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April 2020

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amplification & effects for dulcimers ~ part 2

this article was published in the UK’s Nonsuch Dulcimer Club newsletter   

amplification and effects for mountain dulcimer ~ part 2 ~ electric dulcimers

Following on from part 1, my previous article on amplifying acoustic dulcimers, this article now focuses on the electric dulcimer.  Electric guitar technology is now very mature so this could have been a huge topic.  My aim here however, is to offer an introduction to the technology as a starting point for aspiring electric dulcimer players and to help them avoid some of the common pitfalls.


dulcimer chords for DAA

popular dulcimer chords for Ionian / DAA tuning

dulcimer chord shapes – with these popular chords, you can play many songs


New Lang Syne film

this dulcimer instrumental is the opening track of my Au Vieux Moulin CD (2014) – originally a dulcimer and guitar duet, composed with Danny Holmes (guitarist in Diesel Therapy band), this arrangement for dulcimer is performed solo

April Day live in Nashville

an original composition on a nature theme, performed here during my concert for Nashville’s Grand Old Dulcimer Club at the Turner Hall in Nashville in June 2018 – played on my Doug Berch Dulcimer in reverse Ionian tuning (CCG) with Boss DD-500 delay FX – imagine you are walking through a mature wood in England in the springtime – the mature trees seem calm but the colourful spring flowers at their base almost shout at you

Beatles’ Let It Be as dulcimer-yangqin duet

recorded during the Corvid-19 pandemic – cover of Beatles’ Let It Be song played on my mountain dulcimer with remote accompaniment by on yangqin by my friend in Hong Kong Yanki Ma Sze Yan – she is an excellent musician and her playing here is most sympathetic to the song

performance skills

The following notes are based on the handout from my performance skills workshop.  The focus of my workshops was to build confidence as well as competence, so these notes are necessarily focused on the psychological aspects.  A workshop is undoubtedly a better way to learn about performance skills than an essay, nonetheless these notes might prove useful to you.  The techniques herein are powerful and have been deployed over decades to thousands of students with excellent results.     

performance skills ~ notes for performers

A performance is different from a painting, for example, in that musicians need to interact with their audience to present their art.  Successful performers manage this interaction well.  Performing is a skill, so it can be learned, with the right help, by anyone.  Counter-intuitively, extroverts don’t always make great performers.  The ability to perform well is a skill, not a personality type.


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