May 25, 2017

Tuning Hack for Scroll-Headed Dulcimer

by Steve Eulberg

The Snark™ tuner is very popular with mountain dulcimer players, for good reason.  It is quick, accessible, accurate and it’s display is very readable.

(This is not an insignificant feature as those of us who continue gathering service stripes in the playing of our dulcimers experience with eyesight that gets weary over time!)

IMG_2445And the handy clip-on feature works very well with flathead mountain dulcimers.

However, players of instruments with the traditional scroll have sometimes struggled with how to attach the tuning clip to the dulcimer so that it can “read” the vibrations and convert them into electricity which then displays how close our vibrating strings are to the desired pitch.

Therefore, when one of my students whose dulcimer has a beautiful, traditional scrollhead showed up for her lesson displaying the tuning hack here, I was delighted and decided I needed to share it right away!

IMG_2444By using her capo on the scroll, she had a location on which to clip her tuner that picked up the vibrations directly and accurately!

She clipped on tuned up and was ready for her lesson in no time!

(This is all the more important, because dulcimers players have taken and adhere to the dulcimer pledge which commits them to the joys of playing their instruments in many different tunings!)


Wendy Songe Premium Concert Highlight

We are so excited to Wendy Songe was able to play a Concert Window show for our Premium DulcimerCrossing Members in February!

Erin Mae Lewis, one of our instructors, is in the process of scheduling the Live Events Calendar for the remainder of the year.

Basic Members have access to Live Events once a quarter and Premium Members have access once a month!


Lent Musical Devotions

Lent Musical Devotions…

by Steve Eulberg

Imagine this:  A twice-weekly email playing gentle music of instrumental ensembles featuring dulcimers, gentle vocals and guitars and videos with instrumental music, together with a message of preparation that is serene, clear-sighted and hope-filled–an anti-dote to the dazed Spring atmosphere that is the backdrop for LENT.

LENT is the 40-day season in the Christian tradition that precedes the celebration of Easter.  Traditionally in the church year this is a season of preparation for baptism, or a season of fasting and giving something up, or, for taking up a new discipline, a season of reflection, repentance and renewal of faith.

This is free and available to you and anyone with whom you share this.

Subscribe to our Lent Musical Devotions mailing list

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Not My Monkey New Recording by Fiddle Whamdiddle

 
PRE-ORDER TODAY Vi and I have been hard at work and have finally sent our newest recording off to the manufacturer this week! Not My Monkey features our original tune (by the same name), John Denver's Matthew, Aura Lea (written in 1861 by a relative of Vi's Grandmother, George R. Poulton) and several other old-time favorites. Recorded over 3 years, by two very gifted engineers (Latin-Grammy-winning Oscar Autie, of El Cerrito Studio, in El Cerrito, California) and Darren Radach, of Stout Studios in Fort Collins, Colorado. Darren also served as the mixing engineer and the recording was mastered by Randy LeRoy of Airshow Mastering, Tacoma Park, Maryland. Cover art was photographed and designed by Christina Gressianu, Loveland, Colorado. We expect delivery by the first of February with a projected release date of May 28, 2017. Pre-Order today and get your copy as soon as it arrives...with free postage!  (use the code: iwantmymonkey at checkout)

My Grass Is Blue

by Linda Ratcliff
Steve is introducing a new series of lessons at Dulcimer Crossing –
I’ve gone camping to attend bluegrass festivals, and in the evening – all the musicians like to gather around the campfire and jam.  
But, I have to be honest, my hammered dulcimer has been less than welcome at jams.  
People look at me with suspicion until they’ve heard my backup style.  In this series of lessons,
Steve demonstrates how dulcimer players can fit right in with bluegrass jammers – by learning to play chop chords like a mandolin player.

My favorite part of this lesson comes when Steve teaches  (Read More)

Join DulcimerCrossing today and have access to the 20 video lessons in the first part of this ongoing series!


Take More Risks

by Linda Ratcliff

The biggest risk a person can take is to not take one at all.


Take More Risks

The great thing about New Year’s resolutions is that you can set new goals to improve yourself. That being said – this year, why don’t you take more risks with your dulcimer playing. Here are just a few ideas.
  • Learn to play new tunes.
  • Try picking out a tune by ear, instead of relying on your tablature.
  • Take a song you already know, and make it your own with a new arrangement.
  • Practice with a different tuning on your mountain dulcimer.
  • Better yet, buy a second mountain dulcimer, so you can keep one in each tuning.
  • Learn a new style of music on your dulcimer, like the “Blues” or “Bluegrass.”
  • Play your first solo in front of friends.
  • Play your first solo in front of strangers.
  • Go to an out-of-town weekend dulcimer festival, and meet other dulcimer players.
  • Sign up for private dulcimer lessons. If there’s not a teacher in your area, you can always Skype with one of our instructors.
  • Most important of all … have fun with your dulcimer.

You have an entire year – go for it!

If you have any questions, always feel free to ask Steve or myself.

Happy dulcimering,
Linda

Bridging the Gap Between What You Know … And Where You Want Your Music to Go

GO FOR IT!  JOIN DULCIMERCROSSING.COM

Featured Image from:

http://alidavies.com/taking-risks-essential-part-success/


In the Studio, Fiddle Whamdiddle Recording

Here are views from our studio work, preparing and recording for our new Fiddle Whamdiddle CD:

Hammered Dulcimer Studio Collage ((photo: Steve Eulberg)

Latin Grammy-Winning Engineer, Oscar Autie (photo: Steve Eulberg)
El Cerrito and hammered dulcimer ((photo: Steve Eulberg)

Starting the day with Galax! (photo: Steve Eulberg)


Vi tracking (photo: Steve Eulberg)

Finishing the day with mountain dulcimer (photo: Steve Eulberg)

Dulcimer Player's View (photo: Steve Eulberg)

Vi Tracking, Darren at the controls (photo: Steve Eulberg)

Darren at the controls, Stout Studio (photo: Vi Wickam)

Vi at El Cerrito (photo: Kenya Autie)

Working out the Arrangement (photo: Kenya Autie)

Steve, Kenya, Vi & Oscar (photo: Oscar Autie)

Steve at El Cerrito (Photo: Kenya Autie)











Advent Dulcimer Devotions return…

by Steve Eulberg

Imagine this:  A weekly email playing gentle music of instrumental ensembles featuring dulcimers, with a message of preparation that is serene, clear-sighted and hope-filled–an anti-dote to the crazed, blurry-eyed busyness of Christmas preparations (that began in some locations back in October.)

Advent is the 4-week season in the Christian tradition that marks the beginning of a new year in the life of the “called-out” people of God known as the church.  While we gather and prepare to celebrate the birth of a savior, we also gather and prepare for the return of the savior in the days when the light from the sun is shortest each day.  (In the northern hemisphere, that is.)

This is free and available to you and anyone with whom you share this

“Prepared to be Lucky”

luckyjoesinteriorby Steve Eulberg

Lucky Joe’s Sidewalk Saloon, in Fort Collins, Colorado, is one of the places I began honing my craft of performing in live venues at the end of the last century.

As soon as church was over in the morning, I would phone in to get my name put on the Open Mic list for what I hoped would be the prime time after the weekly Acoustic Open Mic began at 9 pm every Sunday Night.

Sometimes I was “lucky” and my name was earlier on the list, so I could listen to a few of the other players, play my set and get home to take my shower (this was before the local Clean Air Act banned smoking in bars in 2003).  If I didn’t take that shower, my sensible wife would not let my smoky-smelling self sleep in the same bed!  (I guess, twice lucky–the couch was none-too-comfortable for a night’s sleep.)

Other nights, the list was nearly full when I called in and I got to play much closer to closing time….which made the required shower much e-e-e-arlier in the morning.

Many of the performers were guitarists and singer-songwriters, although I do recall a stride pianist coming in and playing some mean Jelly Roll Morton, too.  Sometimes I would bring my guitar and try out some new songs, to test them in front of a rather discerning audience.

Many other times, I brought my mountain or hammered dulcimer up on that little stage (which provided the host and sound guy the opportunity to learn how to amplify these feedback boxes on the fly!) to introduce their delicate and lively sounds to the beer-sipping audience.  (To their intrigue and delight.)

I don’t know how the other performers used the time they were not performing, but this was a laboratory for me.

I studied them, their material, how they presented it, how the audience did (or didn’t) respond.  I prepared my nervous heart to calm itself as my time slot neared and I tried to make my set up time be efficient.  I listened to (and made internal comments on) everyone’s stage patter, and tried to edit my own in light of my quick reflections on theirs.

And I was lucky.

Joe (half of Lucky Joe’s) booked me to play for a couple of St. Patrick’s Day gigs and one year I rode on the saloon’s float in the pre St. Patrick’s Day Saturday morning parade in March (this is Colorado, remember, and March is one of the big snow-dump months every year!), playing my hammered dulcimer, wearing finger-less gloves as the float bounced down College Avenue.

But mostly I was lucky because I learned that all this preparation is what made me lucky.

(with thanks to Twyla Tharp for sharing E. B. White’s quote:

“Habitually creative people are prepared to be lucky.”

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life.)

 


Backing Tracks Library is growing!

We keep adding to our Library of Backing Tracks which are available to our Premium Members.

backingtracklibraryexanding

The two newest are the chord progressions in the Keys of D and G which match the Albert Brumley tune:  I’ll Fly Away.  These were created for the new Bluegrass Dulcimer series taught by Steve Eulberg.

We are continuing to produce these and other resources to assist you in your goals to “Bridge the Gap Between What You Know and Where You Want Your Music to Grow.”