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mtn dulcimer help

GUEST,leeneia 28 Jan 16 - 10:59 PM
Wesley S 28 Jan 16 - 11:11 PM
GUEST,leeneia 29 Jan 16 - 04:16 PM
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Subject: mtn dulcimer help
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 28 Jan 16 - 10:59 PM

A friend, Clyde, has asked me to help him play a mountain dulcimer which was given to his mother "40 years ago." It was made in North Carolina by a rural craftsman and has no maker's name or paperwork.

My own dulcimer has a fretboard 28.5 inches long. Clyde's is about 6 inches longer. Yes, I know I should have measured it.   Its bass string seemed to be very low. (I have another friend who is a piano tuner, and she tells me that low strings do not change much, even when neglected. It was playing G#, so I raised it to A. )

How do I figure out the right way to tune this dulcie? I don't want to go too high and put too much strain on it. But I don't want to tune it to low so it feels listless. It has four strings, and three of them are original, so we can measure their gauges.

On a guess, I went with A-E-E-E for our first session, played it a little while, and Clyde and his family loved it.

I have located the helpful Strothers' string gauge page, but I need to know what notes the maker had in mind so I can use their chart.

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Subject: RE: mtn dulcimer help
From: Wesley S
Date: 28 Jan 16 - 11:11 PM

Sorry I don't have a ready answer for you. But I'm sure these folks will if someone here doesn't come through.

Everything Dulcimer Forum

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Subject: RE: mtn dulcimer help
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 29 Jan 16 - 04:16 PM

I've been there. Mudcat 'luthiers' seem more knowledgeable.

My dulcimer is a McSpadden, and I tune it DAA, so it plays in the alto range and above. To my surprise, McSpadden baritone and bass dulcimers are no longer than mine.

So what does it mean that Clyde's dulcimer is noticeably longer?

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