Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer

Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer

I see people asking about how to write tab or find tab.  Also some of us love SMN (that's standard music notation if you're an even newer Newbie than me).  Here's a resource for free printable staff paper or tab sheets. 

If this resource or something similar has been listed before, I didn't find it using the search box.  (Let's face it, Ning's search engines often don't think the way we do and so you get pages of something that includes your words, but isn't what you meant.)

Happy writing!

Views: 1807

Tags: composition, music, sheet, tab


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Comment by Anna Holt on June 6, 2014 at 8:57pm

Thank you so much!  This was just what I needed. 

Comment by Kimberly C. on January 19, 2013 at 11:41am

Yes, I like TablEdit, too, Dusty. I just have the free reader version which I dowloaded a few years ago when I played fiddle in an old-time string band. It was hard for us to always line up our schedules for a regular practice, so the band leader would send me his banjo part, and it was nice to be able to play his banjo part on my laptop while I was practicing my fiddle.  So, yes, I agree that TablEdit is good.


He's told me that I should eventually get TablEdit if I get more serious about arranging. As it is now, I don't make my own arrangments often enough to make it worth it. For now, I just use a good old-fashioned paper tab and pencil . . . and eraser!!  A couple times he's taken some of my hand-written arrangements and put them in TableEdit to check to see if they are coming out right. Sometimes I write something out in tab form, only to find out that that's not what my fingers are actually playing--so it sounds right to me when I play it, but if someone else were to play my tab, they'd find that it wasn't right!

Comment by Dusty Turtle on January 19, 2013 at 3:54am


For combining tab and SMN, I've been learning to use TablEdit, which allows you to write in either form and it immediately converts into the other. There is even a setting for dulcimer.  You can also listen to your arrangement, changing key, tempo, and more with the click of a mouse.  I don't find it very intuitive for arranging, but it is an awfully powerful piece of software.


You can check out the a free trial version at And if you scroll through the tab section at Everything Dulcimer you will see some tab listed in the .tef format, which is how TablEdit saves its files. The "reader" is a free download, and I definitely suggest at least getting the reader so you can see how easy it is to learn songs from that format.

Comment by Kimberly C. on January 18, 2013 at 10:11pm

Yes, SMN is more natural to me, too, Lois, as that's what I originally learned with playing the violin. When I'm arranging a song for the dulcimer, it helps me to write out the notes in SMN first because I can see the duration of a note better in SMN than I can with tab. However, when I play the violin using SMN, I never think of what note I'm actually playing. I always think, "Okay, this note is on this line, so that means that this finger goes in this particular place on this particular string." Lol. I guess that's sort of like treating SMN like tab in a way.

Comment by Lois Sprengnether Keel on January 18, 2013 at 9:53pm


Great idea!  I'd never think both SMN and tab could coexist.  SMN is more natural to me, esp. if I don't have to transpose on the run.  Once I know a piece, tab seems to force me to keep looking and reading it, but if I have something that needs figuring out, it's a good tool.

Comment by Kimberly C. on January 18, 2013 at 2:38pm

Great resource, Lois! I've used this one myself on numerous occasions. Thanks for sharing it.  I like to have the SMN printed above my tab, so when I make my sheets, I choose the setting for mandolins. Then under the advanced tab clefs, I set the string number to "3" and then drag the TAB clef over to my sheet and it changes the four string mandolin tab to three strings. Of course, that's just my personal preference; I know some people would probably prefer to use the four-string tab., especially if they are playing using four equidistant strings.  

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