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An introduction -   All the dulcimers that ever there were ..........


Dulcimer tunings


'Chromatic Tuning for Dulcimer' (as used by traditional players in Norfolk) - an article by Russell Wortley (pdf)

Billy Bennington's G tuning (click on the thumbnail to see full size drawing)


Reg Reader's C tuning (click on the thumbnail to see full size drawing)


David Kettlwell's East Anglian D tuning with additions (click on the thumbnail to see full size drawing)



Dulcimer strings



Often called wires, the strings on a traditional East Anglian dulcimer are generally made of steel, with some of the older instruments having brass wire on the bass side. Brass looks more attractive but it stretches and so is more difficult to keep in tune.


The gauge of these strings vary, but as stated in Russell Wortley's article (see pdf above), they are often graduated with 9 gauge for the longest, 8 gauge in the middle and 7 gauge for the shortest. Although some players use the same gauge throughout. These gauges are piano wire thicknesses and the actual sizes can be seen on this chart:


    Wire gauge (MWG)













If an old instrument is being restrung then the existing strings can be measured with a micrometer to obtain the diameters.


Music wire is often advertised on Ebay, but probably the best known supplier in England is Heckscher & Co. They had a wonderful shop in Camden Town but that is now closed but they still deal via mail order and there contact details are:



Heckscher & Company, April Cottage, Tring, Oxfordshire. HP23 6ND  -  01494 758713




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