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  2. If you're doing re-enactment, your dulcimer without the 6+ fret, tuned DAA, Ddd (not DAd) or (with a new bass string) ddd, is most appropriate for the CW era. Lots of great music back then too. Several of us build and play early dulcemores from the mid 1800s rather than modern dulcimers.
  3. A luthier (instrument builder/repairer) would probably be the way to go to have one added. Most dulcimer builders can do that for you, but local places that work with fretted instruments (guitars for example) would have the tools to do it. They basically need to saw a new slot for it, hammer in the fret wire and then dress it so it's the right shape/height and doesn't have sharp edges. DAD is the most common tuning you'll find in modern books and publications and also at jams / workshops. It's still fairly common to retune the dulcimer to play in other modes (like DAC for the minor key), but most classes and instruction books will assume you're set up for and starting in DAD with a 6+ fret.
  4. Yesterday
  5. Thank you for your response. How would I go about adding a 6+ fret? So is DAD tuning the most popular and up to date tuning? Thank you. Joyce
  6. Last week
  7. Feel free to post any questions as you come across them! You might consider having a 6+ fret added if you want to explore more. With that and a string change you can set up to play in DAD with most modern material you'll find.
  8. Thank you so much for your response. You all have been so helpful. We bought this dulcimer from a vendor at a Gettysburg Battle Reenactment last 4th of July weekend. It came with an instruction book in DAA, which was great, until I wanted to branch out and play more songs. I’m sure I’ll be having more questions in future. So glad I came across this site. Joyce
  9. You can play DAd tab on a DAA tuned dulcimer by adding 3 to each number on the melody string. You won't be able to play chord-melody chords but you can play just the melody. When you come to one of those pesky 6+ numbers, you play fret 9 instead of fret 9+ (because, of course, you don't haver a 9+ fet either!).
  10. Glad to help 🙂 In regards to your book, the 6+ won't generally be a problem playing DAD tunes on DAA as it will be the 9th fret as I mentioned above. The regular 6 fret is where you may run into a little difficulty. You could bend the 8th fret to get that note if needed. Most DAD tunes in modern books are going to be D Major (Ionian mode) songs and will mostly use the 6+ fret and rarely the 6. In that case, just add 3 to the fret numbers on the melody string and you're all set. If you come across a song in DAD with a lot of 6 frets and no 6+, it's a probably a song in Mixolydian mode and is intended be played on a dulcimer like yours without the 6+ fret, but tuned up to DAD. An example of this would be Old Joe Clark. You're not likely to run into too many of these, so not something to worry too much about, but worth being aware of. Happy playing!
  11. Thank you for your response. Yes, I received a dulcimer music book in DAD for Christmas and I have a DAA . It had several of the 6+ notes in the songs. I wasn’t sure if it was possible to play this note, without having the 6+ fret. You both have been very helpful. Thank you. Joyce
  12. If it's actually a DAA tab that's calling for a 6+ note on the melody string (G#) that would be odd, but without the extra fret you'd need to bend as KWL said. But do you mean playing a DAD tab on DAA? If so the 6+ fret would be the 9th fret. An easy way to convert DAD to DAA is to just add 3 to the tab notes. (0 would be 3).
  13. Thank you for your quick response.
  14. KWL

    My Latest Build

    Thank you Claudia. Post some photos of your build as you move along. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  15. Yes, but not easily. You will have to bend the string at the 6th fret to achieve the proper pitch. I would do it by pushing the melody string toward the middle string. If you have a double melody string, forget it. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  16. Beautiful! I’m working on my first build now :)
  17. New to mountain dulcimer. Can 6+ tab note be played on a DAA tuned dulcimer, which does not have extra fret? Thank you.
  18. Earlier
  19. The "trick" of a Lute shaped dulcimer is to not cross the line into a stick instrument with a neck. I would make it a real "teardrop", wide and deep, with a true rounded tail end. Then I'd add a steeply down-angled peg box. It would have to be relatively short scaled, so that body would not be too 'stretched' looking. Hmmm, I'm in the middle of another project just now, but I'll start looking through my scrap pile and see what wide planks I can come up with...
  20. Yeah, the other book (Renaissance Ayres) doesn't go into set up or technique. The intro was probably a bit of an unnecessary turn off. It's essentially just a book of tab, which themselves seem ok, but it's pretty barebones otherwise. I unfortunately haven't met Phyllis. I signed up for her Galax class last year, but her husband was ill and she wasn't able to make it. We did get to try out Galax dulcimers, but it was just a brief intro without her there. Yep, with a couple books using these tunings I'll probably set up a dulcimer for it the next time I need to restring. I would like to hear how it's intended to sound since Lorraine went into such detail in her book. That would be great to see a lute style dulcimer. One book I came across (I think Robert Force's) listed the lute style as a major type along with hourglass, tear drop, etc. I believe there was a picture, but I've never seen actually seen one.
  21. Not being a collector of Tab books (I play by ear), I know of Lorraine and her reputation as a performer and writer. That she spends time helping the budding Renaissance player get set up correctly says a lot for the quality of her work. The other book I've not seen either, but from what you say I don't think I'd trust it. The author is doing a great dis-service to his(er) audience by not explaining what's going on. Playing with thin, unwound strings isn't as uncommon as many dulcimer players think. If you know of Phyllis Gaskins and the Galax style dulcimer, that's what she uses, and the tradition there is to use all 9 or 10 gauge strings and tune ddd or ccc. I think I would split the difference between what Lorraine is suggesting, and what the Strothers Calculator says -- perhaps a 13 or 14 bass string and 10 for the middle drone and melody. It does sound as if you need/want a dulcimer specifically set up for Renaissance music. Using modern gauges and tunings will certainly render a different sound than the music intended. Personally I would build a round-backed, deep-bodied, extreme-teardrop dulcimer, to mimic, more or less, the shape of a lute but without a neck. Hmmmm... Now where'd I put those wide 1/8" planks....
  22. I saw a copy of An Elizabethan Songbook by Lorraine Lee up there if you're looking for that one. I couldn't find the others again, but they're sure to come back up. Thanks for pointing me to Steve's site, I hadn't seen those before. I may have to pick up a couple of those. I love this style of music.
  23. I just meant in terms of the string gauges on a "standard" dulcimer, though they're on the very light side even for that. Gdd is 1-5-5 as you mentioned and these could be played in DAA, but it would be like playing something for a standard dulcimer on a baritone. The tuning they call for is tuned up to where a ginger dulcimer would sit, but on a 27 inch scale length. You're right that it's asking for an unwound bass string of 0.012 tuned to G and the middle and melody strings being 0.009 tuned to d. This is from "An Elizabethan Songbook" by Lorraine Lee. She dedicated 7 pages at the front of the book going into detail on how to setup the dulcimer for these songs, techniques for playing them and her notation. It's nice that it's there. I read through that section a bit and there's 4 tuning in total it uses. Gdd, Gdc, Add, and Adc, all with those thing gauge strings. The Renaissance Ayres book uses the same tunings, but it doesn't have any explanation on the setup. It actually spends a page basically saying "you're on your own" 😂 An actual quote from the intro: "Diagrams of dulcimer parts, and elementary books on how to play the dulcimer are easily available; however, since this little book is not intended to be a book of instructions, they are intentionally omitted. I am also leaving out the musical staff, key and time signatures, etc." It's just tabs with note names and that's all there is.
  24. Not sure what you mean about those tunings calling for a middle string and two melody strings, Admin. The Gdd tuning you mentioned above is a standard key of G 1-5-5 tuning with bass of G plus middle drone d and melody string d. Gauges of 12 and 9 for G and d on 27" VSL are VERY light indeed. The Strothers String Calculator recommends 15 and 10. Those books could be recommending non-wound bass strings -- very common among traditional dulcimer players as it helps give that 'high silvery' sound we love so much. Fat wound bass strings add a 'mushiness' to the sound of a string which is common and accepted by most as part of "mellow", but not what traditionalists like to hear.
  25. Those are interesting! Looked at Ebay and didn't see most of them for sale (have another book by Lorraine Lee Hammond (formerly Lorraine Lee)) but will keep looking. Maybe you'd like Steven K. Smith's sheet music, too? His books are available here: https://sksmithmusic.com/books
  26. The ones I have are: Renaissance Ayres Arrangements for Dulcimer Written for Dilettanti Book I by P. B. Dickerman An Elizabethan Songbook With Arrangements for the Appalachian Dulcimer by Lorraine A. Lee Nonesuch for Dulcimer by Roger Nicholson Musicks Delight on the Dulcimer or the New Elizabethan by Roger Nicholson I picked all of these up on eBay. I'm sure these would work in other tunings. I just found it interesting that they seem to mostly call for a middle string and 2 melody stings. They don't call for a low bass string though I'm sure it would be fine with one. I could probably also figure out another tuning that would work, but it would be neat to play/hear them as they're written. Blue Lions are nice instruments. I've heard a few but haven't had a chance to play one myself yet. Hopefully when festivals start up again I'll get a chance to try one. I've mostly been going between a Folkroots and a McCafferty lately.
  27. Who published those books of Elizabethan tunes? How did you get them? For my tuning regimen (DAdb), with .014 for the A and .012 for the d and b, I'd just tune up or down a few. I'm very curious myself about these tunes, if you wouldn't mind sharing more information about them. Would you be playing on a Blue Lion? To me, some dulcimers seem better for lute type music than others.
  28. Hi! I'm unfortunately not sure what brand of fingerpicks those are. They're a pretty standard design, though. White plastic, with a pointed edge. Hm. Dunlop? (Don't think so.) Maybe D'Andrea? I've usually found soft plastic finger picks, like in the picture above, producing too dull a sound for me, but perhaps since those are very pointed, they'd be nice. If you find out what brand they are, I'd be curious.
  29. That's great info, I'll definitely consider getting a set of the ProPiks. Unfortunately she didn't mention the brand she uses as it was just a quick demo, but I grabbed a screenshot from the videos she sent. Maybe you recognize the brand?
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