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Showing content with the highest reputation on 10/09/2020 in all areas

  1. Anytime you get a second hand instrument, it's a good thing to change strings. One at a time -- do NOT take them all off them put them all back. If the bridge or nut aren't in exactly the right place it can really mess things up if one or both fall out of place, and string tension will keep them where they belong. What is the VSL? That's the distance between the inside edge of the nut and the inside edge of the bridge. THAT, plus what you want for the home tuning, is what tells you which strings to buy. There are charts and calculators, but virtually ALL pre-packaged sets of "dulcimer" strings will work if the VSL is around 27"--28". Brand is irrelevant. As the Admin says, since your new friend does not have the 6+ fret, tuning to an Ionian/Major scale (DAA, CGG) is the best option. Some folks will tell you all sorts of nonsense about DAA/CGG tunings, but I've been playing in those tunings, without a 6+ fret, for decades -- and have hundreds of tunes in my repertoire. Plus more in other tunings. There are actually very few tunes in the common dulcimer canon which require the 6+ fret. All it means is that you will actually have to learn to tune and re-tune -- get to know -- your dulcimer. You won't find much Tab for songs in DAA, but there is an easy way to convert DAd tab to DAA. Also, if you really must play in the modern Chord-Melody style in stead of more traditionally, and this is your only or primary dulcimer, then I respectfully suggest you learn to play in DAA Chord-Melody rather than DAd. There is a rather nice article by now a sadly deceased gentleman named Merv Rowley, in which he discussed DAA Chord melody playing and gives charts of the chord positions for the various notes. Most of us who use more traditional instruments like yours with the wooden pegs, keep a bottle of Peg Drops or Peg Dope around. It lasts forever! A couple drops on the peg shaft will fix the slipping. Loosen a peg, put a couple drops on the shaft where it will be in the holes, and re-tighten the peg. Always best to push and twist when settling a peg in place. Set the string a bit sharp and let it sink into correct tune as the string relaxes a tiny bit. If you have any further questions, please post them here, or send me private messages if you like. I have a number of resources for new players which you may find useful.
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  2. Welcome! Feel free to ask any questions you have and we'll try to help you out. Regarding the strings - most of the time a DAA set will make it up into DAd, though depending on the exact gauge they may not. Also if the strings are older you may want to go ahead and change them anyways. Looking at the fretboard, your dulcimer doesn't have a 6 1/2 fret on it so a 1-5-5 tuning like DAA or CGG may be better for playing most tunes. These are tuning for playing the major scale from the 3rd fret up to the 10th fret, also known as Ionian mode. Without the 6 1/2 fret if it's tuned DAd, it will play the Mixolydian mode from the open string. This is close to the Major scale/Ionian mode, but the 7th note (6th fret) is flat. A 6 1/2 fret allows it to play the major scale from the open string up to the 7th fret. It's possible to play major scale tunes in DAd without a 6 1/2 fret, but you'll either need to avoid tunes that call for the 6 1/2 fret, play that note on the middle string (9th fret on middle string is the same note as the 6 1/2 on the melody string), or possibly have a 6 1/2 fret added to the instrument. DAA is a perfectly good option too, though less common now. Either way you'll have a lot of fun, but I would recommend changing the string if they're more than a year or two old.
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