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Carolina Rockman

Adding a 1½ (1.5, 1+) fret vs chromatic dulcimer

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For those players that would like to play contemporary music on their dulcimers, a chromatic dulcimer would solve that problem; however, there is an easier solution. If you have a 1½ fret added to your instrument, you will be able to play in additional keys. I have found that with the added 1½ fret and the bending (for half tones)of one or more strings in a song, you will be able to play almost any song. My experience is that most contemporary and classical songs usually require the bending of no more than 1-2 strings throughout the song.

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What strings and frets do you most often bend?

I don’t know how to describe it but I bend the melody string between the 3rd and 4th frets, on a couple of songs.

Darn! I thought I had invented this really cool thing.

Can you tell me more?  

Keep in mind I don’t read music and wouldn’t know a G chord from an A chord.

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On 1/24/2020 at 7:08 AM, Carolina Rockman said:

For those players that would like to play contemporary music on their dulcimers, a chromatic dulcimer would solve that problem; however, there is an easier solution. If you have a 1½ fret added to your instrument, you will be able to play in additional keys. I have found that with the added 1½ fret and the bending (for half tones)of one or more strings in a song, you will be able to play almost any song. My experience is that most contemporary and classical songs usually require the bending of no more than 1-2 strings throughout the song.

Wondering if it’s preferable to add 1+ fret across all the strings or just the middle string area?  When retrofitting would you also add 8.5 as well?  Thanks.

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If you're gonna add all those extra frets and take the instrument totally away from being a dulcimer by having Dulcimer-Shaped-Object made with a chromatic fretboard.

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