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String-Side Up/Absolute Beginner Lesson Series

by Steve Eulberg Congratulations!  You've got a dulcimer and now you're ready to play it.  And we've got a brand-new series of lessons to help you successfully meet that goal.  

This String-Side Up/Absolute Beginner Hammered Dulcimer and String-Side Up/Absolute Beginner Mountain Dulcimer lessons on www.dulcimercrossing.com is designed to take you from square one in a step-by-step fashion, through sequential lessons designed to answer your questions, demonstrate and encourage best practices and …

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Learning the notes on hammered dulcimer (Tuning Game)

by Steve Eulberg People always ask me if it is necessary to read music in order to play the hammered dulcimer.  My answer is always the same, "No, it is not necessary.  But it can be good tool." It IS necessary to know which notes you have on your instrument in order to tune it, however. And learning that is a LOT more fun if you have a game to play to help you learn! When I first started playing hammered dulcimer, I used a vocal pitch pipe to match pitches with the strings and I found it a lo…

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Lance Frodsham Plays Epinette

by Steve Eulberg On my recent tour of the Pacific Northwest, I was able to finally meet Lance Frodsham of Vancouver, Washington.  Lance is a teacher and performer of the mountain dulcimer with several recordings and books of music for dulcimers published by Mel Bay.  He is also one of the coordinators of the annual Kindred Gathering (which celebrated its 37th gathering in the Pacific Northwest this past August!) Lance and I have corresponded but had never met face to face, or had the opportunit…

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Cimbalom Player Sighting!

by Steve Eulberg Author Annie Dillard counsels that things come to the one who is observant.  (warning--non-dulcimer content:  She's a terrific author--I highly recommend Pilgrim at Tinker's Creek, An American Childhood, and Teaching a Stone to Talk.  Now, back to dulcimer content:) There was an open door at the end of the hall on the floor where the Private Guerilla Showcases were being held and I peeked inside to see what kind of music was happening there (I was at the FarWest Regional gatheri…

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Hammered Dulcimer Player Sighting!

by Steve Eulberg At the FarWest Regional meeting of the Folk Alliance in Eugene, Oregon, Oct 20-23, 2011, I was able to hear this lyrical hammered dulcimer player for the first time.

 

Carolyn Cruso, from Orcas, Washington, plays in a spirited way bringing music from mystical places.  As we talked, I realized that my workshops at Dusty Strings (Seattle) the previous weekend, included one of her new beginner students. Let her know you appreciate her playing!  www.carolyncruso.com

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Mountain Dulcimer: "1/2 the frets, 1/2 the strings but All the Music!"



The mountain dulcimer has "Half the strings, and half the frets, but ALL the music," so quipped my friend and colleague, Joe Collins at the Western Carolina Dulcimer Week this summer in Cullowhee, NC.

He was comparing a 3-string, diatonic mountain dulcimer to a 6-string, chromatic guitar.

Many people like ask me if a dulcimer is "easy to play."In my experience there are no instruments that are "easy to play."  But, there are some instruments which are more accessible than others.

A devout appreciat…

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Playing Homer Ledford's Dulcimer

by Steve Eulberg While one tour this month in Bettendorf, Iowa, I was given the opportunity to provide workshops for hammered dulcimer players at the home of Linda & Reg Shoesmith. On the morning I was leaving, Linda brought out a treasured "find" to share: A mountain dulcimer built by Homer Ledford, one of the famous Kentucky builders of the 20th century! A unique feature of this instrument is that the only fret that went under all 4 strings was the 3rd fret. What an exciting opportunity! …

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Angle of Attack?



by Steve Eulberg

A common question heard from and debated among hammered dulcimer players is:  “What is the best angle to use for playing?”

From the images I've included here of my friends, you can tell the answer varies widely from player to player, and even (within the player) from situation to situation and day to day.  These are the extremes that you can readily see.





But I've seen each of these players also choose to play use different angles to play, depending upon their situation.

Bill tells t…

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How should I practice? The 5 Finger-Regimen

by Steve Eulberg

I hear this question all the time from students in my private studio, from my Jamplay.com guitar students and dulcimercrossing.com students.

The Five-Finger Practice Regimen is what I always suggest:

1.  Tune up.5 Finger Practice Regime

It doesn't matter what instrument you play, it will sound better (and therefore encourage your practice) if it is in tune.

[Note for hammered dulcimer players:  Tune ALL the strings on the instrument, not just the ones you use most!!  A significant part of the hammered dulci…

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