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First time Mountain Dulcimer build

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Project by Purplelady posted 03-28-2016 05:00 PM 1432 views 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is the first time I have ever made a dulcimer. The sides and peghead are made from walnut. The top and bottom are honey locust.

I hand carved the peghead and the tuners are Schaller guitar tuners. I was lucky, my brother gave them to me. This was really a challenge for me, and I don’t think I’ll be giving any of you luthiers out there any competition!

The dulcimer is playable but a couple of frets are not really in tune, even though I measured and measured, and then measured some more! It was fun to do though, and I learned a lot. I may make another one sometime, but not anytime soon.

-- Marsha, Northeast Ohio





10 comments so far

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

32122 posts in 3748 days


#1 posted 03-28-2016 09:19 PM

This is a beautiful musical instrument.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- helluvawreck aka Charles, http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

View Ken90712's profile

Ken90712

17909 posts in 4071 days


#2 posted 03-28-2016 10:22 PM

Dont know much about this other than the craftsmanship is spot on. It’s beautiful.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View mahdee's profile

mahdee

4291 posts in 2649 days


#3 posted 03-29-2016 12:15 AM

Beautiful job there.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View poospleasures's profile

poospleasures

859 posts in 3366 days


#4 posted 03-29-2016 12:24 AM

Beautiful work. Great wood contrasts. Love the sound holes. My sympathies on the frets not being tune-able. I made two dulcimers for my wife. Both was a ton of work. I am not musical at all and had advise from a Luther after finishing one of them. The first could not be tuned correctly and he told me what was wrong. The next one worked wonderfully and has a very full an resonating sound. She is still playing it after more than a year. So what I am saying is go for it and make another then enjoy.

-- I,ve had amnesia for as long as I can remember. Vernon

View Purplelady's profile

Purplelady

88 posts in 1841 days


#5 posted 03-29-2016 12:01 PM



Beautiful work. Great wood contrasts. Love the sound holes. My sympathies on the frets not being tune-able. I made two dulcimers for my wife. Both was a ton of work. I am not musical at all and had advise from a Luther after finishing one of them. The first could not be tuned correctly and he told me what was wrong. The next one worked wonderfully and has a very full an resonating sound. She is still playing it after more than a year. So what I am saying is go for it and make another then enjoy.

- poospleasures

Thanks for the encouragement. I’ll probably give it another shot one day. Getting advice from a luthier sounds like a good idea.

-- Marsha, Northeast Ohio

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

13503 posts in 3262 days


#6 posted 03-30-2016 03:42 AM

Beautiful work. What I did was use Fret Find 2D print a paper template on 2 sheets, taped them together and then taped them down to the fretboard. I went over the markings with a knife and was then assured they were all in the right places.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View Purplelady's profile

Purplelady

88 posts in 1841 days


#7 posted 03-30-2016 01:32 PM



Beautiful work. What I did was use Fret Find 2D print a paper template on 2 sheets, taped them together and then taped them down to the fretboard. I went over the markings with a knife and was then assured they were all in the right places.

- Rick M.


Thanks, Rick. I’ll certainly look that up and try it the next time. I watched the video of your daughter playing! Wow! Nice sounding instrument and that girl’s got talent!

-- Marsha, Northeast Ohio

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

13503 posts in 3262 days


#8 posted 03-30-2016 07:05 PM



Thanks, Rick. I ll certainly look that up and try it the next time. I watched the video of your daughter playing! Wow! Nice sounding instrument and that girl s got talent!

- Purplelady

Thanks, I’ll pass along the compliment!

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View HankLP's profile

HankLP

132 posts in 1384 days


#9 posted 10-22-2018 08:30 PM

Nicely done! I like the scroll head. I tried a few with the scroll, but had some difficulty getting the tuners situated well. Stewart MacDonald (StewMac.com) has an online fret calculator which I have used successfully for ukes, dulcimers, and banjos. However, I did need to compensate the bridge on the last dulcimer by shortening the high “d” string about 1/32”. Harbor Freight has a 24” Vernier caliper which I use for laying out frets. If you can read the Vernier scale, its worth the ~$20.

View Purplelady's profile

Purplelady

88 posts in 1841 days


#10 posted 10-23-2018 10:39 PM



Nicely done! I like the scroll head. I tried a few with the scroll, but had some difficulty getting the tuners situated well. Stewart MacDonald (StewMac.com) has an online fret calculator which I have used successfully for ukes, dulcimers, and banjos. However, I did need to compensate the bridge on the last dulcimer by shortening the high “d” string about 1/32”. Harbor Freight has a 24” Vernier caliper which I use for laying out frets. If you can read the Vernier scale, its worth the ~$20.

- HankLP

Thanks for the encouragement! I found that my action was too high and causing too much tension, so that it was making notes sharp. I had too actually make a new nut.

-- Marsha, Northeast Ohio

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