How do I tune this Bass Dulcimer?

Estes George
@george-desjardins
3 months ago
113 posts

Yes, for sure it has a very big Hummel like sound and tone, I have done a variety of tuning it it and seems to play well in most, great fro jam sessions, can be very well heard with accompanying instruments.

Strumelia
@strumelia
3 months ago
1,866 posts

OK, so the VSL scale length is 28 1/2"... that actually the same I believe as a typical McSpadden dulcimer- that's not unusually long at all!   It's apparently the other dimensions that make it 'big'-  and the 6-string two inch wide fretboard is quite wide.  The 3 " deep body is very tall as well.  Seems like it'd have a big boomy hummel like sound with all thos strings and the big soundbox.




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Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
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Glenda  Hubbard
@glenda-hubbard
3 months ago
8 posts

Thanks for the reply's! Sounds like Linda's may have been the original tuning for this dulcimer. Ken It may have been set up to play Galax because of all the small  strings but hard to play because it has 6 strings the fret board is 2" wide the peg head is massive, biggest one I've ever seen  it is 9" long and 2 1/2 ' wide  3 1/2 inches deep  where it connects to the dulcimer. I named  (Baby Hewie )  for those of you that name your dulcimers. Lisa the VSl  length is 28 1/2 " nut to bridge I've always wanted a bass and thought this one may make a good one. Am I wrong in thinking that because of its size it would make a good one or does that matter? 

Strumelia
@strumelia
3 months ago
1,866 posts

The long size of this dulcimer means you will have to calculate what gauge strings to put on it in order to get a particular tuning you are after.  You won't be able to simply tune it like a regular mountain dulcimer or a regular Galax dulcimer, without paying attention to string gauges (thicknesses).

George gave the overall length of 44", but you really need to tell us the scale length in inches: from nut to bridge.




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990

updated by @strumelia: 09/02/17 08:58:15AM
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
3 months ago
1,555 posts

Glenda -- your dulcimer sounds as if it were set up to be a Galax style instrument without having the double back.  It would be tuned ddd (not DDD).   

To change it to a bass instrument you would need to replace all of the strings (one at a time), and re-tune.

Linda2
@linda2
3 months ago
25 posts

 Search George's posts, because he put up a sound clip just a couple of weeks ago! I think the thread was "How Do I Tune This Thing?"

 

I have one of these dulcimers now too, and when I got mine the two center strings were tuned an octave apart, with strings gauged for that purpose. I've just left it because it gives a very different, rich sound!

Glenda  Hubbard
@glenda-hubbard
3 months ago
8 posts

George I have this exact same dulcimer. Iv'e had it a couple of years. I know  very little about it. How did you determine it was a bass dulcimer? mine is strung all across with what looks like .09 strings I was just thinking about turning it into a bass . strange that I should see this post! What size strings does yours have on it?  How does it sound?  It just makes seance now that this should be a Bass . Do you have any sound clips ? 

marg
@marg
3 months ago
560 posts

 Blevins dulcimer

WOW, very nice

yes, how does it sound

Linda2
@linda2
3 months ago
25 posts

Hi again, fellow compulsive dulcimer purchaser! I have a question on this Blevins dulcimer you bought. How does it sound by now? Is the intonation good? Is the sound full or tinny? Thanks!

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
11 months ago
1,555 posts

You can also just string it as a standard dulcimer, and it will have a really deep, mellow tone.  The first couple hundred dulcimers I built to my own design had 3" deep bodies and with 28" VSLs,  ran 40" or more overall length.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11 months ago
936 posts

A bass dulcimer is tuned exactly one ocatve below a standard dulcimer.  So the bass string of a standard dulcimer and the melody string of a bass dulcimer will be exactly the same tone.




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Dusty T., Northern California
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Estes George
@george-desjardins
11 months ago
113 posts

It's a big one, 44 inches long, 12 inches at it's widest, 3 inch deep body, 6 string, touted as a Bass dulcimer made by Milford Blevins, South Fork Dulcimers,Number 277. Looks to be very well made, no idea on wood, but all I've owned up to now are "standard" dulcimers, looking for tips on tuning this up, Will try and do a sound clip of it at some point, but I need to bring someone in to help with that, otr to be more precise, to do it for me because I haven't a clue!! Thanks all!

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