Recent thoughts on Strumstick?

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I'm thinking about picking up Strumstick, the three-string diatonic scale version, after hearing one played in a bluegrass band. Most of the threads on this instrument are years to a decade old. So, any more recent thoughts about whether this instrument would be a good/fun addition to a ukulele player's collection? I'm moderately proficient on the uke but just really getting beyond strumming to melody. "Some say" the Strumstick is a good learning instrument for that purpose. What say ye?
 
From what I've seen, a strumstick is very similar to a lap dulcimer, the exception being the resonant chamber. They have the same fretboard layout, a diatonic board with an added 6+ fret. Playing drone style melody will be quite easy for someone who plays the uke.
Playing chord style is a bit more difficult.
 
From what I've seen, a strumstick is very similar to a lap dulcimer, the exception being the resonant chamber. They have the same fretboard layout, a diatonic board with an added 6+ fret. Playing drone style melody will be quite easy for someone who plays the uke.
Playing chord style is a bit more difficult.
You are right, Jim - I've played a couple, and they are functionally equal to a mountain dulcimer - which can also be played holding it up like a guitar/uke.

The major difference I've seen is that a Strumstick is cheaper than a decent dulcimer.
 
I have a seagull Merlin m4 and I love the sound of it. it’s very easy to pick up but some of the stretches are quite large if u play a strumstick. Not so if u play a dulcimer as they use their thumb to fret so the reach for stretches is further.
This guy is the best so far that I have come across

 
Having played mountain dulcimer, the Merlin looks like an easy transition and a lot of fun. I just ordered one thanks to this thread. This should fit in well at church when we play gospel bluegrass.
The Merlin is a very simple strumstick, which makes it very limited, although Chit San Maung sure gets some amazing sounds from it. It gives you only one octave per string and the dulcimer 6+ fret is included, but the 6th fret is not. If you prefer DDA tuning, you will want to have the 6th fret added. DAD tuning folks will be a bit happier.
The major difference between a dulcimer and a strumstick is that the strings are reversed. A strumstick has the melody string(s) on the opposite side from a dulcimer.
I would prefer a strumstick that is fretted like a mountain dulcimer. It gives you a lot more possibilities.
Strumstick1_Small_.jpg
 
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The Merlin is a very simple strumstick, which makes it very limited, although Chit San Maung sure gets some amazing sounds from it. It gives you only one octave per string and the dulcimer 6+ fret is included, but the 6th fret is not. If you prefer DDA tuning, you will want to have the 6th fret added. DAD tuning folks will be a bit happier.
The major difference between a dulcimer and a strumstick is that the strings are reversed. A strumstick has the melody string(s) on the opposite side from a dulcimer.
I would prefer a strumstick that is fretted like a mountain dulcimer. It gives you a lot more possibilities.
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I spoke to the player after the concert. I asked her about tuning and she said hers was G-C-G with one G an octave above. I don't see where McNally sells an instrument with that tuning out of the box, but maybe some can be set up that way.
 
Having played mountain dulcimer, the Merlin looks like an easy transition and a lot of fun. I just ordered one thanks to this thread. This should fit in well at church when we play gospel bluegrass.
I've noodled a bit on my Dad's Merlin and I love it!
 
I spoke to the player after the concert. I asked her about tuning and she said hers was G-C-G with one G an octave above. I don't see where McNally sells an instrument with that tuning out of the box, but maybe some can be set up that way.
You can have the Merlin in G tuning too. Just need a different saddle from Godin. The parent company of seagull. I have both D and G saddles
 
You can have the Merlin in G tuning too. Just need a different saddle from Godin. The parent company of seagull. I have both D and G saddles
I don't understand how changing the saddle would change the tuning. I would change the string gauge. It looks as though the saddle is built right into the bridge, so to change the saddle, you'd replace the whole bridge. Am I wrong?
 
I don't understand how changing the saddle would change the tuning. I would change the string gauge. It looks as though the saddle is built right into the bridge, so to change the saddle, you'd replace the whole bridge. Am I wrong?
The G saddle compensation is different from the D saddle. I guess it’s more for intonation. The saddles pops out of the bridge.
 
I have a Merlin and find it very difficult to chord with my arthritic hands…
 
My forced solution: Pluck. My left hand just can't span the first four frets. I suppose one could always look for alternative chords but might need more frets...
 
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