English Dulcimer | Articles & the Press
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Articles & the Press

amplification & effects for dulcimers ~ part 1

this article was published in both the international Dulcimer Player News magazine and the UK’s Nonsuch Dulcimer Club newsletter   

amplification and effects for mountain dulcimer ~ part 1 acoustic dulcimers

In this article (Part 1) I will explain how to amplify mountain dulcimers and what effects work particularly well with them.  Although written for the mountain dulcimer, some aspects may be of interest to hammer dulcimer players and guitarist also.  In Part 2 (to be published at a later date) I will discuss electric dulcimers, and the effects and amplification suitable for those.


the PA sound-check

the PA Sound-Check – what performers need to do

Over the many years that I’ve been performing I’ve owned several PA systems and manged live sound many times with other PAs too.  I’ve learned that there are protocols around sound-checking which help to achieve good results.  I have also developed huge respect for the skills and patience of sound engineers.

If you perform, sooner or later you’ll play through PAs and will need to do sound-checks.  This short article aims to help you to make the most of the sound-check opportunity such that your act will not only sound good – but you’ll present yourself in professional manner too.


the mixolydian mode – is it a major or minor scale ?

those of you who are familiar with my music will know that I play modal folk melodies and I have also composed pieces in various modes

I used to think of the modes as all being minor scales, except Ionian of course – recently however, several people have told me that the mixolydian mode is a major scale

this did not sit comfortably with me as the Mixolydian scale sounds minor to me – so I asked 3 highly qualified musicians that I regularly work with to shed some light on the matter

this blog post shows my initial question, their fascinating answers and my updated view now


Contact Dan Evans

interview with Steve O Ryan

Dan Evans from Olney, near Milton Keynes, UK

I first met Dan Evans at the Nonsuch Dulcimer Club’s annual weekend, at Launde Abbey, 3 years ago when I was starting out on dulcimer.  A very sociable and helpful guy, as well as a very thorough tutor, I was delighted when, last year, he came to teach at the Nonsuch Spring Fling in Allendale, Northumberland (which I now help Liz Conway to organise).


my approach to the dulcimer

my approach to the dulcimer – or why I play in DAA

I am often asked why I play mostly in DAA, rather than today’s more dominant DAD tuning.  Whilst I enjoy many benefits from DAA, the real reason is not a about the pros and cons of DAA vs DAD, but about the configuration of the instrument itself.  This article aims to explain that configuration and thus the approach I have to the dulcimer.


collaboration with country songwriter Roger Knott

Roger is a British country singer/songwriter with quite a number of CD albums to his credit, showing how prolific he is as a songwriter.  His albums have a quality feel to them and are often recorded and produced in Nashville, Tennessee.


my effects & amplification

this blog explains the effects and amplification I currently use

digital effects for acoustic instruments

In the past I’ve used large, heavy, rack-mounted and mains-powered effects units but as I now need to fly to perform abroad, all my current equipment is compact and can be battery powered.  I am also a big fan of Boss effects – they are tough, reliable and offer great sounds and high sound quality.


CITES – what musicians who travel need to know

a similar article to this blog was published this autumn in the UK dulcimer club’s Nonsuch News magazine

CITES – what musicians who travel need to know

why this blog ?

Flying with instruments has never been more difficult.  As well as airlines mistreating fragile instruments and Customs’ concerns over illegal importations, there is now a new challenge: CITES.  I would like to share what I know (at this point in time) and my understanding of the risks to help other musicians who cross borders with their instruments.  Why ? because, incredibly, Customs officials now have the right to confiscate and destroy instruments that do not comply with the new rules.

Please note: this article is written for musicians.  Makers & sellers who import / export instruments will need to undertake more relevant research.


how to finger-pick the dulcimer

the following article was published in Nonsuch News, summer 2018, UK’s dulcimer club magazine and the international Dulcimer Players News, February 2019


how to finger-pick the dulcimer


Those of you who are familiar with my music will know that I play the dulcimer (and guitar) mostly finger-style.  To me, fingerpicking is one of the prettiest ways of playing the dulcimer.  This article outlines what I see as best practice fingerpicking technique and it should help you play fingerstyle too, should you wish to do so.