Help for new mountain dulcimer players of all ages!


Postby Littlejoe » Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:06 am

Hello, I am new to the dulcimer world. I have been picking around on the banjo for years.I have never really got the hang of it. I love the sound of a Banjo, so I just ordered a Banjo-Dulcimer from Dulcimers by JR. I have never played one before. I was told it is easy to play. I really enjoy this forum and know I will learn alot. :D
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Re: Banjo-Dulcimer

Postby KenH » Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:32 am

Welcome LittleJoe! One thing to be aware of is that there is virtually nothing written specifically for banjimer. banjammer, banjo-dulcimer, whatever name you use. It is normally played flat on your lap like any other dulcimer,strummed or fingerpicked with the right hand and noted or chorded with the left. All discussions of left and right hand technique, tuning, etc. apply.

You may want to check out an article I wrote here a few years ago called I Just Got A Dulcimer, Now What? It's an illustrated glossary of dulcimer terms, plus answers to many beginner questions about tuning, playing, care and feeding of your new BFF. ED's article section is under re-construction right now, but you can read the article here: ... r-now-what
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Re: Banjo-Dulcimer

Postby strumelia » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:58 am

Generally speaking, a banjo-dulcimer or dulci-banjo, whatever the name, is simply a dulcimer with a skinhead, to give it a banjo like sound. However, it is not normally played like a banjo, it has no short thumb string drone and while one can imitate the sound of clawhammer on it, you can't really play it using banjo techniques. The bouncing off the thumb string, drop-thumbing etc, is what gives a banjo it's very special rhythm.
Thus, you just play dulci-jos/banjimers/Jo'cimers/etc like you would a regular dulcimer, and maybe you'll enjoy the sound that seems banjo-y due to the skinhead.
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Re: Banjo-Dulcimer

Postby Dulcimer Bill » Sat Feb 23, 2013 1:44 pm

Hi Littlejoe. I never tried learning the banjo but like you, I like the sound so I bought a banjammer from Mike Clemmer. Love it. No you can't clawhammer, but you can make a close sound like it and you can also make it sound a little like a tenor banjo. Listen to Aaron o'Rourke playing one or Stephen Seifert. Because it is tuned like a dulcimer there is no learning curve as with a new instrument. If you play with a group and there is no banjo player, it is a nice touch on some tubes. I'm working on St Anne's Reel and having a ball. Kind of tenor style with some chords mixed in.
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Re: Banjo-Dulcimer

Postby rendesvous1840 » Sat Feb 23, 2013 7:35 pm

You can clawhammer any dulcimer, including the banjimer, but you will find it easier if you play the melody on the middle and/or bass strings, and use the melody string for a drone. I prefer a 158 tuning like DAD for this, but it isn't etched in stone, just my preference. I tend towards finger dancing, so playing melody on other strings is no problem. The noter may be a real problem for playing on other strings than the melody strings. Playing on the lower strings will give you most of the range of a baritone dulcimer, without buying a second dulcimer. The chief disadvantage here is you lose a good excuse for buying a second dulcimer. We all like to have more than one!
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