String Choice Workbook
This is a new version of the worksheet collection. Notice particularly the "Calculate Diameter" box in the "Dulcimer Setups" worksheet. A fast way to see what new strings you need, if you are wanting a different set.
Shown above is a static image of the current state of the workbook. To make changes and explore the tool go to its google docs hosting page.
This is a free sandbox. (Please don't mess it up too much! I'll revisit it from time to time to set things straight, but let's be a community about this.) If you want your own copy Contact Us to send a request and I'll email you a copy for your own use, in MS Excel format.
There is a wealth of information and configurable tables in the various worksheets. Anything you can change appears in a background color similar to this page. This spreadsheet is best viewed in Full Screen mode. You can find instructions for use on the "About" sheet.
To start, go to the "Tension Calculator" sheet. Use this sheet to find tension for either wound or plain steel strings. Just enter the note pitch and octave, string length and diameter.
If you are interested in a wound string choose a k factor from the wound string table (or add to the table you own wound strings and enter information about your strings there. Enter the "k factor" in the "Select String Type and k factor" box (copy and paste from the table won't work because there, k is a formula) and click the "wound button to get info on wound strings. Even if you aren't immediately interested in wound strings, make sure this box has a suitable value (the one provided will do fine). If you can accurately measure the outer and inner diameter of your strings, feel free to enter them in the table.
Next, go to the Dulcimer Set-ups sheet. There you will find typical string sets used for Bear Meadow dulcimers. Feel free to enter your own scale length, and modify the pitches you will tune to, along with your string diameters and whether they are Plain ("P") or Wound ("W") in the Wound/Plain column. Your tension information will be calculated automatically as you enter each value. If you want to try a different wound string that has a substantially different k factor, go back to the Tension Calculator and enter it in the box.
You can also download this spreadsheet for faster and more reliable operation.