Playing dulcimer with a ukelele

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
one week ago
1,049 posts

Ken Longfield: When I first saw the title of this discussion, I was going to suggest using a pick instead

There's always one comedian in the crowd. happys




--
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
Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
one week ago
552 posts

When I first saw the title of this discussion, I was going to suggest using a pick instead, but now that I understand the topic of this discussion, I won't do that. I just received a soprano ukulele and enjoy playing along with my dulcimer friends.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

kjb
@kjb
one week ago
1 posts

I also play uke and enjoy playing along with dulcimer by lowering to CGC.  It is easy to play chords to any key on the uke.  You can also use a capo to tune it to D.

Banjimer
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
2 weeks ago
58 posts

Without relearning everything in a new key, you (and your husband) have two options: He can raise his tuning one whole step or you can lower your tuning one whole step, .  I'm not familiar with how easily a ukulele can be raised a whole step without breaking strings, but it is relatively easy to retune your dulcimer to C-G-c as you suggested.

However, the obvious solution (since your husband has two ukuleles) is to leave one in the standard ukelele tuning to which he is accustomed and tune the other one up a whole step to make it easier to switch back and forth as needed.  That way he can play the same chord shapes and melody note positions on both. 

Butch Ross
Butch Ross
@butch-ross
2 weeks ago
8 posts

I agree with Dusty and Cynthia, with two additional ideas.

1. It's not hard to re-tune a Uke to ADF#B, making his easy chords (C, F, G and Am) your D, G, A and Bm. This was done all the time in first heyday of the Uke (1915 - 1935).

2. it's equally not hard to tune down to C-G-cc on the dulcimer. This has the added bonus of making your songs easier to sing (Honestly, D is generally a terrible singing key).

 

hugssandi
@hugssandi
9 months ago
221 posts

I love this Q and it's answers!  We have quite a few uke players in our church.  Thank you.

Byron Kinnaman
Byron Kinnaman
@byron-kinnaman
9 months ago
9 posts

Gale A Barr: Correction: soprano and tenor ukes are usually tuned in the key of c - foggy brain late at night.....

Make that c6 for open tuning.   GCAE = chord C6 

 

David Preston
David Preston
@david-preston
2 years ago
7 posts

"Playing Dulcimer With A Ukelele"

Really, a proper noter is what you should be using.  

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
3 years ago
1,049 posts

Folks, I think there are some misconceptions going on here.  Ukuleles are chromatic instruments and are not usually tuned to an open tuning. People sometimes refer to the standard C6 tuning, but that references the chord the open strings are tuned to; it does not refer to a key the instrument must play in.  That is to say, that whereas the dulcimer can be said to be tuned to a key, ukuleles are not.  The ukulele is capable of playing any song in any key.  

As Cynthia says, for a uke to accompany the dulcimer tuned to D, all that is necessary is that the uke player knows the chords of D, G, A and perhaps a few more for more complicated songs.  I simply suggest getting a ukulele chord chart like the one I attached here.

It is also true that the dulcimer can easily play in G and A with a capo at the third or fourth fret and C when tuned down one step.  You will have to decide when you want to play in D and when it might be more appropriate to play in one of the other common keys.  Just keep in mind that it is much easier for uke to accompany the dulcimer than the other way around. 

pdf




--
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

updated by @dusty-turtle: 08/16/16 12:58:32PM
Vlillik
Vlillik
@vlillik
3 years ago
9 posts

Hi, I have a tenor and soprano ukulele too. I'm a mountain dulcimer (MD) beginner and am almost coping in transposing a piece from uke. 

Uke C's are usually D in MD; Dm Em;  Bb A in the tune I'm working on,  but as there are such a variety of A's etc it's taking a while! Wish I had music theory to fall back on. Learning the MD though has made me learn tablature though and it's so useful! 

Gale A Barr
Gale A Barr
@gale-a-barr
5 years ago
46 posts

Thanks, everyone! We will have to get capo for the ukes and give thata try....

Cynthia Wigington
Cynthia Wigington
@cynthia-wigington
5 years ago
70 posts

If he knows D,G and A chords he can play with you.

He can capo 2 and play in C - CFG, which will please him.

If you have specific questions on specific songs, I'll help you if I can.

CGC tuning for you is fine too if you mostly are going to be playing with him.

Have fun, I do this all the time and they sound great together.

Lana Pettey
Lana Pettey
@lana-pettey
5 years ago
2 posts

Soprano, concert and tenor ukuleles are traditionally tuned G, C, E, A. He has the capability of playing in any key. The basic chords he would need are D, G and A. All pretty easy chords on the uke. (I play ukulele too.)

Gale A Barr
Gale A Barr
@gale-a-barr
5 years ago
46 posts
Correction: soprano and tenor ukes are usually tuned in the key of c - foggy brain late at night.....
Gale A Barr
Gale A Barr
@gale-a-barr
5 years ago
46 posts

Hi -

My hubby is the proud newowner of not just one ukulele, but 2 ( a little Diamondheadsoprano and tenor Fluke) and I as a beginner/intermediate player of a dulcimer would like to play together. The ukes are commonly tuned to the key of G. We have been experimenting a bit but should I retune to CGC to make it easier to accompany him or capo to G while in DAD tuning? I am open to any suggestions to make it easier to do....3.gif...thanks!


updated by @gale-a-barr: 06/11/15 07:41:11AM