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Category Archives: mountain dulcimer

posts that are designed specifically for mountain dulcimer players

Tam Kearney Dulcimers

Tam Kearney Dulcimers

by Steve Eulberg

I was picking through my photo archives and was so delighted to uncover these photos!

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Tam Kearney, co-founder of Toronto’s Fiddler’s Green and dulcimer-builder

Tam Kearney was a mainstay in the Toronto folk music scene after growing up in Glasgow and then moving to Canada in the 1960s.  Unfortunately for us, he passed in 2013.  (Read Ian Robb‘s eulogy in SingOut! Magazine here.)

I was on tour in Toronto in March of 2017 and was able to play a house concert for Lynn Westerhout, Tam’s spouse, and she allowed me to borrow and play on (2) of his hand-crafter instruments for the concert and the day of workshops the following day.

(You can read my blogpost about the concert here)

The first dulcimer I am calling Shamrock because of the soundhole shapes.

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Shamrock headstock detail

The second dulcimer I am calling Heart because of the soundhole shapes.  (For some reason the shamrock inlay adorns the heart dulcimer!)

I wonder how many more treasures like these are spread across North America?

Let us know when you spot one, see if you can play it, take pictures and we’ll share it here!

 

 

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Have a Blessed Thanksgiving

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving

by Linda Ratcliff

Your Thanksgiving dinner will not be complete without sharing these jokes!

What kind of music did the Pilgrims like? Plymouth Rock!
Why did the guys let the sweet potato join the band? So they could have a yam session!
What is the most musical part of the turkey? The drumsticks!

 

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, I have almost too many blessings to count. Being able to work with all of you who love dulcimers, and having the opportunity to share my thoughts about dulcimering every week, are definitely two of them. We appreciate the friendship and confidence you have shown in us by connecting with Dulcimer Crossing. Steve and I send our heartfelt Thanksgiving wishes across the miles from our houses to yours. May your homes be filled with laughter, happiness, and (of course) lots of dulcimer music.
Happy Thanksgiving
How to Care for Your Instrument in Cold Weather
With the weather turning colder, have you noticed a dramatic change in your dulcimer’s tuning? Well, a stringed instrument is a living thing. Since it is made out of organic materials, the woods, strings, and glues used when it was built interact with the atmosphere around them. And while these materials certainly work together to create beautiful music, they are also responsible for the reason that stringed instruments go out of tune, especially with sudden temperature changes.  Try to keep the temperature constant in the room(s) where you store your instruments.

Likewise, humidity will affect your dulcimers. Wood gains and loses moisture until it’s in sync with the air around it. When the air is humid, a piece of wood will swell as it gains moisture. When the air is dry, the wood will shrink as it loses moisture. This process happens fairly quickly with thin pieces of wood, such as dulcimer soundboards and backs, and if they get too dry, they can crack.

If you have started running the furnace already, the climate in the house may have become very dry. The widely accepted safe range for wooden musical instruments is between about 40% and 60% relative humidity. The only way to know if you’re in that range is to measure it by keeping a hygrometer near your instrument. (I found inexpensive ones on Amazon.) Also, I suggest that you consider purchasing a room and/or case humidifier for the good health of your precious instruments.
Hammered Dulcimer 

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask Steve or myself.
 

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New Fiddle Lesson!

New Fiddle Lesson!

by Steve Eulberg

Vi Wickam has created a new Fiddle Lesson for the Scottish tune Miss McLeod’s Reel.  that he and I like to play in our duo Fiddle Whamdiddle.  I have already created a mountain dulcimer lesson in the Galax style for this tune on DulcimerCrossing here.

You can also watch a couple of versions of this tune below:

Steve & Vi playing a hammered dulcimer and fiddle duet at the former Caffe Olé in Fort Collins, Colorado: (under the title “Have You Ever Gone to Meeting, Uncle Joe?” filmed for Vi’s Fiddle-Tune-A-Day project in 2012.)

And Steve playing Galax style with Vi and another DulcimerCrossing teacher, Don Pedi, at a house concert at Steve’s former home in Fort Collins, Colorado.

As always, you can become a subscriber at DulcimerCrossing.com and have complete 24/7 access to all of our lessons!

 

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Chicken Reel New Lesson

Chicken Reel New Lesson

Larry Conger teaches a new mountain dulcimer lesson series on DulcimerCrossing.com

(I can’t hear this tune without also hearing the memory of the cartoon character, Foghorn Leghorn’s voice saying, “boy, I say boy, ya BOTHer me!”)

Here is a demo of Larry playing the tune.

This fun tune makes use of hammer-ons and pull-offs and is a delight for both performers and listeners!

Subscribe and have access to the whole lesson series and learn Larry’s tricks and tips!

 

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Historic Dulcimers in England

Historic Dulcimers in England

by Steve Eulberg

I was honored to be the American mountain dulcimer tutor for the Nonsuch Dulcimer Club’s Fall Festival in Malvern, England last month.

Thanks to Geoff Reeve-Black, I was also able to see some historic mountain dulcimers from his collection that I am pleased to show to you here:

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This one was built by Edd Presnell from North Carolina.  Some people find the traditional wooden tuning pegs to be a challenge (and a chore!) but these operated smoothly, AND accurately, even though I was coaxing the instrument into a couple of different tunings.

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The second instrument was built by Sam Carrell of Tennessee.   Like the Presnell dulcimer, this one also had friction pegs, but has the classic “fiddle” shape that Mike Clemmer also builds with in Townsend, Tennessee.  Like Mike’s, this one is also built to be strung as a 5-string instrument, but Geoff had it set up as a 4 equi-distant string instrument.

As I took the photo of Geoff, holding the Presnell dulcimer above, he quipped:  “Ah, a photo of two fossils.”

That makes me one grateful dulcimer paleontologist for sure!

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And here is a view of our multi-instrument jam in the Lawnside Room on the first night!  (This was just a harbinger of all the good music shared throughout the weekend.)

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And this photo is the clear evidence that this dulcimer festival was taking place in England.  Where tea (and coffee) were served twice a day, and after tea-time, the bar opened for the rest of the evening, throughout dinner and the evening jam session.

 

 

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Habits Announcement (Ends 9/30/18)

Habits Announcement (Ends 9/30/18)

“Hi, this is Steve Eulberg with another Habit for Your….

….well, it’s not exactly a Habit, it’s an announcement:

For people who are developing their Habits for a Healthy Music Habitat.

My patrons, on Patreon, have been able to support me so that I can finish this collection in a digitized fashion. Southern Harmony shape-note tunes arranged for Mountain Dulcimer Trios.

InstaSpecialOffer

And what I’m excited about is they were able to do that, and THAT let’s me get to work on the NEXT one, which is shape-note Fuguing tunes, from the Sacred Harp collection.

As a way of just thanking patrons and inviting YOU to be one of those patrons also, I want to give you a chance to get your name into the THANK-YOU PAGE of the digital book!
Of THIS one…AND…the NEXT ONE.

This is a special offer that only lasts until the end of September and I want YOU to have the chance to get in on it.

Patrons are also what help to support the creation of the Habits videos [for Your Healthy Music Habitat] and regular emails. [Habits from the Muse]

So, thank you for listening, for watching, for commenting, for suggesting ideas, and thank-you for your support.”

patreon.com/steveeulberg to sign up!

 

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How do I stay Logged In?

How do I stay Logged In?

by Steve Eulberg

At DulcimerCrossing.com we have several FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) to provide a self-service way to gain and retain access to all of the lessons we have filmed and edited for you.

One of the most often-asked questions is “How do I move from lesson to lesson without ending up outside of the site?”

The video below explains how to do this for all instruments for both Basic (yellow) and Premium (blue) memberships.

We encourage you to visit the FAQ Page to watch the other videos, too.  (They are all succinct…we value your time as you do.)

If you have other questions that you don’t see answered here, or you have suggestions to offer, or lessons that you would like to see, please contact me or Linda.

 

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