Joe Scanlon introduces ‘Instrument Building Part Two’.
Appalachian Mountain dulcimers: Background information. Appalachian Mountain dulcimers come in two shapes – the teardrop shape and the hourglass shape. They lie flat across the lap or are played on a tabletop. Unlike the guitar, the body is part of the neck. There are also fewer frets, which makes it easier to play scales. There are three or four strings. The two melody strings (on a four string) are tuned identically. Tunes are played using just the melody string and one finger – very popular with young children, or you may tune the other strings to produce a drone. Played in this way, consider it a bagpipe with strings. You may also use a ‘noter’, any piece of dowell such as a round pencil. You slide the dowell up and down the melody string(s) against a background drone – simple. Chords can come later.
Dulcimer kits: You can build your dulcimer from a kit, –have one imported from the Ozark Mountains. A good supplier will give you nice locally sourced and wood, the tricky bits will be pre-shaped and planed.
Plywood cigar-box dulcimers: You can also make a fine cigar-box type instrument using plywood, guitar tuners and oak. Use 1/8 inch plywood for the body, 2 ½ x ¾ inch oak fingerboard. You need a hardwood bridge, nut and backpiece to connect the strings opposite end to the tuners. Cut soundholes to taste. Frets can be made from sturdy paper clips. Fret-spacing must be 100% accurate. Photocopy another dulcimer neck full-size for this or use a chromatic electronic tuner sliding frets about and taping them to the neck then marking them one at a time, then file a groove and glue the fret in. Be precise.
Tools: A drill, woodglue file, sandpaper. Finish with Tru-oil gunstock, fine sanding between each coat. JS
FRIDAY, APRIL 8
Long Melford Folk Club: Cock and Bell. 8pm. Free. Open to all. Good stuff happens here. Recommended.
Bury Constitutional Club: Kevin’s Guitar Club Special – Blues and Americana Night. 7.30pm-ish. Free.
SATURDAY, APRIL 9
Slack Folk Piato Cafe: Colchester. Free. 2-4.15pm. Celendine, Park and Ride, Mike Chapman, The Four Blokes Trio, Dave Rado. For details, email email@example.com
MONDAY, APRIL 11
Colchester Folk Club: Colchester Arts Centre. 7.45pm. £10 on door. £9 cons. Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar. Support by Nunn and Dunn.
TUESDAY, APRIL 12
Whittlesford Folk Club: Bees-in-the-Wall. 8pm-11pm
Ely Royal Folk Club: King’s Arms. 7.30-11pm.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13
Woolpit Folk Club: The Bull. 8.30-11pm. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Ely Folk Club: The Old Dispensary. 8pm-11pm. See www.lucywardsings.com.
Constitutional Club, Bury: Kevin’s Guitar Club. 7.30pm. Free.
THURSDAY, APRIL 14
The Bull, Colchester: Acoustic Bull. 9–11pm. Free. Castaway, Harmonettes, Holmes & Bond.
The Railway, Witham: Witham Singaround. 7.30–10pm. email@example.com.
Circle Dancing: United Reformed Church, Whiting Street, Bury. 2-3.30pm. Contribution £5. Contact Jen Larner 01284 705548 – firstname.lastname@example.org
FRIDAY, APRIL 15
Hadleigh: French Music and Dance Weekend 2016: Ansell Centre. 8pm. £5 on door. www.hadleighfolk.org.uk/?Page_ID=831.