Dulcimer capo

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Dulcimer capo

Postby Guitar Jim » Wed May 11, 2005 3:02 am

I've never used a dulcimer capo before. I have one on order which I'll receive with my new Tom Yocky dulcimer. It's a Ewing capo. I notice from the picture that it has what seems like a screw type adjustment thingy on it's side that enables you to clamp it tightly against the dulcimer's fingerboard sides. My question is about "downward" pressure against the fingerboard's top. I assume when you attach the capo that you press down hard on the capo's top to ensure reasonable "downward" pressure on the strings, and then clamp the capo, using the adjustable screw thingy, to the fingerboard's side. Is this the way that the Ewing capo works? Or does the side adjuster also create some "downward" pressure as well? Thanks.
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Postby Guitar Jim » Wed May 11, 2005 3:06 am

Hey, I've just noticed I'm now a "senior" member. I feel old!
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Postby missy » Wed May 11, 2005 6:54 am

yep - you push down, then screw. Missy
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Postby kwl » Wed May 11, 2005 9:09 am

Missy, I just read your reply and can't stop laughing! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL!
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Postby missy » Wed May 11, 2005 10:05 am

yeah - I thought of that after I hit reply, but what the heck! Missy
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Postby Tom » Wed May 11, 2005 12:22 pm

Originally posted by kwl Missy, I just read your reply and can't stop laughing! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL!
No comment from me, Ken!EEK! Tom
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Postby SMO » Wed May 11, 2005 1:00 pm

Maurene Sellers at the National Trails festival a couple of weeks ago mentioned something I had never thought about. Make sure the side away from the adjustor (for want of a better term) is against the fretboard so the capo is not pulled across the fretboard as it is tighened, drawing the strings with it and pulling them a bit out of tune. Sounds like good sense. And, Tom & Missy, we're putting you two way on the other side of the racetrack for Harmony Harvest this fall.LOL!
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Postby Tom » Wed May 11, 2005 3:16 pm

Geesh, even when I don't say anything I get in trouble. Well, just make sure the stall is cleaned out! LOL! Tom
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Postby Sherlock Holmes » Wed May 11, 2005 5:59 pm

I don't like dulcimer capos. They're cheap, nearly impossible to put on, and don't have as many function as a guitar capo due to the dulcimer's diatonicness. I have one just in case I need it.
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Postby Tom » Wed May 11, 2005 7:02 pm

We use them all the time, Sherlock, but the ones we use are brass and have a lever actuate cam that locks the capo into place. We find them quite useful for changing keys from D to Em, G and A. Depending on the dulcimer, the tuning may have to be tweaked a bit but I've seen the same thing with guitars. At $35 a shot, I wouldn't say they are cheap. Somebody else will have to help me with a link to the source of these. Tom
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Postby kwl » Wed May 11, 2005 7:50 pm

Here's the help you requested, Tom. http://www.gilamountaindulcimers.com/accessor.htm http://tinyurl.com/7fnrx The second one is for the McSpadden site. I'm sure there are others out there.
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Capo use

Postby Guest » Thu May 12, 2005 12:03 am

I use a capo a lot because I play with a band that does the Dances of Universal Peace songs. These were developed for voice, guitar, recorder, and percussion. Most of the songs are modal ... a few have extra notes. But few of the songs are in D ionian or mixolydian or B minor, the modes easily played on a DAA or DAD tuned dulcimer. In fact the most common mode is C minor, with D minor fairly common as well, and songs in C ionian/mixolydian, G ionian, and so forth. I ended up adding all the frets to one of my dulcimers so it is fully chromatic, tuning it to CGG so I can play all the notes of any of the songs on the melody string, and using the capo to play songs in many of the key-mode combinations such as D minor. I have a second dulcimer tuned either DAA or DAD for the songs in D ionian or mixolydian, and capo in the DAD tuning for the tunes in G and A ionian and a few others that fit. This provides me with maximum flexibility as we move from song to song and allows me to play every song in the repertoire with two dulcimers and at most tuning one string on the DAD/DAA dulcimer if needed. I find that if I mash too hard on the capo while I'm tightening the screw, the strings go out of tune - as a previous comment noted. Also they seem more prone to this if I have the capo right next to the fret. So I place the capo a bit to the left of the chosen fret and hold it down some but not too much as I tighten the screw. I check for proper fit with a quick strum or two. After doing this several times on each dulcimer I developed a good feel for the placement and amount of mashing to do. I encourage use of the capo. Like tuning and playing in different keys and modes, it takes practice and getting used to. The reward is the ability to play a much wider variety of songs.
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