Lori Evancho
Lori Evancho
@lori-evancho
6 years ago
2 posts

Thanks so much. I will try that. 

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
6 years ago
1,870 posts

The 'bright' sound is probably not caused by the strings, but by the simple fact that you have a very short VSL instrument which may be tuned to a higher pitch than a standard dulcimer. 

What is your current tuning?  Try tuning down one notch.  If you're tuned GDD or GDg, try FEE or FEf;  If you're tuned DAA or DAd, try CGG or Cgc.  Be aware that the short VSL Ginger dulcimers often "sing" best when tuned up and bright.

Is your Ginger set up for G or D?  If you're set up for G, swap your strings (one at a time) for a the standard McSpad Ginger D strings -- .012 plain steel melody strings, .016 plain steel middle drone, and .026 bass string.

You can certainly buy loose (individual) strings .02" larger than your existing strings without bothering things too much.


updated by @ken-hulme: 12/02/15 10:04:40AM
Lori Evancho
Lori Evancho
@lori-evancho
6 years ago
2 posts

Any suggestions for new strings on a ginger dulcimer. The current strings are very light and bright. I would prefer something a little heavier and not as bright. Thx

Sheryl St. Clare
Sheryl St. Clare
@sheryl-st-clare
6 years ago
258 posts


Well that was easy. Thanks Dan.


 


 

Sheryl St. Clare
Sheryl St. Clare
@sheryl-st-clare
6 years ago
258 posts

I'm having a hard time finding a .24 phosphor bronze string. Does anyone have a good source I can try?

Robin Clark
Robin Clark
@robin-clark
6 years ago
237 posts

Hi Chuck - If your Riverlark bass string was old and your Elixir new, then the new string will sound 'brighter' at least while it settles.  Elixir are not as brash when new as some other makes but conversly they do not dull off so quick.  Different makes do have different sounds.  And new strings are always a little harsh for the first few hours of playing.  Nickel strings don't have the bass undertones that phosphor bronze strings have, if fact they have less overtones too.  You can certainly get an impression of a richer, more 'bassy' sound from phosphor bronze but you do need to let it loose its initial brashness first.  Personally, I usually fit nickel wound bass strings to my older dulcimers as I want both less bass and less brightness for noter drone playing.  For chord melody I usually choose phosphor bronze.  This is not a hard and fast rule - quite often my dulcimers get whatever spare strings I have on me!!!!!!

Regarding the effect of string gauge on tone - Usually a heavier string will give a stronger (louder) sound but sometimes less sustain particularly on the higher frets.  So very heavy strings can end up sounding quieter because they are all 'thud' and no 'ring'.  If you put a new slightly thicker string on your dulcimer it may well sound louder but brasher than the old one you took off.  You do need to give the string a chance and let it settle for a while before deciding if you want to swap it for another make, size or composition.

Sue Simms
Sue Simms
@sue-simms
6 years ago
29 posts

Thanks David


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.

David Lynch
David Lynch
@david-lynch
6 years ago
34 posts

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.

Sue Simms
Sue Simms
@sue-simms
6 years ago
29 posts

Grin.gif

folkfan said:

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.
folkfan
@folkfan
11 years ago
365 posts
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.
Sue Simms
Sue Simms
@sue-simms
11 years ago
29 posts
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.
Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
11 years ago
1,870 posts
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.
Sue Simms
Sue Simms
@sue-simms
11 years ago
29 posts
Thanks Tom, ' you are right and that I just try different strings and see what suits me. Thankyou for your input. To know I don't have to stick with just Dulcimer strings. Tom McDonald said:
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.

http://strothers.com/string_choice.htm

They have a great chord finder, too:

http://strothers.com/chords.htm

Hope this helps.
Tom McDonald
Tom McDonald
@tom-mcdonald
11 years ago
26 posts
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. http://strothers.com/string_choice.htm They have a great chord finder, too: http://strothers.com/chords.htm Hope this helps.
Sue Simms
Sue Simms
@sue-simms
11 years ago
29 posts

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.


updated by @sue-simms: 02/18/19 05:43:32PM