How to Convert guitar tab to mt. dulcimer

Lisa Golladay
Lisa Golladay
@lisa-golladay
10 months ago
101 posts

When you say "guitar tab" do you mean six-string note-by-note tablature?  Or are you looking at the leadsheets and chords-with-lyrics sheets that people on the internet call "tab"?  The chordsheets are no problem.  As Ken said, a G chord is a G chord.  We can explain more if that's what you're looking for.

Actual tablature is tricky.  It's not just that a guitar has 6 strings tuned different from a dulcimer.  It's the chromatic frets.  Unless your dulcimer is chromatic, you could figure out how to map every note on the tab to the corresponding note on dulcimer and still not be able to play it because you don't have frets in the right place. 

Look into tab software like TablEdit.  I think there's a way to enter guitar tab and convert it to standard notation.  Maybe there's a way to convert guitar tab to dulcimer tab.  Hopefully a TablEdit guru will check in here.

You might get somewhere with ukulele tab (4 strings) if you set your dulcimer up with 4 equi-distant strings and tune them DGBE. 

Another option, and perhaps the most fruitful one, is to buy all the dulcimer tab books you can find that have contemporary music (there are some).  After you've played enough tab, you'll get a better idea of how this works and you'll have more success at figuring songs out by ear. 

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
10 months ago
1,739 posts

The only thing you can get from guitar "tab" is get the sequence of accompaniment chords, not melody chords.  A G chord is a G chord, a D chord is a D chord, regardless of instrument.

Skip
Skip
@skip
10 months ago
251 posts

As far as I know, there is no way to convert guitar tab to dulcimer tab. I think most folks would start with the standard music notation [SMN] and write their own. Doing melody only is fairly easy if you have a little background [FACE, Every Good Boy Does Fine] and know the basics of your MD [tuning, note locations], adding chords [fingerings] etc is harder. Some use a music notation program like TablEdit, MuseScore, or Finale etc. 

carmelgma
@carmelgma
10 months ago
1 posts

I've seen old posts about how to do this. I really want to play more contemporary pieces, but need to know how to figure it out. I have played with plunking around by ear but not much luck. There has to be a better way.