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EverythingDulcimer
maddog

Care and Keeping of your Dulcimer!

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Hello everybody! I am brand new to the group, and brand new to the world of dulcimers!

I bought mine just over a week ago second hand. I've been having a blast doing research and learning the basics of playing!
Today I took it into a local music shop to get a tuning peg replaced. While I was there, I asked for advice on cleaning the wood. I was given Dunlop's no. 65 guitar polish and cleaner. It occurred to me later that the wood of my dulcimer was unfinished, which might affect how the wood responds to the polish. Google and my family gave me lots of non committal answers. 

What do you guys use to clean your dulcimers? Is your instrument finished or unfinished? What are some routine maintenance practices you do to keep your dulcimer in good shape?

I look forward to future discussions with you all!!

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Welcome to our world!  Enjoy your journey.   

MOST dulcimers -- first or second hand  -- are "finished".   In decades of dulcimering, I've never seen an unfinished dulcimer sold, unless it was an uncompleted kit instrument.   Many of us builders use a tung oil or linseed oil finish.  Some of us use wax finishes.  Many of us do not do super glossy finishes -- all of which may look "unfinished" to the inexperienced eye -- because we don't like the glassy, glossy look of fancy furniture, we build folk instruments. 

To clean a dulcimer, I most commonly use a damp paper towel or washcloth rag.  Avoid alcohol or spirit, or ammonia based cleaners, they can eat some finishes.  Guitar and similar cleaner/polishes are just fine.

The most important "maintenance" you can do for your dulcimer is to NOT keep it in a case, and to keep the humidity up.  We're heading into winter, and your home furnace will probably make your house too dry.  If you get static shocks shuffling across you carpet in sock-feet -- it is too dry.  Bowls of water with a sponge, or several kinds of commercial humidifiers will keep a dulcimer from drying out and cracking.

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