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Strumstick Wisdom - I need to get some

MickyMan 13 Jun 04 - 06:12 AM
Skipjack K8 13 Jun 04 - 07:34 AM
Maryrrf 13 Jun 04 - 09:10 AM
MickyMan 13 Jun 04 - 11:16 AM
John P 13 Jun 04 - 11:30 AM
Ernest 14 Jun 04 - 04:12 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 14 Jun 04 - 05:33 PM
Phil Cooper 14 Jun 04 - 06:04 PM
GUEST 28 Oct 07 - 10:05 AM
Mr Happy 28 Oct 07 - 10:40 AM
GUEST,Mike 28 Oct 07 - 10:35 PM
ClaireBear 20 Aug 08 - 06:38 PM
GUEST,Don 20 Aug 08 - 08:12 PM
GUEST,Don 20 Aug 08 - 08:15 PM
Backwoodsman 21 Aug 08 - 08:16 AM
ClaireBear 21 Aug 08 - 04:13 PM
GUEST,EricOnSi 18 Nov 08 - 05:03 PM
ClaireBear 18 Nov 08 - 05:18 PM
GUEST 22 Mar 11 - 05:10 PM
GUEST,leeneia 23 Mar 11 - 11:41 AM
ClaireBear 23 Mar 11 - 12:52 PM
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Subject: Strumstick Wisdom - I need to get some
From: MickyMan
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 06:12 AM

We're talking a MacNally Standard Strumstick here (G D G'). I have to acquire some technique soon for my month long backpacking trip from mid-July to mid-August.
   Please tell me anything you know about this...positive or negative. Has anybody had good experiences with these instruments when travelling. I went to the Strumstick website and found the chord charts very useful. I've worked out some songs in very little time. My plan is to use it primarily to accompany my singing with chordal strumming. Any other sources for good info would be appreciated.
   For those of you who have hung in this long out of curiosity but don't actually know what a strumstick is ... here's the jist of it. It's a 1 pound travel guitar type of thing that's kind of tuned like a backwards lap dulcimer. It's very guitar player-friendly because you hold and strum it in a vertical position rather than the usual horizontal way that dulcimers are strummed. Go to strumstick.com for more info.
   I've been looking at travel guitars but it seems that no matter what is done they are still too heavy for serious backpacking. I've hiked with a Martin backpacker and borrowed a friend's Go-Guitar, and although they are both amazing instruments I fear I would come to hate them as they weighed me down on the trail. This time I'm giving the strumstick a try.


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Subject: RE: Strumstick Wisdom - I need to get some
From: Skipjack K8
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 07:34 AM

I have a DAD-tuned Strumstick that my dear sister bought for me in Appalachia about five years ago, and I have really enjoyed messing about with it. I use a pick for both strumming and picking, and a mixture of the two. I have found it best as an accompaniment instrument to fiddle and box, as it is really a three string banjo. The remarkable thing about it is the enormous volume that such a tiny body chucks out.


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Subject: RE: Strumstick Wisdom - I need to get some
From: Maryrrf
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 09:10 AM

Try this site http://everythingdulcimer.com . There's a lot of information about Strum Sticks on that site and a forum where you can ask questions.


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Subject: RE: Strumstick Wisdom - I need to get some
From: MickyMan
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 11:16 AM

The strange thing about this strumstick is that although it is a standard model (29") I find that I can also tune it to DAD. That has a very jangly sound but I find it gives me more possibilities when singing along.


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Subject: RE: Strumstick Wisdom - I need to get some
From: John P
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 11:30 AM

Any of the dozens of books for the Appalachian dulcimer, most of them full of tablature for good songs, can be used for the strumstick. As you found, it's pretty easy to find things to play on it. Really, it's pretty hard to make it sound really bad.

Try experimenting with playing melodies using lots of hammer-ons and pull-offs. It really works great for that sort of playing.

John Peekstok


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Subject: RE: Strumstick Wisdom - I need to get some
From: Ernest
Date: 14 Jun 04 - 04:12 PM

And don`t forget that the Digital tradition mirror has offers a possibility to generate tablature in every kind of tuning...
Yours
Ernest


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Subject: RE: Strumstick Wisdom - I need to get some
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 14 Jun 04 - 05:33 PM

I made my own by putting a 3-string neck on a Star Wars lunchbox. Used regular stapels for frets. If intonation is off, pull the saple out and replace. Install with a regular stapler opened up----right into the wood. I also put a contact mike pickup on it and plugged it into my P.A. system. That created an electric, Star Wars, 3-string dulcimer that I used in educational performance shows for over 20 years---just to show students that we could still take what we have around the house in these modern times and make music from it like folks in earlier times did with a washtub bass, comb and tissue paper etc. Only the first string was fretted-----like the old traditional dulcimers. For different "keys"/"modes" you would just re-tune as was appropriate for a different home tone.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Strumstick Wisdom - I need to get some
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 14 Jun 04 - 06:04 PM

My significant other bought a strumstick a couple years ago. Great idea, though the fretting intonation was off a bit on her's. Wish they'd had the staple idea of Art's.


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Subject: RE: Strumstick Wisdom - I need to get some
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Oct 07 - 10:05 AM

I'm intrigued by the idea of taking a standard Dulcimer neck and fastening it to a small acoustic body like a ukelele/mando/cigar-box. A friend has a Strumstick and the sound is great but the neck is TOO NARROW! I'm accustomed to a guitar neck and the strumstick makes me feel like my fingers are going to fall off the fretboard. The neck needs to be about a 1/4-3/8" wider for positive control.


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Subject: RE: Strumstick Wisdom - I need to get some
From: Mr Happy
Date: 28 Oct 07 - 10:40 AM

Try here:thread.cfm?threadid=104742


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Subject: RE: Strumstick Wisdom - I need to get some
From: GUEST,Mike
Date: 28 Oct 07 - 10:35 PM

Not a strum stick but a solid bodied electric variation that might be of interest Check it out lots of links to other "Dulcimer" player as well.

Mike


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Subject: RE: Strumstick Wisdom - I need to get some
From: ClaireBear
Date: 20 Aug 08 - 06:38 PM

I've been playing a standard (open G) McNally strumstick for morris team gigs for years now, but for chanty band gigs I take the G strumstick plus a regular dulcimer in D and another one in C (plus the uke and the concertina...) so that I have more key flexibility.

Now I see that McNally is making a sort of bouzouki version of a strumstick that is fully chromatic. He calls it a long-scale 3-string chromatic. Boy, would I love to be able to play in all keys with one dulcimer-like instrument that can be capoed! (Yes, I understand the ramifications of chromatic fretting -- not a problem.)

My question has to do with sound and associated qualities. Has any of you ever played one of these? Does it have the same banjo-like tone that the standard has? (I know that sound is not right for all sorts of music, but it's fine for what I do in the context of the team and the band.) What are your insights, if any, about this instrument?

I await enlightenment.

Claire


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Subject: RE: Strumstick Wisdom - I need to get some
From: GUEST,Don
Date: 20 Aug 08 - 08:12 PM

not a strumstick but the same principal and much the same sounds if amplified myspace


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Subject: RE: Strumstick Wisdom - I need to get some
From: GUEST,Don
Date: 20 Aug 08 - 08:15 PM

sorry missed the link above to the same site - great minds think alike -

Don


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Subject: RE: Strumstick Wisdom - I need to get some
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 21 Aug 08 - 08:16 AM

There's a guy in Scunthorpe, UK called Hugh Scullion who makes a very similar kind of thing. They're getting quite popular out here in the Backwoods of Darkest Lincolnshire. He calls his a 'Strummer'.


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Subject: RE: Strumstick Wisdom - I need to get some
From: ClaireBear
Date: 21 Aug 08 - 04:13 PM

Giving this a boost back up to the top -- anyone experienced with a Long Scale 3-String Chromatic Strumstick?

I'm hoping for a review of that particular model and brand -- especially its sound qualities -- before I plunk down the (admittedly very reasonable) price.

Thanks
Claire


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Subject: RE: Strumstick Wisdom - I need to get some
From: GUEST,EricOnSi
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 05:03 PM

Probably a little late Claire - but I have a 3-string chromatic. It's a great instrument, very beautiful sound, especially for such a small insturment. Very versatile - I can play dulcimer music, middle eastern (like a saz or baglama, but the fixed frets make it somewhat limited) and my own inmprovs. I also have the roland microcube amp that gives me a lot more possibilities - . Highly recommended.

Eric


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Subject: RE: Strumstick Wisdom - I need to get some
From: ClaireBear
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 05:18 PM

Thanks, Eric. I bought one before the Getaway, and I was very pleased that all of a sudden I could accompany something with as many key changes as "The Dallas Rag" -- such a difference from the limitations of the standard Strumstick. I'm having GREAT fun now!

Claire


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Subject: RE: Strumstick Wisdom - I need to get some
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Mar 11 - 05:10 PM

Eric & Claire,

When you speak of a chromatic 3-string strumstick, please advise as to a manufacturer and availability of such an instrument, as I would be interested in owning one myself -- sounds like a fantastic instrument with a reasonable modicum of versatility!


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Subject: RE: Strumstick Wisdom - I need to get some
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 23 Mar 11 - 11:41 AM

A strumstick looks a lot like a Martin backpacker guitar. It may cost less (I haven't looked), but a person who already plays guitar can pick up a Backpacker and play it right away.

I have one with nylon strings. My local music store ordered it for me, since steel strings are apparently standard.


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Subject: RE: Strumstick Wisdom - I need to get some
From: ClaireBear
Date: 23 Mar 11 - 12:52 PM

GUEST, the Strumstick maker's site is here.

Leenia, the long-scale chromatic one, tuned CGC, is currently $210 from the maker. The chromatic nature of the beast and the scale of the neck (longer space between frets) make it a bit of a mind bender to switch over to, from lap dulcimer. Once I put some marks on the totally unmarked fretboard so I could get a handle on which frets were which, I did OK. A dulcimer player who has never played guitar or any other chromatic fretted instrument might have more trouble getting used to it.

Also, of course, since you hold it like a guitar, the high string is on the far side of the instrument, not the near side as on a lap dulcimer. So if you chord and use an asymmetrical tuning (like CGG, which would be GGC on this instrument), your fingering patterns would have to be reversed.

My long-term view: It's good for jamming and an adequate ensemble instrument in the right setting (like my nautical music band), but its tone is not really up to solo performances or recording, except as a curiosity. I was a little underwhelmed with the way it sounded when I sang with it at a Getaway concert.

Cheers,
Claire


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