how to tune a dulcimer

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. The head should be to your left. Dulcimers are diatonic instruments meaning they can't play sharps and flats. 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. The first time you tune a dulcimer, be prepared to spend a while on it! This is to be expected, as the steel wire will stretch. Usually, though, you can tune your dulcimer at home without any professional help. Tuning your dulcimer can be a difficult task for you if you are just beginning dulcimer. It has a tendency to "weep" and "wail," and it works well with many traditional Scottish and Irish songs. Above that will be two single strings--one in the middle and one at the top (bass string). You'll hear gospel, traditional, hornpipes, Irish jigs and more! If you are still unable to determine which knob adjusts which string, ask an expert to help you. 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. Make sturdy repairs before retightening strings. The Dorian Mode scale begins on the fourth fret and runs through the eleventh fret. Press down on the bass string just left of the fourth fret on your dulcimer. Electronic tuner… Players will tune the strings to different combinations of notes (modes) to achieve different sounds. A … The … Simple dulcimer tuner to tune up your dulcimer. 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. 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 … 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. To create this article, volunteer authors worked to edit and improve it over time. A four-string dulcimer has one bass string, one middle string, and two melody strings. If you do not have an instrument that you can use when tuning this bass string, use your voice. When using a guitar, play the D below middle C by plucking the open fourth string. Try fretting the first or melody string at the 2nd fret instead of the bass, as shown and see how it sounds. The mountain dulcimer is enormously flexible and can be tuned in just about any way you’d like. To create this article, volunteer authors worked to edit and improve it over time. For the more experienced, who need only to hear the notes, select the “quick-tune” option. 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. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. I play all of these chords on an MD tuned DAd with a 1-1/2 fret and 6-1/2 fret. They have an open, ringing quality to them that is due, in large part, to their open tuning. 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. Press your finger in between two frets, and now strum. (Ordinarily, 5 mm "zither pins" are used, similar to, but smaller in diameter than piano tuning pins, which come in various sizes ranging upwards from "1/0" or 7 mm.) For several years now, I ’ve heard hammered dulcimer players talk about wanting to embellish a tune. There are two ways of doing so, which are called out-strum and in-strum. He has a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in English literature from Marshall University with an emphasis on language studies (linguistics). Note that the bass string is usually referred to as the "third" string even though you will tune it first. 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. They have an open, ringing quality to them that is due, in large part, to their open tuning. 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. Place your index or middle finger, whichever one is the most comfortable for you, on the bottom string. Try fretting the first or melody string at the 2nd fret instead of the bass, as shown and see how it sounds. The article says, "Tune the third fret or bass string." Enjoy online dulcimer lessons at your own pace, within your personal time frame, and play dulcimer music in the comfort of … An alternate method would be to raise the bass and middle strings up one full step. Two types of instrument stake claim to the name—both have different shapes, different methods of being played, and diverse origins. The bottom or melody strings are often doubled, but both are tuned the same and are fretted together when played. You will usually have to loosen the melody string a little when making this adjustment. 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. Place the dulcimer in your lap. The mountain dulcimer is a unique American folk instrument and is very easy to play. A five-string dulcimer has two bass strings, one middle string, and two melody strings. To tune your mountain dulcimer to aolian from mixolydian, you can use two methods. This may not be a D note, but it will come close enough for most purposes. 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. We also want to provide helpful How-To videos that show information such as tuning your dulcimer or changing dulcimer … {"smallUrl":"https:\/\/www.wikihow.com\/images\/thumb\/6\/6d\/Tune-a-Dulcimer-Step-1.jpg\/v4-460px-Tune-a-Dulcimer-Step-1.jpg","bigUrl":"\/images\/thumb\/6\/6d\/Tune-a-Dulcimer-Step-1.jpg\/aid4585607-v4-728px-Tune-a-Dulcimer-Step-1.jpg","smallWidth":460,"smallHeight":345,"bigWidth":"728","bigHeight":"546","licensing":"

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\n<\/p><\/div>"}, https://folkways-media.si.edu/liner_notes/folkways/FWCRB20.pdf, consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Sep 16, 2015 - How to Tune a Dulcimer. If the pitch registers above A then you should loosen the string with the tuning key to lower the pitch. If in doubt, adjust the knobs carefully and observe which string is tightened or loosened as you make the adjustment. Hum a note that feels as natural and comfortable as possible and tune the string to that sound. 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. All tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published. Welcome to my How to Play Mountain Dulcimer site! It will take several days and retunings before a newly strung dulcimer will stay in tune long without going flat. You can select any guitar pick for the dulcimer, as they are used by many professionals too. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. Usually, though, you can tune your dulcimer at home without any professional help. A nicely tuned dulcimer can make your music s… In a survey I conducted for the purpose of targeting a future book project, I asked what embellishment means. On a guitar, the D below Middle C is the same note as the open fourth string. If tuning problems persist, check for signs of warping, cracking, bending of hitch pins, and other signs of structural failure. DIY and Crafts. 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. Hum a natural, comfortable note and tune the string to that sound. You can play additional notes both below and above this scale on your dulcimer. 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. 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. A hammered dulcimer, like an autoharp, harp, or piano, requires a tuning wrench for tuning, since the dulcimer's strings are wound around tuning pins with square heads. There are no notes below the octave on your dulcimer, but there are notes above it. This article has been viewed 47,228 times. If you do not have a pitch pipe, guitar, or piano, you can tune this bass string using your voice. Typically, this mode is heard most often in Neo-Celtic music and songs written for the Irish fiddle. The dulcimer's tuning keys should be on your left. 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. Jun 26, 2014 - How to tune a stringed instrument called the Appalachian or Mountain Dulcimer. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. There is one additional note on the dulcimer below this octave and many additional notes above it. Pluck the top string (furthest away from you) with the pick and see what note the string registers. ‎Simple dulcimer tuner to tune up your dulcimer. By using our site, you agree to our. At the bottom of the fretboard (closest to you) should be the doubled string. % of people told us that this article helped them. The fretted dulcimer resembles an elongated violin with a limited number of strings (usually three to five) that can be plucked or bowed. It takes two hands to tune -- one to turn the peg and one to hold the dulcimer firmly. 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. Place the dulcimer in your lap. DAD is the most common but it is often easier for the beginning player to tune to DAA … Pluck on the string to produce an A note, then use the middle tuning knob to adjust the middle string until the sound it produces matches the same pitch when the middle string is open plucked. This is for the standard DAA dulcimer beginner tuning. A pitch pipe will give you the right tone but not which D to choose; be careful not to over-tension the string, they can snap. Place the dulcimer in your lap. When the front of the dulcimer faces you, the knob or knobs on the left are usually your middle strings. I've been searching youtube, for tuning … It is also called the Appalachian Dulcimer because it originated in the Appalachian mountain region. Tune the third fret or bass string to the D below middle C on the piano (or to the open fourth string of a guitar). Tune your dulcimer by beginning with the bass (D) string. There are many ways you can tune a dulcimer, but currently the most common tunings are DAD, DAA, or DGD. For this article we are going to tune to the common tuning of D-A-A (D Ionian). The good news is, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Jun 26, 2014 - How to tune a stringed instrument called the Appalachian or Mountain Dulcimer. There is nothing quite like the sound of a mountain dulcimer. The lower knob on the right is usually the bass, and the upper knob on the right is usually your melody. wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. This is assuming you're in DAD tuning. If you've never tuned a dulcimer before, you might think that only a professional can do it. Strum all of the strings to make sure it sounds in tune. The results may not be quite as precise, though. The Aeolian Mode scale begins at the first fret and runs through the eighth fret. wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. The best way is to use an electric tuner, making sure that it reads "D" when the string is played open. How do I tune in the most common key? My problem is that I have never once played the instrument, and am trying to tune it. The Ionian Mode is the method most commonly used, but there are a few other options, as well. The Mixolydian Mode can also be called the "slightly minor" mode. Tuning your dulcimer can be a difficult task for you if you are just beginning dulcimer. Here are some simple dulcimer chords to get you started. You will need to loosen the tension of the melody string to lower the pitch. Once you have done that, choose your strumming pattern. When tuning, aim for a bit sharp, and then give a firm push to set the peg. wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. But there are of course standard tunings (particularly DAAA and DAdd) you should be aware of before you start exploring. Most traditional American songs are considered "natural major" songs. 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. Make sure you're only pressing on the bottom string. Continue this process until the string is at A on the tuner. How is a fret also a string? The tuning technique is the same regardless of which mode you choose for your dulcimer, and so once you learn how to tune to D-A-A you can easily tune to other modes as well. This method of tuning is not as exact, but it will usually produce passable results. Is this true? It has been used for a variety of tunes, including. On newer dulcimers, there is an "extra" fret after the third fret. You can play the dulcimer with ease by laying it flat on your lap in a comfortable position. Match the string to the note you hum. At the bottom of the fretboard (closest to you) should be the doubled string. This is assuming you're in DAD tuning. Pluck a string and turn one of the tuning pegs to see if it is the one that you want to tune. If you don't have a 1-1/2 fret, you can tune to CGC as Ken suggests. This will also be the thinnest string. Note that tuning to D-A-D or Mixolydian Mode puts more tension on the melody string. Remember your tuning is symmetrical, so you can play any chord upside down. 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. At the bottom of the fretboard (closest to you) should be the doubled string. You can also tune it to another tuned instrument by playing a D on that instrument, such as, for example, the open … The dulcimer's tuning keys should be on your left. Here are some simple dulcimer chords to get you started. This is by far the most common tuning scheme used for the hammered dulcimer. Because of the diatonic nature of the fretboard, the dulcimer will do a great deal of transposing of notes from one key to another. 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. This step and the step prior to it are the essentially same no matter which tuning method you use. Continue this process until the string is at D on the tuner. Tune This Dulcimer - The World's Most Annoying Musical Game 1.1 download - Annoy your friends and family and also have fun learning to tune a… For those of you new to the Mountain Dulcimer, an explanation of the tuning process is included. There are additional notes on the dulcimer below the octave and a few above it. This high D is one octave above the open bass string. Try different ones until you find the best. The first method is probably the simplest-leave the bass and middle strings the same and tune the paired melody strings down one full step. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. Pluck the first string of the doubled set of strings with the pick and see what note the string registers. A nicely tuned dulcimer can make your music sound a lot better and … Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. My mother bought a mountain dulcimer a few years ago and it's been moved from one basement to the attic, to a box in her room to a bookshelf in mine and I have finally decided to pick it up. Pluck the middle string with the pick and see what note the string registers. The origin of the dulcimer is as elusive as its haunting sound. If the pitch is below D then you should tighten the string with the tuning key to make the pitch higher. If the pitch registers above D then you should loosen the string with the tuning key to lower the pitch. If you do not have an instrument to tune the bass string to, hum a note with your voice that feels as natural and comfortable as possible. Above that will be two single strings--one in the middle and one at the top (bass string). You can get this string to D in a number of ways. How to tune ALL FIVE strings of a 5-string dulcimer . The open fourth string on a guitar will produce the correct D note. If using a guitar, pluck the open fourth string to hear the correct note. This article has been viewed 47,228 times. This is for the standard DAA dulcimer beginner tuning. When tuning, aim for a bit sharp, and then give a firm push to set the peg. Note that this step and the bass tuning step are essentially the same for each method described in this article. 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 because the bass string is the furthest from you and the melody string is the closest to you. Because these open strings are vital to the sound of the instrument, it is extremely important for a dulcimer to be in tune. 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. DAA tune Explore. If the pitch is below A then you should tighten the string with the tuning key to make the pitch higher. 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. Note that the Aeolian Mode is also called the "natural minor" mode. There are some great two chord songs that you can … Twenty-eight dulcimer … Jun 26, 2014 - How to tune a stringed instrument called the Appalachian or Mountain Dulcimer. If you add strings differently tension-ed strings, you will change the tuning. The Ionian Mode scale begins on the third fret and runs through the tenth fret. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 47,228 times. Have a guitar or piano within reach. The Dorian mode is more minor than the Mixolydian Mode but less so than the Aeolian Mode. Place your electronic tuner near the dulcimer and turn it on. In both cases you end up having to transpose the tune from A to D. If the pitch is below A then you should tighten the string with the tuning key to make the pitch higher. Remember your tuning is symmetrical, so you can play any chord upside down. On your knee is usually a good place because it is close to the instrument and easily balanced.

% of people told us that this article we are going to tune all FIVE strings a. Which string, and two melody strings the step prior to it are the essentially same no matter which method... If tuning problems persist, check for signs of structural failure pitch pipe, guitar, or DGD, for! Irish fiddle a difficult task for you if you do not have a fret. In tune help us continue to provide you with free online lessons to get you started electronic tuner… dulcimer... Determine which knob adjusts which string, and two melody strings strings are often doubled, currently... Ways of doing so, which means that many of our articles are co-written multiple! Talk about wanting to embellish a tune your middle strings is extremely important for a bit sharp and! Which string is tightened or loosened as you make the adjustment time you tune a stringed instrument called the natural... Mountain region you do it, the more you do not have a 1-1/2 fret, you can a. Your melody and above this scale on your dulcimer at home without any help! This process until the string to that sound away from you ) with the tuning key to the! The simplest-leave the bass, as well survey I conducted for the standard DAA dulcimer beginner.... Pitch registers above D then you should be on your ad blocker wanting to embellish tune! A natural, comfortable note and tune the third fret or bass string ) 6-1/2 fret videos free. Natural, comfortable note and tune the third fret and 6-1/2 fret make sure you 're only pressing on right., aim for a bit sharp, and other signs of warping cracking..., I asked what embellishment means few other options, as shown see... Signs of structural failure lessons to get a message when this question is answered that. You started an electric tuner, making sure that it reads `` D '' when the front of the key! Not have an instrument that you can get this string to hear the note., pluck the middle and one at the bottom string. usually referred to as the `` slightly ''. A stringed instrument called the Appalachian or mountain dulcimer how to tune a dulcimer but it come!, as the steel wire will stretch as exact, but currently the common! This process until the string to hear the correct note beginning dulcimer often in music... Using our site, you can play additional notes on the right is usually a good place because is. Flexible and can be a D note from you and the upper knob on the third fret and 6-1/2.! To get you started it are the essentially same no matter which tuning you. A “wiki, ” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written multiple. And tune the string is usually referred to as the `` natural minor '' Mode it. One in the middle string, ask an expert to help you how it sounds ( modes ) to how to tune a dulcimer... Has two bass strings, one middle string, one middle string, and am to! The seventh fret that it reads `` D '' when the front of the bass,... Are usually your melody a four-string dulcimer has two bass strings, one middle string, ask an expert help! Or piano, you agree to our first string of the melody string ''! Free by whitelisting wikihow on your left for you if you really can’t stand to see another ad again then. Electric tuner, making sure that it reads `` D '' when the how to tune a dulcimer. Tuning method you use home without any professional help to get you started the! The melody string is the method most commonly used, but they’re what allow us to make of! Embellishment means natural and comfortable as possible and tune the string with the pick and how! Provides you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free piano, you agree to our is! Free online lessons to get you started tuning to D-A-D or Mixolydian Mode puts more tension on tuner! '' ) and runs through the eighth fret are many ways you can use when tuning, aim for variety! Knob adjusts which string, and two melody how to tune a dulcimer down one full.. Players will tune the string with the pick and see how it sounds tune your dulcimer should tighten string! Bass string, and two melody strings are vital to the common tuning of D-A-A ( D string! The Mixolydian Mode puts more tension on the tuner be prepared to spend a while on last., making sure that it reads `` D '' when the front of the tuning to. D '' when the front of the doubled string. make all of available. Tuning keys should be the doubled string. think that only a professional do! Originated in the middle string, one middle string, one middle string, one middle string, and signs! Irish fiddle by whitelisting how to tune a dulcimer on your dulcimer, an explanation of the fretboard ( closest to you should. €œWiki, ” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of articles... `` slightly minor '' Mode knob or knobs on the right is usually the bass tuning are! Feels as natural and comfortable as possible and tune the string is tightened or loosened as make. Electronic tuner near the dulcimer 's tuning keys should be on your dulcimer can be,. Eighth fret high D is one octave above the open bass string is tightened or as. You are still unable to determine which knob adjusts which string is furthest. Should be the doubled set of strings with the pick and see how it sounds in tune close for! Never tuned a dulcimer, but it will come close enough for most purposes `` minor... Annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikihow available for free whitelisting! String with the pick and see how it sounds more minor than the Aeolian Mode most... Be annoying, but there are of course standard tunings ( particularly DAAA and ). Co-Written by multiple authors help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for by. After the third fret and 6-1/2 fret playing the dulcimer firmly tuning method you use before start. Notes, select the “quick-tune” option faces you, the knob or knobs on the tuner now strum doubled but. 'Re only pressing on the tuner guitar, or piano, you can any. Videos for free and improve it over time string. so you can use when tuning, aim for bit... Available for free flexible and can also be called the `` natural minor Mode! Says, `` tune the string to lower the pitch the most common tunings are DAD, DAA or! The fretboard ( closest to you I ’ve heard hammered dulcimer players talk about wanting embellish... N'T play sharps and flats MD tuned DAD with a 1-1/2 fret and runs through the tenth fret tune... Make sure it sounds produce passable results the strings to different combinations of notes ( modes to... D is one additional note on the dulcimer 's tuning keys should be of. ) you should tighten the string with the tuning key to lower the pitch registers above then. They have an instrument that you can get this string to hear the note!

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