1 3 5 tuning

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1 3 5 tuning

Postby DulciBob81 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:40 am

Who here has experimented with 1 3 5 tuning?
http://www.mountaindulcimer-1-3-5.com
I plan to try it and was wondering if anyone had any insights. Best uses, biggest draw backs, overall sound and playability, other thoughts?
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Re: 1 3 5 tuning

Postby FidPup » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:01 pm

I DO have a question, that I often want to ask of anyone who might devise or consider mastering this or any other similar system (including four-string tunings, multiple extra frets, etc.).

I DON'T mean to come off as a troll, but WHY the heck would anyone want to work so HARD? Why not just pick up a guitar, and spend the time and effort learning to play THAT?

If you were talking to your average classical or finger-style guitarist, and told him "We're going to rip out half your frets and take off three of your strings. NOW go play me Somewhere Over the Rainbow!", he'd say you were crazy!

I love playing dulcimer, but I also love playing old-time and Irish fiddle tunes. Most of them are MUCH easier to play on a fiddle than a dulcimer, so I just pick up my fiddle!

Sorry, just playing devil's advocate!

Ken
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Re: 1 3 5 tuning

Postby Skip » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:26 pm

I have. I also played around with 1355, equidistant, which allows full 7ths and 4 equidistant in various 'standard' tunings. 135 worked best for me for chording, especially with my chromatic md's, every fret is a bar chord. The 2 biggest problems are; not a lot of tab [or written material] if you use/need it and playing with a group of md's.

As far as why? Why not? Also I'm not concerned about what a guitarist, or any other instrumentalist, thinks about playing a md, they do their thing, I'll do mine.
Also 2 examples.
1. A friend of mine suffered a serious stroke which caused him to lose the ability to play a guitar, which he had played for years. He could play the MD to a certain extent, even though he still had some physical problems. The md allowed him to continue with his music.
2. I tried 3 different times to play a guitar, my problem is I cannot form a callus or contort my wrist/hand well enough.
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Re: 1 3 5 tuning

Postby dholeton » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:08 pm

I was in a conversation with someone related to playing Ave Maria on bowed psaltery a few years ago. I helped her with starting to learn to play it on psaltery and was asked if a mountain dulcimer could play along. I found tab at the 135 site and forwarded it along with a recording I made for learning purposes. It's the only thing I've done in 135 tuning.

135 tuning has lots of possibilities just like all of the other tunings and I would use it again if it is the only tuning that worked for something I really really wanted to play on dulcimer. I don't think it's harder to play in the tuning, just different. Any tuning can have an advantage on certain songs and is a good option if the song can be played without adding frets and presents a good sound.

I play guitar mostly for accompaniment with a lead here or there. I haven't learned to play any alternate tunings for guitar (like DADGAD, open E, etc.). It's probably just a lack of my own discipline, but often I'll arrange a tune with a lead and I'll play the lead on dulcimer (because it's easier) and then just strum chords on the dulcimer while singing the verses. If I hadn't obtained a dulcimer, I would probably be a better guitar player. Maybe if I didn't have a guitar, I'd be a better dulcimer player. There are advantages to less strings and less frets for me at times, regardless of the tuning.

Here's the link to the 1-3-5 site and there are lots of tablature files on the site. I glanced at a few files and the tunes were in the key of D, so a 1-3-5 dulcimer could play along with a DAA or DAD dulcimer.

http://www.mountaindulcimer-1-3-5.com/currenttablature.htm

Dave
Attachments

Ave_Maria_Dulcimer135.mp3
[ 1.78 MiB | Viewed 178 times ]
Ave Maria in 135 tuning
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Re: 1 3 5 tuning

Postby dbennett » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:23 pm

FidPup wrote:I DO have a question, that I often want to ask of anyone who might devise or consider mastering this or any other similar system (including four-string tunings, multiple extra frets, etc.).

I DON'T mean to come off as a troll, but WHY the heck would anyone want to work so HARD? Why not just pick up a guitar, and spend the time and effort learning to play THAT?

If you were talking to your average classical or finger-style guitarist, and told him "We're going to rip out half your frets and take off three of your strings. NOW go play me Somewhere Over the Rainbow!", he'd say you were crazy!

I love playing dulcimer, but I also love playing old-time and Irish fiddle tunes. Most of them are MUCH easier to play on a fiddle than a dulcimer, so I just pick up my fiddle!

Sorry, just playing devil's advocate!

Ken


I may be missing your point but...
I don't need to play chords.
With my orthopedic problems play a dulcimer is a lot easier than a guitar.
Without any musical background a dulcimer is a lot easier than a guitar.
Dulcimers are older than guitars.
:D
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Re: 1 3 5 tuning

Postby KenH » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:35 pm

There is a great article here about 1-3-5 tuning, by Merv Rowley (now sadly deceased) who was perhaps the earliest proponent of that tuning. It has a LOT of potential for people who want to take the dulcimer beyond the original, traditional concept (not me, thanks).

AS most of you know, I'm not a fan of modernizing the dulcimer with extra frets, three-finger chords and other nonsense!

There are things that the dulcimer, in its original, traditional concept, can do that guitars or other chromatic instruments cannot. A number of my older, arthritic guitar-plying friends are beginning to look at my dulcimer playing as a way to extend their own music since it is beginning to hurt too much to wrap a hand around a neck for very long.

Like Dave Bennett, I don't need or want to play chords; I prefer the older, more 'raw' music of Anglo-Scots border ballads sung between strummed verses in a style only slightly newer than the chanted Lyre-enhanced audio-novels of the Viking/Carolingian era.
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Re: 1 3 5 tuning

Postby GrantOlson » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:13 pm

I've done some in this tuning. I think it is another option to consider when doing songs with lot's of accidentals. 1 5 5# 8 works, but has some dissonance. This tuning will have less.
Grant
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Re: 1 3 5 tuning

Postby Acmespaceship » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:20 pm

I've briefly tried 1-3-5 and 1-3-5-8 tunings. I didn't like them much. Maybe I've spent too many years playing MD in the traditional 1-5 tunings. For my taste, having that 3rd interval hanging around all the time makes 1-3-5 sound too much like a guitar :evil:

But you might like it. The only way to find out is give it a try.

Why are you interested in 1-3-5? Is it to play chromatic melodies? To play chords that sound more guitar-ish? Or just for fun? Fun is always a valid reason. I might try 1-3-5 again with a slide and pretend I've got a dobro.

When I need chromatic notes and I don't have a chromatic-fretted dulcimer (it happens) then I prefer Janita Baker's 4-equidistant tunings like D-A-A#-d. In particular, I like D-A-d-c# because I can mute the c# string with the heel of my left hand and play the dulcimer like it's in good old D-A-d. When I need a chromatic note it's on the c# string. I think of it like the black keys on a piano.

Hello there, Ken FidPup (we are blessed with so many Kens here!) There are plenty of ergonomic reasons why some of us play dulcimer but NEVER guitar. Also, many people like me prefer the sound of a dulcimer, which has a more open and lighter sound with less bass, fewer notes, those 1-5 power chords and/or drone strings -- which you could replicate on guitar but not easily. Some of us can't afford the money or time to learn multiple instruments. And some of us enjoy doing things the hard way. ;-)

Then again, from where I sit, learning to play MD in 1-3-5 tuning looks a whole lot less hard than learning to play a guitar! Quite a bit cheaper, too!
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Re: 1 3 5 tuning

Postby philips » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:13 pm

Some of the responses show why Everything Dulcimer is a dying forum.
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Re: 1 3 5 tuning

Postby Judy K » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:16 am

DulciBob81, John Sackenheim has a tab book, New Old Hymns for the Mountain Dulcimer, written in DF#A, and a couple of his other books have a few tunes in the same tuning. He also has quite a bit of free tab on his website, but I think most is in DAd. If you like old hymns or old country, you will probably enjoy his tab.
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Re: 1 3 5 tuning

Postby Dan Goad » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:55 am

I don't see the point you're trying to make, Philips. I don't see ED dying at all.
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Re: 1 3 5 tuning

Postby Robin the Busker » Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:01 am

DulciBob81 wrote:Who here has experimented with 1 3 5 tuning?
http://www.mountaindulcimer-1-3-5.com
I plan to try it and was wondering if anyone had any insights. Best uses, biggest draw backs, overall sound and playability, other thoughts?


After reading your post I thought I'd have a go myself at playing in 1-3-5 DF#A this morning. The first thing I noticed was that 'home' on the melody string was at the 3rd fret - like it is in DAA. The next thing that struck me was that the easy to reach chord inversions sounded really jazzy. I couldn't help but think 'Latin American'. So I found a Bossa Nova drum loop on YouTube and just improvised along to it. Here's the sort of stuff I was improvising around.


1-3-5 tuning example 2 - 14 jan 18.mp3
[ 2.89 MiB | Viewed 99 times ]


Now I'm not a chord melody player by any means (noter drone for me!!!!) so, from the perspective of playing with my fingers, I didn't find this tuning any more of less 'usable' than DAd, just different. The dulcimer I was using has no 6+ or 13+ so I don't think you need any extra frets to make use of 1-3-5. Like anything on the dulcimer perhaps the key is to finding the 'best fit' in terms of music for the tuning and playing style rather than trying to force a particular style/tuning to do something that it is just not good at.

Robin
Last edited by Robin the Busker on Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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