Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer

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B. Ross Ashley
  • Male
  • Toronto, ON
  • Canada

B. Ross Ashley's Friends

  • Gary Major
  • Alyssa Bruijns
  • Maggie Arnold
  • James Phillips
  • Ron Calef
  • Guy Hilliard
  • Yaya
  • Lois Sprengnether Keel
  • Syd Turner
  • RavenMadd Garcia
  • Terry Wilson
  • Skip
  • Jim Cumberland
  • Andy Robinson
  • Sam

B. Ross Ashley's Groups

B. Ross Ashley's Discussions

Finding ball-end strings
3 Replies

Started this discussion. Last reply by Bobby Ratliff Nov 18, 2009.

Any other ocarinists around?
10 Replies

Started this discussion. Last reply by Dennis F. Lowe Jan 4, 2011.


B. Ross Ashley's Page

What everyone's up to!...

B. Ross Ashley replied to Edward I Ball's discussion 'What really is, Bagpipe Tuning?' in the group The Music Theory Corner
"It is not unison tuning, aka Galax tuning; that is 4-string equidistant cccc or dddd. Bagpipe tuning uses the existing bass string on a regular-more-or-less dulcimer to tune Cccc or Dddd. The bridge and nut on a regular dulcimer will have bigger…"
Dec 8
B. Ross Ashley replied to John Lipinski's discussion 'Drone & Noter Tab' in the group OLD STYLE Drone & Noter players
"And my few tabs there are melody-course only ... the drones just drone."
Dec 3
B. Ross Ashley commented on Dick Glasgow {Ptarmigan}'s group 'Dulcimer Ancestors'
"great article there!"
Nov 11
B. Ross Ashley replied to john laverdure's discussion 'scheitholt' in the group Dulcimer Ancestors
"I'd agree with Ken there ..."
Nov 3
B. Ross Ashley replied to John Lipinski's discussion 'noter-drone style TAB for the dulcimer' in the group OLD STYLE Drone & Noter players
Sep 25
B. Ross Ashley commented on Strumelia's group 'OLD STYLE Drone & Noter players'
"It's a little hard to read, but the "Dul A" line on the tab at actually works as a noter-and-drone tab for this song."
Sep 25
B. Ross Ashley replied to Dusty Turtle's discussion 'What are half frets and do I need any?' in the group Beginner players
"Simple and relatively clear explanation ... well done, Dusty."
Sep 20
B. Ross Ashley replied to Bob Kelly's discussion 'piano-2-dad' in the group The Music Theory Corner
"Tabledit and MusEdit are really good at this. They are both computer programmes, you can write in your Standard Music Notation lines and they can be set to print out tablature for all kinds of instruments, including mountain dulcimers in every…"
Sep 9
B. Ross Ashley commented on Strumelia's group 'Beginner players'
"False nut / reverse capo is actually rather easier to improvise than a real capo ... I just use a wooden matchstick, placed against the first or second fret, under the drone strings only to raise them from CG to DA or whatever; it is quicker than…"
Sep 4
B. Ross Ashley commented on Strumelia's group 'Beginner players'
"Ellen is right about sitting down with another player ... I did not meet another player until a year after I had started. Slowed down my development something awful."
Aug 29
B. Ross Ashley replied to Nila atkins's discussion 'Looking for the right strings for my 38 & 1/2 inch Ellipitical Dulcimer' in the group Dulcimer Care & Maintenance
"The distance from the nut (near the tuning heads) to the bridge (down at the other end of the instrument) is what Dan is asking for."
Aug 19
B. Ross Ashley replied to Dusty Turtle's discussion 'alternate endings in Tabledit' in the group Arranging for Dulcimers
"Not sure what Tabledit calls it, but Musedit calls it "brackets". I highlight the first ending, hit bracket and enter the number 1; then highlight the second ending, hit bracket and enter 2."
Aug 17
B. Ross Ashley replied to Terry Evans's discussion 'What Octave?' in the group Beginner players
"Skip is right for DAdd tuning ... for those of us in other tunings, DAAA is all 3rd octave, as is GCCC. "
Aug 13
B. Ross Ashley commented on Sam's group 'Dulcimer Care & Maintenance'
"My favourite noter is the cut-off butt end of a goose quill. Works well and lasts a while."
Aug 12
B. Ross Ashley replied to Vonnie Galusha's discussion '6 1/2 fret tuning vs. non- 6 1/2 fret tuning.' in the group Beginner players
"As a noter/drone player I tend to use CGG and DAA a lot, and retune frantically  to other tunings as I need to if I want to get into a minor song. (I've found a matchstick reverse capo on the first or second fret, under the drones, to be…"
Aug 10
B. Ross Ashley replied to Sharna Tanner's discussion 'Playing for my Mom' in the group Dulcimer Therapy
" Always glad to hear about the healing and ameliorative powers of music!"
Aug 7

Profile Information

My interests in music and in mountain dulcimers:
Retired hospital worker, union activist, choral folk singer, ocarina player, old folkie and dulcimer newbie. Also cyclist, cook, socialist politician, and science fiction and fantasy fan.
My website (if I have one):

B. Ross Ashley's Blog

Song of the Wandering Aengus II

I finally got this song tabbed to my own satisfaction. (I really ought to get the paid version of Tabledit, but I will be switching to a Linux box in a few weeks, and I don't know whether Tabledit will run in Wine. Alternatively I'd like to get lilypond to do the job but I'm not good enough at that yet.)

Anyhow, I got Dan to put it up in the ED tab age, and thought I'd put a copy here too, but we don't have a tab page ... so here it is.…


Posted on January 14, 2010 at 11:00pm — 1 Comment

Song of the Wandering Aengus

Just uploaded another video, my own arrangement of the old Irish tune as set for the William Butler Yeats poem. As I noted in the video section, I first heard this on a Dave Van Ronk record back around 1965.

I thought it's gentle wistful melancholy would fit the MD, and it's coming out pretty well. Gotta get a better camera and rehearse myself a little better too ...

Posted on December 30, 2009 at 2:27am

My chorus

I had to move this over here because the song is still copyright. Thanks, Strumelia, I would not want to get you in trouble with the DMCA.

This is us performing "Everything Possible" in our annual concert, 6 months ago. I love this song. That's me two faces above and slightly to your right of Isabel, our conductor.…


Posted on December 1, 2009 at 11:30pm — 4 Comments

Learn something new ...

I just got a look at Don Pedi's website, and discovered I had been doing something backwards. I tabbed out a version of the "Diggers' Song" from the English Civil War period, that I transcribed from Chumbawamba's English Rebel Songs CD, and put it up in the Tabs section of Everything Dulcimer a few weeks ago; I tabbed it in what I fondly thought was Dorian, DAC (1-5-4). According to Pedi, Dorian is DGC! I guess I got a reverse Dorian there. Anyhow, I just tried it in DGC and it sounds even… Continue

Posted on November 21, 2009 at 2:00pm — 6 Comments

Song circle etc.

Last night after the SEC game on TV (my Gators beat the Gamecocks, yay!) I went down to Riverdale to Dan W.'s place for song circle. First one I've been to this year.

About a dozen of us showed up, enough to make Clio, Dan's cat, hide under the bed. Four of us active Common Thread choristers, three who are taking a year off, the rest fans or on the waiting list. I was hoping Bob B would show up with his Tam Kearney dulcimer, but I was the only MD player there, with 4 guitarists, 2… Continue

Posted on November 15, 2009 at 11:03am — 1 Comment

Comment Wall (18 comments)

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At 10:57pm on April 14, 2014, Gordon Hardy said…

Hi Ross, thanks for the welcome. I'm not exactly north of the lakes, quite a bit more north and west but real pleased with the Canadian viewpoint.

At 8:44pm on September 16, 2013, Alyssa Bruijns said…

For sure! I've always loved all of the sounds coming out of the Franco-Canadian tradition, and I'm curious to hear some dulcimer versions.

At 8:21pm on September 16, 2013, Alyssa Bruijns said…

Hi Ross, thanks for the welcome! I'm originally from London and just moved to Montreal. It's definitely nice to see some Canadian representation in the community.

At 1:06pm on May 30, 2013, Maggie Arnold said…

I live up in the Collingwood, Ontario area.

At 11:24am on January 14, 2013, Ron Calef said…

Ross, thanks for the heads up on the on-line guide - it's great.

At 9:57pm on December 27, 2012, Guy Hilliard said…


My dulcimer was made by Hugh Hunter at "MidnightSpecial Instruments".  He runs a custom musical instrument store in Rockwood -

At 9:11am on October 15, 2012, Syd Turner said…

Fort William born and raised!

At 10:09pm on June 24, 2012, RavenMadd Garcia said…

thanks buddy

At 9:15pm on January 3, 2012, Andy Robinson said…
Excellent! Hope you like the CD. Happy New Year!     Hey, is there any way I can hear you play occarina?
At 7:08pm on October 23, 2011, Anna Vulpe said…
Thanks for the welcome 

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Visit Strumelia's Beginner Noter-Drone dulcimer Blog

I have a main blog for Traditional style mountain dulcimer playing here: Mountain Dulcimer Noter-drone Blog This is an old style of playing where you only fret your notes on the melody string, while letting the drones strings ring open. In my blog, I express my personal views about playing, I offer free TAB and free beginner videos, and I try to help beginners understand in a very basic simple way the 'mysteries' of playing the mountain dulcimer in traditional modal noter/drone style.

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