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Dulcimer/strings for a dulcimer in canada


Could you please tell me the size of the strings I need for my 4 string dulcimer.

Sure, Deborah -- happy to oblige. I'll assume it's not a baritone dulcimer, which takes strings you could hang a porch swing from. Strings are, to a great extent, a matter of personal preference. Some dulcimers and players sound better and play better with lighter strings, and some players and dulcimers prefer heavier strings. I use two .012s for the top two, a .014 for the middle and an Elixir bronze wound .024 for the bass, on most of my dulcimers,which is a fairly heavy mix, but I play with brass fingerpicks and sometimes quite dynamically. Martin sets give you three .012s and a .022, Mangans three .011s and a ,022, D'Addarios use  two .012s, a .014 and a .022, and GHS sells sets with 3 .012s and a .020, so you can, there can be some experimentation involved. Pearse is really light - a .09, a .10, a .12 and a .23. I just buy plain guitar strings from the music store in the right diameter, but I do like Elixir bass strings because they seem to have less squeak and a better tone. I hope that's not too confusing, but after you've been playing awhile, and trying some different sizes, you'll probably settle on what works best for you, and there's not a whole lot of difference between them anyway. You're looking for that magic mix that gives you the tone you like, responds well to the typical pressure you place on the strings, doesn't feel too sloppy or too stiff and gives your notes the right sound, so (assuming you're a beginner), I'd say try a few different combinations and see what you like. There is no hard and fast rule - it's your dulcimer, string it and play it the way you want.


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John Blosser


All questions pertaining to the playing of mountain dulcimer, acquisition of dulcimers, books, CDs, etc., how to play, how to learn, WHY to play, where to get a good dulcimer, what books are most helpful to beginners, etc.


Teacher/performer: French Creek (Pa.) dulcimer symposium Teacher/performer: Sunshine State Music Camp, 2000 Teacher/Performer -- NGFDA Fall Festival, 2000 Performer - various venues for the past l0 years. Current Florida dulcimer champion, 2000.

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