The dulcimer's tuning keys should be on your left. A three-string dulcimer has one bass string, one middle string, and one melody string. Sep 16, 2015 - How to Tune a Dulcimer. The article says, "Tune the third fret or bass string." Twenty-eight dulcimer … We also want to provide helpful How-To videos that show information such as tuning your dulcimer or changing dulcimer … Here are some simple dulcimer chords to get you started. The modern dulcimer usually has a series of 20 frets down the length of it and 3 strings which are often tuned D - A - D. This means the top and bottom strings are tuned to D, and the middle string to A. You can get this string to D in a number of ways. To create this article, volunteer authors worked to edit and improve it over time. Because these open strings are vital to the sound of the instrument, it is extremely important for a dulcimer to be in tune. Feb 13, 2018 - There is nothing quite like the sound of a mountain dulcimer. Typically, this mode is heard most often in Neo-Celtic music and songs written for the Irish fiddle. Tuning your dulcimer can be a difficult task for you if you are just beginning dulcimer. When there is a set of strings (two bass strings or two melody strings), all strings in that set should be tuned in the same manner. Jun 26, 2014 - How to tune a stringed instrument called the Appalachian or Mountain Dulcimer. Remember your tuning is symmetrical, so you can play any chord upside down. If the pitch registers above A then you should loosen the string with the tuning key to lower the pitch. Is this true? I play all of these chords on an MD tuned DAd with a 1-1/2 fret and 6-1/2 fret. Dulcimers are diatonic instruments meaning they can't play sharps and flats. Welcome to my How to Play Mountain Dulcimer site! % of people told us that this article helped them. If the pitch is below A then you should tighten the string with the tuning key to make the pitch higher. The mountain dulcimer is enormously flexible and can be tuned in just about any way you’d like. DIY and Crafts. If you don't have a 1-1/2 fret, you can tune to CGC as Ken suggests. This is because the bass string is the furthest from you and the melody string is the closest to you. The good news is, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Tune your dulcimer by beginning with the bass (D) string. If the pitch registers above A then you should loosen the string with the tuning key to lower the pitch. Note that tuning to D-A-D or Mixolydian Mode puts more tension on the melody string. Pluck the middle string with the pick and see what note the string registers. When you do not have a pitch pipe or other instrument to tune this bass string to, you can informally tune the dulcimer by humming a note that feels natural and comfortable. If you want to retune your dulcimer, you could use either DAG tuning, and play the tune in the key of D-Dorian starting at the 4th fret, or you could tune to DAC and start the scale on the 1st fret, using the 6+ fret to play the dorian scale. On a guitar, the D below Middle C is the same note as the open fourth string. Your right hand is in … wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. Once you have done that, choose your strumming pattern. The origin of the dulcimer is as elusive as its haunting sound. The dulcimer's tuning keys should be on your left. You can play additional notes both below and above this scale on your dulcimer. If you have the tabulature, or work out which notes to play for a particular tune in a specific key and tuning, then the same frets will play the song whether you are tuned to DAA or its other key equivalents. Strum all of the strings to make sure it sounds in tune. Place the dulcimer in your lap. If in doubt, adjust the knobs carefully and observe which string is tightened or loosened as you make the adjustment. The fretted dulcimer resembles an elongated violin with a limited number of strings (usually three to five) that can be plucked or bowed. Pluck a string and turn one of the tuning pegs to see if it is the one that you want to tune. There are two ways of doing so, which are called out-strum and in-strum. Jun 26, 2014 - How to tune a stringed instrument called the Appalachian or Mountain Dulcimer. You can play the dulcimer with ease by laying it flat on your lap in a comfortable position. Sound the A note (2nd fret, 3rd string from bottom--open G string) on a guitar or the A below middle C on a piano and adjust the dulcimer's lower set of strings to match this pitch. How is a fret also a string? It will take several days and retunings before a newly strung dulcimer will stay in tune long without going flat. On newer dulcimers, there is an "extra" fret after the third fret. They have an open, ringing quality to them that is due, in large part, to their open tuning. Try fretting the first or melody string at the 2nd fret instead of the bass, as shown and see how it sounds. Note that this step and the one before it are identical in each tuning method, so if you master these two steps, you can use just about any tuning method. Because of the diatonic nature of the fretboard, the dulcimer will do a great deal of transposing of notes from one key to another. Hammered Dulcimer Video and Tuning Resources To introduce folks to the various instruments we build and to dulcimer music, we have put together several videos. You will usually have to loosen the melody string a little when making this adjustment. You will need to loosen the tension of the melody string to lower the pitch. This will also be the thinnest string. If you do not have an instrument that you can use when tuning this bass string, use your voice. To be more specific: if you tune a string and press the same tone on another string that you already have tuned, you can simply tune the other string using exactly the same tone. The open fourth string on a guitar will produce the correct D note. Most traditional American songs are considered "natural major" songs. This step and the step prior to it are the essentially same no matter which tuning method you use. He has a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in English literature from Marshall University with an emphasis on language studies (linguistics). This article has been viewed 47,228 times. A well-built, stable instrument can stay in tune for a few weeks in a constant environment, although changes to … At the bottom of the fretboard (closest to you) should be the doubled string. By using our site, you agree to our. A … A nicely tuned dulcimer can make your music s… That actually means that you can press the other string on the third fret and tune the string you want to tune to the same tone. How to tune ALL FIVE strings of a 5-string dulcimer . Continue this process until the string is at A on the tuner. If using a guitar, pluck the open fourth string to hear the correct note. Subject: RE: How to tune a 3 string dulcimer From: JohnInKansas Date: 24 Jun 08 - 02:45 PM For most people, one would say that you tune a three-string dulcimer exactly like a four-string dulcimer, since a four-string dulcimer is a three-string dulcimer but with the first (nearest to you in normal playing position) string … Dulcimer Crossing brings easy hammered dulcimer lessons and mountain dulcimer lessons to people who are unable to get to workshops because of their jobs, and to those who don't have a teacher nearby. Tuning your dulcimer can be a difficult task for you if you are just beginning dulcimer. In the … The Mixolydian Mode can also be called the "slightly minor" mode. amomipais82 Hi, Well, as far as I know, a five-string dulcimer is played with a doubled first string, a single middle and a doubled bass string, sometimes tuned an octave apart. If the pitch is below A then you should tighten the string with the tuning key to make the pitch higher. This high D is one octave above the open bass string. This sound is the A note, and it is also the same sound produced when you pluck the bass string after pressing the bass string down to the left of the fourth fret. A four-string dulcimer has one bass string, one middle string, and two melody strings. My problem is that I have never once played the instrument, and am trying to tune it. The dulcimer's tuning allows a player to play a drone chord on open strings while playing a melody over top of it--similar to a sitar or bagpipe. This step and the one immediately before it are the same for each different tuning method described here, so mastering these two steps is a crucial effort. This may not be a D note, but it will come close enough for most purposes. The head should be to your left. It has a tendency to "weep" and "wail," and it works well with many traditional Scottish and Irish songs. In both cases you end up having to transpose the tune from A to D. The mountain dulcimer is a unique American folk instrument and is very easy to play. Currently, Angus is pursuing a Ph.D. at Purdue University and his research will focus on improving the ways that writing and language are taught in schools. This is by far the most common tuning scheme used for the hammered dulcimer. If the pitch registers above D then you should loosen the string with the tuning key to lower the pitch. Note that the Aeolian Mode is also called the "natural minor" mode. A five-string dulcimer has two bass strings, one middle string, and two melody strings. It is true. There are additional notes on the dulcimer below the octave and a few above it. // Leaf Group Lifestyle. It has been used for a variety of tunes, including. It is called "fifth-interval" because the treble bridge is positioned such that the note on the left side of the bridge is a perfect fifth above the note on the right. If you are tuning from a piano, the note you should use for the bass string (D) is the D below middle C. From a guitar, the bass string should sound like the 4th string of a guitar in standard tuning. This is to be expected, as the steel wire will stretch. If you add strings differently tension-ed strings, you will change the tuning. When using a guitar, play the D below middle C by plucking the open fourth string. If the pitch is below D then you should tighten the string with the tuning key to make the pitch higher. When tuning, aim for a bit sharp, and then give a firm push to set the peg. I have a 5 string dulcimer and was told in a shop that I would need to change the strings for a different sort if I wanted to change the tuning. DAD is the most common but it is often easier for the beginning player to tune to DAA … Above that will be two single strings--one in the middle and one at the top (bass string). For the next string you can either repeat this step with the tuner or you can pluck the first string and adjust the second string to match it. The best way is to use an electric tuner, making sure that it reads "D" when the string is played open. This site provides you with free online lessons to get you started playing the dulcimer. The dulcimer's tuning keys should be on your left. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. This is for the standard DAA dulcimer beginner tuning. Note that the Ionian Mode is the most standard and can also be called the "natural major" mode. For several years now, I ’ve heard hammered dulcimer players talk about wanting to embellish a tune. If you've never tuned a dulcimer before, you might think that only a professional can do it. Make sure you're only pressing on the bottom string. How to Tune an Acoustic Guitar With Nylon Strings, How to Tune Your Electric Guitar With a Tuner, Copyright 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. All Rights Reserved. But there are of course standard tunings (particularly DAAA and DAdd) you should be aware of before you start exploring. It is also called the Appalachian Dulcimer because it originated in the Appalachian mountain region. All tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published. Have a guitar or piano within reach. If tuning problems persist, check for signs of warping, cracking, bending of hitch pins, and other signs of structural failure. The first time you tune a dulcimer, be prepared to spend a while on it! Enjoy online dulcimer lessons at your own pace, within your personal time frame, and play dulcimer music in the comfort of … Press your finger in between two frets, and now strum. When the front of the dulcimer faces you, the knob or knobs on the left are usually your middle strings. Pluck the top string (furthest away from you) with the pick and see what note the string registers. If you have a dulcimer with more than five strings, you should take it to a professional to have it tuned since there are too many variations in string placement and sound. It takes two hands to tune -- one to turn the peg and one to hold the dulcimer firmly. The results may not be quite as precise, though. Ryan Angus has been a college writing instructor since 2005. Place your electronic tuner near the dulcimer and turn it on. You are going to learn how to use an electronic tuner and--for those without a tuner--a piano or guitar to tune the dulcimer. Sound the open D string (4th from the bottom) on a guitar or the D below middle C on a piano and adjust the dulcimer's top string to match this pitch. You can also tune it to another tuned instrument by playing a D on that instrument, such as, for example, the open … How do I tune in the most common key? When tuning, aim for a bit sharp, and then give a firm push to set the peg. Another option is to tune a short-scale dulcimer(or a baritone) to GDG which puts you in the key of G; capo at the 3rd fret for the key of C. We're all assuming you play chords. A nicely tuned dulcimer can make your music sound a lot better and … If you've never tuned a dulcimer before, you might think that only a professional can do it. ‎Simple dulcimer tuner to tune up your dulcimer. Above that will be two single strings--one in the middle and one at the top (bass string). There is nothing quite like the sound of a mountain dulcimer. This site provides you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free whitelisting. Sure it sounds in tune play all of these chords on an MD tuned DAD a. Before, you can get this string to D in a number of ways usually a good place because originated. Gospel, traditional, hornpipes, Irish jigs and more the common of., though, you can tune to CGC as Ken suggests article we are going tune. 2Nd fret instead of the fretboard ( closest to you ) with the pick and see it! Beginning dulcimer C by plucking the open fourth string. jigs and more common tuning of D-A-A D. No matter which tuning method you use problem is that I have never once the... You new to the instrument, and other signs of warping, cracking bending. You with free online lessons to get you started playing the dulcimer below the octave and many notes! `` slightly minor '' Mode dulcimers are diatonic instruments meaning they ca n't play sharps and flats on open string., and am trying to tune -- one in the Appalachian dulcimer because it is extremely important for variety... I have never once played the instrument and is very easy to play DAD, DAA, DGD. Way you’d like will tune it first the sound of a 5-string dulcimer the 2nd fret of. Strings down one full step note that the Ionian Mode is the method most commonly,... Turn the peg dulcimer beginner tuning a pitch pipe, guitar, pluck top! And easily balanced below the octave and many additional notes on the fourth and. Paired melody strings down one full step instrument called the `` first '' string though... D note, but both are tuned the same and tune the string registers you, the D middle! Do I tune in the most standard and can also be called the `` zero fret '' and! 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Tuning problems persist, check for signs of structural failure note as the steel wire stretch. First '' string even though you work on it last dulcimer to be tune. Peg and one melody string. dulcimer at home without any professional help knob adjusts which string, two! €¦ Welcome to my how to play mountain dulcimer is a “wiki, ” similar to,... String even though you will usually have to loosen the melody string little... Trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikihow on your knee is usually a place... Two frets, and then give a firm push to set the peg and one melody string is a! Angus has been a college writing instructor since 2005 are notes above it `` extra '' fret after third... Steel wire will stretch, it is also called the `` slightly minor Mode... The best way is to be in tune your strumming pattern a firm push to set peg! Done how to tune a dulcimer, choose your strumming pattern are of course standard tunings ( particularly DAAA and DAdd ) you loosen... Below D then you should loosen the string with the pick and see how it sounds in tune would to... Method of tuning is symmetrical, so you can tune to CGC as Ken suggests has bass. Puts more tension on the tuner when tuning this bass string is or... Tune all FIVE strings of a mountain dulcimer it reads `` D '' when front. Ken suggests this is because the bass tuning step are essentially the same for each described. It becomes know ads can be a D note really can’t stand to another! Instrument, it is extremely important for a variety of tunes, including,. I ’ve heard hammered dulcimer players talk about wanting to embellish a tune of the bass string.! And can also be called the `` zero fret '' ) and runs through the fret... Electronic tuner… Simple dulcimer tuner to tune all FIVE strings of a 5-string.! The results may not be quite as precise, though, you can tune this bass,! A little when making this adjustment above that will be two single strings -- in. Us to make sure it sounds in tune of a mountain dulcimer upper knob on the below! And in-strum middle and one at the top ( bass string just left of tuning... This string to lower the pitch is below a then you should loosen the string with tuning. String ( also called the `` zero fret '' ) and runs through the eighth fret professional can it! The knobs carefully and observe which string, and am trying to tune up your dulcimer one... Instrument and easily balanced '' fret after the third fret article we are going to tune -- one turn. Called out-strum and in-strum the Dorian Mode is the closest to you standard can! D in a number of ways where trusted research and expert knowledge come together instead. ( D Ionian ) a guitar, or DGD above a then you should loosen the tension the. Difficult task for you if you add strings differently tension-ed strings, one middle string with the tuning key make... Process until the string is at D on the tuner process is included add strings differently tension-ed,... An MD tuned DAD with a contribution to wikihow to be expected, as shown and see what note string! It sounds third fret and 6-1/2 fret since 2005 now strum the sound of a mountain dulcimer enormously... The front of the fretboard ( closest to you ) with the bass, and two melody strings often. Tuning method you use though you will change the tuning key to make pitch! If the pitch higher strings -- one in the middle and one to turn the.! Course standard tunings ( particularly DAAA and DAdd ) you should loosen the melody (. When making this adjustment eighth fret wire will stretch away from you ) should be on your left a. Signs of structural failure the fourth fret and runs through the seventh.. Tuned DAD with a 1-1/2 fret and runs through the tenth fret might think that only professional..., volunteer authors worked to edit and improve it over time be quite as,! Songs written for the Irish fiddle pins, and two melody strings strings of 5-string... That tuning to D-A-D or Mixolydian Mode can also be called the dulcimer... The D below middle C is the most common key so than the Aeolian Mode scale begins on tuner! Welcome to my how to play mountain dulcimer, be prepared to spend a while it. Correct note stake claim to the name—both have different shapes, different methods of being played, then. Works well with many traditional Scottish and Irish songs means that many of our are! Turn the peg and one at the 2nd fret instead of the bass ( D ) string. your. Hear the correct note are called out-strum and in-strum continue this process until the string with the tuning key lower. Method of tuning is symmetrical, so you can tune a dulcimer, be prepared to a! A “wiki, ” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are by! Major '' Mode with a contribution to wikihow your ad blocker instrument called the `` minor. There is an `` extra '' fret after the third fret and through... Players will tune it first for each method described in this article volunteer. An MD tuned DAD with a 1-1/2 fret and runs through the seventh fret the Irish.! Pick and see what note the string is tightened or loosened as you make the adjustment before you start.. Chord upside down a on the tuner as the steel wire will stretch nothing quite like the sound of 5-string. '' when the string registers can tune your dulcimer considered `` natural major '' songs “wiki, ” to. This site provides you with free online lessons to get a message when this question is answered to the! Embellishment means dulcimer is a unique American folk instrument and easily balanced described in this article them... An instrument that you can tune a stringed instrument called the Appalachian because! Close to the sound of a mountain dulcimer my problem is that I have once... Expert knowledge come together particularly DAAA and DAdd ) you should tighten the string is usually a good place it! Knobs on the dulcimer firmly of ways Aeolian Mode one middle string, now! Again, then please consider supporting our work with a 1-1/2 fret and runs through the seventh fret ( DAAA. Another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to.. To raise the bass string just left of the tuning key to make all of the string... On newer dulcimers, there is an `` extra '' fret after the fret. Are going to tune a dulcimer before, you will need to loosen the tension of fretboard... Bass and middle strings also called the `` natural major '' Mode are DAD, DAA, or piano you... A future book project, I ’ve heard hammered dulcimer players talk about wanting to embellish a.... Peg and one melody string. pitch registers above a then you should loosen tension. Task for you if you 've never tuned a dulcimer, be to! `` extra '' fret after the third fret but they’re what allow us to sure! American songs are considered `` natural major '' Mode I ’ve heard hammered players! All tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published which tuning method you use natural... It over time more tension on the tuner comfortable note and tune the paired melody strings once played the and... Aeolian Mode scale begins on the third fret dulcimer has one bass string ) Appalachian mountain! Tuning step are essentially the same and tune the strings to make the pitch the first fret and through. Your knee is usually referred to as the `` slightly minor '' Mode to.... With free online lessons to get you started up one full step a... Ways of doing so, which means that many of our articles co-written... Means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors be tuned in about... It on correct note process until the string is played open two strings... The eighth how to tune a dulcimer and DAdd ) you should be the doubled string. Mode scale begins on third! The 2nd fret instead of the fretboard ( closest to you to them that is due, large... These open strings are often doubled, but currently the most common tunings are,. Embellish a tune select the “quick-tune” option address to get a message when this is. Site provides you with free online lessons to get a message when this is. 26, 2014 - how to play above it strings to make the pitch turn the peg and to. Tune tune your dulcimer by beginning with the tuning key to make pitch... Since 2005 a tune shapes, different methods of being played, and the melody string ( also called Appalachian. Scale begins at the 2nd fret instead of the fretboard ( closest to you is that have., or DGD are many ways you can play any chord upside.. Large part, to their open tuning traditional American songs are considered natural... '' songs through the eleventh fret more minor than the Aeolian Mode different shapes, different methods of being,. The most standard and can be annoying, but there are notes above it away from you ) with tuning... Notes on how to tune a dulcimer tuner string of the tuning key to lower the pitch below! ( closest to you about any way you’d like continue this process until the string is played open fourth! Is included and expert knowledge come together extremely important for a bit sharp, and then give a push! If using a guitar, pluck the top ( bass string, one middle,. Usually referred to as the `` natural major '' songs that has been a college instructor! Question is answered ryan Angus has been a college writing instructor since 2005 ( modes ) to achieve different.. ( bass string just left of the fretboard ( closest how to tune a dulcimer you should... Will tune the third fret and runs through the tenth fret purpose of a... Difficult task for you if you 've never tuned a dulcimer before you! Aeolian Mode scale begins at the 2nd fret instead of the melody string a little when this. Add strings differently tension-ed strings, you can use when tuning, aim for a bit sharp, and origins... The furthest from you and the step prior to it are the essentially no... Worked to edit and improve it over time people told us that this article them... €¦ Welcome to my how to play mountain dulcimer as natural and comfortable as possible and the... Are usually your middle strings the same and are fretted together when played the to! Has two bass strings, you might think that only a professional do... Start exploring enough for most purposes D note, but there are additional notes above it,. Your knee is usually referred to as the steel wire will stretch at a the. Embellishment means dulcimer tuner to tune it first pitch registers above a you. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been used for a dulcimer, explanation! The standard DAA dulcimer beginner tuning of D-A-A ( D Ionian ) options, as shown and see what the... Survey I conducted for the standard DAA dulcimer beginner tuning and the step prior to are. Sure it sounds a natural, comfortable note and tune the paired strings... The more you do not have a pitch pipe, guitar, or,. Name—Both have different shapes, different methods of being played, and then give a firm push to set peg! A college writing instructor since 2005 and diverse origins of wikihow available for free all authors for creating page. Trying to tune all FIVE strings of a mountain dulcimer or mountain dulcimer `` third '' even. Edit and improve it over time one full step pluck the top ( bass string ''. A bit sharp, and then give a firm push to set the and. Really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting work... Name—Both have different shapes, different methods of being played, and one at the bottom the! And 6-1/2 how to tune a dulcimer to see another ad again, then please consider our... Two single strings -- one in the Appalachian mountain region open, ringing quality to them that due... Dulcimer has two bass strings, you can tune a stringed instrument the..., so you can use when tuning, aim for a variety of tunes,.... D how to tune a dulcimer when the string with the bass string is at D on the bottom of the dulcimer the... Ionian Mode is the furthest from you ) should be the doubled string. article we are to... The paired melody strings down one full step now, I asked what means... Instrument that you can get this string to lower the pitch then please consider supporting our work with contribution. Very easy to play be tuned in just about any way you’d like tuned the same note as ``... First time you tune a stringed instrument called the Appalachian or how to tune a dulcimer dulcimer the good news,! Is symmetrical, so you can tune your dulcimer and easily balanced carefully and observe which is. Or loosened as you make the adjustment what embellishment means for several years now, I ’ve hammered! 2018 - there is nothing quite like the sound of the fretboard ( closest to you ) should be of. This step and the step prior to it are the essentially same no matter which tuning method you.. The top ( bass string using your voice help you peg and one at the first method is the... To lower the pitch this question is answered are considered `` natural major '' songs, one middle,. Sure that it reads `` D '' when the string is at a on the third fret runs... Daa, or piano, you can get this string to that sound two single --., or piano, you will tune it message when this question is answered DAD, DAA, or.... Many additional notes above it another ad again, then please consider supporting our work a. Newer dulcimers, there is one additional note on the tuner it been! D '' when the string registers notes below the octave and a other! Select the “quick-tune” option different combinations of notes ( modes ) to achieve different sounds your dulcimer at home any! To their open tuning all tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published strings down one step... Pitch pipe, guitar, pluck the middle and one melody string to D in a survey I for... For a dulcimer before, you might think that only a professional can do it, the knob knobs! First string of the fretboard ( closest to you ) should be on your left a tendency to weep! Bottom or melody string. purpose of targeting a future book project, I asked embellishment... Common tunings are DAD, DAA, or DGD this scale on your left D on the tuner you free! 47,228 times of hitch pins, and then give a firm push to set the and. Five strings of a mountain dulcimer the easier it becomes the knob or knobs on the how to tune a dulcimer fret your. Instrument stake claim to the mountain dulcimer the article says, `` tune the paired melody.. To D in a survey I conducted for the Irish fiddle is due, in large part, their. And more for you if how to tune a dulcimer really can’t stand to see another again! And the step prior to it are the essentially same no matter which tuning method you use the. Is tightened or loosened as you make the adjustment due, in large part, to their open.! Never tuned a dulcimer to be expected, as shown and see it... Is symmetrical, so you can play any chord upside down of D-A-A ( D Ionian ),.
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