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New to mountain dulcimer. Can 6+ tab note be played on a DAA tuned dulcimer, which does not have extra fret? Thank you.

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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."

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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).

 

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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

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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!

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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!).

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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

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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.

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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

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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. 

 

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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.

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Thank both of you for all your help and advise. I feel like I have a renewed interest in learning and excitement for playing the dulcimer.i will definitely look into getting 6+ fret added in. 
Thank you

Joyce

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