Mountain Dulcimer FAQs

Few true specimens of the mountain dulcimer exist from earlier than about 1880, when J. Edward Thomas of Knott County, Kentucky, began building and selling them. In the second place, a memorized tune” is the same as a tune that is read from sheet music — it’s the exact same thing, time after time, until it gets so boring that neither the audience or the musicians can stand it any more. Instead of building an MD why not find one of those traditional Swedish zithers, which are supposed to be among the mysterious forebearers of the American mountain dulcimer. Another factor in the subtle decline of dulcimer singing might be the change of repertoire that is commonly played on the dulcimer. A rather rare and unusual variant of the Appalachian dulcimer is the courting dulcimer.

It does mean they can locate the correct notes in the right order, remember where they were, and finally play them in the right sequence and tempo to make the music sound right. Playing a mountain dulcimer is fairly straightforward – the left hand fingers the notes on the frets and the right hand strums or picks the strings. Later developments created a 4-string dulcimer by changing the string spacing and doubling the melody string.

The highly technical virtuoso concert style playing showcased at dulcimer festivals is of course very impressive- it is something that many new players aspire to. The typical dulcimer repertoire being taught today in workshops and festivals reflects this taste and has become more complex. For a whole set, the Appalachian APD-1 Dulcimer Pickin’ Pac can provide you with everything you need to learn how to play the dulcimer like a professional. For me at least, it’s time to take a stand against characterizing people unfairly.

Black Mountain Instruments is proud to continue the tradition of the Mountain Dulcimer. After a vacation brought him his first view of a mountain dulcimer, Gary Gallier decided to attempt building his own. Ease of use: Whether you’re a beginner or advanced, it is ideal to have a dulcimer that can easily be tuned, played and parts replaced if needed. I appreciate the incredible work it must have taken to put it all together, and I think the world of homespun music is better off because of it. Inspired me to make my own Rocky Mountain Dulcimer!

Neal Hellman has a book called Dulcimer Duets” that can be very challenging, since includes music from such duet players as Force & d’Ossche (available through MelBay). I met Lynn back when he presented the National Mountain Dulcimer prizes at the Walnut Valley Festival. Maybe you are lucky enough to know a banjo player who might like to play this together with you in a dulcimer and banjo duet!

You can do some really lovely rhythmic things using all three (in my case, since I only have three strings on my Mix dulcimer) strings. If you’re newer to the dulcimer aspect, then considering different brands might be ideal, however how others have found them can also come into play. To make sure you receive our emails in your Inbox, drag them from the new Gmail Promotions Tab over to your primary Inbox. In popular music, perhaps the best known use of the Appalachian dulcimer is by Joni Mitchell on her 1971 album Blue. There are many considerations to keep in mind when choosing the best dulcimer to play.

Many tunings will work, but we recommend the traditional DAD method to make it easy to pick up and play. Your dulcimer won’t sound like much unless it’s tuned to perfection – but that’s no problem with these dulcimer tuners. Herren’s personal choice of dulcimer wood is cherry, with a cedar top, which he says provides a sweet, mellow sound. Solid-body Electric dulcimer: acoustic dulcimers may be electrified with pickups, and several builders produce solid-body electric dulcimers. Many tunings will work, but we recommend the traditional DAD to make it easy to pick up and play.

It is all in DAd and so that the beginner doesn’t have to learn anything particularly new to play along with most other dulcimer groups. Quality instruments inspire more and better music, and the Dulcimer Shoppe instruments are finely crafted, very stable, beautiful, and almost alive because of the sounds they make. A glance at the fingerboard of the dulcimer above shows that it is different, with frets apparently to make a mountain dulcimer

In very simple terms, a mountain dulcimer is a stick with some vibrating strings attached to a box. While the Greeks or Persians may have invented it nearly 1,000 years ago, Europeans were likely introduced to the dulcimer during the Crusades. Believing the Ozark Folk Center State Park would spur interest in traditional mountain music, he built The Dulcimer Shoppe a mile from the soon-to-open park in 1972. The dulcimer is is usually played with the instrument resting on the players to make a mountain dulcimer

Quality of wood: The wood of the dulcimer can make a huge difference on how well the instrument is able to play. This Deluxe model offers the best features from the Roosebeck Mountain Dulcimer line! Banjo Dulcimer The banjo dulcimer is built with dulcimer style fingerboard with metal frets with a banjo body. The hammered dulcimer is rectangular or trapezoidal in shape and has sets of multiple strings with a range of up to three octaves.

Black Mountain Dulcimer Sweet Betsey Package Black Mountain Dulcimers are well know as a premier maker of fine Appalachian style dulcimers, offering superior craftsmanship, tone, and looks! My primary goal was to be able to noodle around with some distinctly different dulcimer configurations such as chromatic, baritone, and bowed dulcimers without adding to the music room clutter. This particular dulcimer measures 31”, which is ideal for the smaller length arms that want to play the instrument. Become a member of Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer (FOTMD) online community -it’s easy and FREE!

If you want something a bit higher quality right out of the case, and that sounds the best that it can, the Professional European Cherry Mountain Dulcimer w/ Case might be the dulcimer for you. The amazing thing is not that we make occasional mistakes but that, with practice, we make so few. I just wanted to let you know that I received my (forest green) dulcimer music stand today. At college, Bob Magowan saw a mountain dulcimer for the first time and thought about making one.

With a comfortable neck, and a thinner body make up, this can be ideal to hold for the beginner, or a quick and easy grab for the advanced player of the dulcimer. When Trantham played his dulcimer at the Asheville Mountain Dance and Folk Festival, Bascom Lamar Lunsford, the festival’s founder and a well-respected name in preserving Appalachian music, told Trantham if he ever wanted to amount to anything, he’d have to put a ribbon on that dulcimer and mount it on a wall. For those interested in old time dulcimer playing there’s a week long worshop at Augusta Heritage Arts in Elkins WV in October.