Taught by Erin Mae Lewis and Steve Eulberg

Video 1

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VideoAbout the Lessons

1. Intro & Demonstration Steve and Erin begin by playing a portion of "John Stinson's #2." Erin's mountain dulcimer is tuned in D-A-d with a capo on the 4th fret, and Steve is playing the baritone dulcimer in the typical baritone A-E-a tuning.
2. Compare Baritone
& Standard
Erin and Steve hold their dulcimers side by side, and Steve points out some of the similarities and some of the differences.
3. Strategies: #1
Think D
While Erin and Steve play "Boil 'Em Cabbage," Steve shows how to play in D by creating a capo with his fingers on the 3rd fret.
4. Strategies: #2
Play Back-Up
Now Erin took the melody, and Steve played back-up chords only.
5. Strategies: #3a
Retune to A-D-a
Steve retuned his baritone dulcimer from A-E-a to A-d-A. Now the dulcimers match in tuning, and adds a nice lower tone to the arrangement.
6. Strategies: #3b
Play Melody on Middle String
Next Steve and Erin play "Spotted Pony," with Steve playing the melody in a lower octave on the middle string.
7. Strategies: #3c
Melody on Melody String
When Steve plays the melody on the melody string, his scale goes from the 3rd to the 10th fret. Again, we hear the melody an octave lower.
8. Strategies: #4a
Tune in A-E-a with Capo 3
When Steve retunes to A-E-a and puts the capo on the 3rd fret, he now has a dulcimer tuned the same as a standard dulcimer. This is a handy trick if you're at a jam and need to quickly jump in with your baritone dulcimer.
9. Strategies: #4b
Play in A
Now Erin puts the capo on the 4th fret of her standard dulcimer, and she can play in A. They play Steve's original tune, "Orphan Train," to demonstrate this technique.
10. The Baritone Range Steve tells us how they used to decide what key the instrument really likes best. And we see how Erin's bass string is the same pitch as Steve's melody string.
11. Strategies: #5a
Use 6th Fret
"Old Joe Clark" is normally played in A. So Erin puts her capo on the 4th fret and away they go - playing the tune in the key the rest of the world uses for this tune.
12. Strategies: #5b
June Apple
"June Apple" is another tune normally played in A. So they demonstrate a lively version of this.
13. Strategies: #6
Re-tune to G-D-g
Steve retunes his baritone dulcimer to G-D-g, and Erin puts the capo on the 3rd fret and they play "Turkey in the Straw." Then Erin retunes to D-G-d to match Steve, and they play the old-time tune "Roscoe" in G.
14. Baritone in Old-Time Jams In a typical old--time jam, tunes start in D, then everyone retunes to G. Finally, everyone retunes to play in A. A baritone mountain dulcimer is a very versitile instrument than can quickly adapt to the key changes.
15. Strategies: #7
Re-tune to B-F#-b
If you sing along with your instrument, as Steve does, you will find it handy to be able to retune the baritone dulcimer to a key that fits your voice.
16. Strategies: #8
Play It as a Bass
Here Erin and Steve play "Bill Cheatam," and Steve is playing the part that a bass guitar would play, on the bass string of his baritone dulcimer.


  • Chord Comparison:
    A-E-a and D-A-d for Baritone MD

  • Portable Chord Shapes
    for Baritone MD

  • Notes on Baritone MD
    in A-E-E Tuning
  • Boil 'Em Cabbage Down in A-E-a
    Melody on Melody String

  • Boil 'Em Cabbage Down in A-D-a
    Melody on Middle String

  • Spotted Pony in A-D-a,
    Melody on Melody String

  • Spotted Pony in A-D-a,
    Melody on Middle String


  • Boil 'em Cabbage,
    A-E-a, Part A
  • Boil 'em Cabbage,
    A-E-a, Part B

  • Boil 'em Cabbage,
    A-D-a, Part A
  • Boil 'em Cabbage,
    A-D-a, Part B

  • Spotted Pony, A-D-a
    Part A on Melody String
  • Spotted Pony, A-D-a
    Part B on Melody String

  • Spotted Pony, A-D-a
    Part A on Middle String
  • Spotted Pony, A-D-a
    Part B on Middle String

Music GlobeExtras

  • In a clip from the October 11, 2012, concert in Bennington, Oklahoma, Bing Futch performs using Folkcraft Instruments baritone dulcimer tuned in A-E-A. The two tunes he is playing are "St. Day Carol" and "Edelweiss."

  • Here is medley of two nineteenth-century tunes played by Dusty Turtle on a cherry/cedar baritone dulcimer made by Ron Gibson and tuned to A-E-a. Here Dusty beautifully plays for us "In the Sweet By and By" and "Battle Cry of Freedom."

  • Handmade in the Folkcraft shop in Woodburn, Indiana, Folkcraft Instruments introduces their baritone mountain dulcimer with a walnut body and a spruce top in the A-E-a (Baritone) tuning. Richard Ash demonstrates the instrument by playing "Shenandoah" and "Wildwood Flower" for us.
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