Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer

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Beginner players

Members: 966
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

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starting over, from the beginning...almost. 9 Replies

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Comment Wall


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

Comment by Giuseppe (Joe) Boscolo yesterday

Hello Wout Blommers, and Dan Goad

Thanks for your quick  response. Makes me feel like I am not alone.  I am relatively new to FOTMD and I really appreciate your support.

Comment by Wout Blommers yesterday

I think even Dylan believes Blowin' in the Wind is public property

Dogwood has it on the list...

Comment by Dan Goad yesterday

You can start here, Joe.

The three songs you mention are likely still under copyright and tab does not exist for public consumption.

Happy strumming.

Comment by Giuseppe (Joe) Boscolo yesterday

How do you get free tab music.  Like I like to get music for dulcimer.  So I can play.  Turn, Turn, Trun. The answer is blowing in the wind. If i were a carpenter?

Comment by Christopher Miller on August 14, 2014 at 12:22pm

I've taken my new Mountain Dulcimer to the Sidmouth Folk Festival, Devon, England last week and had a great time with it.  Played and sang my version of a Sting song and joined in sessions with two fine Old Time banjo players on various numbers.  Love the instrument and lots to learn.  

Comment by Christine Loff on August 5, 2014 at 12:16pm

Very nice!

Comment by Jill Tyler-Endicott on August 5, 2014 at 11:38am

That was great Gary!  Your fingering was nice, I'll have to try that song too  :o)

Comment by Vonnie Galusha on August 5, 2014 at 11:31am

Nice job!  How long have you been playing?  I just got my dulcimer last week.  Im still in the exploritory stages;)

Comment by Pamela Doss on August 4, 2014 at 11:23pm
Wow, Gary, that was really good.
Comment by KJ Rodrigues on August 4, 2014 at 9:37pm

very nice Gary...


Members (966)


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Karen Keane


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...For warmly greeting new members and making them feel welcome here on FOTMD!


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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