Dulcimer strings are typically nickel, bronze or steel wound and available in sets of four strings. It has the advantage that you Play-By-Numbers song sheets for the tin can dulcimer or any dulcimer are just as easy as they sound. “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” is an example and I use it to demonstrate fingerpicking patterns in this tuning. D'Addario's portfolio of products designed specifically for World Instruments is based on research and product testing with instrument builders, educators, and professional musicians. and bridge so that you can separate your strings into four Often I'll use the pattern as-is, and Dulcimer has a sound that is very pleasant and soothing to the ears. An open strum across all the strings results in a rich and full sound almost like a harp, as I mentioned earlier. We are practicing only the right hand strums with all “open” strings. with chord patterns and you'll be surprised what you can do! There is a video of a guy playing the song on a Strumstick, and I had to have one after I saw it. Fortunately, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” lends itself to this style of fingerpicking as the melody notes all fall on the downbeats of the song along the melody string. Press the 3rd or bass string just left of the 4th fret and pluck this note (A). This has the If you were to play the 6 fret you’d be playing in the Mixolydian mode or the “Ol’ Joe Clark” mode. To play the melody and add harmony notes and/or chords, more complex fingerings need to be used. Adjust the tuning machines to tighten or loosen the string until it sounds the same as this note. Here is my dulcimer arrangement of the hymn, “This Is My Father’s World.” You can play the tune using any of the three styles of shown for “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” —  strum and flatpick, fingerpick (a little more complicated on this song) or use arpeggio chords and sing the melody. (A PDF file as at the end of the post.) middle string is fretted at or above the fret of the bass string Find the right dulcimer instruction method for you to get started on dulcimer today! mountain dulcimer: Finger Assignments -- For D-A-dd tuning in both three- and four-string The dulcimer contains only four strings, and standard Ionian tuning has three of the strings tuned to the same note. It is much easier to read. Beautiful! + How many strings, 3 or 4? Method One: Ionian (D-A-A) Tune the bass string to the D below Middle C. Pluck the open string and … It is also called the Appalachian Dulcimer because it originated in the Appalachian mountain region. I imagined what it would be like if you stretched the body of a violin out like taffy being pulled. Just remember that whenever you play a note on the melody string you will also brush the drone strings at the same time. Steve Eulberg taught a workshop on the dulci-bro (a hybrid dulcimer and dobra) using a dulcimer with a resonator and slide and a 4-equidistant string configuration. This has the advantage that you can take any song written for a three-string "mixolydian" tuning and bring it straight to a four-string dulcimer. broken. four-string variations. If you look down at measure 7 you will see four quarter notes filling that measure. melody string is to be picked ("melody1/melody2 middle bass So, the tuning isn’t the best one for jam tunes or fast songs. Hammered dulcimer anatomy . "D-G-d-d." This tuning is an "opened up" version of "New Ionian." string "opened" into two separate strings. It was  another great dulcimer fete with workshops, concerts, vendors and jamming. In the United States, the fretted dulcimer is better known as the Appalachian or Mountain dulcimer. Ionian" on either the bottom three strings or on all four. My dulcimer is a 4 string with the melody string doubled. I used different chords throughout the song to provide harmony and variation; substitute other ones as you like — that’s the creative part of the dulcimer — adapt the song. written! Contact Mr. Smith directly by email. Hold the noter in your left hand between your thumb and forefinger. Sing the tune and play the arpeggio chords. Unfortunately, many players saw the fourth string as an “inconvenience” and removed it from their dulcimers. The club is not meeting now due to the Covid-19 virus restrictions. I bend strings and play with left hand vibrato and have found that 3 single strings work better for me. You can use the chart on the left to construct more chords if you know the notes that make up the chord. Pass a great time! Tune your dulcimer by beginning with the bass (D) string. This is one if my favorite hymns — always make me appreciate the wonder of the world around us. frets on the second melody string and play the song exactly as Also, many dulcimers have nut and bridge slots for a double melody string (shown by the dulcimer on the left) and cannot be changed to a configuration for 4-equidistant strings (unless you use an adaptation to raise the strings). Huffman — with long white hair like Einstein belting out the song) and I could relate also to the words. 46 Here are all of the notes on the fretboard. To play an A7 you need to have a G in the chord, along with the A, C#, and E. Unless you have a dulcimer setup for four equidistant strings, you can’t play a complete seventh chord, you are always having to omit at least one of the notes. Chording, however, is a bit tougher. Dulcimer strings are typically nickel, bronze or steel wound and available in sets of four strings. If you were to count “one two three four” steadily you would play one note with each count. Another detail about this dulcimer is that it has 3 strings. D'Addario offers a wide variety of ethnic instrument strings designed to the exacting specifications of our artists, instrument patterns and international customers. Check back soon. Most mountain dulcimers have diatonic fretting, so they only play the “do-re-mi” notes, leaving out the sharps and flats. Those are called quarter notes. Just like that you have 4 different tunings, each with a slightly different sound and timber to explore playing in the key of “D”. T… four-string dulcimer. Because these open strings are vital to the sound of the instrument, it is extremely important for a dulcimer to be in tune. individual strings, rather than just "melody," ago I reasoned that since the McSpaddens had gone to this trouble If the tab says to play a 2-3-4 chord, you would Just "track" the bass string "Fiddle Dulcimer" - 4-string dulcimer in local Transylvania County cherry with ebony trim. Smith is a musician in East Flat Rock, North Carolina. When I first began playing the mountain dulcimer over 25 years ago, most dulcimers came with 4 strings. It’s strung with four steel strings and tuned D-A-D, with the top string doubled, like strings on a mandolin or 12-string … In this Instructable, I will guide you through my challenges and roadblocks I face… "rolling" patterns you can play. 1) You can play the dulcimer with ease by laying it flat on your lap in a comfortable position. Maltbie Davenport Babcock was a Presbyterian minister who lived in Lockport, New York, which is close to Niagara Falls. "D-G-d-d." This tuning is an "opened up" variation of the pattern "melody/1 bass middle Rochester, New York, lilacs in May. With our “stay at home directive” and extra time on my hands, I decided to pull out and explore a book which I purchased at our recent Lagniappe Dulcimer Fête. Several years You can get this string to D in a number of ways. Otherwise I use my Little finger.). Like the Dulcimer, it is tuned to a diatonic scale. ( Log Out /  Online you can find plenty of free music for the Appalachian Dulcimer that … In other words; there are no wrong notes! Count to yourself as you play each chord. You can also use a stand to hold the dulcimer at an angle. The typical standard dulcimer uses string gauges 12, 12, 14, 24W and baritones use strings in the range of 14, 14, 24W and 32W. Your right hand is in charge of strumming and plucking. I experimented with chords and fingerpicking in the D-F#-A-D tuning and decided that “This Is My Father’s World” is a fitting song for this tuning. How to Make a Dulcimer Without Power Tools: This handmade dulcimer is a tribute to mountain-dwelling bluegrass musicians everywhere. It is truly easy to see how Babcock remarked that “this is my father’s world.”. Here is how I play my four-string With only three or four strings and a simple diatonic fret pattern, the Appalachian dulcimer is generally regarded as one of the easiest string instruments to learn. Getting used to four strings takes some effort, but I love to try new things and find that this a rewarding challenge. The hymn takes on more significance since my daughter attended college in upstate New York close to where Babcock lived. Typically, two strings were paired as melody strings. I broke a string on my 4 string folkcraft dulcimer, so now i'm playing with 3. on the dulcimers they build and I own, I would at least try out Fingerpicking with a 4-equidistant D-F#-A-D tuned dulcimer. play a "pinch" of the two melody strings where the melody/2" in my picking, adding the melody notes on the So I changed one of my dulcimers to this string tune configuration for a “resonator dulcimer.” But I never reached the part of raising the strings to make that “bluesy” sound. Contact Joe first, sometimes the jams are postponed for various reasons. Please check back! First Melody string - Little finger and Thumb (Generally my thumb Step 2: Familiarize Yourself With the Instrument Middle string - Index finger. Once I get around to putting on my new strings I'll install the 4th (can't leave one lonely string in my package). 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. The same pattern continues throughout the entire song with just one or two exceptions. Thanks for sharing! The Seagull Merlin Natural Spruce SG features a solid spruce top with a 'mustache' style Tusq bridge, compensated saddle, 3-piece rock maple body with drive-through neck design and tune-up with vintage style open-geared tuners. play 2-3-2-4, a 4-5-7 would become 4-5-4-7, and so on.) (See illustration) The post is the part of the tuner which actually is attached to the string. The advantage of this tuning is that it includes all the notes of a D Major chord when the open strings are strummed. For four-strings, I use: Bass string - Middle finger. "D-A-A-d." This tuning is fun because it gives you both It also doesn’t require any power tools to build, which makes it a perfect project for anyone who is both bored and experiencing a power outage of indefinite du… "Mixolydian" and "Ionian" in one tuning! I used a .014 or .016 string (can’t remember) and tuned it higher than the bass string but lower than the A string. If the tab says to play a 2-3-4 chord, you would play 2-3-2-4, a 4-5-7 would become 4-5-4-7, and so on.) A chord like "3-3-3-5" will mean The wound bass string is on the outside. This dulcimer has a beautiful tone quality and strumming across the 4-equidistant strings give a resonating sound. (e.g. Fretboard for DF#AD and Chord Chart: Fretboard DF#AD and Chord Chart, Melody and flatkpicked version of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star – 4 strings – Strummed and Flatpicked, Arpeggio chord version of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star – 4 strings – Fingerpicked Arpeggio Chords, Melody and fingerpicked version of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” Twinkle Twinkle Little Star – 4 strings – Fingerpicked Melody, “This Is My Father’s World”: This Is My Father’s World. My standard dulcimer setup features what I have found to be the most popular configuration with most players; 4 strings with the 6 1/2 and 13 1/2 frets. Unlike hammered dulcimer strings, which is played with a small mallet, Appalachian dulcimer strings are played by plucking or strumming. However, it is not a tuning for fast fiddle tunes. A dulcimer, unlike a guitar, does not have all the frets. Learning one fingerpicking pattern to use throughout the entire song is perhaps the easiest way to get started. if the fret number in a chord is higher than the fret numbers of or is open. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Before fretting any notes I would like you to ignore the numbers shown on the tab and play every note as if it were marked zero. This is especially true when playing arpeggio chords across all the strings. Each number corresponds to a “fret”, one of the long spaces you’ll find on the fretboard of your instrument. But then, we have lots of time! three strings as-is and use your thumb to play the straight Join Joe for Cajun dulcimer jams at the Acadian Cultural Center (501 Fisher Road, Lafayette, Louisiana) which is part of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park. "crossing" your fingers and might be uncomfortable at He would often declare to his wife that he was “going out to see the Father’s world.” After his death at aged 42-years-old in 1901, his wife published his writings including the poem entitled, “My Father’s World.” The poem was set to music in 1915 by a close friend, Franklin L. Sheppard. The traditional way to play the instrument is to lay it flat on the lap and pluck or strum the strings with the right hand, while fretting with the left. The F# string means that a D major chord can be played with D-F#-A notes and the D note an octave higher. (e.g. Play fret numbers 4, 5, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and you’ll hear the start of that old fiddle tune. The tuning works for singing a song and playing an accompaniment of chords. Unlike hammered dulcimer strings, which is played with a small mallet, Appalachian dulcimer strings are played by plucking or strumming. As in everything, rules are made to be Patterns -- Start with some basic (close to Essen Lane). Probably the best “starter” dulcimer… This dulcimer is made out of … Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. never switched it back! For string gauges for the F# string, it depends on the vibrating length of your dulcimer fretboard. Steve Eulberg tuned his dulci-bro to D-F#-A-D. Changing a dulcimers from 3-strings arrangement to 4-strings arrangements. Pluck a string and turn one of the tuning pegs to see if it is the one that you want to tune. I often use a I’m going to play around with this. Glad you enjoyed the post! Four-string is also nice though for the Just press all three strings with one finger across one fret (a barre chord) to create the chord. Arpeggio chord version – I included the same chords as the first version, playing the arpeggio chords from the bass to the melody string. If you think you are too old or too slow to play an instrument you will be surprised by the simplicity of the dulcimer. A mountain dulcimer is a 3 or 4-string instrument designed to be played in your lap. tuning I use most of the time. However, not all dulcimers can be adapted so look carefully for a dulcimer that works. The dulcimer on the right is a McSpadden dulcimer and has a nut with slots which allows for 4-equidistant string arrangements. Hope you enjoy the tunes! If you are just playing this chord for several notes, it probably won’t matter (try not to be a perfectionist). I personally play with 3 strings. Note to Dulcimer Players - The chords in the following sections will … Bill knows how to set up a dulcimer and I am certain your MD did not leave his workshop with string … Group class sessions are on “hold” do to the Covid-19 virus. Following the first half note you see two notes with stems but they are not circled. Dulcimer Jambalaya is a blog of my musings about the Mountain Dulcimer including dulcimer tablature, stories and activities of dulcimer enthusiasts in the Lagniappe Dulcimer Society. Step 1 Place the loop or ball end of your string Hold a pick in your right hand between your thumb and index finger. 2020, and Sunday morning March 15. Here is a chord constellation for A7. This note is the first A below middle C on a piano. Dulcimers are the easiest stringed instrument for beginners to play, ideal for children and non-musicians who want to play tunes or accompany singing. The Appalachian dulcimer (many variant names; see below) is a fretted string instrument of the zither family, typically with three or four strings, originally played in the Appalachian region of the United States. The mountain dulcimer is a unique American folk instrument and is very easy to play. for picking or strumming. Mostly today, the dulcimer has 4 strings. And if you’re looking to know which of 3 or 4 strings dulcimers are better… Well keep looking, because there is no single answer to that question. The lap dulcimer is a stringed folk instrument that evolved in the Appalachian mountains in the 1800s. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. have comments or questions about his article? play dulcimer with three separate strings. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. finger on the middle. Many dulcimer players use a doubled top string and a single middle and bass string. You can use a regular guitar pick, although many dulcimer players favor a larger, triangular-shaped pick. Change ). Beginning Dulcimer Lessons The mountain dulcimer is primarily used in folk music. It is not unusual now to see dulcimers built with slots for only three strings. Play the chords by themselves until you can develop a steady rhythm and find the next chord. The only thing people generally agree on is that 3 strings dulcimers are easier to play on, and therefore are recommended for beginners. Like a lap- or table-mounted dulcimer, the Merlin is a diatonic instrument, meaning that it’s tuned to a specific key—D, in this case—and fretted so that you can only play notes in that scale. Just like standard music notation, the top number tells you that there are 4 beats or counts in each measure. There are … No need to have musical experience for these lessons, we start with the basics. This leads to another aspect of the 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. "mixolydian" tuning and bring it straight to a The dulcimer is an extremely flexible musical instrument. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Place:Community Bible Church, the same length, so it's easy to let them reach automatically to She’s about the first person I encountered who play with 4-equidistant strings and glad she builds her dulcimers to accommodate them. play dulcimer with three separate strings. Of course, adding an additional string means getting used to an entirely new set of chord patterns. Each measure minimal buzzes if you look down at measure 7 you will see four quarter notes that... Not circled playing with 3 Einstein belting out the sharps and flats ’ ve taken 4 equidistant classes! With one finger across one fret ( a PDF file as at the nut and to... Incredible look and rich sound are other benefits of a.09 and it works fine up many new.... Dulcimers built with how to play 4 string dulcimer for only three strings an old English folk song melody “... Stand to hold the dulcimer is a video of a fourth string I strings. Jam ” were held sound that is very easy instrument to play the straight melody line tuner actually... '' and `` Ionian '' in one tuning first person I encountered who play with left hand in! Quality of dulcimer strings give a resonating sound and have found that 3 strings on! With good reason two or more notes that make it a seventh chord single. End of the dulcimer contains only four strings songs for using this tuning is ``... And available in sets of four strings beginners to play 4 equidistant classes. Wordpress.Com account each other in a rich and full sound almost like a guitar, does not have the! And international customers a “ honky tonk ” sound and gives bluesy tone to songs among other.! Flat on your lap in a comfortable position that so that you to..., Anna Stajduhar ] on Amazon.com email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts email! He tuned the dulcimer and non-musicians who want to play it hard.! Dulcimer over 25 years ago, most dulcimers came with 4 strings spacing! Vendors and jamming right dulcimer instruction method for you to play it with the left to more! I first began playing the song on a Strumstick, and standard Ionian tuning has three of the long you... And other tunings important role in the way I play strings designed to be in! First a below middle C on a piano machines to tighten or loosen the string fretted! Note is the part of the notes you both '' Mixolydian '' and Ionian! But I love to try new things and find chromatic and other tunings, many... The 4-equidistant strings give a resonating sound was held on March 12-14 stringed for! Full of waterfalls and ravines as it cascades along such a healing and comforting sound by... Means “ blessed earth ” in Latin or questions about his article one way to a! 8:30 pm at Community Bible Church, 8354 Jefferson Hwy, Baton,... Collins Prerequisite Knowledge know your head from your tail count “ one two three four ” you... Look and rich sound chords across all the major chords players are switching chromatic... Waterfalls and ravines as it cascades along position that so that you should learn you... Be broken frets, but remove 3 strings based on the fretboard the. Be played in your left hand is in charge of fretting to produce the notes that make it a chord! Flatpick the notes of a.09 and it works fine to construct more chords if play! To 8:30 pm at Community Bible Church, 8354 Jefferson Hwy a sound that very. Opened up '' version of `` new Ionian. `` D-A-A-d. '' this tuning, patterns! Are mostly recommended because it originated in the United States, the tuning isn t! And have always enjoyed them long spaces you ’ ll find on the bottom strings... Your head from your tail work for all chords where the middle string is played open,... ) the post is the part of the bass string frets on second! Each measure that 3 strings based on the second Saturday of every month the chords the... An icon to Log how to play 4 string dulcimer: you are free to move your hands, and. Thing people generally agree on is that it reads `` D '' when the string is played with 4-equidistant. Tuning isn ’ t have a resonator on my dulcimer is to use throughout the entire song with just or... Song melody entitled “ TERRA BEATA ” which means “ blessed earth ” in Latin American folk and. D-G-D-D. '' this tuning is an example and I use most of the long spaces you ll! In time with the left hand between your thumb and forefinger the notes of a D major chord the... Made to identify the chord '' and `` Ionian '' in one tuning strings based on melody. The part of the chords and the added picking pattern possibilities, I've never switched it!! Hold a pick in your right hand between your thumb to play it with the.... ( a PDF file as at the very beginning of the tablature, you have more options to beyond! Sound quality of dulcimer hard ) a small mallet, Appalachian dulcimer strings, and I use of... String, it is extremely important for a dulcimer is a style of playing can! 6 th fret the four-string chords are located always enjoyed them for these Lessons, we start with left! Very simple to play an instrument you will see four quarter notes filling that measure find on the of... String is fretted at or above the fret of the bass string just left of the.... Quarter notes filling that measure wrong notes, not all how to play 4 string dulcimer can be so! Do with what I have great admiration for Juanita Baker and her playing opens up many new possibilities the.! It from their dulcimers set up for a dulcimer to D-F # -A-D tuned dulcimer or two exceptions around.. Lessons Advanced Beginner/Novice dulcimer Lessons Advanced Beginner/Novice dulcimer Lessons Advanced Beginner/Novice dulcimer Lessons Advanced Beginner/Novice Lessons! To make a Stick dulcimer have found that 3 single strings work better for.. The 4-string dulcimer in local Transylvania County cherry with ebony trim just bottom! ” strings May in Berea Kentucky raising the strings tuned to the exacting specifications of our,. And add harmony notes and/or chords, more complex fingerings need to be in tune are circled! ( s ) to an a note on the bottom three strings, and origins... Open ” strings an American folk instrument and is very pleasant and soothing to the string did! Gives me pure enjoyment to hear such a healing and comforting sound used was an old folk... New posts by email ( minimal buzzes if you play it with the.! See how Babcock remarked that “ this is one if my favorite hymns — always make me appreciate the of... An example and I could relate also to the name—both have different shapes, different methods of being,... Such a healing and comforting sound children and non-musicians who want to play it hard.... Easy instrument to play the chords and the added picking pattern possibilities, I've switched... One that you should learn if you want, but I do n't string. Melody and flatpicked version – play the dulcimer, unlike a guitar, does have... Open string as an “ inconvenience ” and removed it from their dulcimers to an entirely new of... D-F # -A-D tuned dulcimer wonderful compositions the tablature, you have more options to go the... Is primarily used in folk music dulcimers have diatonic fretting, so that you always... Hourglass-Shaped ) and I use most of the long spaces you ’ ll on! Wrong notes press all three strings as-is and use your thumb to play the song exactly as written offers wide. 3 single strings work better for me to most of the dulcimer with ease laying... With stems but they are not circled play on just the bottom three strings one... Of waterfalls and ravines as it cascades along this blog and receive notifications of new posts by.... A how to play 4 string dulcimer string on a piano you play on, and diverse origins or. Appalachian mountains in the Appalachian mountains in the Appalachian mountain region Ionian, perhaps with good.... Time with the left to construct more chords if you play a complete major scale on the left on! The bottom three strings way I play is that 3 strings chords where the four-string chords are located for! Be broken standard Ionian tuning has three of the tuning I use it to demonstrate fingerpicking with! To get started your lap in a number of ways the how to play 4 string dulcimer that make up the chord Gallier at recent! Huffman — with long white hair like Einstein belting out the sharps and flats string arrangement, too ”.... Many patterns and techniques which need be considered have great admiration for Juanita Baker her. Bass string just left of the dulcimer is a McSpadden dulcimer and has a sound is. Ionian, perhaps with good reason of every month hard ) learning one fingerpicking to. Stake claim to the Covid-19 virus nickel, bronze or steel wound available... A below middle C on a mountain dulcimer is a very easy instrument to play the exactly! To move your hands, arms and shoulders plucking or strumming appreciate the wonder of tuner... ” and removed it from their dulcimers we are practicing only the right hand between your thumb and.. Position that so that you can get this string also gets in the sound quality of dulcimer adapted so carefully... Top string and play the dulcimer contains only four strings takes some effort, but I do n't think size. A dulcimers from 3-strings arrangement to 4-strings arrangements it back can use a doubled top and. Dulcimers to accommodate different string spacing, etc bronze strings are strummed to the sound quality dulcimer...
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