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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Can anyone educate me a bit about dulcimer?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by 3fngrs, Nov 9, 2017.

  1. 3fngrs

    3fngrs Tele-Meister

    Age:
    52
    289
    Oct 30, 2017
    Ohio
    The mountain kind, not the hammered kind. Ha!

    Been thinking about getting one so my drunk buddies that stop by can jam too. And my girlfriend. And, you know, new gear!
     

  2. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 21, 2012
    Montana
    I played guitar in a group that had mountain and hammered dulcimers. Mountain dulcimers are basically a couple drone strings with one or two melody strings. So, tuning is somewhat limited and most people tune to different modes, but keep the basic tuning to DAA. There is way more to it than that, but that is the basic way of looking at it. The frets or fretless dulcimers are at odd intervals too for notes. Very easy to learn to play, but to me very limited. I would go with a three string cigar box guitar instead, because you could teach them stuff a heck of a lot easier. Caveat: I'm a blues guy and why I prefer the cigar box guitar, so take that into consideration. If you want to play Celtic or perhaps old folk songs, the dulcimer will probably be better.
     

  3. richa

    richa Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Apr 23, 2016
    Washington
    A friend of mine plays one a bit. They are fretted for a diatonic scale plus one or two accidentals for a little more flexibility. There's no reason they couldn't be fully fretted but it's less common to find one. They will often be tuned to what amounts to a power chord (e.g. - DAD). They do come in baritone and bass versions as well as the more trebly ones. There is definitely an idiom associated with how they are played but nothing to say you have to follow it. Price range will be all over the map and I wish I knew a reputable builder off the top of my head but I don't.
     

  4. 3fngrs

    3fngrs Tele-Meister

    Age:
    52
    289
    Oct 30, 2017
    Ohio
    Don't they just fret them with a stick?
     

  5. richa

    richa Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Apr 23, 2016
    Washington
    You can use a noter (stick) to play a melody on one string and let the others drone.

    But you can also play chord shapes with your fingers. Here's a fully fretted one.

     
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  6. xafinity

    xafinity Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Dec 24, 2015
    my Mom's basement
    In the 60s-70s Ducimer kits were very popular. Easy to build and pretty nice for $24. Mostly played by very slim girls with very long straight hair? I never had one but just about every pad had one around. They always sounded nice even when played by those who didnt know how LOL Nice memories. Cheap wine and good smoke.
     

  7. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 21, 2012
    Montana
    They are kinda like having your guitar in an open tuning, so that you can just bar across with a stick. Strumming can be done with just about anything including feathers.
     

  8. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Tele-Holic

    585
    Jan 15, 2013
    Heart O' Dixie
    Pretty neat instrument, not very loud. Pretty easy to learn, and cheap entry costs. Most all are made by small home builders, some better than others. Shop, buy, setup, learn, share.
     

  9. Zepfan

    Zepfan Friend of Leo's

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    pictures1 002.jpg I made this 6 string Diatonic 28" scale. It's tuned to C/G/C/G/C/C. The C's are all one octave higher than the last and it has a 2 octave range fretboard.
    You can fret the 2 high strings and drone the others as a typical Dulcimer and it's like having a bass play along or you can just use the 4 highest strings for regular Dulcimer.
    You can fret the 4 highest strings with one finger for guitar power chords.
    You can fret the 3 lowest strings for bass/baritone chords.
    Also makes a great slide guitar for all the notes instead of just whole notes.
     

  10. 3fngrs

    3fngrs Tele-Meister

    Age:
    52
    289
    Oct 30, 2017
    Ohio
    I've never seen a dulcimer played like that.
     
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  11. 3fngrs

    3fngrs Tele-Meister

    Age:
    52
    289
    Oct 30, 2017
    Ohio
    That's very cool but I'm looking for something a pre-beginner can just strum on.

    Perhaps an autoharp?
     

  12. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    58
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    A plain old dulcimer is probable fine, too many options on an autoharp.
     

  13. Zepfan

    Zepfan Friend of Leo's

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    C.B.Gitty.com has some already built or kits for CBG's with Dulcimer fret spacing(Diatonic).
     

  14. Zepfan

    Zepfan Friend of Leo's

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    Seagull also makes a small Dulcimer.
     

  15. Billnchristy

    Billnchristy Tele-Meister

    156
    Sep 21, 2017
    Georgia
    image.jpeg I have the seagull, it is awesome and you almost can't screw it up.
     

  16. 3fngrs

    3fngrs Tele-Meister

    Age:
    52
    289
    Oct 30, 2017
    Ohio
    I've been thinking about pulling the trigger on one of those for a couple of years. The trigger finger is itchy!
     
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  17. Billnchristy

    Billnchristy Tele-Meister

    156
    Sep 21, 2017
    Georgia
    Dooooo it. I think I have a recording of it, lemme see
     

  18. Billnchristy

    Billnchristy Tele-Meister

    156
    Sep 21, 2017
    Georgia


    Keep in mind I am a non-chord playing, one string wonder.
     
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  19. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Poster Extraordinaire

    Sep 14, 2005
    Nueces Strip
    Hillbilly bagpipes, or so I've read.
    Most of the original Ozark immigrants were from Scotland and invented the dulcimer. Thus the fret spacing and drone strings (be sure to get one with the 6 1/2 fret so they say).
    Most chords are just fretted on the top (pair) string. Minor chords fret the first drone too.
    I was in Branson a few years ago. They had dulcimers for $200, kits for $100 or plans for $10. (Guess which i opted for).
    Scrap wood: maple, mesquite and Adler. Looked beautiful, sounded good (I guess, had nothing to compare to).
     
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