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UK and European Mountain Dulcimers


UK and European Mountain Dulcimers

A group which hopefully allows players/makers in this part of the world to keep in touch with others resident in Europe.

Members: 190
Latest Activity: yesterday

Discussion Forum

From a new member: Gourock, Inverclyde, south-west Scotland 9 Replies

Hello folks.My nice wee 4-string dulcimer simply adorns a wall at the present moment, because I have not made any progress with the Mel Bay Cripple Creek book which Mike Fenton of autoharp fame…Continue

Started by Maggie MacBean. Last reply by Maggie MacBean Aug 26.

Are there Mountain Dulcimer players on the Isle of Man? 5 Replies

During my visits to the IOM, I was surprised to learn that when they hear the word "dulcimer," they immediately think of hammered dulcimer.  I was told there might be a few Manx folks who play…Continue

Started by Carol Walker. Last reply by Carol Walker Aug 26.

hearts of the dulcimer screening in Scotland 10 Replies

See's an informal folk festival in Longniddry, East Lothian (just east of Edinburgh) from…Continue

Tags: Scotland

Started by Sally Whytehead. Last reply by David E.Hall Jul 22.

All On a Bright May Morning 9 Replies

Somewhere for folks to add there celebration of the first day of Summer.Here's adieu to winter's wailing. From now on it's plain sailing. Summer is a coming today As we welcome the first of…Continue

Started by john p. Last reply by Robin Thompson May 3.

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Comment by doug curran on June 5, 2014 at 5:02am

Guglielmo, on the harp you have the bars tend to be a little too slack in the slots, rather than too tight. I suspect the instrument is a little damp, and the wood inserted into the aluminium 'u' channel has swollen somewhat, causing the channel to expand a little. This should recover in a drier situation, and if so, you should be able to restore the paintwork. In the meantime,just ensure that the bar slots are scrupulously clean, perhaps even giving them a polish  with a good wax furniture polish. Springs in that harp tend to be over strong, so unless one is obviously damaged, they should be fine. Give it time. Time heals many things! Good luck.

Comment by Guglielmo on June 4, 2014 at 9:47am

@Bob.Be sure I'll give a look to the suggested youtube reference after work. I know the harp should be played on the chest, but I still haven't gor any belt. In the video there is just an attempt to play some chords after the first tuning, from now on I'm going to look for any advice or tutorial. Concerning the dulcimer, I'm a beginnere as well with it. Thanks. G.

Comment by Bob Ebdon on June 4, 2014 at 9:37am
From watching your video, you are trying to play it like you play a dulcimer. OK, but that will limit you. The Autoharp can do so much more than that. Have a look for Bobtheautoharp on YouTube.
Comment by Bob Ebdon on June 4, 2014 at 9:34am
Hi Gueglielmo. Doug is your man if you have any technical problems with the Autoharp. Anything to do with playing, I could probably help with.
Comment by Guglielmo on June 4, 2014 at 9:07am

@John. I already play guitar, so fortunately strumming is not a real issue for me. But of course I realize the technique to be used with an autoharp is quite different. First at all, having only 15 bars forces you to think a lot about what you want to play, and how. And, of course, you can't play everything tou have in mind. But it is a very intriguing challange. Concerning the strings, I think I'm going to change them soon anyway; I look forward to hearing how it plays with a new set, in particular the bass strings that don't seem to be in a very good shape :)


@Dough. Your autoharps are really beautiful. And the advice is really appreciated. Concerning further tunings on the hardware, because of the are not defective keys i think I can just play for a while. I think sooner or later the key should be rebuilt, but it is something not really necessary at the moment. There's only a doubt I have: because of the removing of the vernissage at the ends, the metal is exposed. Could it be affected by oxide?




Comment by doug curran on June 4, 2014 at 7:19am

HI Guglielmo, for a beginner your clip is great! From time to time I make an autoharp,and have repaired/rebuilt many. May I offer some advice on your one? Firstly, from the photo, It looks to be in very nice condition, but with one or more sticky keys, one of which you say is 'swollen.' If this is the case, please do not remove any more material from the sides of the affected key. If the keys have been affected by humidity, a change of home may very well mean that if the new home is in a warmer/drier country, the instrument may very well move a little  over time, and all may yet be well, without further work.Let the instrument acclimatise in new surroundings, before going any further with the restoration. As it dries, it may well go flat for a spell, and need frequent retuning, but should settle in time and hold its tuning well.

Here is a picture of one I made recently, a diatonic in G/D tuning.

Comment by John Rawlinson on June 4, 2014 at 5:33am

Hi Guglielmo

Sounds like you are well into it already!  I have an old one (probably 1900s) which I bought in the 1970s. I thought at the time, I should change the strings, but felt they were too expensive for an old autoharp and never got round to it and it is still seems fine (I clean them from time to time).

The UK Autoharp site may be of interest -

Good luck with it - they are great fun.  I first heard one on the same occasion I first heard a dulcimer – played by Peggy Seeger in the 1960s. Like dulcimers, sometimes they have that different sound you want for a particular song.

Best wishes,


Comment by magictime on June 4, 2014 at 5:32am

Hi Guglielmo! I'm glad it arrived safely and you've got it tuned and working. It's great to see it being used and enjoyed after sitting around in its box virtually untouched for so long. 

Comment by Guglielmo on June 4, 2014 at 5:03am

Hi everybody, Hi greg!

I've got the harp yesterday. Of course The strings have to be changed; but I managed to tune them, and to fix the sticky key in some way, so that I can play it and without hurry looking in the meantime for someone who could perform a better job on it (just that key is swallen, I had to scratch the vernissage at least from the ends in order to reduce the width and let the springs work correctly).


Even if it is not a dulcimer, I'd like to share with you all the first test on my new baby after a quick tuning session. Hoping to get acquainted with her as soon as possible.

I find it beautiful, thanks




Comment by magictime on May 26, 2014 at 5:41am

Thanks Guglielmo!


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