "missing" characters in the previous post, I'd suggest getting an "international" font - which should be quite easy. I merely substituted the US dollar sign for all the "s" characters, as a tongue-in-cheek suggesting that what you seem to want to do is likely to be neither easy nor cheap - relative to the typical stick dulcimer cost.

John


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Subject: RE: Flexi-frets for dulcimer - anyone use them?
From: clansfolk
Date: 22 Jul 03 - 12:37 PM

I wish you were with us when we go sailing John - we'd never be in the Doldrums - now click them heels together.


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