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Stick Strings

Strumstick Strings
Strumstick strings come in sets of either three or four strings, depending on which Strumstick one needs to string. The three string set is four the G (Standard) Strumstick, the D (Grand) Strumstick and the C (Alto) Strumstick. The G (Standard) Strumstick string set is tuned G, D, & G. The D (Grand) Strumstick strings are tuned D, A & D. The C (Alto) Strumstick strings are tuned C, G & C. There are two different sets of four string Strumstick strings. One is for the four string chromatic Strumstick. This is tuned like the top four strings of a guitar, D, G, B & E. The other is for the ukulele Strumstick. This is tuned like a ukulele, G, C, E & A.

Bob McNally designed the Strumstick. The 3 string McNally Strumstick has frets that are placed so as to facilitate playing a diatonic scale, rather than uses a chromatic scale, which is how a guitar is fretted. This allows the player to easily play a diatonic (major) scale. McNally calls this innovation "No Wrong Notes", because it is difficult to play a bad chord on a Strumstick. 3 string Strumstick strings are tuned in a unique way. The first string is tuned to G, D, or C depending on the size of the Strumstick. The second string is then tuned a fifth above that, and the third string, a fourth above that (and an octave above the first string). Fretting with one finger produces a chord similar to a 3 string power chord played on a guitar. McNally calls this tuning drone tuning.

The Strumstick is related musically to the Appalachian (fretted) dulcimer. Similar to the dulcimer, the strings are tuned in what McNally calls a “drone relationship” (octaves and fifth). Again similar to the dulcimer, the frets are situated diatonically, so as to provide only the frets that will sound a major scale. The Strumstick differs from a dulcimer in that it is held and played like a guitar rather than flat across the lap.

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