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I am making a mountain lap dulcimer. It is 28.5 from nut to bridge. I would like to know what strings would be best to use and what tuning should I use.

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howdy randy.maybe i can help ya on string guage and tunings are optional.i have a dulcimer that i just got that has the string guages----012 plain steel--012 plain steel--014 plain steel--024 wound nickel----the tuning i started with was a standard tuning of D--D--A--D --the first 2 smallest strings are paired. then i tuned it lower in pitch just recently and on a long scale it sounds nice  its now tuned B--B---F#--B hope this helps you randy.

If I were to use guitar strings what strings would you use 1,2,and 3. Mine only has three strings. My next build I am going to four strings.
 
bairfoot cajun said:

howdy randy.maybe i can help ya on string guage and tunings are optional.i have a dulcimer that i just got that has the string guages----012 plain steel--012 plain steel--014 plain steel--024 wound nickel----the tuning i started with was a standard tuning of D--D--A--D --the first 2 smallest strings are paired. then i tuned it lower in pitch just recently and on a long scale it sounds nice  its now tuned B--B---F#--B hope this helps you randy.

Hi Randy, You may find this helpful. http://www.strothers.com/string_choice.htm

yes randy if i had guitar strings i would use the 3 smallest ones starting with the bottm e.the 1 2 3 should work out ok for your project.most 3 stringers i have seen have 2 unwound and 1 wound string and that is how a lot of guitar string sets are made up in the package as the 1 2 3 strings unless they are electric guitar string sets then most of them are unwound for the 1 2 3 .any how that should work for you.

Randy Burks said:

If I were to use guitar strings what strings would you use 1,2,and 3. Mine only has three strings. My next build I am going to four strings.
 
bairfoot cajun said:

howdy randy.maybe i can help ya on string guage and tunings are optional.i have a dulcimer that i just got that has the string guages----012 plain steel--012 plain steel--014 plain steel--024 wound nickel----the tuning i started with was a standard tuning of D--D--A--D --the first 2 smallest strings are paired. then i tuned it lower in pitch just recently and on a long scale it sounds nice  its now tuned B--B---F#--B hope this helps you randy.

hey jim thats a great link and narrows down what randy,s question is about to its best answer.
 
jim said:

Hi Randy, You may find this helpful. http://www.strothers.com/string_choice.htm

Thanks to both of you. I found the link very helpful.

I use .009-.009-.013-.024w

I've tried several tunings:

Ionian  D-A-A also C-G-G is used a lot for gospel *

Dorian mode of C: C-E-C

Phryigian I think is G-D-G

Lydian D-A-C

Aeolian mode of A: A-D-A *

I prefer Mixolydian mode of D: D-D-A-D *

Also known as "Old Joe Clark" tuning

 In general, tune to the voice range of the singer.

* - most common

Mine is only a three string 13, 17, and 26. I  am wanting to play mostly gospel. So you are saying I should tune it C-G-G or     D-A-A

 

What you SHOULD use is what sounds good to you.

I encourage expriment.

 

It's just that Ionian is a common tuning for gospel, other tunings are also used.

 

I have a book called "Old-Time Hymns & Gospel Favorites for the Dulcimer"  Most of the songs are in D-A-A (Ionian) or D-A-D (Mixolydian).

A couple other tunings crop up here and there, D-G-D is one.

Are you familiar with  Tabulature (TAB)?

It's a big help to those who don't read music.

 

In general, dulcimers are tuned to a chord, and there are hundreds of chords.

Try a few, who knows? Maybe some day we'll open a songbook and find a "Randy Burks Tuning"

 

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