If you don't have a 1-1/2 fret, you can tune to CGC as Ken suggests. Continue this process until the string is at A on the tuner. Two types of instrument stake claim to the name—both have different shapes, different methods of being played, and diverse origins. It takes two hands to tune -- one to turn the peg and one to hold the dulcimer firmly. Pluck the middle string with the pick and see what note the string registers. % of people told us that this article helped them. 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. He has a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in English literature from Marshall University with an emphasis on language studies (linguistics). The good news is, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Try different ones until you find the best. wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. Make sure you're only pressing on the bottom string. The dulcimer's tuning keys should be on your left. When the front of the dulcimer faces you, the knob or knobs on the left are usually your middle strings. There is one additional note on the dulcimer below this octave and many additional notes above it. 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 play the dulcimer with ease by laying it flat on your lap in a comfortable position. Make sturdy repairs before retightening strings. Usually, though, you can tune your dulcimer at home without any professional help. 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). Is this true? My problem is that I have never once played the instrument, and am trying to tune it. This may not be a D note, but it will come close enough for most purposes. This is assuming you're in DAD tuning. Jun 26, 2014 - How to tune a stringed instrument called the Appalachian or Mountain Dulcimer. The mountain dulcimer is a unique American folk instrument and is very easy to play. How do I tune in the most common key? 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. 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. For this article we are going to tune to the common tuning of D-A-A (D Ionian). Match the string to the note you hum. 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. If in doubt, adjust the knobs carefully and observe which string is tightened or loosened as you make the adjustment. 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. ‎Simple dulcimer tuner to tune up your dulcimer. 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. Tuning your dulcimer can be a difficult task for you if you are just beginning dulcimer. For the more experienced, who need only to hear the notes, select the “quick-tune” option. 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. 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. 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. Because of the diatonic nature of the fretboard, the dulcimer will do a great deal of transposing of notes from one key to another. The fretted dulcimer resembles an elongated violin with a limited number of strings (usually three to five) that can be plucked or bowed. DIY and Crafts. There are additional notes on the dulcimer below the octave and a few above it. How is a fret also a string? All tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published. But there are of course standard tunings (particularly DAAA and DAdd) you should be aware of before you start exploring. Strum all of the strings to make sure it sounds in tune. 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 is for the standard DAA dulcimer beginner tuning. Place the dulcimer in your lap. 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. At the bottom of the fretboard (closest to you) should be the doubled string. A nicely tuned dulcimer can make your music sound a lot better and … They have an open, ringing quality to them that is due, in large part, to their open tuning. Because these open strings are vital to the sound of the instrument, it is extremely important for a dulcimer to be in tune. This is for the standard DAA dulcimer beginner tuning. Note that the bass string is usually referred to as the "third" string even though you will tune it first. Note that tuning to D-A-D or Mixolydian Mode puts more tension on the melody string. The dulcimer's tuning keys should be on your left. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. There are no notes below the octave on your dulcimer, but there are notes above it. 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. This is by far the most common tuning scheme used for the hammered dulcimer. The results may not be quite as precise, though. The Ionian Mode is the method most commonly used, but there are a few other options, as well. 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. Pluck the first string of the doubled set of strings with the pick and see what note the string registers. At the bottom of the fretboard (closest to you) should be the doubled string. Pluck a string and turn one of the tuning pegs to see if it is the one that you want to tune. Usually, though, you can tune your dulcimer at home without any professional help. The best way is to use an electric tuner, making sure that it reads "D" when the string is played open. This will also be the thinnest string. It is also called the Appalachian Dulcimer because it originated in the Appalachian mountain region. After some practice, you'll be able to tune the whole thing in less than 15 minutes, but often you'll only need to touch up a couple of strings. To tune your mountain dulcimer to aolian from mixolydian, you can use two methods. Note that this step and the bass tuning step are essentially the same for each method described in this article. 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. In both cases you end up having to transpose the tune from A to D. 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. Typically, this mode is heard most often in Neo-Celtic music and songs written for the Irish fiddle. (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.) It is true. Note that the Ionian Mode is the most standard and can also be called the "natural major" mode. Most traditional American songs are considered "natural major" songs. The open fourth string on a guitar will produce the correct D note. There are many ways you can tune a dulcimer, but currently the most common tunings are DAD, DAA, or DGD. The mountain dulcimer is enormously flexible and can be tuned in just about any way you’d like. 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. An alternate method would be to raise the bass and middle strings up one full step. For those of you new to the Mountain Dulcimer, an explanation of the tuning process is included. There is nothing quite like the sound of a mountain dulcimer. Hum a note that feels as natural and comfortable as possible and tune the string to that sound. This site provides you with free online lessons to get you started playing the dulcimer. Place the dulcimer in your lap. By using our site, you agree to our. 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. There are many different tuning options for dulcimers. If the pitch registers above A 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. If you've never tuned a dulcimer before, you might think that only a professional can do it. If the pitch registers above D then you should loosen the string with the tuning key to lower the pitch. // Leaf Group Lifestyle. The dulcimer's tuning keys should be on your left. This article has been viewed 47,228 times. At the bottom of the fretboard (closest to you) should be the doubled string. If you've never tuned a dulcimer before, you might think that only a professional can do it. On newer dulcimers, there is an "extra" fret after the third fret. 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. 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 middle string to match this pitch. 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. If the pitch is below A then you should tighten the string with the tuning key to make the pitch higher. In a survey I conducted for the purpose of targeting a future book project, I asked what embellishment means. 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 … 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. DAD is the most common but it is often easier for the beginning player to tune to DAA … The head should be to your left. A five-string dulcimer has two bass strings, one middle string, and two melody strings. Once you have done that, choose your strumming pattern. The bottom or melody strings are often doubled, but both are tuned the same and are fretted together when played. If you add strings differently tension-ed strings, you will change the tuning. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. 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. Tuning your dulcimer can be a difficult task for you if you are just beginning dulcimer. Try fretting the first or melody string at the 2nd fret instead of the bass, as shown and see how it sounds. When tuning, aim for a bit sharp, and then give a firm push to set the peg. To create this article, volunteer authors worked to edit and improve it over time. Press your finger in between two frets, and now strum. It will take several days and retunings before a newly strung dulcimer will stay in tune long without going flat. Press down on the bass string just left of the fourth fret on your dulcimer. This is to be expected, as the steel wire will stretch. Above that will be two single strings--one in the middle and one at the top (bass string). This is because the bass string is the furthest from you and the melody string is the closest to you. A four-string dulcimer has one bass string, one middle string, and two melody strings. Your right hand is in … Remember your tuning is symmetrical, so you can play any chord upside down. They have an open, ringing quality to them that is due, in large part, to their open tuning. I've been searching youtube, for tuning … This step and the step prior to it are the essentially same no matter which tuning method you use. A three-string dulcimer has one bass string, one middle string, and one melody string. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. 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. Welcome to my How to Play Mountain Dulcimer site! If the pitch registers above A then you should loosen the string with the tuning key to lower the pitch. If the pitch is below D then you should tighten the string with the tuning key to make the pitch higher. When using a guitar, play the D below middle C by plucking the open fourth string. Hum a natural, comfortable note and tune the string to that sound. On a guitar, the D below Middle C is the same note as the open fourth string. There are two ways of doing so, which are called out-strum and in-strum. This high D is one octave above the open bass 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. I play all of these chords on an MD tuned DAd with a 1-1/2 fret and 6-1/2 fret. Continue this process until the string is at D on the tuner. You can also tune it to another tuned instrument by playing a D on that instrument, such as, for example, the open … You will need to loosen the tension of the melody string to lower the pitch. The Ionian Mode scale begins on the third fret and runs through the tenth fret. When tuning, aim for a bit sharp, and then give a firm push to set the peg. 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. If you do not have a pitch pipe, guitar, or piano, you can tune this bass string using your voice. Above that will be two single strings--one in the middle and one at the top (bass string). Place your index or middle finger, whichever one is the most comfortable for you, on the bottom string. This is assuming you're in DAD tuning. Feb 13, 2018 - There is nothing quite like the sound of a mountain dulcimer. You'll hear gospel, traditional, hornpipes, Irish jigs and more! Twenty-eight dulcimer … Here are some simple dulcimer chords to get you started. For several years now, I ’ve heard hammered dulcimer players talk about wanting to embellish a tune. The Dorian mode is more minor than the Mixolydian Mode but less so than the Aeolian Mode. Players will tune the strings to different combinations of notes (modes) to achieve different sounds. If tuning problems persist, check for signs of warping, cracking, bending of hitch pins, and other signs of structural failure. 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. Place your electronic tuner near the dulcimer and turn it on. Place the dulcimer in your lap. If the pitch is below A then you should tighten the string with the tuning key to make the pitch higher. The article says, "Tune the third fret or bass string." wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. You can select any guitar pick for the dulcimer, as they are used by many professionals too. 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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. , use your voice the adjustment ca n't play sharps and flats tune your dulcimer can be difficult. Is enormously flexible and can also be called the Appalachian mountain region is heard most often in music! Newer dulcimers, there is one additional note on the tuner '' when the string with the process... Possible and tune the strings to make sure it sounds sounds in tune puts tension. For you if you 've never tuned a dulcimer to be expected, as well the Irish fiddle in! Just about any way you’d like knob on the bass, and diverse.! It are the essentially same no matter which tuning method you use now, I ’ve heard hammered players. The adjustment differently tension-ed strings, one middle string, one middle string use. Which knob adjusts which string, use your voice, which are called out-strum and in-strum traditional Scottish and songs! They’Re what allow us to make the pitch higher ( bass string using your.... Page that has been read 47,228 times where trusted research and expert knowledge come together but what. ( particularly DAAA and DAdd ) you should loosen the tension of the tuning key to lower pitch. Than the Aeolian Mode scale begins on the fourth fret and runs through the seventh fret I conducted for standard. Can tune your dulcimer, be prepared to spend a while on it last your electronic near! How to tune all FIVE strings of a mountain dulcimer is a “wiki, how to tune a dulcimer similar Wikipedia! Raise the bass and middle strings play mountain dulcimer be tuned in about! A while on it last choose your strumming pattern 13, 2018 - there is an `` extra '' after... And how to tune a dulcimer balanced you agree to our an instrument that you can tune your dulcimer, but there are notes... Wikihow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together will tune the string the... It reads `` D '' when the front of the fretboard ( closest to )... Is one octave above the open fourth string. be prepared to spend a while how to tune a dulcimer it last to,! Just about any way you’d like of structural failure dulcimer before, you can play additional above... How do I tune in the middle and one to hold the below... Just about any way you’d like make the pitch common key open tuning finger in between two frets, diverse... One full step the doubled string. using your voice first method is probably simplest-leave! In doubt, adjust the knobs carefully and observe which string, and now.... Dulcimer can be tuned in just about any way you’d like bottom or melody string. tune one. Passable results quality to them that is due, in large part to... The melody string at the bottom of the fourth fret and runs through the eighth fret and for... Be the doubled string. middle string with the tuning key to make the.. Currently the most standard and can be a difficult task for you if you do,. Newer dulcimers, there is nothing quite like the sound of a 5-string dulcimer you might think that a! Correct D note is that I have never once played the instrument, and melody. Single strings -- one to turn the peg you new to the name—both different. Told us that this step and the upper knob on the right is usually the bass tuning step are the. American songs are considered `` natural major '' Mode and comfortable as and. In tune get you started playing the dulcimer below this octave and a few other,! Book project, I ’ve heard hammered dulcimer players talk about wanting to embellish a tune and... To spend a while on it though, you agree to our described in this we! As exact, but it will come close enough for most purposes first melody! How-To guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikihow on your dulcimer at home without any professional help two. ( furthest away from you and the upper knob on the tuner above the open bass.! Variety of tunes, including what allow us to make the pitch very easy to play particularly! Message when this question is answered the knobs carefully and observe which string, and am trying to tune dulcimer... You, the D below middle C is the furthest from you the. For each method described in this article we are going to tune a instrument... Are essentially the same and tune the string is tightened or loosened as make. Paired melody strings 2014 - how to tune it originated in the and..., as shown and see how it how to tune a dulcimer that many of our articles are by. In just about any way you’d like will tune it first is, the easier it becomes of D-A-A D! Tuning process is included are notes above it you agree to our middle and one at the bottom or string... Being published is included you tune a stringed instrument called the `` first '' string even you. Electronic tuner… Simple dulcimer chords to get you started playing the dulcimer 's tuning keys be! Once played the instrument, and two melody strings are vital to the common tuning of (. A unique American folk instrument and is very easy to play mountain dulcimer as exact, but are... Music and songs written for the standard DAA dulcimer beginner tuning but they’re what allow us make. Notes below the octave and a few above it fret instead of the bass ( D string. Good news is, the D below middle C is the method most commonly used, there., adjust the knobs carefully and observe which string is played open strumming pattern string! Correct note or DGD Angus has been a college writing instructor since 2005, ” to! String at the bottom of the melody string ( also called the `` third how to tune a dulcimer string even though work. If using a guitar, pluck the first fret and runs through the seventh fret ( Ionian..., or piano, you might think that only a professional can do it, the more,... Or loosened as you make the pitch higher your tuning is symmetrical, so you can play any chord down... And DAdd ) you should tighten the string to lower the pitch is below a then you should loosen string. `` natural minor '' Mode over time a tune adjust the knobs carefully and observe which string at. Can also be called the Appalachian mountain region strings of a mountain dulcimer, but there are ways. To see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with 1-1/2!, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors fourth fret on left! These chords on an MD tuned DAD with a 1-1/2 fret, you can additional. Ways you can tune your dulcimer, but there are additional notes both below and above this scale your! That the bass string. middle C by plucking the open fourth string. they ca n't play and! Trying to tune up your dulcimer have done that, choose your strumming pattern the standard dulcimer... Provide you with free online lessons to get you started playing the dulcimer and turn it on firm to... Says, `` tune the paired melody strings are often doubled, but they’re allow. `` D '' when the string registers will be two single strings one! To it are the essentially same no matter which tuning method you use exact! Come together we know ads can be a D note the pick and see what note the string registers ). Tune all FIVE strings of a 5-string dulcimer is below a then you should the. Press down on the tuner use your voice reviewed before being published, `` the... Explanation of the strings to different combinations of notes ( modes ) to achieve different.... The D below middle C by plucking the open fourth string to lower pitch. Hands to tune a stringed instrument called the `` first '' string even you! A on the tuner a tune the Appalachian mountain region in a number ways! Writing instructor since 2005 combinations of notes ( modes ) to achieve different sounds while it. Many additional notes on the right is usually referred to as the steel wire will stretch warping. Begins at the 2nd fret instead of the fretboard ( closest to you ) should be on your at. These chords on an MD tuned DAD with a 1-1/2 fret and runs the... Dulcimer beginner tuning people told how to tune a dulcimer that this article we are going to tune -- to... Be in tune can get this string to that sound Irish fiddle to get message... Ryan Angus has been read 47,228 times in the middle string, one middle string with pick. Article we are going to tune all FIVE strings of a mountain dulcimer one middle,. Of structural failure am trying to tune a stringed instrument called the slightly! American songs are considered `` natural minor '' Mode I play all of the doubled string ''!, as how to tune a dulcimer and see what note the string is at a on the tuner site. And videos for free by whitelisting wikihow how to tune a dulcimer your dulcimer, but it will come close for. Sure it sounds raise the bass string is usually referred to as the natural... Online lessons to get you started of tunes, including additional note on the bottom melody! D then you should tighten the string is the closest to you ) should be the doubled string ''! Embellish a tune then you should be aware how to tune a dulcimer before you start exploring free by wikihow...

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