CHAPTER 4: Dulcimers in the British Isles since 1800 > Dulcimers in London

Ted Carr - getting the sound across

Ted is rather concerned that his dulcimer rings a little too much, and especially would if it were played with hammers; certainly, Ted says, "It's beauty is in its ringing", but when it comes to be amplified the sound is rather "too much of a jangle". once when playing through a microphone he tried intertwining all the strings with tape - fig. 219 shows how this is done on a Romanian tsambal - but he still hankers after a cimbalom with its dampers.

He has investigated the possibility of applying electronic pickups under the strings, but having been told that this would be prohibitively expensive, he contents himself with a couple of contact mikes he bought in about 1940 for about £5 each.

He did once bring some wood home intending to make a new dulcimer, but has never got around to it.

Normally a dulcimer player wants to face his instrument, so as to be able to see what is going on; Ted Carr, on the other hand, has been much more concerned for his audiences to see what is going on, and has a stainless steel frame or stand, at which he sits to play, and which tilts the dulcimer away from him, so that the bridging and stringing are plainly visible, as well as his hands.

He once cut his hand on a saw at work so that he can not now pluck the strings with his bare'fingers, but has had to adapt to plastic plectrums, or as with those shown here, perspex.