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

The second generation - Jimmy Cooper


"I used to play a lot on these different keys, because this accordion player used to play in all the keys - everybody's lazy, but you've got to be pushed!

The other dulcimer players only played the easy stuff, I was the same only this bloke said 'I want it in that key', so I did it. The cornet player was a brass band man, he'd nothing except the reading - if it wasn't on that he couldn't play it: you bend that which will bend!

They mostly played just in the two keys, but I altered mine, I gave it a C# and an Eb. I was the only one that knew where they were, you see: I could play another instrument but they couldn't play mine.

I used to play a D instrument pitched to G: nowadays I have one in G and one in F, but I didn't know that then.

Every chord must have the right vibrations: when you tune 1, 2, 3, 4, you never get a proper scale - you need to do it in fourths and fifths ..."

It takes him 10-15 minutes to tune nowadays, an achievement which many would envy, but he says he has "slowed up a lot".