Thoughts on String Gauges on Galax MDs

Robin Clark
11/01/10 01:10:00PM

I have tried every gauge on my Galax dulcimer from 0.010s to 0.013s - I have a 27" VSL

Lately I have been using 0.013s (they pack a punch). But I played with a small band last night consisting of 2 x violins, banjo, double bass, mandolin, guitar and me on Galax MD. Listen to the playback I overpowered everything - there was just too much dulcimer in the mix despite me really trying to ease off (which can then throw my rhythm).

What I am looking to achieve is a whipped rhythm that just "froths" at the top of the mix without taking anything away from the bolder substance provided by other instruments.

So I've dropped right back to 4 x 0.010s today and thinner quills strummed a little closer to the bridge to try and get that light sparkle that Bonnie Russell achieved. I feel that I can work both handsmore lightlyand quicker with this set-up. And the balance with the 0.010s I have put on sounds sweet. I tried 0.010s a while ago when I first got my Galax (on the advice of Strumelia) but I don't think I really had developed enough skill to tease the true tone and volume from them, so I quickly went heavier. It remains to be seen how many strings I break when using 0.010s -I've been snapping 0.013s!!!!!