Monday, May 01, 2006

You say box with strings, I say Dulcimer...


Went to Chattanooga this weekend. Mom shows me this ancient looking piece of work you see above and asks me if I want it. For some reason, I am entralled by handmade musical instruments so of course I say yes.

I can only assume it to be a dulcimer. It has four strings and is a lap instrument. Mullins, what do you think? Sip?

Mulls, when I started to play the mando, you gave me some very nice (though elementary) books on playing the mando (Of which I still have if you want them back). Any chance you have dulcimer books as well?

Will a music store sell "dulcimer strings"? Is it a slide or pick instrument?

Anyway, thought it was kewl. Was made and/or played by my dads great aunt Mary Katherine. About 90 to 100 years old.

10 comments:

Brewster said...

Can anyone see my blog? I get nothign but a blank page when I go now.

Cool instrument, whatever it is.

Jamison said...

i got your blog right here!

ummm, no, i dont see your blog....maybe that mean man who hated your review of that terrible movie hacked it...

of course, this is the buggiest website known to man.... itll fix itself.

bigsip said...

Blog, heal thyself!

Looks like a makeshift dulcimer to me, man. My cousin Zebulun has a dulcimer and my Uncle James had a couple of them.

Here's an article on what's called a Tennessee Music Box. Look familiar? Apparently it is a type of dulcimer!

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4469269

bigsip said...

Here's another link off that website that explains more history and even gives some tuning/playing advice.

http://home.usit.net/~sandyc/mb.html

mullinz8 said...

I think you’ve got your self a Tennessee Music Box, good research Sipper.

You can get dulcimer strings at a lot of music shops, sort of. Around here most folks know what a dulcimer is so it’s a recognized instrument among the bluegrass and folks musicians. Once you’re out of the foothills I don’t know if it retains its place in the music world.

You can get a few books on line and I’m sure your local music shop can find a few things for you too. I got two books, each for different tuning, though I keep it tuned to just one setting.

I love my dulcimer because it has a beautiful sound even though I don’t play it as much it’s one of my favorite musical noises. I’m sort of torn because part of me says to not string it and keep it as an heirloom the other side of me says to string it because an instrument should be played and appreciated.

As far as your playing utensils you can use a pick for your strumming hand just like a mandolin. You can use your fingers to cord the strings or a single finger to bar the string(s). Often times a small wooden dowel is used to create a slide effect on the instrument, a popsicle stick or other small piece of wood could be substituted for this device. My fingers are pretty well calloused and padded so I can slide a sting or two at a time with no worries, more than two strings and I like to use something else.

String it up and learn a new sound!

mullinz8 said...

Brew I linked from this site and I got nothing.

Is there anyway to back up a posting?

bigsip said...

I have heard of people losing their blogs through here a couple of times.

I hope that's not the case here.

Have you tried to contact the admin folks, Brew?

I see nothing when I go to your blog, either.

bigsip said...

Can you get to your "Dashboard"?

If so, is there anything there?

You might be able to salvage some stuff if you can get there.

Jamison said...

i cant imagine the admin of blogger helping any at all:

"Hey, my blog is gone!"

"How much do you pay for it?"

"Ummm, nothing..."

-click-

Man, if we lost this one a part of me would really die...

bigsip said...

I'd hate it, but we'd start again.

I think this blog has served us well and will for a long time to come.