We recently returned from an extended western
camping tour towing our aliner, rolling tent really. Very small.
I took my small James Jones 3/13/12 hammered
dulcimer as I was unsure how well any dulcimer would survive the trip. My
husband took a carbon fiber fiddle. It needed no pampering.
I also took along two cello dampits and two violin
dampits for the dry climate. Starting in North Carolina and travelling
across I 40 west I did not need the first dampits until Palo Duro, TX four days
in. I monitored humidity changes on our inexpensive device where 20 is the
lowest humidity number.
The dulcimer was always cased except for
tuning and playing. In my Toyota Highlander it was covered with several
throws as well and driving days the car was well air conditioned. When
needed I soaked dampits once every 24 hours and played the dulcimer every other
day. Hoped for more playing but camping is also time demanding when you
encounter mother nature.
In 46 days this dulcimer encountered temperatures
of 27 â 107. Driest was Kingman, AZ and Tulare, CA where my low bass G
took on a bit of a buzz. The dulcimer had a harsh tone in the dry
conditions but held tuning very well. Never had to do a full tune and some
days only needed three dampits, one cello in the hand hole center and two violin
at the upper right and left sides. Once the humidity rose just a bit, the
buzz went away. Three very cold nights in Yellowstone (27) it
slept on top of our cooler in the camper, cased of course but that was it.
Daytime spent under our sleeping bags. Wood was very cool but dulcimer was
On the other end a couple times we forgot
instruments were still in the car parked for a few hours in the hot
weather. Dulcimer was barely warm to the touch and tuning held well.
The dulcimer tone was normal in Medford, OR where our relatives had a humidity
controlled home. We really enjoyed playing there.
I commend James for my durable small dulcimer it
really can handle any weather conditions, better than the player did. It
was so cold in Yellowstone and that was mid June.
We were sensitive about campground playing.
Always played before quiet hour, usually right after supper. If it was a
tight camping situation we played inside the camper to keep sound to a
minimum. When we had more space we played outside. No one ever asked
us to stop playing. Several places we drew listeners and occasionally
people brought over chairs to sit and listen. It sparked conversation and
it was a surprise to learn how many people knew about the dulcimer.