Theory: The Overtone Series

This is a brief explanation of the overtone series and how important it is to hammered dulcimer players.  If you are interested in learning more, do some research on your own and also look up "equal temperament".

The overtone series can explain so much about music, for example, why pentatonic scales are so universal and so satisfying to us.  It also explains why our instruments sound so much different when they're fine-tuned vs. pretty-much-in-tune vs. totally out of tune.

Using a pickup with your iPhone Tuner

I'm not super tech savvy with this stuff, so pardon my terminology in this video.  The 1/8" output needs to be TRRS in order to work.  Most converters you buy are only TRS, which won't work with an iPhone.  The one I'm using is called "Peterson Icable Guitar to iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch and Android Adapter Cable".  

I bought another converter that's supposed to do the same thing, and it did not work, so I'd just stick with the Peterson one.


Here's the link to amazon: Get it on Amazon

A Trick for Tuning

This is a technique that seems to work for tuning across the bridge on this particular instrument. I have a few instruments, and I only do this on one of them.   This instrument has three strings per note and is strung with piano wire.  It's difficult to lift the strings up, or to adjust them along the outer rail, so this method helps me tune across the treble bridge.

I usually use a hammer that has no pair and a squishy leather side.  If you use a hammer with hard leather or just wood, it can slide off the string and you wind up knocking your knuckle on the bridge, which kinda' hurts.