The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #56028   Message #1299761
Posted By: JohnInKansas
18-Oct-04 - 12:19 PM
Thread Name: Learning to play a Mountain Dulcimer
Subject: RE: Learning to play a Mountain Dulcimer

There are probably far more varieties of banjo strings than you'll encounter if you just buy your strings as "Mountain Dulcimer strings." Most reasonably stocked music retailers should probably have them. This of course, assumes you're using the "commercial standard," approximately 28.5 inch string.

There is some variation in sets, since a few traditionalists don't double-course the top string, hence only use 3 instead of 4. I've seen a very few "prepackaged" MD sets with only three strings in them, but I think those were specials; and most of the retail market MD sets will have 4. The packaged sets should be a good starting point.

I had thought to grab a spare set and give you some typical diameters, but apparently our resident dulcimist has them hidden. Maybe someone else can give you some specifics, if she doesn't wake up in the next few hours.

If you really need to "roll your own" I'd expect that one of the Dulicmer sites should have info on wire diameters, since some players like "specials" for bizarre tunings. You can probably also order Mountain Dulcimer string sets from about any of them.

For most of the common tunings, you don't need to worry too much about overstretching them, since Mountain Dulcimer strings seem to work at a little lower load than many other instruments. The default gages will usually tune as far as you need to for any of the common tunings.