Tuning

Help for new hammerers of all ages!

Tuning

Postby Roxie12345-6377 » Sun Aug 28, 2016 8:28 pm

Recently purchase a pre-loved Hammered Dulcimer (16/15). Love it. Started to tune using a Korg CA-1. During my first attempts, two strings popped (PB type strings). Now, I'm just totally terrified to even try to finish tuning. I'm an experience piano player and realize that just the slightest tune with the wrench is needed, so it's not like I turned a full turn. Question....how common is it for strings to break? Could it be age? I have no idea how old the strings are. Needless to say, very frustrated. Any thoughts? :?
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Re: Tuning

Postby Steve Smith » Sun Aug 28, 2016 10:08 pm

I've broken two strings in 37 years, and the last was because I was turning the wrong pin... The biggest thing is how far you're raising a pitch. If I'm tuning a dulcimer that's way down in pitch, I'll bring each string up about a half-step and let it sit a day, and repeat. I'm probably overly-cautious, but the first string that broke nearly left a scar, and I don't want to repeat that!

The other thing is to be sure of the pitch you're tuning to, but if you've tuned pianos it doesn't sound like that's a problem. Did both strings break at the same point? If so, you might check other strings to see if they have a hard turn at that point. Maybe other folks have other suggestions, but I don't think it's just age, as all three of mine are over 30 years old.
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Re: Tuning

Postby JonW » Sun Aug 28, 2016 11:08 pm

Phosphor Bronze strings are a softer metal and do break more frequently than steel strings, but even steel strings do get brittle over time. I used to think they never needed to be changed until I was told by a builder they should be changed every 8 - 10 years.

I waited 15 years to change them on my Cloud Nine and there was a noticeable improvement in both the tone and tunability after they were changed.
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Re: Tuning

Postby spen » Sat Jan 21, 2017 11:16 am

Hello, newbie here, got a new Master Works Frontier package 15/14; and have 2 problems...
1) When I tune the right side of the treble bridge (D); the left side (A) is sharp, so I adust that string and finally get the fifth; a few
days later you tune again and the same thing happens again and again; why? once I get the fifth, why doesn't it stay a fifth??? Is it
because of new strings? (had the instrument since August 2016) this is a REAL PAIN....
2) I have the dreaded BUZZZZZZZ ---- how do I get rid of the EXTREMELY ANNOYING BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ???
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Re: Tuning

Postby DaveVisi » Tue Jan 31, 2017 3:28 pm

It's possible the bridge has shifted causing the imbalance from one side to the other. Is it just one note? Or are all on that side off?

There are a few Youtube videos that demonstrate "tuning fifths" by bumping the bridge to even out the two sides.
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Re: Tuning

Postby spen » Wed Feb 08, 2017 3:39 pm

It seems to be one course; A/D;D#/G#;C/F -- sent an email to MW; they told me the instrument is still settling in; we'll see -- at least the very last tuning was not so bad; I don't think it is the bridge position, I think that would affect more than one course consecutively... thanks...
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