Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer

Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer

Dusty's Flatpicking Guitar Technique for Modern Mountain Dulcimer

This is the first of a three-part series. Parts 2 and 3 will be uploaded in the discussion below. Part 1 helps you develop a basic back and forth, eighth note strumming pattern. Part 2 builds on that pattern with a variety of techniques aimed at creating really complex rhythms. And Part 3 moves from chords to single notes, demonstrating how the same right-hand technique can allow you to play single notes as embellishment to chorded playing and as rhythmic patterns in place of strumming, as well as finding places to add filler licks.

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Comment by Mike Goldston on June 24, 2013 at 9:36am

Had the same problem Mike. Look on page 3 of the Comments for Dusty's other videos.  I really find them helpful.

Comment by Mike Anderson on June 24, 2013 at 8:08am

Dusty.  I only see part 1 on YT under your subscription area.   Maybe I need to look elsewhere?



Comment by Dusty Turtle on May 7, 2013 at 3:26pm

Mike, I'm so glad you are finding the videos helpful.  Take your time with the techniques in videos 2 and 3. I don't think you can master that stuff all at once. You might want to work on one specific technique a lot until it becomes second nature and then move on to the next one. When I play I never think consciously "let's stress the up-beat here" or "how about muting with the right hand here."  That stuff just happens when I play.  But you have to be really comfortable with the techniques to be able to do that.

With the possible exception of the last song on video 3 ("Rosalie McFall" or "East Virginia") I don't think I use the 1-1/2 fret anywhere. You certainly don't need it to create the rhythms I discuss in video 2.

Feel free to ask any specific questions that come up. And thanks for your comments!

Comment by Mike Goldston on May 7, 2013 at 3:18pm

Finished watching Part 3.  This is the direction I want to take my dulcimer playing and skill development.  Though I follow the techniques you presented in this video, it will take a good deal of work to develop them.  I have been practicing flat picking patterns, arpeggios and scales a good deal. Right now the difficult part is making smooth and well timed transitions from chord to chord.  I find your videos very helpful and give me a lot of specific things to work on.  I really appreciate the time and work you put into creating them.  Thank you very much.

Comment by Mike Goldston on May 7, 2013 at 1:05pm

  OK. Just listened to Part 2.  Awesome! And thank you very much.  I recently discovered muting while playing around with "Bile Them Cabbage...", and this kind of material really helps me recognize how more complex strumming techniques and rhythms are put together.  It will take some practice and closer listening to get the hang of them though.  I note that you seem to be using the 1-1/2 fret for both the Blues/Rock (bop/bop-bop/bop-bop) rhythym, and the Calypso (I think) rhythm.  As I don't have this fret on my dulcimer, does this mean I must wait until I feel I am ready for my next dulcimer to actually use these rhythms?  Thank you again for this excellent video.

Comment by Dusty Turtle on May 6, 2013 at 11:58pm

Thanks, Mike. Parts 2 and 3 are already available. I posted them as the first two comments in this discussion. So if you go to the beginning (right now that means clicking on page 2 and then scrolling all the way down) you will see parts 2 and 3 and a table of contents for all three videos.


I hope they are helpful. And if you have any questions, let me know.

Comment by Mike Goldston on May 6, 2013 at 9:12pm

Thank you, Dusty.  An excellent introduction.  I am really looking forward to Parts 2 & 3.

Comment by Dusty Turtle on April 15, 2013 at 10:07pm

Thanks, Paula. If you are a real beginner, you might consider the first video to be a realistic short-term goal.  That will give you the basics that will enable you to eventually employ some of the techniques in videos 2 and 3.  But some of that advanced strumming and picking might take a while. Don't get discouraged. Take your time with the basics and enjoy playing.  The rest will come in due time.  And of course, if you have any questions, just holler.

Comment by Paula Gautreau on April 15, 2013 at 7:52pm
Dusty! Thank you for the three wonderful instructional videos - I am a beginner and this helps tremendously!
Comment by Dusty Turtle on April 12, 2013 at 8:50pm

Yes, Geekling, the right-hand techniques I outline should be helpful to noter players as well. The only part that might not translate at all would be the stuff on muting with the left hand. Thanks for listening.

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