Playing dulcimer with a ukelele
Playing and jamming difficulties...HELP ME!
katiemac225: And now I'm lost again. I can play all those chords u mentioned tuned in DAD. So if it's in a different key, those chords I know are in a different place. And if I use a capo, they're not the same. And that's where it becomes difficult. The idea I get but not the skill to make it happen.
Katie, there is one correction I have to make to a comment below. In a DAd or DAA tuning on a diatonic dulcimer, you cannot play an F chord. There is no F natural on the fretboard. (You can get an F chord if you tune to C (CGG or CGc) and then using the same fingering you are used to for a G chord. More on that below.) Perhaps this transposition chart will help.
So how to use that chart? The key issue is the relationship of a note or a chord to the other notes and chords of the same key. In the key of D, D is I chord, G is the IV chord, and A is the V chord. If you want to play that same song in the key of G, you use the same numbered chords, so whenever you had used a D chord, you now use a G chord, whenever you had used a G chord, you now use a C chord, and whenever you had used an A chord, you use a D chord. You can also refer to chords by their names as indicated, but I find that unnecessarily confusing. I put that information on the chart because you will sometimes hear people refer to some of those names.
That chart can also tell you how to use a capo. If you are tuned DAd, you know that 002 is a D chord, 013 is a G chord, and 101 is an A chord. If you put the capo at the 3rd fret, you are now in G, but you can use that same fingering, pretending the capo is the nut, and 002 (really 335) is a G chord, 013 (really 346) is a C chord, and 101 (really 434) is an D chord.
I would suggest playing around with a capo by playing a song you know, then putting the capo on the 3rd fret and playing the same song the same way you did before. You will see that everything works the same way but you are now in a higher register and a different key. You can also put the capo at 4 to play in A, though you have to watch out for that 6+ fret.
So with a capo, you can play in the keys of D, G, and A. To get the key of C, I would suggest tuning down a note to CGc. Then the same thing applies. If you play 002, you are playing the I chord, meaning C chord, if you play 013 your are playing the IV chord, meaning an F chord, and if you play 101 you are playing the V chord, meaning a G chord.
That's how I would approach playing in the main keys of C, D, G, and A in a multi-instrument jam.
And these same principles can get you funkier keys. What if a singer comes in and wants to play in F? You don't have an F on the dulcimer in DAD or DAA, but F is the IV in the key of C, just as G is the IV in the key of D. When we tuned DAd, we got the key of G by using the capo at the 3rd fret, so we can just tune CGc, put the capo a the 3rd fret, and we are now in the key of F. In other words, whatever key you are tuned to, you get the IV by capoing at 3 and the V by capoing at 4.
If all of this makes you dizzy, just know that if you know the alphabet from A to G, and you can count to 8, you can figure all of this out yourself.