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EverythingDulcimer

NoterMan

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  1. Alongside -- we actually set a dime on the fretboard next to the 1st fret. The coin is marginally taller than the fret. Probably best not to use anything relating to guitars/mandolins/banjos when 'messing about' with dulcimers. The construction techniques are different. The dulcimer does not produce the majority of its sound by vibrating the top. Dulcimers don't want a complex system of braces under the top or bottom, they don't need kerf strips glued into the edges of the sides, etc.
  2. An American dime is 1.35mm thick; a nickel is 1.95mm. Call them 1.5 and 2.0 for round numbers. You measure the dime height from the surface of the fretboard alongside the 1st fret. You measure the nickel from the top of the 7th fret (not the 6+ fret). Yes you can just sand a bit off the bottom of the nut and the bridge if they come out easily. Bridges most often are not compensated for string thickness.
  3. In more than 30 years of building and playing dulcimers I've never seen plans for a banjimer. You'll have to be a bit more specific -- what STYLE of dulcimer do you want to build? There are many "standard" shapes -- Elliptical, Teardrop, Diamond, Hourglass, Fiddle, Box, Aorell, Trapezoid, and Zither to name a few. It might help if you look at Larry's post about finding plans immediately below this...
  4. So here you see a peg style bending jig made from a piece of shelving from a big box store and some lengths of 1/2" dowel. You cut the dowels so that they are a bit shorter than the height of the sides. As you can see, they alternate inside and outside of the lines of the sides, to pull and push the hot-water-soaked (no steam, no hot pipe bending) wood into the curves you want and hold them there while the wood dries to shape. Then you glue to Bottom onto the bent frame shape before removing the "carcass" from the jig. Gotta run right now. We'll talk more today. Let me know questions.
  5. Looks like you've got plenty there to go on! Scott Antes was a well known and respected dulcimer builder. His how-to build a Hammered Dulcimer is highly regarded. That James Hall design is called a Fiddle shape. Not particularly common, but a nice shape. More difficult to build than an Hourglass, as you've noticed. 28.5" VSL is very long by modern standards. If you play Noter & Drone or Fingerdance style they can be good. But modern Chord-Melody stylists with short fingers find them harder to work with. Most today are built with a 26" or 27" VSL. I don't know the Hall name a
  6. It would help if we knew which plans you down loaded. I have wood sources where I can buy 8-10" wide wood, but it is not common certainly. Also, ther is no law that says you can't edge glue 3 or 4 or more strips together to the a width you want. However. I've attached a "plan" for a classic J.E. "Uncle Ed" Thomas hourglass dulcemore with the essential measurements. The one shown is one of his late models when he was experimenting with soundposts. They don't work particularly well in dulcimers, and you can simply ignore them. This version is 6-1/8" at its widest and certainly can be
  7. Like almost everything in the world of dulcimers, there really is no Best anything. let alone capes. It's always a case of experimentation and what works best for you and your instruments. I've got 8 dulcimers right now and it would take probably 6 different capoes to make them work that way. That's more than just a couple bucks, plus the hassle of remembering which capo works with with instrument, and remembering to take the appropriate capoes with me when I go playing out. Truth be told, I just don't use capoes. I tried, and it was more hassle than just learning to retune one
  8. Gayle -- you might try messaging Freddie directly rather than just replying to this post. He was here a couple days ago posting things and we can't tell whether he's even been back again...
  9. Almost always the top line of tab is the bass string and the bottom line in the melody string. The Tab should tell you which is what; however many careless people write 1-5-8 tabs as DAD instead of DAd, which is more proper. One of many reasons why tunings should be referred to by their 'relationship numbers'. 1 is always the bass string. Middle string is almost always a 5th above the bass string, and the melody is between 2 and 8 above the bass string. ALL 1-5-8 tunings use the same tab -- DAd, CGc, AEa, GDg, etc. All 1-5-5 tunings use the same tab as well DAA, CGG, EBB, etc.
  10. Nice build. Good job. Box dulcimers are often played on a table, so they don't dig into your hip! Here's one I'm just finishing up. Multi-part Maple scroll head, Ash top & back, Southern Yellow Pine sides, Walnut over Maple fretboard. Finish in the photo is just the first coat of sanding sealer.
  11. Yeah -- that 1/4-20 (or in your case 6mm) bolt & nut with wood blocks for the sides and tubing to cover the threads is about as easy as it gets.
  12. 19cm is a good width for a dulcimer. I've made quite a few that wide; but these days make them more on the order of 13cm, and I use narrow traditional style fretboard only about 3cm wide. I know lots of people who use the Stew Mac calculator, and they seem to get good results. I use a calculator called WFret from the old MIMF forum from decades ago. It has a diatonic/dulcimer spacing option and allows you to add 6+ and 13+ frets (but I don't use them).
  13. Yes, Kim, tuning machines can be replaced. But they will also dim a bit with time and use. That's not something that 99.9% of us ever even think about. What matters first and foremost is whether the frets are spaced correctly to give you a good scale of notes. I've attached a copy of a really good intro to dulcimer for beginners by Ken Hulme. It's called I Just Got A Dulcimer, Now What? and will answer many beginner questions. But don't be afraid to aske questions here. The only dumb questions are the ones you don't ask and get answered. I Just Got A.pdf
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