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Everything posted by KWL

  1. It is with great sadness that I share the news of the death of my friend, Dr. George Orthey. During his lifetime he built over 1,500 dulcimers and 1,500 autoharps. An article about George appeared in Dulcimer Players News, Vol. 13, No. 1, Winter, 1987. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  2. Usually strings break because they are being tuned an octave higher than they should be. You may be tuning to the proper note, but in the wrong octave. In the USA the standard frequency for setting your tuner is A = 440 Hz. Trying hitting the note to which you are trying to tune an octave lower and see if you can tune your string to that note and then tune up from there. You might not be able to do this if the string gets too loose. Then just tune to one of the notes lower than the one you want to tuner to and then move up from there. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  3. On thing of which you should be aware is that you may need to change strings to safely tune to some of the tunings. Going from D to G may require a different size string. Tuning up you may break a string. Tuning down, the string may get too floppy. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  4. KWL

    My Latest Build

    Thank you Claudia. Post some photos of your build as you move along. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  5. Yes, but not easily. You will have to bend the string at the 6th fret to achieve the proper pitch. I would do it by pushing the melody string toward the middle string. If you have a double melody string, forget it. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  6. The band, Doofus, offered Shake Sugaree as a workshop song. I went to the Doofus website but did not find it offered for free. I played the song years ago. I might be able to work it out again. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  7. Send in the Clowns was written by Stephen Sondheim and was in one his musicals. That's not the usual dulcimer fare, so you will probably need to tab it out yourself. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song,"
  8. I don't know of anyone who has tabbed this out for mountain dulcimer, but there is plenty of sheet music out there. I've seen it written in E flat and E. You could transpose it in to D fr mountain dulcimer. As long as you don't sell or give away your tab, you're good with the copyright. If you want sell the tab, you need to work out a deal with the publisher. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  9. I'm glad that you are ready to tackle another dulcimer build. I agree with Noterman that 6 - 8 inches is a good width for the bout of a teardrop. Are you planning on an actual scroll like on a violin or just a scroll shape? As Noterman mentioned if you are making an actual scroll you can either carve it or build it up. Another scroll shape variation is to make an open scroll peg head. It makes things a little easier when restringing. I've done both open and closed. Best wishes on your new project. Here is photo of an open scroll peg head. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  10. The nickel and dime means that the string height should just touch the top of a nickel placed on the top of the seventh fret and the top of a dime next to the first fret.
  11. There could be two problems here. The strings might not be the proper gauge for the notes you are trying to achieve , DAd or DAA, for your vibrating string length (VSL). The other is that you may be tuning an octave lower than you should.
  12. Remember that it is the dime next to first fret and the nickel on top of the seventh fret. Not the last fret. A dime is 0.051 or 51/1000 ths of an inch thick. A nickel is 0.071 or 71/1000 ths of an inch thick. Using your thicknesses above for a dime (1/16th inch) and (1/8th inch) or 0.063 thousandths and 0.125 inch, your action would be a little high. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  13. You made a fine looking dulcimer. You'll have fun playing it. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  14. I've used a few things for loop end string anchors. I used #2 brass screws on a few. I've also used brass plated 3/4 inch nails. For ball ends I cut off the heads. Plain steel brads in various lengths and hitch pins from Folkcraft have worked as well. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  15. Welcome to Everything Dulcimer Kevin. You may recall that I welcomed you to FOTMD as well. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  16. I can see why you don't what to take the thickness off the top of your peg head. That's a nice looking piece of wood. I find that most guitar-style peg heads are 1/2 to 5/8 inch thick. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  17. The sound holes look good. Are you doing a guitar-style peg head? I don't quite get the last photo and what you are trying to show. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  18. I don't see why that wouldn't work. You are looking for something that will prevent splits and cracks. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  19. You can always reinforce the sound hole area with a thin patch of wood under the sound hole. Just orient the grain perpendicular to the grain of the top. A friend of mine uses used dryer softener sheets to do this .I've tried this as well, but must no be using hard enough glue as I get fuzzy edges when I cut the sound holes. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song." cc
  20. Strum hollow depth is a personal choice. Some dulcimers have no strum hollow at all. On some of my dulcimers I cut down to about1/8th inch left glued to the top. On others I cut only down 1/8th inch from the top of the fret board. Those who cut a deep strum hollow feel it allows the top to vibrate a little more. I can't say that I have any proof of that. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  21. KWL

    Making Dulcimers

    I'll try to answer a few of you questions. Flat or "guitar-style" peg heads have become popular because it is easier to restring a dulcimer with a flat peg head. Some folks find it difficult to change strings on closed scroll peg heads.It really comes down to a matter of personal preference and what sells. The type of tuning peg you use sometimes dictates the type of peg head you use as your already noted. Again, whether or not to hollow out the fret board is a personal choice which had little overall effect on the sound of the dulcimer. You can find examples of both on older dulcimers. Walnut is a good wood for dulcimers. You can even use it for the top. I have an all walnut dulcimer which is top, sides, bottom, peg head, and fret board. Spruce and cedar work well also. The dulcimers made in the early days of dulcimer history were made from whatever wood the builder could acquire; pine, poplar, cherry, walnut, maple, birch, chestnut, oak, etc. For the most part, the idea of using a soft wood for the top like on guitars, mandolins, violins, etc., came in to vogue with the "dulcimer revival." The "old" builders used one wood throughout the instrument. Of course, there are exceptions to that statement! A good number of the dulcimers I have made have walnut fret boards. I have also used poplar and maple, but any hardwood will do. From my experience it is more difficult to hammer frets in to maple than walnut. Hope some of this information helps. Keep asking question. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  22. Looks like you are coming along well with your build. Like Noterman, I don't care for kerf blocks. Some of the older builder did not use kerfing or other linings, but glued the top and back directly to the sides. The bone nut and bridge should give the dulcimer a nice bright sound. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  23. Bernd Krause makes a very nice nylon string dulcimer. If you scroll through his Facebook page, you will find of video of him playing and talking about the nylon dulcimer. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  24. It shouldn't be a problem. When I make dulcimers with braces, I like to place them so that they are not too visible through the sound holes. On single piece backs I seldom use braces. I use them mostly on two piece backs. On two piece backs I also use a strip down the center of the back about 3/4 inches wide with the grain of the center strip perpendicular to the joint. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
  25. I use Stewart-MacDonalds #0147 narrow/medium fret wire. I've used many different finishes on my dulcimers: violin varnish, black milk paint, spray lacquer from a rattle can (Deft), a water based poly finish, and shellac with carnauba wax. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
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