Question about fret layout.

Ray D
Ray D
@ray-d
one week ago
2 posts

Thank you all for answering my questions. This helps me out allot. nod

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
one week ago
1,819 posts

 

If a total beginner is told to 'count your frets' then they'd likely be including both the 6 and the 6.5 fret when counting-  thus thinking that the repeat octave is the C#.  Most beginners don't yet know that they should count EITHER the 6 OR the 6.5 fret when 'counting frets'.. but not count both.  I think it really helps to look at a picture:

dadtuningchart.jpg




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Skip
Skip
@skip
one week ago
242 posts

Count your frets. Fret 7 is the repeat octave of the open strings. You show the C# [DB] as the 7th fret and D as the 8th fret. You included the C and the C#. One is for the D scale [C#] and one is for the G scale [C]. The 6+ fret allows playing a D scale, in DAd tuning, starting at the open string instead of the 3rd fret. This is because the frets are placed in a series of steps/half steps. Steps are the wide spaces. Half steps are the narrow spaces.

G scale = 3-4-5-6-7-8-9

D scale = 0-1-2-3-4-5-6+


updated by @skip: 08/10/18 10:48:38AM
Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
one week ago
590 posts

I see from my friends here you have received all the help you need on this issue. Enjoy your dulcimer. Have fun playing it. Anymore questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
one week ago
1,819 posts

Ray D:

I have it tuned to DAD. When I fret the melody strings closest to me they progress down the fretboard E, G flat, G, A, B C, D flat, D. Does that sound right to everyone. I am new to the dulcimer and want to learn how to play. I  have attached a picture of my dulcimer if that will help.

It looks and sounds like your frets are fine.

I think people are making this more complicated than what you are asking and confused about.

The problem here is that on your D string the "G flat" note as you call it is more correctly called "F sharp"(F#).  And what you are calling "D flat" is actually called "C sharp"(C#).  The note half a step lower than G is usually called Fsharp, not G flat..though an F# & Gflat are both the same sounding note.  Likewise, the note a half step lower than D is more commonly called Csharp, not Dflat... yet both are the same 'sounding' note.  A glass of water which has water in it to the halfway (half fret) mark- is it called "half empty" (a 'flat' note) or called "half full"? (a 'sharp' note)- both describe the same amount of water (or the very same sounding note in this case).

It's easy to get this confused.  Also think of a clock that's at 3:30.  Is it 30 minutes past 3, OR is it 30 minutes to 4 ?  One can think of the halfway point really in two different ways.  So that note between C and D ...is it a C#, or a Dflat ?  In the key of D it's called a C#, because the key of D is defined as having two sharps in it: a C# and an F#.... and no flats.   dulcimer

So, your dulcimer string when tuned to D is in fact correctly fretted and is playing:  D(open string), E, F#, G, A, B, C, C#, and D.




--
Site Owner

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

updated by @strumelia: 08/10/18 09:05:01AM
Skip
Skip
@skip
one week ago
242 posts

That doesn't sound right although in MD talk we express the notes in sharps.

You should have:(nut)D-wide space-(1)E-wide space-(2)F#[Gb]-narrow space-(3)G-wide space-(4)A-wide space-(5)B-narrow space-(6)C-wide space-(7)D. The spacing then repeats. Any frets not in this order are plus frets. You may be counting the 6 1/2 (6+), getting the D scale, then your list is ok.

The MD fretboard is laid out in such a way to make the open scale of a D tuned string as being in the mixolydian mode of the key of G. This layout places the starting note of the ionian mode, used to name the strings key, on the 3rd  fret. So if you check the notes from there up you will see the notes are in the order of the key of G: G-A-B-C-D-E-F#-G.

 

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
one week ago
1,718 posts

Hi Ray,  welcome to our wacky but wonderful world.  I've included a link to my article "I Just Got A Dulcimer, Now What?  which is an illustrated glossary (so we all talk the same way about the same things) as well as answers to many beginner questions about tuning, playing, care and feeding of your new "friend".

First thing is, we talk about going "up" the fretboard (not down) because the notes go up in pitch as you move from the tuning head towards the tail end.

Second thing is, we usually write DAd rather than DAD.  DAd reminds us that the bass string is tuned to D, the middle drone is tuned to A, and the melody string (closest to you) is tuned to d -- an octave higher in pitch than the bass D.

Third thing is that your dulcimer has what we call a 6+ or six-plus fret.  There is also a 13+ fret.  There's a long explanation that I won't go into here, but when you count fret numbers (when playing from tabulature for example), on your dulcimer you would count -- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6+, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 13+, 14, 15, 16

Fourth thing is that your dulcimer has 4 strings -- a "doubled melody course" as we say.  Lots of people take off one of the two melody strings to make things simpler, especially when you're just starting out.

If you are tuned DAd, this is sometimes called a Mixolydian tuning, and the scale starts at the open (un-fretted) note.  That note is d.  The first fret is e, then f#, g, a, b, c', c'#,d'...  

If you tune to DAA, then the scale starts at the 3rd fret, with d, e, f#, a, b....

A lot of players pay no attention to the letter designations (A, C#, Db, etc.) they "play by number" pressing fret 3, fret 4, fret 6 as called for by the song.   You don't have to know about chords (although a lot of people will tell you that you really should) -- you can play traditionally by picking out the melody on the melody string (nearest to you) and just letting the other two string drone.

pdf
I Just Got A.pdf  •  1MB

John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
one week ago
211 posts

Ray, the scale starts at the third fret and goes up.

Ray D
Ray D
@ray-d
one week ago
2 posts

Hi everyone. I am new to this forum. I have a question about fret placement on my dulcimer. My dulcimer was a kit I found in a thrift store. I have it tuned to DAD. When I fret the melody strings closest to me they progress down the fretboard E, G flat, G, A, B C, D flat, D. Does that sound right to everyone. I am new to the dulcimer and want to learn how to play. I  have attached a picture of my dulcimer if that will help.

Dulcimer.jpg
Dulcimer.jpg  •  1MB