Barlow Knife
For Mountain Dulcimer Players in the Key of G
Taught by Steve Eulberg on a Galax dulcimer, in the D-d-dd tuning

Video 1

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VideoAbout the Lessons

1. Demo In this video, Steve briefly talks about the noter and his feather quill, and then plays through Barlow Knife on his Galax dulcimer.
2. A Part The melody of the A Part for the tune only moves between the 7th and 11th frets, so Steve gave a good bowling analogy to help you find your notes.
3. B Part Part A ends just one fret away from where Part B begins. First Steve plays through this section at a moderate speed, and then he takes it up to the proper tempo.
4. Noter Technique When you play with a noter, you don't pick the noter up between notes. For smooth playing, you just slide the noter up and down the fretboard, from one note to the next. Also, be sure to position the noter close behind the fret to create a good tone.
5. A & B Together The A part begins at the 10th fret, and ends at the 7th. The B part starts at the 8th fret, and ends at the 3rd.
6. Part C Unlike other traditional tunes, Barlow Knife has 3 parts. The C Part is a lot like the B Part.
7. Learning to Learn In this video, Steve encourages us to learn to play without looking at the fretboard every second. That will give you the freedom to let go, and internalize the tune.
8. All Together As Steve plays through the 3 parts, two times each part, see if you can play along with him.
9. Jam Session Strategy When the group at a jam session plays slower than you're comfortable with, fill in with additional strums - to add filler to the harmony and keep yourself interested.
10. Twinning Harmony You can play a twinning harmony above the melody by play the same pattern two frets higher. So, for example, instead of starting Part A on the 10th fret, you would begin on the 12th fret.
11. Playing it in the
Key of D
Steve taught this in the key of G. To play this in the key of D, Steve started on the 7th fret instead of the 10th fret. You could also keep your dulcimer tuned to D-A-d, put a capo on the 3rd fret, and play in the key of G. The tablature below is for D-A-d tuning, Capo 3.


  • Key of G, D-A-d tuning, Capo 3
  • Key of G, D-d-d-d tuning
  • Key of G, D-G-d tuning

AnimationAnimations, D-A-d tuning, Capo 3

  • Upper Octave, Part A
  • Upper Octave, Part B
  • Upper Octave, Part C

  • Lower Octave, Part A
  • Lower Octave, Part B
  • Lower Octave, Part C

Music GlobeExtras

  • Vi Facts about the Barlow knife and the background of the tune.

  • Lyrics to this catchy tune.

  • Here are Vi "The Fiddler" Wickam and Steve Eulberg playing Barlow Knife together. You can clearly hear the twin harmony in the arrangement. Barlow Knife is included on their Fiddle Whamdiddle CD.

  • Here is a version of the tune with an Irish flair. The melody is played on a wooden flute, accompanied by a button accordion, 5-string banjo, guitar, and a girl dancing an improvisational Irish step dance.
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