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Help: 6 string dulcimer

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kendall 25 Nov 00 - 08:44 AM
catspaw49 25 Nov 00 - 08:50 AM
kendall 25 Nov 00 - 10:27 AM
black walnut 25 Nov 00 - 02:57 PM
Ely 25 Nov 00 - 07:05 PM
black walnut 15 Jan 01 - 10:18 AM
kendall 15 Jan 01 - 11:45 AM
black walnut 15 Jan 01 - 12:02 PM
kendall 15 Jan 01 - 02:39 PM
Bernard 15 Jan 01 - 03:04 PM
black walnut 15 Jan 01 - 06:39 PM
GUEST,Arkie 15 Jan 01 - 07:50 PM
black walnut 15 Jan 01 - 08:44 PM
GUEST,d doty 06 Jan 09 - 01:44 PM
Mark Ross 06 Jan 09 - 01:47 PM
GUEST,Sandy Andina 12 Sep 09 - 03:20 AM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Sep 09 - 04:05 PM
GUEST,www.dandotydulcimers.com 17 Feb 11 - 10:55 PM
JohnInKansas 18 Feb 11 - 01:08 AM
GUEST,AGalaxyFarAway 30 Mar 11 - 02:14 PM
Mark Ross 30 Mar 11 - 02:56 PM
GUEST,Rusty 30 Mar 11 - 05:57 PM
GUEST,Dr Charles Meisner 30 Mar 11 - 06:39 PM
GUEST,Tashi 25 Oct 17 - 08:47 PM
Jack Campin 25 Oct 17 - 09:09 PM
leeneia 26 Oct 17 - 10:25 PM
GUEST,Some other guest 10 Mar 18 - 09:13 PM
leeneia 11 Mar 18 - 02:35 PM
leeneia 11 Mar 18 - 02:37 PM
GUEST,Some other guest 12 Mar 18 - 03:51 PM
leeneia 12 Mar 18 - 06:38 PM
GUEST,Mark Bluemel 13 Mar 18 - 02:25 AM
GUEST,Some other guest 15 Mar 18 - 12:25 AM
GUEST,Some other guest 15 Mar 18 - 12:33 AM
GUEST,Guest #2 15 Mar 18 - 12:47 AM
GUEST,Mark Bluemel 15 Mar 18 - 04:44 AM
GUEST,Mark Bluemel 15 Mar 18 - 04:46 AM
leeneia 16 Mar 18 - 11:35 AM
leeneia 16 Mar 18 - 05:52 PM
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Subject: 6 string dulcimer
From: kendall
Date: 25 Nov 00 - 08:44 AM

A friend of mine has a mountain dulcimer with 6 strings. He has no clew how to play it, or tune it. Anyone have a suggestion?


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 Nov 00 - 08:50 AM

Are they in courses of 3 twos or 6 individual. There are a few 5 and 6 string around and you extend the drones and gives you an even bigger opp for modal tuning, but you largely have to create the extras yourself. I'll look around fro some book info 'cause there is some, but damn if I remember where.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: kendall
Date: 25 Nov 00 - 10:27 AM

the strings are set up like a guitar


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: black walnut
Date: 25 Nov 00 - 02:57 PM

i've never seen one like that, but i know that there are many kinds of dulcimers. where's this one from? does your friend play 'regular' dulcimer?

i'm eager to hear how others think this should be tuned. i'm wondering if it's someone's attempt to make a diatonic guitar.

~black walnut


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: Ely
Date: 25 Nov 00 - 07:05 PM

I've seen 6-strings (3 courses of 2 strings) for the sake of volume, in the same way that most dulcimers have a double melody string. My other thought would be 6 equidistant maybe for fingerpicking (at least, people use 4 equidistant for that).

I don't know--a friend of mine recently sent me a chromatic lap dulcimer to test. I said it was fine but when I start seeing that many more frets and strings, I began to think of just taking up the mandolin.


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: black walnut
Date: 15 Jan 01 - 10:18 AM

anything further on this, kendall? did your friend get it all figured out???

~'nut(case)


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: kendall
Date: 15 Jan 01 - 11:45 AM

I took it to a friend, a luthier, he took one look and laughed! The tuning keys are on the wrong end! That wouldn't be fatal, but the frets are reversed, so, it is junk.


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: black walnut
Date: 15 Jan 01 - 12:02 PM

sounds like the builder was copying a reversed photograph, or trying to make it from (poor) memory. very strange, and funny!

~'nut


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: kendall
Date: 15 Jan 01 - 02:39 PM

He is a friend, an old man, what do I tell him? He wants me to play it for him! Margaret MacArthur couldn't get a tune out of this abortion!


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: Bernard
Date: 15 Jan 01 - 03:04 PM

If the strings will tune up in any way, you could play it with a steel - that way, you would please your friend, and maybe even invent a new instrument - the 6 string mountain steel dulcimer...?!!


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: black walnut
Date: 15 Jan 01 - 06:39 PM

that's a great idea, bernard! maybe even add some pedals!

but seriously....i'm just wondering if you couldn't make some kind of mode work from a reversed fingerboard, perhaps with a dulcimer capo? what is the pattern you've got there, exactly?

or if that doesn't work....there's always the if-it-doesn't-make-a-tune-hit-it-with-a-stick approach.

~'nut


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: GUEST,Arkie
Date: 15 Jan 01 - 07:50 PM

Tell him it is extremely rare and too valuable to play. It should be kept for display only.


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: black walnut
Date: 15 Jan 01 - 08:44 PM

that's it, arkie! perfect! frame it!

~'nut


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: GUEST,d doty
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 01:44 PM

Maybe you should simply turn it aroung(swap ends)


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: Mark Ross
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 01:47 PM

Can we see a picture of this?

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: GUEST,Sandy Andina
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 03:20 AM

I have two 6-stringers (one std., one baritone) but they are strung in 3 pairs, not like a guitar (the nuts aren't notched to allow 6 equidistant strings). Some modern 4-stringers have extra notches to accommodate equidistant stringing & tuning. My Std. 6 (a McSpadden "Schnaufer 6") is tuned (from low to high, dD-aa-dd, with the lowercase being the octave unwound string); my baritone 6 is tuned dD-aA-dd. They sound like 12-string guitars (or the std. one more like a Nashville high-strung guitar), except for the fact that one pair almost always rings out as an unfretted drone.........which is why they're NOT guitars.


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 04:05 PM

I can't see how it makes any difference which end you have the tuning pegs. After all, with a fiddle you typically have tuning pegs or the equivaent at both ends.


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: GUEST,www.dandotydulcimers.com
Date: 17 Feb 11 - 10:55 PM

6 string dulcimers have been around since before most people on this page has been living, however until recently most everyone had given up on trying to "jam" with dulcimer along with 5 string banjo, flattop guitar, or bluegrass band for one reason only and that was because no one else in the band or audience could hear the dulcimer.
The 6 string dulcimer is tuned just like a 3 string except the strings are doubled and each double string is actually tuned as one string (in unison) therefore the dulcimer is much louder (it can be heard). Also you can "cross pick" on it and make some nice music.
If you ever play a Wild Cherry,6 string dulcimer with Grover Roto-Matics tuned to a High Bass Ionian pitch you will throw rocks at the others. All of this is not to say that a 3 or 4 string dulcimer is not a nice instrument (they are) but lets not talk bad about the 6 string dulcimer.
Thanks I knew you would understand.


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 18 Feb 11 - 01:08 AM

"Six string" dulcimers that actually are three strings double-coursed are fairly common, but had Guest SPGWK read the whole thread he might have notice that this instrument is described as "strung like a guitar" - i.e. with six equally spaced strings.

(Some of the regulars here aren't always too good at reading before commenting, so that's not much of a criticism.)

Unless one has incredibly fat fingers (which may be the case for that GUEST) playing the strings as "double courses" would appear to be rather difficult. Two separated strings tuned in unison can perhaps be used in some tunings, but describing them as "double coursed" is probably not accurately descriptive.

It should make no difference which end the tuners are on, unless they're located so that they impede getting to the strings at the strum/pluck/whack area. You can't pull harder on one end of a string than on the other (without the string flying out the window) so it doesn't matter much which end winds up the slack.

The comment about "the frets are backward" is a bit of a puzzle. As long as they're spaced farther apart at an end and get closer together as you move toward the middle, they're probably conventional, if perhaps "left-handed." The person making the comment may have looked only casually once the unusual tuner location was noticed.

Having assembled a couple of dulcimers from "kits" I can attest that the instructions are seldom particularly explicit, and it's entirely possible that someone assembled some parts backward, resulting in something that looks like an instrument but really isn't. Those who've bought most kits might buy another for the parts, but if they're intelligent enough will use the intructions only to sop up the glue that gets spilled (for most kits).

"Experiments" are common enough - and frequently enough are "less than successful." Without knowing who made it, guessing what the builder thought it was supposed to be is likely to be somewhat pointless.

Thre is a minor increase in loudness with double-coursing of the strings; but if double-coursed strings really made an instrument all that much louder, shouldn't the mandolins drown out all the guitars?

A picture of the instrument (probably easier to post and link now than TEN YEARS AGO WHEN THE THREAD APPEARED) might elicit more useful comments, but one might expect that the instrument is hanging on a wall - or otherwise misplaced and "forgotten" by now.

John


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: GUEST,AGalaxyFarAway
Date: 30 Mar 11 - 02:14 PM

I have a 6-string McSpadden dulcimer. One is NOT required to have fat fingers to play it, but it does take a bit more dexterity than a regular dulcimer. My dulcimer has three courses of two strings each, as described above.


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: Mark Ross
Date: 30 Mar 11 - 02:56 PM

I think it was Jamie Brockett who had a dulcimer (possibly a 6 string) with chromatic frets.


Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: GUEST,Rusty
Date: 30 Mar 11 - 05:57 PM

If the tuning pegs are on the wrong end, then it was probably built for a left handed player.


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: GUEST,Dr Charles Meisner
Date: 30 Mar 11 - 06:39 PM

Hello Mark
I remember when you left for California so long ago. I hung out with Rick at the folklore Centre during a trying period in my life. I just found out that Rick had passed away 2 years ago and it comes as a great shock. I tried to reconnect with him when I went to New York quite a few years ago but he was unable to see me due to his work schedule on NYCTA. I've been living in Australia since 1978 and was passing through New York only that one day and never got to see him after that.
I wish you well and hope you are having a good life.
Regards
Charlie


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: GUEST,Tashi
Date: 25 Oct 17 - 08:47 PM

What does small d, capital D mean when the tuning is dD-aA-dd for a 6 string dulcimer? Same notation is used for the aA.

Thank you


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Oct 17 - 09:09 PM

The capital-letter strings are an octave lower.


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: leeneia
Date: 26 Oct 17 - 10:25 PM

Here's a video where a maker explains his 6-string dulcimer and plays it.

6


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: GUEST,Some other guest
Date: 10 Mar 18 - 09:13 PM

Hi. Found old six string cigar box dulcimer. How do you tune it? How far exactly are the strings supposed to be from off the fretboard? Oh yeah, there are no actual frets. Just a board with printed lines. Right now, the strings are about a whole cm off the board. Also, the high strings are farthest from the player. Don't know where this came from or if is even built right. What are the proper strings that are to be used? If someone out there knows anything actually pertinent, a comment or two would be appreciated.


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: leeneia
Date: 11 Mar 18 - 02:35 PM

Hi, Guest. Let me ask you this - do you play mtn dulcimer already? Do you have a favorite tuning? Because there is no fixed way to set up a dulcimer. Me, I like D-A-A because making chords is so easy.   

I'm baffled by the lack of frets. 'Nuff said.

The lowest string should be the farthest away from you. Take a look at the slots cut into the I-forget-whether-it's-the-nut-or-the-bridge. Are they wide or narrow? If the wide slots are close to you, you have a strange instrument indeed.

If not, I suggest you put three strings on it. Low D farthest way, then two A's, each a fifth above. The low D is the same pitch as the D strong on guitar. Then get a book or surf the net and learn how to make the chords. (Where I live, we reject extra strings. They don't seem to add much volume, and they make it harder to keep the dulcie in tune.)

After you've got that down, drop the A closest to you to G and start learning songs in minor keys.


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: leeneia
Date: 11 Mar 18 - 02:37 PM

About strings - most music stores sell strings for dulcimers. Or you can order online.


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: GUEST,Some other guest
Date: 12 Mar 18 - 03:51 PM

Thank you so much. Yes, I "play" the mtn. dulcimer (I know how to, but I play piano more, so dulcimer gets less attention.) I use a D-A-D variant tuning (just transposed down). I can try out this information on the dulcimer. Hope it works. Perhaps it is just a curious instrument, as it seems the strings are backward, the fretboard is so far beneath the strings that it is so strenuous to play them; maybe someone just misassembled it--it seems like it came from a kit.
Thanks again.


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: leeneia
Date: 12 Mar 18 - 06:38 PM

I wonder if it's worth any effort or expense, if it doesn't have frets.

Mtn dulcimer threads are supposed to be the thickness of a nickel coin above the fretboard. A cm is too far.


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: GUEST,Mark Bluemel
Date: 13 Mar 18 - 02:25 AM

Fret lines, but no frets, 6 separate strings, high action? I doubt it's a dulcimer at all. It sounds more like a lap steel guitar to me. Could you post a photograph somewhere and give us a link?


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: GUEST,Some other guest
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 12:25 AM

Yeah, I'm starting to reconsider, too. It does look like a lap steel guitar! We didn't even know what it was when we found it. Our first thoughts were that it was a cigar box guitar. I would like to send a pic, but I'm the only human being without social media, and I can't seem to get the picture in the text message post here. If you do want the picture, give me a little time to get a link to y'all. More, then, to come later...


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: GUEST,Some other guest
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 12:33 AM

Okay, try this link...
https://imgur.com/a/aV1QL
Hope that works.


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: GUEST,Guest #2
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 12:47 AM

Hi Guys! I'm the owner of the instrument. Thanks so much for all your help!

Here's another link with a penny and my normal-sized guitar for scale: https://imgur.com/a/bWUIC


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: GUEST,Mark Bluemel
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 04:44 AM

Rather crude (putting it mildly) home-made lap-steel, I'd definitely say.

You need one of https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Lap-steel-tone-bar/112779358761?hash=item1a422c7229:g

Perhaps tune to something like DGDGBD, DADF#AD for a first attempt. DGDGBE (G6/Em7) would give you some minor key options.

You can use a plectrum or right hand fingers, I believe.


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: GUEST,Mark Bluemel
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 04:46 AM

Oh - and thanks for the image, it makes things much clearer.


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: leeneia
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 11:35 AM

Whatever it is, it's not a cigar-box dulcimer, because a cigar-box dulcimer is made of two cigar boxes.


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Subject: RE: Help: 6 string dulcimer
From: leeneia
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 05:52 PM

... or maybe just one cigar box. Either way, it needs to have the original logo of the cigars on it.


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