Four equidistant strings-two bass strings

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Four equidistant strings-two bass strings

Postby Wellspringsing » Wed Nov 01, 2017 4:28 am


Hi all. I just realised what most of you probably know already, that my dulcimer which is currently strung D-A-DD can be strung as four equidistant courses instead. I think that would suit me better, and I want to string it with two bass strings and two treble. My dulcimer's maker says I could do it, tuning it to D-D-A-D. With two bass strings, what tunings would any of you recommend? I'm a singer-songwriter, not a traditional player, if that helps. Thanks for any advice, most helpful!
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Re: Four equidistant strings-two bass strings

Postby KenH » Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:03 am

First off, you want to write that as DDAd, not DDAD, so that others can tell which are the bass strings and which are the melody strings. DD refers to the bass, and d is an octave higher.

If you insist on your dulcimer being tuned to the key of D, then four-equidistant tunings could be DdAd, DAAd or DAdd.
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Re: Four equidistant strings-two bass strings

Postby Skip » Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:16 am

That is a pretty vague request. What are the results you're thinking about? Thinking outside the box and depending on what your goal is, you could string it with just about any combination of D-F#-A. I would think the primary concern is your goal. Backup chording, melodies, both? Public use or just for your own use [writing/singing]? Don't expect the public to to accept TAB [used by a very large majority] based on some unusual setup.
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Re: Four equidistant strings-two bass strings

Postby Robin the Busker » Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:28 am

What you are suggesting would work.

I've seen a few singer songwriters working from DAdd (1-5-8) using a very simple two finger chord system on the bass and middle string leaving the melody d,d to drone. so chords such as 5,5,00 or 3,3,00 2,2,00 etc. Have a look at Eli Lieb playing Wrecking Ball - he is tuned down a little to suit his voice but basically he is using a 1-5-8 tuning (actually it is probably a baritone tuned up a tone to B', F#, B).

This very simple system gives a DADGAD guitar type of sound with lots of suspended chords to sing/compose over. From your proposed D,D,A,d 4 string equidistant you could fret the middle two strings (D and A) and let the other bass D and melody d drone out. It should give a really nice full sound to get creative across - and I'm sure there are other simple chord shapes you could work on those two middle strings.


Mmmm... Eli Lieb - 5 million views on YouTube playing and singing with dulcimer. Why is ED not flooded with young players showing up all us oldies !!!!!!!
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