Thought it would be nice to have this all in one place.

Most dulcimers include the following frets from the chromatic (all of 'em) fingerboard:

0 2 4 5 7 9 10 11 12 - octave 1

12, 14, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24- octave 2

24, 26, 28, 29, 31, 33, 34, 35, 36 - octave 3


I also use a simplified one:

0 2 4 5 7 9 11 12, etc.

For both of those, you can capo up to the 2 fret and also play in minor.

And here is the blues-cimer. I just made two and the are lots of fun to play, you can easily use Shane's videos over in "how to play" to get lots of ideas for improvising.

0 3 5 7 10 12 (optional 6) (edited 1/26/10 to include 5!)

 

 

Views: 7119

Replies to This Discussion

Great stuff Diane. I hope folks learn how useful these scales can be. I use them all the time jamming, especially when I am not familiar with the tunes. If the know the tune then I am usually the "melody guy", if not then I become the "harmony guy". Always adds a nice edge to our tunes.
I just started building diddley bows with diatonic scales. I've really been enjoying playing them too. I might have to try your blues scale. I'm also going to have to make a capo so I can try playing in minor, that sounds cool!
The capo is really great -- the same instrument and two different keys and feel just by slapping it on. I use the elastic uke/banjo one: small, simple and cheap. #7828, I think. Watch out - the others are made for 6 strings and are crazy big for cbg purposes.

If you look at the pictures, it is just a metal bar, a bit of heavy elastic and some grommets. But once you gather up those materials, you might as well just give the man the $6.

But I bet a dowel and a stout rubber band would serve in the short term!

(You can even play mixolidian if you capo further up the neck and if you do "standard" dulcimer tuning and include the 10th fret. I forget exactly where to capo, I'd have to noodle that out. So then you can play some of those Appalachian tunes like Kitchen Girl and Pretty Little Dog and I think even Red Haired Boy, and like that.)
Diane said:
(You can even play mixolidian if you capo further up the neck and if you do "standard" dulcimer tuning and include the 10th fret. I forget exactly where to capo, I'd have to noodle that out. So then you can play some of those Appalachian tunes like Kitchen Girl and Pretty Little Dog and I think even Red Haired Boy, and like that.)

Standard mixolydian would be to capo at the fifth (like playing G to G on the white keys of a piano). Red-Haired Boy is normally played in A mixolydian, see the huge pile of dulcimer tabs on everythingdulcimer.com.
This is great, Diane! Thanks for posting and giving me a better idea of what folks are experimenting with in their playing.... I have a Dulcimer, but haven't built my own yet.... I'll try it out soon!
Does this mean you simply use a standard scale calculator for whichever length you want and only put on those frets? What if your fretboard is 15" or 17"? I'm confused on what values to use in the fret calc. for bridge length, scale length, number of frets, etc.
Yes, use whatever fret calculator you like, and include only the designated dulcimer frets. The only measurement that matters is scale length (nut to bridge). I usually include a goofy big number of frets if they are asking, to be sure enough to make it to the end of my fretboard. I like Fretfind, because it prints you a PDF template (specify multi-page) They ask a crazy lot of questions, so I also give them number of strings and width at nut and let the rest go. After printing, I highlight only the frets I"ll be using, fold the template down the middle, align it up with my fingerboard and mark with a sharp pencil.

Travis Gaines said:
Does this mean you simply use a standard scale calculator for whichever length you want and only put on those frets? What if your fretboard is 15" or 17"? I'm confused on what values to use in the fret calc. for bridge length, scale length, number of frets, etc.
I'm still not quite clear on dulci fretting, it should be simpler right!? So, in the 0 2 4 5 7 9 10 11 12 example, is "10" the 61/2 fret? Or am I totally off base?
Thanks in advance for the clarification!
Yes! the "optional 10" is the same as the "optional 6 1/2" in dulcimer-speak. They number the frets differently over there, as you'd see when you looked as musical notation for standard dulcimer.

If I were building for a new player, I'd leave it out. If I were building for me, I'd put it in.

Bluesheart said:
I'm still not quite clear on dulci fretting, it should be simpler right!? So, in the 0 2 4 5 7 9 10 11 12 example, is "10" the 61/2 fret? Or am I totally off base?
Thanks in advance for the clarification!
This is not quite true. The optional 10 is good for adding accidentals and for capo-ing higher up the neck, and works when most of our tunes are in a major scale.

But the 6+ fret on a dulcimer is actually the 11 fret, because mountain/lap dulcimers were mostly played in ionian mode back in the day and they didn't need the 11. If you want to know more about this, here are some helpful blog posts that explain it all, but it helps to have your dulcimer handy.

http://dulcimer-noter-drone.blogspot.com/2009/06/golly-modes-arent-so-scary-after-all.html

click to "newer posts" to go through the series.

Fret correspondence chromatic to dulcimer are:

0 0 open
2 1
4 2
5 3
7 4
9 5
10 6 - optional on modern dulcimers, like us
11 6+ - optional on traditional dulcimers, wanting to play beyond ionian
12 7
etc.

So much to learn, so little time!

Diane said:
Yes! the "optional 10" is the same as the "optional 6 1/2" in dulcimer-speak. They number the frets differently over there, as you'd see when you looked as musical notation for standard dulcimer.
If I were building for a new player, I'd leave it out. If I were building for me, I'd put it in.
Bluesheart said:
I'm still not quite clear on dulci fretting, it should be simpler right!? So, in the 0 2 4 5 7 9 10 11 12 example, is "10" the 61/2 fret? Or am I totally off base?
Thanks in advance for the clarification!
And this is why the optional #10 comes in handy, when you are tuning ionian (DAC)

http://mountaindulcimer.ning.com/video/blue-hand-medieval-song
better link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxSGyjbo-4k

and:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uz3RObNJWGo
Diane in Chicago said:
And this is why the optional #10 comes in handy, when you are tuning ionian (DAC)
http://mountaindulcimer.ning.com/video/blue-hand-medieval-song

RSS

The Essential Pages

New to Cigar Box Nation? How to Play Cigar Box GuitarsFree Plans & How to Build Cigar Box GuitarsCigar Box Guitar Building BasicsCigar Box Guitar Parts Store

Site Sponsor

Recommended Links & Resources


Discussion Forum

making my first dulcimer/strumstick/ kind of thing,

Started by GARAGE HERMIT. Last reply by GARAGE HERMIT Mar 30. 2 Replies

Miniature dulci-tar for young child

Started by Richey Kay. Last reply by James Conder Jan 14, 2018. 11 Replies

Mountain dulcimer phaser type sound?

Started by Slow Blues Dani & Ol' Grey Bear. Last reply by QGolden Sep 15, 2016. 17 Replies

Need sources to buy dulcimer soundboard wood

Started by Dano Schultz. Last reply by Dano Schultz Sep 10, 2016. 5 Replies

New to all of this.

Started by Kirk Bolas. Last reply by Gordon Cooper Aug 3, 2016. 3 Replies

Newest Dulcitar

Started by Greg Thompson Jul 19, 2016. 0 Replies

"Evolving" dulcimer fret patterns?

Started by Habanera Hal. Last reply by Greg Thompson Jul 7, 2016. 12 Replies

Completed my first strummer/Dulcitar

Started by Greg Thompson. Last reply by Paul Craig Sep 7, 2015. 6 Replies

playing question

Started by Truth Instruments. Last reply by Truth Instruments Aug 30, 2015. 6 Replies

Strum stick

Started by Bobby Fields. Last reply by Seth Tabberer Aug 21, 2015. 5 Replies

newbie help

Started by stav. Last reply by Ellwood T. Bear Apr 6, 2015. 3 Replies

Mountain Dulcimer Necks

Started by Bluesheart. Last reply by Bluesheart Apr 1, 2015. 10 Replies

What about a blues-cimer?

Started by Diane in Chicago. Last reply by Brown Water Jerry (Rice) Nov 10, 2014. 21 Replies

Fret Spacing - standard and not

Started by Diane in Chicago. Last reply by Jesse Halter Jul 2, 2014. 57 Replies

Dulci scale length

Started by Bluesheart. Last reply by Bluesheart Nov 24, 2013. 9 Replies

my first strummer

Started by Bad Wolf. Last reply by Battmann Aug 31, 2013. 6 Replies

just finished this little stick strummer

Started by jeff burgoyne. Last reply by Scott aka Farmer Ted Jun 17, 2013. 1 Reply

Latest Activity

Keith Rearick liked Doug Thorsvik's video
6 minutes ago
Keith Rearick liked Downtown Vinnie's video
24 minutes ago
Keith Rearick liked 3 String Blues's video
27 minutes ago
Keith Rearick liked A.D.EKER's video
59 minutes ago
BrianQ. left a comment for Maree
"Welcome, check out the Resources tab for build/play info and join some groups located in the Posts…"
1 hour ago
BrianQ. left a comment for Billy Pigg
"Welcome, check out the Resources tab for build/play info and join some groups located in the Posts…"
1 hour ago
BrianQ. left a comment for Lisa Frandsen
"Welcome, check out the Resources tab for build/play info and join some groups located in the Posts…"
1 hour ago
BrianQ. left a comment for Richard Kenyon
"Welcome, check out the Resources tab for build/play info and join some groups located in the Posts…"
1 hour ago
Profile IconRichard Kenyon, Lisa Frandsen, Maree and 1 more joined Cigar Box Nation
2 hours ago
Doug Thorsvik posted a video

Masterful Creator: 3-String Surf SLG Cigar Box Guitar

Cigar Box Guitar Slingers - Spokane, 110th Zoom Mtg June 20, 2022. More info and free songbooks: https://sites.google.com/site/cigarboxguitarslingersspokane/...
2 hours ago
Doug Thorsvik commented on A.D.EKER's video
Thumbnail

Why Dont Ye Ditty BCB SJP 2022

"Way to keep it interesting A.D.! "
6 hours ago
Doug Thorsvik commented on AGP #'s photo
Thumbnail

AGP #152 - ''Tight Arse One''

"It’s cool to see your variations on the theme AGP! Very distinctive guitars."
6 hours ago

Music

© 2022   Created by Ben "C. B. Gitty" Baker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

\uastyle>\ud/** Scrollup **/\ud.scrollup {\ud background: url("https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/963882636?profile=original") no-repeat scroll 0 0 transparent;\ud bottom: 25px;\ud display: inline !important;\ud height: 40px;\ud opacity: 0.3 !important;\ud position: fixed;\ud right: 30px;\ud text-indent: -9999px;\ud width: 40px;\ud z-index: 999;\ud}\ud.scrollup:hover {\ud opacity:0.99!important;\ud}\ud \uascript type="text/javascript">\ud x$(document).ready(function(){\ud x$(window).scroll(function(){\ud if (x$(this).scrollTop() > 100) {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeIn();\ud } else {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeOut();\ud }\ud });\ud x$('.scrollup').click(function(){\ud x$("html, body").animate({ scrollTop: 0 }, 600);\ud return false;\ud });\ud });\ud \ua!-- End Scroll Up -->