Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer

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Beginner players

Members: 998
Latest Activity: 8 hours ago

Not sure how to tune your first dulcimer?...

Are you totally lost as to how to tune your dulcimer to begin learning to play?
Most players these days start learning in the key of D, choosing either DAA tuning or DAd tuning. But you also must be in the right octave or you may break your strings!
Click on THIS LINK to find a very handy online tuning aid. See the piano keyboard pictured? Click on the key marked "D3". That's a low sounding note of D that you can tune your heaviest bass string to.
Next, click on the key marked "A3" and tune your middle string to that note.
Lastly, you can tune your single or double melody string(s) to either A3 A3 as well (for a DAA tuning), or to D4 D4 if you want to tune to DAd (also known as DAdd if you have 2 melody strings).
Your melody string or pair of melody strings are closest to you when the dulcimer is in your lap. The bass string is furthest away from you with the dulcimer in your lap.
Notice the open heavy bass string has the lowest sounding note on your dulcimer. Also notice on the piano keyboard how D4 sounds a whole octave higher than D3. And notice how A3 sounds somewhere in the middle between those two d's.
There is also a nice clear Youtube demonstration HERE showing step by step how to tune your dulcimer to DAA.
Now you can start playing your dulcimer in either DAA or DAd!

Much of this same info on how to tune your new mountain dulcimer can also be found in THIS POST of my Noter-Drone BLOG.

Discussion Forum

The dreaded dotted note - Ashogan Farewell 12 Replies

Started by Ellen Rice. Last reply by Vonnie Galusha 23 hours ago.

Am I too old to learn to play dulcimer? 23 Replies

Started by Strumelia. Last reply by Vonnie Galusha 23 hours ago.

Your beginner progress this week- I'm working on... 1059 Replies

Started by Strumelia. Last reply by Helen Seiler yesterday.

Have a Dulcimer coming my way 8 Replies

Started by Play4Him. Last reply by Terry Fritz yesterday.

It's coming tomorrow! 19 Replies

Started by Amish Ed. Last reply by Amish Ed on Saturday.

G-G-C? 24 Replies

Started by Kitty L.. Last reply by Ken Hulme Oct 16.

Personal preference question on stringing 11 Replies

Started by Rick Garrett. Last reply by Skip Oct 7.

Finally bought a dulcimer... 33 Replies

Started by Robyn Spears. Last reply by David Lynch Oct 6.

Quiet Dulcimer? 7 Replies

Started by Kitty L.. Last reply by Ken Hulme Sep 30.

What are half frets and do I need any? 14 Replies

Started by Dusty Turtle. Last reply by Dusty Turtle Sep 21.

Beginner's Play Along Videos? 3 Replies

Started by Birrell Walsh. Last reply by jeffrey charles foster Sep 18.

Small hands, short fingers!! 16 Replies

Started by Catherine Polley. Last reply by Alfredo (Al) Pena Sep 17.

What is noter/drone style of playing? 11 Replies

Started by Sam Searls. Last reply by Jennifer Wren Sep 17.

Capo use 18 Replies

Started by Maggie Kennon. Last reply by Ken Babb Sep 16.

DAd and DAA? 9 Replies

Started by Birrell Walsh. Last reply by jeffrey charles foster Sep 12.

starting over, from the beginning...almost. 10 Replies

Started by Paul Rohweller. Last reply by jeffrey charles foster Sep 12.

Tuning to A-F#-D 8 Replies

Started by Ken Briscoe. Last reply by Ken Briscoe Sep 3.

I can't print tablature 8 Replies

Started by Brenda Joyce Rivers. Last reply by Giuseppe (Joe) Boscolo Sep 2.

What Octave? 11 Replies

Started by Terry Evans. Last reply by Skip Aug 14.

distance between the strings and the fretboard 10 Replies

Started by Angela Been. Last reply by Angela Been Aug 13.

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Beginner players to add comments!

Comment by Bob Humphrey on October 7, 2014 at 6:53pm

Just wanted to say thanks to all that sent me kind words of welcome.  I look forward to visiting often!



Comment by james tucker on September 25, 2014 at 7:27pm

back atch

Comment by Patty from Virginia on September 25, 2014 at 3:35pm

James, I sent you a message.

Comment by james tucker on September 24, 2014 at 6:27pm

Comment by Patty from Virginia 5 hours ago

By the way, if you need a copy of Hush, Little Baby let me know. I have plenty, LOL

I would like a copy

Comment by Geekling on September 24, 2014 at 1:04pm

Ah, you may have identified the problem, Patty! Good job! I'm using Chrome, too.

Comment by Patty from Virginia on September 24, 2014 at 12:50pm

By the way, if you need a copy of Hush, Little Baby let me know. I have plenty, LOL

Comment by Patty from Virginia on September 24, 2014 at 12:49pm

Okay folks. I believe Google Chrome is the problem. If you use Internet Explorer on ED you should be fine. I just used Internet Explorer with my desk top and I was able to print Steve's Hush, Little Baby with no problem. Funny thing is that I haven't had a problem until just recently. Sounds like others experienced this as well.

Comment by Patty from Virginia on September 24, 2014 at 12:19pm

Dusty, he is putting up another version. Now the plot thickens as I decided to try printing from a laptop I recently got for my birthday. I decided to access Everything Dulcimer using Internet Explorer. I checked my program files and I do not have an Adobe reader on this laptop. I clicked on Steve's Hush, Little Baby of which I'm having the same black page except for the lyrics underneath the music. Anyway when using Internet Explorer I click on the pdf on that tab. It asks if I want to save or open it. I click open. The tab appears on my screen. I then right click to get the print option. I click Print and guess what? It prints fine. I then decided to use Google Chrome to get on the ED website. I then went to the same tab and clicked on pdf. I then hovered the cursor down near the bottom right corner as usual and selected the print option. Guess what? I got the black page again except for the lyrics underneath. Now I'm wondering if there is compatibility issues with Adobe and Google Chrome. This can drive one crazy trying to figure it out I used the laptop thinking it had something to do with Windows 8 versus Windows 7. Apparently, it appears Google Chrome may be the problem? 

Comment by Dusty Turtle on September 24, 2014 at 11:40am

It looks like Steve Smith's version of Wildwood Flower has been removed from the ED Tab Archive. Hopefully it will be reposted with updated setting soon.

Comment by Patty from Virginia on September 24, 2014 at 8:50am

Don, it's not just you. It's a bunch of us. I decided to download Adobe XI and see if that works. I just printed a black page for Hush, Little Baby. Apparently that is not the solution. Also, Sally when I save the file and print it I still get the black page. I actually have to download (save) the file, click on Print, click on Properties, and click on Restore Defaults in Page Setup, Finishing and Quality for the tab to print correctly. I then have to save the file to the Restore Defaults will be saved. I can then print and it's okay. That's a whole lot to do just print out tab. I have a suspicion that the latest updates and versions of Adobe are not compatible with older pdf files. Just a guess but then some are not having the same problem. Ken has a Mac and he doesn't have a problem. Dan has a PC like me and he's not having a problem either. It definitely is a perplexing problem. Steve Smith contacted me by email today and said he was going to take a look at it this weekend. Hopefully it will get figured out soon


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Visit Strumelia's Beginner Noter-Drone dulcimer Blog

I have a main blog for Traditional style mountain dulcimer playing here: Mountain Dulcimer Noter-drone Blog This is an old style of playing where you only fret your notes on the melody string, while letting the drones strings ring open. In my blog, I express my personal views about playing, I offer free TAB and free beginner videos, and I try to help beginners understand in a very basic simple way the 'mysteries' of playing the mountain dulcimer in traditional modal noter/drone style.

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