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Linear Chromatic Tuning &
Marking Options

Linear Chromatic Hammered Dulcimer

This is an example of a 10/19/18/8 Linear Chromatic with 1" string spacing with the Piano Marking. This particular instrument has a Cherry frame and  Lacewood pin panels, natural Redwood soundboard,  Wenge trim and Cherry  bridges.

Tuning Schemes 

The tuning schemes of my LCs are fundamentally the same. I have the 10/19/18/8.  You can see those tuning schemes below. I also offer the smaller 10 or 12/14/13.  You can see that tuning scheme here. I also offer a variation on the 10/19/18/8; a 11/19/18/7. You can see that tuning scheme here. The rationale for that change can be read at the bottom of the main LC page.  

The Flipped 7/18/19/11 Linear Chromatic 

Most instruments purchased have the tuning scheme that proceeds from the highest notes on the left to the lowest on the right. I also can now offer the reverse. This instrument is flipped where the highest notes are on the right with the lowest notes on the left. This is more piano like but of course completely foreign to most of the dulcimer playing community. Go to the bottom of this page and to my blog to get more information on this option.


Marking Options
The two different marking options described below are two ways of navigating the same tuning scheme. The Standard Marking may be more suited to those players already accustom to the traditional diatonic marking of most American hammered dulcimers. The Piano marking may be best suited to those of you who have never played a hammered dulcimer before or who have had a background in piano instruction.

Standard Marking

The Standard Marking has all the white and black markers where they would be on a traditional diatonic dulcimer but adds the greycolored acetal markers to indicate the additional added chromatic notes. Fifth tunings across treble bridges are preserved. This option usually is more understandable for those players who are already familiar with the traditional hammered dulcimer.

Tuning Chart Linear Chromatic Hammered Dulcimer

10/19/18/8 LC Tuning Chart with Standard Marking

Marking Linear Chromatic Hammered Dulcimer
Piano Marking

The Piano Marking system places the white marks on all the white keys of the piano and all the black on the accidentals just as it would be in a piano. You can also instead of white make the natural wood the black and add just white to indicate the white notes or vice versa. On both the treble bridges you would have the two colors indicating the note on either side of the bridge. This way of marking would confuse traditional hammered dulcimer players but may be more appealing to piano players who are used to just two colors.


If you are a new player without experience with either the piano or the traditional hammered dulcimer, you probably should consider using the piano marking. Read Neil Simmon's rationale.

Tuning Chart Linear Chromatic Hammered Dulcimer

10/19/18/8 LC Tuning Chart with Piano Marking

Marking Linear Chromatic Hammered Dulcimer
The Flipped LC with the Piano marking option

This instrument is laid out the exact opposite of the 11/19/18/7; in other words it is Flipped. The instrument mirrors a piano orientation with the bass on the left flowing left to right (low to high) giving you a 7/18/19/11. Check out my blog for more information and the history of this interesting option.

Tuning Chart Linear Chromatic Hammered Dulcimer

7/18/19/11 Flipped LC Tuning Chart with Piano Marking

Flipped Linear Chromatic Hammered Dulcimer

This is Flipped 7/18/19/11 Linear Chromatic with a Redwood soundboard, Sycamore frame and pin panels with Cardinalwood trim and bridges.  Piano Marking

Alternative bass (B2) tunings

Currently my standard is the 10 courses tuned to continue the chromatic progression down to G2. In previous versions of the instrument, I had the courses on B2 somewhat out of the chromatic progression making those bass courses more rhythm courses to include a low D2. If that is something you'd prefer contact me and we can custom tailor the courses on B2 to your needs.

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