Got a mando, what now?? Doin' the happy dance!!
Adventures with 'other' instruments...
Girl this is amazing ! Love it
David Lynch said:
How much the type of string will affect the tone depends a bit on the instrument itself. If the instrument is designed for a bright voice then changing from a nickel wound to a Phosphor Bronze may not make much of a difference. On the other hand, on a mid range or mellow dulcimer you will definitely hear a more mellow overall tone with the PB bass string. The nickel wound will brighten it up.
What gauge to use will be decided by several factors: The scale length, the tuning,the tone you want and the "feel" you like. There are several good string gauge calculators on line which will give you a kind of a "middle of the road" string set (note that the one on Tom Strothers website tends to yield a "light set") and they will give you a good starting point. Once you have that starting point go ahead and play around a bit with the gauges to fine tune it to what you like the best. A rough rule of thumb is that a heavier string will give a bit more volume and sustain but be harder to fret. Lighter strings will be just the opposite.
To give you some examples: My standard models are designed to produce a mid to mellow voice (I can make them bright but that is another story) and they all use the same scale of 25 7/8". My standard string set for that scale and a DAd tuning is a .24 PB bass, a .014 middle and .012 melodies. With that set several tunings are available DAd, DAA CGc, DF#Ad and others.
However, if I know the player is going to be playing in DAA all the time I will put .014s on the melodies in place of the .012s. Or maybe the player has asked for a very light action so I would drop each size down a step. Another example: if when stringing up a new dulcimer I decide I want to bump up the mid range a bit I will use a .015on the middle and a .026PBW on the bass.
The main thing is to remember is that string gauges are not set in stone. Use what works for you.
I'm with Ken when it comes to buying strings in bulk. I get mine from "Just Strings" too. Since I tune in CGG with about a 26" VSL, I usually go 24-14-14. With these gauges I can easily go up to DAA if there is any need to. To go to DAd though I'd want a lighter gauge on my melody string.
As to the phosphorus bronze, I use them all the time. I don't hear any difference between Nickel wound or phosphorus bronze. The only difference that I can see is the color. Some people like to have their strings all the same silvery hue, but it doesn't matter to me.
Sue Simms said:Thankyou Ken for your input. I noticed mine are 12 and 22. I will check out the others also.
Ken Hulme said:I've not found the phosphor Bronze to be any different in my playing than any other strings. I usually go to www.juststrings.com and order a dozen sets of inexpensive strings at a time. I tune primarily DAA and prefer 12s for the melody string(s) , 14 for the middle drone, and 22wound or 24wound for the base.
I've not found the phosphor Bronze to be any different in my playing than any other strings. I usually go to www.juststrings.com and order a dozen sets of inexpensive strings at a time. I tune primarily DAA and prefer 12s for the melody string(s) , 14 for the middle drone, and 22wound or 24wound for the base.
I discovered pretty quickly that I don't care for the high D and the A strings being the same size. I like the tone that I get with a slightly larger A string. (If I played DAA, I would run both A stings a little on the fat side). I also removed the extra D string, since I am apt to use any of the strings to carry the melody line. Having that 4th string with my playing style just caused aggravation.
The good news is that strings are cheap enough to just cut off and throw away if you don't like them. Also, you don't need "dulcimer" strings. I've got banjo strings on one of mine so I can turn it lower. You can also use a pair of needle nose pliers to pop the little ball out the end of a guitar string, exposing the loop, and put it on your dulcimer. So, your string choices are only limited by what is a reasonable diameter for your scale length and the tuning that you want, and maybe some adjustment at the nut or bridge if you want to make a really large change.
I took a few lessons with Tom and Missy Strothers when I started playing, and like their string gauge calculator. I used this to decide on strings my G D g instrument.
They have a great chord finder, too:
Hope this helps.
Just wondering what type of 'Dulcimer Strings' should be used ?I now have on the Martin DulcimerSet. Nickel Alloy Wound- Standard Gauge *4 strings. Reads .012 which is Silvered Steel & then the last one is Nickel Alloy Wound .022. My question is I would like to try thePhospher Bronze ; has anyone tried these ? Would appreciate your input and advice.
You can play it any way that is comfortable for you. I play both ways. Ther eis no right or wrong way.
To keep it from sliding make sure that your thighs are level. You will probably have to be in a chair lower than you would normally sit in. Or raise your feet slightly on say a phone book or two.
A chamois on your lap also helps to keep the dulcimer in place. Just make sure that you wash a new one - some of them have a coating on them that might affect the finish on your instrument. A washed one is fine though. I keep one in my case just in case I wear something that is really slippery.
Just breathe and play - it's beautiful instrument. WHen I get frustrated I pick up the dulcimer. It calms me right down. JUst noodle and make something up. No worries about what is right and wrong. If you are playing it - then it is right.
Here's one from my teenage hippy days... (I'm the blond one) I think it was around 1967 and I must have been 13 or 14.
I remember buying that fur coat at the Salvation army for like $3. Right away my friend Susan got one too. LOL!
Hi Sue, where did you try one? Do you know who the builder was?
Sue Simms said:I had the opportunity to play one last week ! so beautiful , I will check out Tish's site.