Hi All.

Wish I could play the guitar. Wish I could play chromatic. Wish I could play chordally. I can't do any of those things, but I can play melodies on my diatonic stick dulcimers. So I thought I should create a discussion on diatonic tabs. I have several song tabs already posted here on CBN, but they're on my blog on my personal page. Here are some links to what I've got so far...

  1. Congo River

  2. Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss

  3. Hard Times Come Again No More

  4. Mairi's Wedding

  5. Navvy Boots

  6. Old Joe Clark

  7. Polly Wolly Doodle

  8. Rose of Alabama

  9. Shady Grove

  10. Waltzing Matilda


All these songs are provided in ABC music format so that they can be easily modified. For instance, chromatic CBG players can adapt the tab's fret numbers to the chromatic guitar and re-post these songs (elsewhere) to provide a chromatic version of the song for other CBN members. Or, you can add verses, or make corrections as needed.

To get a pretty version of the music, first use the old Folkinfo Abc Converter (which is now hosted on Mandolintab.net). Just cut and paste the song's "ABC source code" into the big text box, and then click on the submit button. This will produce a "quick and dirty" .gif image which is then displayed. Just below this .gif image of the music you should see three links, one of them entitled "pdf", By clicking on the "pdf" link, it will regenerate the image as a .pdf file which you can view in your Adobe reader (a free download if you don't already have it). The .pdf version of the music will be very "pretty" in comparison to the .gif version. Also, the FolkInfo Abc Converter has a feature that allows you to easily transcribe the song into another key, should you need to do that.

I'll be adding songs from time to time, You will notice my "tabs" include the music notation to the melody line, and the Folkinfo Abc Converter provides the ability to generate and play a midi file. So between the two, you should be able to learn the melody if you never have heard it before.

If you want to learn more about the ABC music format, you can Google the Internet and find several website dedicate to teaching it. If you have done any coding, even just HTML, then you probably can pick up the ABC music format pretty easily. And I find that transcribing these few songs into ABC format has improved my music notation reading significantly.

Well, enjoy these songs.


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Replies to This Discussion

I must be doing something wrong. The converter won't or can't produce the tab for dulcimer.

Hi J.Ed,

When copying the song's ABC source, start at the beginning of the line which reads "X:1", being careful to select all the text all the way down to the last line which reads "w:~". With this text selected you can do a right mouse click as select "Copy". Next, follow the link over to FolkInfo Abc Converter (http://www.folkinfo.org/songs/abcconvert.php). [I usually keep the Abc Converter open in another window and just switch windows when I'm ready to paste.] You should be able to see a large text box, which is where you want to copy the the song's ABC source code into. So, right mouse click on this text box and select Paste from the pop-up menu. You should see the songs ABC source appear. Next, scroll down the page until you see a button labeled "Submit" and click on it. You should see the song appear with standard music notation, the lyrics and the tabs (or fret numbers). You can then click on the "Pdf" link to get a pretty Adobe version of the music. This you can save, or you can print.

I think what might have happened is that you got a blank line inserted at the beginning of your source file. The Abc Converter does not like blank lines, so make sure you edit out any blank lines before you submit the songs ABC source. As I recall, a blank line terminates the Abc Converter, so a mistakenly added leading blank line will terminate the Abc Converter before it has a chance to begin.

Try it again, and don't try any of the advance features until you have more experience using the Abc converter as there are other ways this converter can lead you down the wrong blind alley. Good luck.


I tried it again with leading blank lines, and it worked. So, the problem is not leading blank lines. The Abc Converter just ignores them and when it finds more text lines, will try to process them. After it gets started, then a blank line tells the Abc Converter to stop.


Hi All,

Good news! The FolkInfo.org's superior ABC Converter is now being hosted on the mandolintab.net website. You can access it at this URL: http://mandolintab.net/abcconverter.php

The main advantage of using this ABC Converter over the one Concertina.net is that it supports an easy to use transpose function which some users may find helpful. The Mandolintab.net website also has some 10,000 tunes tabed for the mandolin (or other instruments tuned "GDAe"). With all these tabs, maybe a 4-stringer CBG tuned to "GDAe" will become a popular CBG configuration.


Added another song: Navvy Boots

Added another song: Mairi's Wedding

Hi All,

For those of you who want the .pdf version of the song for diatonic instruments tuned to D-A-D (or any other 1-5-8 tuning), I have updated my blog entries so that there is a download link for each of the songs. When you get to a song, scroll down past all the abc music notation, and at the bottom there will be a link which you can click to view the .pdf file, and you can then save it from your Adobe .pdf viewer. I'll try to remember to do this for my future postings as well.



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