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6-1/2 Fret


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Correct -- no 6+ fret.  All this means is that you can't tune to DAd and follow DAd tabbed songs if the tab was written to include a 6+ or 13+ note. If you tune to DAd, you can play true DAd songs because they do not include the 6+ fret.  That 6+ fret is NOT part of the traditional diatonic fret scheme, which is why we refer to it as a + or plus fret -- it has been added to the lineup.  It was added so that people didn't have to change tunings to play two different scales.  

If you are tuned DAA, on the melody string, if you fret 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8  you will hear a pure do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do Octave of notes
If you are tuned DAd, on the melody string, if you fret  Open, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 you will also hear a pure do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do Octave of notes
If you are tuned DAd, on the melody string, if you fret 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 you will hear that the 7th fret note sounds flat, not a pure note.
If you are tuned DAd and have the 6+ fret, you can play both of the first two scales by using the 6+ fret for one 7th note and the 7th fret for the other 7th note of the scales.


\Many people find it easiest to tune a dulcimer such as yours to DAA and either play Noter & Drone or Fingeredance style rather than Chord Melody across all three courses of strings.  Another option is to learn the chord positions for the DAA tuning, which are just as rich and varied as DAd chords, just not the same fingers in the same places.

Edited by NoterMan
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On 10/29/2022 at 10:49 PM, NoterMan said:

Correct -- no 6+ fret.  All this means is that you can't tune to DAd and follow DAd tabbed songs if the tab was written to include a 6+ or 13+ note. If you tune to DAd, you can play true DAd songs because they do not include the 6+ fret.  That 6+ fret is NOT part of the traditional diatonic fret scheme, which is why we refer to it as a + or plus fret -- it has been added to the lineup.  It was added so that people didn't have to change tunings to play two different scales.  

If you are tuned DAA, on the melody string, if you fret 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8  you will hear a pure do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do Octave of notes
If you are tuned DAd, on the melody string, if you fret  Open, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 you will also hear a pure do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do Octave of notes
If you are tuned DAd, on the melody string, if you fret 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 you will hear that the 7th fret note sounds flat, not a pure note.
If you are tuned DAd and have the 6+ fret, you can play both of the first two scales by using the 6+ fret for one 7th note and the 7th fret for the other 7th note of the scales.


\Many people find it easiest to tune a dulcimer such as yours to DAA and either play Noter & Drone or Fingeredance style rather than Chord Melody across all three courses of strings.  Another option is to learn the chord positions for the DAA tuning, which are just as rich and varied as DAd chords, just not the same fingers in the same places.

Thank you....So if tuned to DAd and the tab does not include beyond the the 6 fret then it does not matter?  It is all the same with respect to cords till I get to the 7th fret?  All notes on fretboard are the same till 7th fret??  (I suspect your going to tell me no).?

An hour after I wrote the above I came back.  I did not delete my comment above as it shows how confused I am.  After thinking about it I realize how wrong my comment about beyond the 7th fret.  It seems the fretboards are the same except the 6.5 fret allows additional notes and if the music does not include the 6.5 fret it is the same when played on an instrument with or without the 6.5 fret.  (Same for 1.5 fret and 13? fret).  Am I inching closer to understanding??

Edited by Km5er
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7 hours ago, Km5er said:

... After thinking about it I realize how wrong my comment about beyond the 7th fret.  It seems the fretboards are the same except the 6.5 fret allows additional notes and if the music does not include the 6.5 fret it is the same when played on an instrument with or without the 6.5 fret.  (Same for 1.5 fret and 13? fret).  Am I inching closer to understanding??

Bingo!  Those plus frets allow additional notes within a given tuning.  The note at any given fret will be different with different tunings (DAA, DAC, DAd, CGG, CGc etc.).   

My suggestion to you, particularly with this dulcimer,  is to NOT start out learning to play chords. Rather, tune to DAA and learn to pick out songs on the melody string while the other two strings drone along.  This is how the dulcimer was originally designed to be played, and playing this way will give you a much better understanding of how the instrument works  in regards to changing tunings rather than changing songs to fit a single tuning.  There are two playing methods where the tune is sounded on the melody string with drones.  One is called Fingerdancing, where, after some experience, your fingers 'dance' from fret to fret up and down the melody string as you play the song.  Don Pedi is a well known practitioner of this style.  The other technique is called Noter and Drone, which I use. A finger-sized stick is used to fret the melody string rather than your natural finger (no need to develop calluses!).  I'm pretty good, but my friend Bobby Ratliff is a master of this style.

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57 minutes ago, NoterMan said:

  

My suggestion to you, particularly with this dulcimer,  is to NOT start out learning to play chords. Rather, tune to DAA and learn to pick out songs on the melody string while the other two strings drone along.  

Thank you for the excellent suggestion.  I am learning a lot from this adventure!

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