Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by NoterMan

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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
  5. How wide (inside lining-to-inside lining) are the bouts? If they're less than 8" wide I would put one brace in the bottom at the widest part of each bout, each brace about 1/4" x 3/8". No braces needed at the waist, top or bottom. No braces under the top because there will be less than 3" of unsupported wood at the widest part of the widest bout. If the bottom is book-matched from two pieces of wood, you'll want one longitudinal brace running from headblock to tailblock about 3/4" wide and the same thickness at the top/bottom planks. A two piece top doesn't need anything, of course, because the fretboard stiffens it. The only time you would need more bracing is if you made a 'marquetry' top/back by edge-gluing a multitude of narrow strips into a wide plank.
  6. MOST of the modern building knowledge is being spread on Social media -- websites, blogs, MeWe, Facebook, etc. -- rather than books which are increasingly expensive and difficult to publish. Will get you a list of better modern resources after I wake up this morning! Thing to remember about Bodanovich and other non-dulcimer builders is that the dulcimer does not generate its sound in the same way as guitars, mandolins, ukes, etc. The whole guitar concept of bracing tops and backs is major over-kill (and sound deadening) when it comes to dulcimer building. The top already has a massive brace (called the fretboard). Backs made from two planks book-matched need a thin joint-covering longitudinal brace, not side braces.
  7. VERY nice looking work! MOST builders attach the tuning head to the head block as a simple flat glue joint -- no mortise. Some use a screw from the inside of the head block into the butt of the tuning head. Others use a wooden dowel from the block into the butt. MOST of us attach the tuning head to the head-block before assembling the sides to the headblock. Your sketch B is probably the most common joint between the end of side and the edge of the tuning head. MOST of us no longer use lining strips. Modern glues give plenty of wood-to-wood grip without the additional glued surface. Most of us (in the States at least) use Titebond brand glue; my living-in-Spain father-in-law turned me on to the European product called EVO-Stick which works equally well. BTW -- Chet's book is rather dated these days as far as construction goes.
  8. Brand of strings makes virtually no difference. There are only a literal handful of foundries in the world which make music wire. They sell it in giant spools to companies like Martin, D'Addario, etc, who cut it to lengths and put either loop ends or ball ends on. Some of those companies do the winding of strings, other buy wound strings and put on ends. The gauges you can determine using something like the Strothers String Choice Calculator -- http://www.strothers.com/string_choice.html But you must understand the correct terminology. For example, you are not tuning to DAD. You are tuning to DAd where the melody string d is an octave higher in pitch than the bass string D, which is what the two different Ds are indicating. You can safely go UP in gauge at least 1 or 2 points (say .022 instead of .020) from a Strothers recommendation, as the calculator is noticeably "light" in its recommendations. Some people swear by phosphor bronze or other exotic metal wound bass strings; other swear at them and only use plain steel wound. Some like flat wound or other theoretically squeakless bass strings. This is one area when you're just going to have to buy one of this and one of that and experiment. I suggest www.juststrings.com as a source as they sell individual strings and have a huge inventory of strings to choose from.
  9. Nice area. I know the region from Barcelona north along the coast past Figueres, past the village of Llado and over the first foothill. My Brit partner's father retired there 40 years ago. Steeleye Span and Fleetwood Mac are two great folk-rock bands for sure. You'll probably have to pick out the melodies yourself though. If you can find sheet music for the songs, it's relatively easy to work up the melodies. Yeah. we do need to discuss guitar site mis-use of music in another thread.
  10. Welcome Colin! Where are you in Europe? The UK? We've got several contact there. Glad to hear you've had fun in lockdown building instruments -- it was a good use of your time. I hardly ever use electronic amplification, but when I do I use inexpensive stick-on type that seem to work well enough. IMHO the dulcimer was never intended to be electronically amped. What kinds of songs/music are you looking to play? There are thousands of dulcimer tab for everything from children's songs to blues to jazz to rock to Shostakovich -- if you know where to look. You won't, however find much modern contemporary music because it is still covered by international copyrights. which makes it expensive or difficult to print in books or duplicate and make available to folks. You can play it for you own use but not for performances, paid or unpaid.
  11. You're welcome. When you've been messing about with dulcimers as long as I have, paying forward to folks is just what I do.
  12. As you can see in the picture below, ball-end strings (top) have a brass "ball" in the end. Loop-end strings have a twisted loop. Those of us who build instruments never use Gorilla glue -- it expands and has a tendency to open cracks. Likwise we seldom, if ever use epoxy. For hairline cracks which can be opened by pressing on one side or the other of a crack, we us a cyanoacrylate (Super) glue. For cracks which need filling, we use a mixture of fine sawdust and Titebond or Titebon II, I often run a bead of the glue into such a crack and then sprinkle sawdust on top,. Then press the mixture into the crack and clean off the excess with a damp paper towel.
  13. Frankly, when I wall hang dulcimers I make a Shaker style peg rack, and hang them from the pegs by a long-ish loop of leather or silk ribbon tied around the head of the instrument so the top of the head is just below the Shaker peg.
  14. I LIKE IT!. The upper run to 9 is a bit 'sharpish' for my taste but still nice. I got to messing a bity and started with 4 5 6 5 4 3 2 then 4 5 6 7 8 10 9
  15. Post photos here and in some of the FB pages asking the same question. Personally I've never heard of Jim Trantham of Canton, NC. Basically though, selling used dulcimers of any kind is sort of "what someone is willing to pay".
  16. That explains it! I have never been much of a Stones fans, and never heard of this tune! Nice run though. I still think you need to develop a tune from it, Dave.
  17. Pretty. But I haven't a clue. One phrase does not a copyright make; add more to it and make a tune. I added a half a dozen notes after that could go somewhere too!
  18. You should be able to Edit the post Dave. Button at the bottom left of each of your posts. Although... the idea of a 1/12th fret is intriguing...
  19. Yeah... plywood rules out 1800s, although that was the look they were going for. Excellent job in any case. Plywood or not, it's certainly worth more than 10 euros even as just a folk-art wall hanger! For strings, it would depend on what keynotes you want for the open tuning. You will want plain steel strings for all 9 strings -- no wound strings like modern dulciemrs use for their bass string. Measuring the thickness of the fretted strings is a good start, and then fins a good gauge for the bourdons. According to my string calculator you could use: D .025 d .014 A .018 or C .018 c .015 G .020
  20. Filing a piece of regular fretwire down is a LOT more trouble that just using a piece of paperclip or a small brad. WHY not make it permanent? Because permanent is permanent. To experiment and see if you will really use a plus fret as much as you think you would; before actually you spend the money to have a fret installed that you don't really want or need except occasionally. If you're like me and lots of others you might have two or three songs in your hundred or more song repertoire which absolutely requires that odd fret. BUT you only ever play those songs once or twice a year. So once or twice a year, for a performance, I tape a temporary fret in place just to play those songs.
  21. That is a Fretted Zither, and since you're from Belgium (and I assume the instrument is also), it is your 'regional' variation called a Hummel. The five strings over the frets would be tuned something like DDddd or CCCcc -- some combination of strings an octave apart -- and all strummed together and played together using a noter. The four bourdons or drones would be tuned a fifth above -- A or G -- and strummed to a greater or lesser degree long with the melody strings. All the strings are plain -- not wound. The Hummel was almost always played flat on a table, to enhance the sound (and also make it easier to stand alongside and make the broad sweeping strums that would sound all 9 strings). That's a beautiful mid-late 1800s instrument you have. The brass lined holes are really a nice touch. I would love to see more photos of the whole instrument. It appears to have been influenced perhaps by the French Epinette des Vosges. What is the VSL -- the distance between the nut and bridge?
  22. 1. Don't recognize the maker, but the design, with the pins in the side blocks, is NOT common. 2. Those ARE loop end strings. They start on one side, cross over the top, around a pin on the far side, then back to the start. What gauges? You'll need a micrometer to measure that. You'll also want to know the length of the longest string -- from loop end across to the pin and back. Where? Folkcraft may be able to help. I buy most of my strings from www.juststrings.com; but then I know exactly what I want. 3. Yes that crack in the pin line is "worrisome". Those holes probably should be re-drilled lower and new pins hammered in. At least the cracks should be filled with one of the more gel-like super glues, which should stop movement and tighten things up a hair.
  23. You're fine Kristie. What you have are a series of jigs (not usually called "forms") for building hourglass dulcimers of several shapes and sizes. Some of the jigs are for bending the side boards, some are for laying out the sound holes and fretboard, etc. It would take someone a certain amount of 'studying' to figure out how and in what combinations Mr. Green used to make his instruments.
  • Create New...