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Can anyone educate me a bit about dulcimer?

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

  1. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Fort Collins, CO
    I remember a friend had one back in the '70's at a pizza place we hung out at. She handed it to me and I had two Joni Mitchell songs down in no time. She (the friend, not Joni) was pretty impressed.

    I used to tour as a sound person for a folk group centered around a hammered dulcimer. We played a lot of folk festivals and there were always a lot of the lap style ones around. Pretty easy for people to build and sell along with their other crafts.
     
  2. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Tele-Holic

    604
    May 30, 2017
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Agree on the 6 1/2 fret. I've played one off and on for a number of years. Original inspiration was "The Pacific Rim Dulcimer Album" as well as some LP's by Michael Rugg and Neal Hellman, who played at my university one time. Here's a pretty popular song I used to play with some friends, goes beyond the drone but is not all that complicated.

     
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  3. 3fngrs

    3fngrs Friend of Leo's

    Oct 30, 2017
    Ohio
    Thank you for that. Next payday, maybe. Might have to wait until after xmas.
     
  4. gkterry

    gkterry Tele-Meister

    Age:
    62
    271
    Dec 19, 2014
    Paris, IL
    I have played on and off since 1982. Mostly off now. Teles are my obsession now. Used to play at local schools and festivals. Yeah, you can play one just using the first two strings but you are missing out on the great potential inherent in a hog fiddle (mountain dulcimer). I found the mode best suited for playing chords and most songs was the mixolydian mode or DAD tuning. The key to playing a dulcimer well is the picking hand. You need to keep that dude moving briskly across the strings and back so you can get a nice background rhythm going while playing the melody. If you can avoid songs with a lot of accidentals (notes not normally in the main key) it is not too difficult to adapt the song to a dulcimer. A dulcimer should be easier than a guitar: essentially only 3 strings (first two doubled) and you don't have all the notes available on a guitar. It is a diatonic instrument not chromatic like a guitar. And yes, do get one with a 6 1/2 fret. That helps out a lot.
     
  5. trapdoor2

    trapdoor2 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    61
    462
    Feb 23, 2018
    Nawth Alabama
    I went to a local jam (years ago) and they had a couple of "diddly bows" for folks who either didn't play or had no instrument. When they started playing old rock and blues, I put my banjo up and sat in with one of the diddly bows. Much fun! One of the guys had one with a pickup. IIRC, the output cord was soldered directly to the pickup...run thru an old amp. Pretty cool.

    I have a Mountain Dulcimer around the house somewhere. Had a Hammered Dulcimer for a few years. Mountain Dulcimer is much easier to play. I plan on making a 'courtin' dulcimer' when I retire. Two necks...sit across from each other and it sits across your knees.

     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2018
    Zepfan likes this.
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