Which bridge compensation for A ginger

majajog
@majajog
2 weeks ago
14 posts

Gingers tuned to DAdd work great for beginners just starting out.  Same tuning as most other players and most of the tab.  My spouse who plays the ginger also had the 1.5 fret added fairly recently to accommodate some of the finger picked tunes she is playing.  We are also fortunate that her ginger sounds great when played with my standard.

Jan Potts
@jan-potts
2 weeks ago
406 posts

Lisa, I don't want to start a war either, but wanted to say those are some very good observations!  I make that same recommendation!

When I bought the Jim Fox "Little Mule" that I play in my "Loch Lomond" video I had the 1.5 put on but NOT the 8.5....it's all up to you-- and the luthier who did the work pointed out that my frets up there would be very narrow--and my fingers aren't!

 

 




--
Jan Potts, Lexington, KY
Site Moderator

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." Henry Van Dyke

updated by @jan-potts: 03/13/17 02:57:45AM
D. Chitwood
@d-chitwood
2 weeks ago
114 posts

Thank you Lisa. At this point, I am fully 1-1/2 fret savvy and no longer cringe at the sight. I am seeing it as a benefit now and appreciate the add-on. However, that 8-1/2 fret, ugh, now that's an entirely different story! 


updated by @d-chitwood: 03/12/17 07:49:02PM
Lisa Golladay
@lisa-golladay
3 weeks ago
68 posts

I think Ginger plays great in DAdd using the strings McSpadden recommends for that tuning.  I like the heavy strings and really enjoy playing it chord/melody style, mainly on the lower octave and not so much up the fretboard where the strings get really short.  I wouldn't pick Ginger as my favorite for DAA noter/drone style, but I have a friend who does exactly that and is very happy.  He even special-ordered a Ginger without the 6-1/2 fret.

Adding a possum board makes a big difference on these little dulcimers.    

My Ginger was originally set up and compensated for Gdgg.  I changed to DAdd for a workshop and never went back.  If I try really hard I can notice the intonation is slightly off, but only up past the 7th fret.  And I'm picky about intonation.  I think you could safely order your Ginger compensated for DAdd and still experiment with Gdgg at a later time. 

At the risk of igniting a fret war, I'll suggest if you're at all interested, add the 1-1/2 fret.  This is because Ginger is short enough already.  If you retune to DAcc or capo on the first fret, you're making the scale that much shorter.  With the 1-1/2 fret, you can play both major and minor tunes in DAdd without a capo, giving you the use of the entire fretboard and two entire octaves (starting on the bass string) before you venture above the 7th fret.  

D. Chitwood
@d-chitwood
3 weeks ago
114 posts

Jan that really helps me thank you!

Jan Potts
@jan-potts
3 weeks ago
406 posts

Monica, when I purchased Ginger with a compensated bridge 6 years ago, it was quite a game changer for me!  I kept it tuned to DAd, took it to lots of workshops and played it almost non-stop at home.  The shorter scale length helped me learn chords and really increased my confidence.




--
Jan Potts, Lexington, KY
Site Moderator

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." Henry Van Dyke
D. Chitwood
@d-chitwood
3 weeks ago
114 posts

I know this is an old thread, but I'm also trying to make this decision. Monica, did you buy one? What did you choose? I mainly play in DAD or CGC. I find the AEA tuning of a soprano is just too high for my liking and I'm thinking the Gdg would be too close to that. Wish I could hear one in person!

Linda W. Collins
@linda-w-collins
2 years ago
30 posts

Randy, I believe it's not an alternate bridge per se, but the way the bridge is aligned on the dulcimer. A tuning with an octave spread requires a slight change in angle in the placement of the bridge so that the bass string (which of course is thicker) is in tune with the much thinner high string. This change is significant from a tuning such as DAA to DAd.

Randy Adams said:

McSpadden would send along the alternate bridge for a couple of bucks?

Randy Adams
@randy-adams
2 years ago
116 posts

McSpadden would send along the alternate bridge for a couple of bucks?

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
2 years ago
1,397 posts

I fully agree with Robin. A Ginger in Gdgg is a GOOD thing. A Ginger in DAd is an OK thing. Having two dulcimers set up in two different keys -- D and G is an even better thing.

For playing solo in high noise backgrounds, nothing punches through crowd murmur better than a dulcimer in G. I play in G for open mic nights every week.

When I'm with a bunch of other dulcimers players, especially those not experienced at re-tuning out of DAd, I'll chose one of my other dulcimers tuned to the key of D.

DAd and Gdg both use the same tab. There are many other tunings, of course. I spent decades playing in DAA/CGG, but lately have come to appreciate the Bagpipe tunings Ddd, Ccc, Ggg.

Monica
@monica
2 years ago
79 posts

Thanks for your response. Everything everyone suggests helps inform my choice

Robin Clark
@robin-clark
2 years ago
352 posts

Hi Monica,

The Ginger is generally offered in two different set-ups by McSpadden, which are Dadd or Gdgg (4 tones higher). I don't want to complicate matters for you too much but it could be this difference that Jim Woods is talking about. The dulcimers requires completely different strings and bridge compensation for each of these tunings.

Most folks buy the Ginger in Gdgg tuning as the short scale suits having the instrument pitch up higher - it is very sweet in this tuning and packs quite a punch for its size (in the same way a that mandolin can be heard above a guitar). The key of G is also very useful when sitting in with guitar players as many popular tunes are generally played in that key or can bemoved to that key on guitar. Luckily for us dulcimer players the tuning Gdgghas the same intervals between the strings as Dadd - so we can playany DAdd TAB and it will work (but be in the key of G rather than D).

A number of folks do have their Ginger set up for DAdd so they have a smaller travel dulcimer in the key of D. This requires thicker strings for the instrument. However tuning down to DAAA would require thicker melody strings again as, due to the shorter length, the melody strings are not as flexible to different tunings as they are on a longer scale instrument. So if you wanted DAAA on a Ginger dulcimer you would need a different melodystring pairthan for DAdd or be prepared to compromise on playability.

I would think that it is for these reasons that Jim Woods strongly suggesting you think about which tuning you want to work with as he will have to use a different set up for each one.

The Ginger is a lovely instrument and I have one that I take on trips. I keep it in Gdgg as, for me, the higher pitchsonically suitsthe shorter scale and smaller body. And it is handy to have a dulcimer in high G when sitting around a campfire on holiday with other musicians knocking out pop songs Smile.gif

Linda W. Collins
@linda-w-collins
2 years ago
30 posts

Hi Monica,

As I'm sure you know, many folks are using DAd as their "usual" tuning these days, and much TAB is written for that tuning. If you expect to rely on TAB to get you started on tunes, then it would make sense to go with DAd and have the compensation set for that. It is a tuning that is very well suited for Celtic music. If you already have a dulcimer, you could leave that instrument in another tuning that you use - perhaps one that is the most different from DAd, such as DAA.

I'm not sure what you mean by "more complicated tunes." One can play very complex music out of a DAd tuning. Can you elaborate?

Linda

www.cabinhillmusic.com

Monica
@monica
2 years ago
79 posts

Thanks for your reply Bob, Jim from Mcspadden strongly suggested I do, so I am wondering what to go with.

You're right about the 'A' string, I am constantly having to tune it

robert schuler
@robert-schuler
2 years ago
231 posts
Generally if the action is fast and frets set accurately you need no special compensation. Sometimes in DAdd, the A, will got out of tune a little when playing in the second octave. A proper dulcimer should be able to play in any tuning without changing the bridge.. Good luck on your new adventure... Bob.
Monica
@monica
2 years ago
79 posts

I really enjoy reading through this forum and learning more about this sweet instrument.

I am considering purchasing a small dulcimer. I wish I could hear a sample of a Clemmer tennessee sweetie Church style. In the mean time there many people playing Mcspadden Gingers. So I might just go with that. As a Novice I do play mostly in Dadd, but as I try out new pieces I am continually tuning it back forth and I haven't quite mastered the capo yet.

I am not sure what tuning I should go with as my repertoire is still quite small but I hope to be able to play more complicated songs over time i.e..traditional, celtic and medieval music. Any suggestions for which bridge compensation is the most ideal would be gladly welcome


updated by @monica: 06/11/15 07:42:31AM