Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


After a little basic dulcimer help

Nick 14 Jun 15 - 09:29 AM
Phil Cooper 14 Jun 15 - 10:17 AM
PHJim 14 Jun 15 - 07:35 PM
Nick 14 Jun 15 - 07:42 PM
GUEST,KateG 14 Jun 15 - 07:44 PM
Artful Codger 14 Jun 15 - 08:02 PM
Zhenya 14 Jun 15 - 08:04 PM
Nick 15 Jun 15 - 03:24 AM
GUEST,James 26 Feb 16 - 11:36 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:





Subject: After a little basic dulcimer help
From: Nick
Date: 14 Jun 15 - 09:29 AM

I have recently acquired a dulcimer and am about to get started.

Any recommendations of decent sites or resources? There is a Mountain Dulcimer site which looks quite good but isn't accepting members currently as their server is moving.

A few basic questions -

* The intonation of the instrument seems a bit out. It has a fixed nut up each end so I can't see that it's possible to adjust. As a first off I'm going to change the strings but a wee bit disappointed!

* I have a standard set of dulcimer strings - .012 .014 and .022 and will start off in DAD. If I want to try some other tunings - my wife likes Joni Mitchell so will undoubtedly try some of those - what is the tolerance on the strings? I have already broken one so presume that I am tuning up when I should be tuning down!
So if I want to do DAA rather than DAD I presumably tune the top D down to A?
If I want to tune GGG do I tune ALL the strings down (a LONG way!)?
Similarly F# F# G# - should they all go down?

Obvious probably but better to ask


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: After a little basic dulcimer help
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 14 Jun 15 - 10:17 AM

DAD seems to be the most common/preferred tuning these days. DAA (low to high) seemed more prevalent a couple decades back. Do you have access to a good repair/set up person who can check your intonation? When I first got a dulcimer kit in the early 1970's people were tuning to C rather than D. I think the change upwards was to be able to do more fiddle tunes with other instruments. When I started, I primarily used a popsical stick as a noter on the melody string. I later just used a finger and then could do occasional chords. My wife doesn't play melody at all and just uses chords, so there are many ways to play a dulcimer. I hope this information is useful. I'm sure there are others with more practical set up experience that may comment.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: After a little basic dulcimer help
From: PHJim
Date: 14 Jun 15 - 07:35 PM

I assume that this is the site you talked about: Friends Of The Mountain Dulcimer You should be able to join soon and there are a number of helpful folks on the site.

I still prefer the DAA tuning. I find that it works well when I play the melody on the A melody string and a harmony line on the D bass string.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: After a little basic dulcimer help
From: Nick
Date: 14 Jun 15 - 07:42 PM

Sorted my intonation issue. The middle string wasn't sitting correctly in the little channel in the nut. It was enough to pull it sharp.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: After a little basic dulcimer help
From: GUEST,KateG
Date: 14 Jun 15 - 07:44 PM

Stephen Seifert has a good website and does on-line lessons, Carol Walker's books Tunes in DNA. (As in you were practically born knowing them) is another great resource. Jerry Rockwell, Lois Hornboestel and Larry Conger are other good leads to pursue. Dwain Wilder at Bear Meadow Deulcimers should be able to help with intonation. Buried on his website is a string gauge calculator for any scale length and tuning.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: After a little basic dulcimer help
From: Artful Codger
Date: 14 Jun 15 - 08:02 PM

If you want to do DAA or GGG, it's best to get more dulcimers and string them with special strings--folks mostly use banjo or guitar single strings in specific gauges. But yes, for DAA, you'd tune the top string down to unison with the middle string, and it's serviceable with standard strings. With tunings like GGG there are two options: all strings in unison ("Galax" tuning) or the melody and middle strings an octave above the bass ("bagpipe" tuning)--I wouldn't try either with standard strings. Unless you're singing, you can shift the key to accommodate the limits of your strings and play the tab or arrangement the same way.

The 6-1/2 fret, if your dulcimer has it, makes it possible to play in keys that would otherwise be outside the range of your strings (either too high or too low), particularly if you use a "reverse" tuning: tuning the middle string to the tonic of your key and the bass string a fourth below, to the fifth of the key.

I can't give you hard info on string tolerances, but as a general rule of thumb, I don't attempt to tune higher than 3 or 4 semitones above the standard tuning. Tuning down, the only limit is how floppy the string becomes. Given the same gauge and type of strings, the upper limit is also determined by the scale length, which varies substantially with makers and models. So if your scale is longer relative to the norm, the strings will break at lower pitches.

The Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer site (currently in transition) is the best one I've found, but you can also post your questions on Everything Dulcimer ( http://www.everythingdulcimer.com/discuss/index.php ).

I posted a rather lengthy message in another thread here dealing with tunings, capos and "false nuts" that may be of interest:
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=19254
That message is in the resurrected part of the thread, where the individual messages are all glommed together, but you can search for my handle (of course, the rest of the thread is worth a read, too). My message starts out with comments on peg dope, doubled strings and railroad spikes before getting to the good stuff. Also check out the related thread links in the top part of that thread.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: After a little basic dulcimer help
From: Zhenya
Date: 14 Jun 15 - 08:04 PM

This site may be helpful:

http://www.everythingdulcimer.com/index.php


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: After a little basic dulcimer help
From: Nick
Date: 15 Jun 15 - 03:24 AM

Thank you for your input I'll check them out.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: After a little basic dulcimer help
From: GUEST,James
Date: 26 Feb 16 - 11:36 AM

Nick,
I recently bought a Dulcimer and learned "Case of You" and "All I Want", which is what it sounds like you're trying to learn based on your tunings. I tuned WAAYY down at first and it sounded fine, but it's hard to keep every note where it should be with standard strings. I noticed that with the bass string so loose it would easily bend and get out of tune in my chord shapes, although a more experienced player undoubtedly could nail it. I play a 3 string Dulcimer and so 2 of my G's are the same note. I recently replaced the bass string with an acoustic guitar's A-string which helped with the taughtness, and the high G with a mandolin string. So now I'm playing in 3 octaves of G. It sounds really cool in my opinion and helps to echo some of the guitar accompaniment in Joni's songs.

They're beautiful songs and I hope you and your wife enjoy singing them!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 18 November 11:36 AM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.