I truly believe every house needs a dulcimer or canjo! They're simple instruments that anybody can play, plus they have such a distinctive Americana sound.
Did you know that you can turn an average dulcimer into a blues machine? In this video, I show the "first fret capo trick" that works on any diatonic dulcimer or canjo and turns it into a minor key instrument. (Scroll down after the video for more info on the homemade dulcimer shown here.)
First, watch the video lesson:
About the homemade dulcimer:
I built this beast of an instrument on camera during several Cigar Box Nation TV episodes back in 2016. I started with a wooden shipping crate and a piece of 1x2x3 maple.
The scale length is 27.5" and was measured using a C. B. Gitty fretting template for a baritone guitar.
Watch the video where I show the initial parts and tools: (fast forward to the 10 minute mark)
Other photo details:
The entire building process was chronicled over three video broadcasts. The first is linked above.
Part 2 shows the dulcimer in its mostly-done state. Fast forward to the 10:30 mark to see it.
In Part 3, I play the dulcimer for the first time and go over final details, including strings and such.
See the full photo set featuring various angles of the dulcimer on the original Facebook post.
It's on the to do list. : )
Really interesting on the capoing to make it an Em.
Okay, If the Dulcimer is tuned to D major - 1/5/5/5 - D/A/A/A, then how does a capo on the 1st fret change it to a minor scale when there's no 3rd? Why didn't it just change to E major E/B/B/B?
Did I miss something?
The frets are set diatonically (do re mi) for the key of D. This is different than 12 notes per octave (chromatic). When you capo in the middle of a diatonic fretboard, you change the di re mi structure.