NateBuildsToys
NateBuildsToys
@natebuildstoys
3 weeks ago
76 posts

Hello, I have built dulcimers from 21" to 30" VSL and in my experience playing a shorter VSL dulcimer isnt much different at all than just playing further up the fretboard on a high VSL dulcimer. If you like chording there are definitely long stretches that can be made much easier on a shorter VSL dulcimer, but if youre anything like me, you may prefer a little extra space between the frets in the second octave. The difference of an extra 1/8th of an inch can make a really big difference for my fat fingers lol.

Having several dulcimers of the same VSL is definitely a bit more convenient than having them of different VSLs, but I think it's worth it to get your hands well experienced with adapting to different dulcimers.

One more added advantage to choosing a specific VSL and sticking with it is that you'll be able to use the same string packs for all of them, rather than needing different gauges or tunings for each one.
-Nate

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
3 weeks ago
1,859 posts

Lots of different VLS, Don -- from 18" to 28".  Play one, put it down, pick up another.  Only takes a minute or so to adjust.

Susie
Susie
@susie
3 weeks ago
445 posts

I have dulcimers with VSL's that range from 23" to 27". My fingers/hands (and mind) tend(s) to adjust very quickly.


updated by @susie: 09/02/21 02:41:59PM
Pondoro
Pondoro
@pondoro
3 weeks ago
32 posts

I only have one dulcimer but I've got a lot of ukuleles, scales ranged from 7.5" to 20-ish inches. I gave the 7.5" one away (I had made it more as a dare than to be playable, but the person I gave it to was great with it.) I can play anything from 11.6" to 20", as long as I keep at it. If I put the shortest ones away for a while I lose my skill with them and have to regain it. Same with the longest one.

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
3 weeks ago
1,485 posts

I often play dulcimers with radically different VSLs, ranging from a tiny octave dulcimer to standard dulcimers of 25" and 27" and a baritone of 28".  I suppose I have to look more regularly at the fretboard until I get situated, but only once that I remember was I playing a tune I had arranged on one dulcimer and ran into difficulty playing it on a different one. The fingering had to change slightly and I was caught off guard. 

I used to switch between guitar and mandolin, too.  We humans are adaptable creatures.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
Don Grundy
Don Grundy
@don-grundy
3 weeks ago
178 posts

Do you always play dulcimers with the same VSL?  When you change dulcimers with varying VSL do you have difficulty adjusting?