Thanks for the suggestions. The capo at the 3rd fret sounds like the easiest solution so I'll start with that.
I have three suggestions, two of which have already been offered.
1) Get a baritone dulcimer, or at least string a dulcimer for a baritone. Baritones are usually tuned to G or A, as Paul explains. (Smaller dulcimers might be tuned an octave above a normal baritone, in the manner of the baritone dulcimette that Ron Ewing makes. Dulcimers with VSLs around 22 or so work well with this tuning.)
2) Capo on the third fret so you'll be in G. I do this all the time when jamming with people. You can also cap at the fourth fret to play in A.
3) Tune DGD. This is sometimes called a reverse Ionian tuning. If you are playing in a drone style, it would probably take little adjustment. But if you play chords, you may have to adapt to different fingering.
Dusty T., Northern California
As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
I wouldn't try it, even the .009 sounds unlikely at 27". Banjos are around that length, and usually use a .009" or .010" 1st & 5th strings. We tune the 1st to D or E in most tunings. The 5th is a lot shorter, mine is about 211/2", so tuning it to G and A is fine. But at 27.25", it won't make it. Even an .008" may not last long, if you strum hard. I don't know if anyone markets a .007", but you could check with Just Strings, or some string company web sites. A better idea would be to set up one dulcimer as a baritone. You would use heavier strings, and tune lower instead of higher. And we all need another dulcimer, don't we?
I recently finished an Andy Mackie Music Stick (like a Strumstick) and it's recommended tuning was gdG. It's fun to play and sounds like a banjo! The vsl is 22.25" and came with a 0.010" melody string. I tuned up to the g above middle c with my face turned away, thinking the string would break before getting up to g. It made it there, and I was wondering if I could tune my dulcimer up to g also. Not according to the string gauge calculator at http://www.strothers.com/string_choice.htm For my dulcimer with a 27.25 inch vsl it recommends 7 gauge string.
I currently have 0.010" (is that the gauge?) melody strings. Would they break if I tried to tune up to g from d?
The same calculator recommended a 9 gauge string for the Music Stick, so is that string even borderline OK?
updated by @macy-jayne: 06/08/16 09:24:05PM