books to learn dulcimer

Help for new mountain dulcimer players of all ages!

books to learn dulcimer

Postby artisticbloom » Thu Aug 09, 2007 7:45 am

what is the best book for beginners to start out with? I would like to get the most simple one as I dont play any other instrument so not a lot of knowledge here. Just needing some advice on everything before i go to purchase one. I am getting a new dulcimer for my birthday and i get to go pick it out along with acessories so advice is needed. thanks so much.
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Postby Dulcimerbuilder » Thu Aug 09, 2007 8:53 am

I like several for beginners. From Mel Bay you can get "You Can Teach Yourself to Play Dulcimer". It comes in various formats: Book, Book/CD and Book/DVD and the author is Maddie MacNeil. Mostly DAA tuning. Another is Larkin's Dulcimer Book in book or book/CD. It seems to more instruction as far as introduction to the dulcimer, getting to know the instrument, picking styles, etc. Discusses and has tablature in several tunings. There is another through Mel Bay, "First Lessons Dulcimer" which comes with a CD and is strictly DAd tuning. Maureen Sellers has several beginning books and a new one that I like is Joe Collins "Dulcimer Basics". Friends,
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Postby LarryHicks » Thu Aug 09, 2007 9:27 am

Gary gave great suggestions as always. I would add another that I found helpful. "The Best Dulcimer Method Yet", by Albert Gamse is a book full of songs you know with just the DAA tabbed for the melody string only. You will have lots of fun working through these and getting to know the fretboard and note locations. If you want to start in DAd tuning, then the one Gary suggested is the best choice: First Lessons in Dulcimer from Mel Bay.

Good Luck and have fun.
Larry
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Postby Seane » Thu Aug 09, 2007 12:35 pm

I'll second Gary on Larkin's Dulcimer Book, and also Maureen Sellers teaching book. I learned to play from Larkin's book. Maureen's is also very well laid out for the beginner. If you ever get a chance to take a class or workshop from Maureen, take it. She is a fantastic teacher, and also a hoot to be around. Her tab books are also very easy to play from.

Another book is by Jean Ritchie, although I can't recall the name. Somebody help me on this one. It does a pretty good job explaining the different modes.

Seane
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Postby dingoII » Thu Aug 09, 2007 1:32 pm

The one that I started with was Margret Wrights 12 tunes series, it is in DAD and has alot of the songs that you can start jammin with, she also shows you the melody string only and then a harder version, so that you can work along rather well it has the CD's also.
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Postby Sean R-B » Thu Aug 09, 2007 2:07 pm

Artisticbloom,

There are many books out there that are good for beginners. Maureen Sellers' beginners books are good as are Margaret Wright's. My personal favorite is Fiddle Tunes for Dulcimer by Lois Hornbostle, but that one may be out of print. I'm not sure.

Don't rely solely on books to learn by, though. If you have anyone in your area that you can sit down and teach you face to face, that's the best way to get a good start on any instrument - dulcimer included.

You don't say what area of the country you're in. If you're anywhere near St. Louis, MO, I'd be happy to give you a few lessons once you get your new instrument.
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Postby spiny norman » Thu Aug 09, 2007 3:42 pm

I'm using both a Mel Bay instruction book in DAD and TK Obrian's Guide to playing MD in DAA. Both are good but I am finding that I prefer the sound of DAA tuning.
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Postby kwl » Thu Aug 09, 2007 6:16 pm

I think Maddie MacNeil's You Can Teach Yourself Dulcimer with the DVD is a good way to go as you can see what she is doing. The First Lessons in DAD is also a good book. It comes with a CD.
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Postby artisticbloom » Thu Aug 09, 2007 8:46 pm

Thanks so much to all of you..You dont know how much I appreciate the info. I am from Friendsville tn. right here in the old smokie mountains..so surely there is someone here willing to show me some ropes face to face. I am sure I will find lots of friends here online as well. I wonder if i should start off with DAA Or DAD ...tell me the difference..told ya i was a greenie...LOL
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Postby harpmaker » Thu Aug 09, 2007 9:07 pm

I'm going to put in a plug here for another book that just came out this past weekend.

At the Dublin Irish Fetsival, Tom and Missy Strothers showed up with a nice little book which is synopsis of their 6 week teaching course. It starts out with the "string side up" basics of the instrument and the terms used, covers "care and feeding" and then walks you through playing in various styles; melody, noter, chord/melody. It even has a CD with it so you can hear the songs being played.

They had brought this along so that anyone who bought a dulcimer at the festival could take a book home with them. (They've been on me for years to have a beginners book available, but I just never got around to it :lol: ) However, there were a lot of people who already had a dulcimer but didn't know how to play, and these people were snapping this book up. You might want to check that out also....
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Postby tentmaker » Thu Aug 09, 2007 9:14 pm

DAA/155/Ionian start/key/tonic of the D scale begins with the third fret and runs to the octave at 10 this gives you 3 notes below the start ot the scale and allows you to play most tunes on the melody string in melody drone style as well as chords across all 3 strings in chord melody style

DAd/158/Mixolidian state/key/tonic of the D scale begins with the open fret with the octave at 7 (the 6 1/2 is added to allow playing Ionian beginning with the open string) notes below the key/tonic/start of the scale (A B C#) are played on the middle string in melody drone style. Many players consider fingering easier and prefer DAd tuning when playing chord melody style.
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Postby artisticbloom » Thu Aug 09, 2007 9:21 pm

Sean R-B wrote:Artisticbloom,

There are many books out there that are good for beginners. Maureen Sellers' beginners books are good as are Margaret Wright's. My personal favorite is Fiddle Tunes for Dulcimer by Lois Hornbostle, but that one may be out of print. I'm not sure.

Don't rely solely on books to learn by, though. If you have anyone in your area that you can sit down and teach you face to face, that's the best way to get a good start on any instrument - dulcimer included.

You don't say what area of the country you're in. If you're anywhere near St. Louis, MO, I'd be happy to give you a few lessons once you get your new instrument.
thanks sean, I am from the smokie mountains...I am coming to st. louis to visit friends on the 18th if all goes as planned...will be my first trip there..I am going to ask when i go look at dulcimers monday if they know if someone here gives lessons..I do want so much to do this right..and get the right one for me. thanks for your info..
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