Walnut & Oak Banjo Dulcimer Project

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Project by solardave posted 07-03-2016 03:46 AM 2537 views 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a short scale (24.75”) walnut lap dulcimer / banjo with oak headstock, tailblock and fretboard.
The banjo resonator is an 8” hand drum. An idea handed to me by our own mountain934, Randy Bretz.
It also has twin piezo discs epoxied under the bridge area, on the underside of the drum head, and a 1/4” jack attached to the side for amplified use.
The bridge is oak & walnut with a bone saddle insert. The nut is also bone.

I made it for my aunt who is part of a large dulcimer group in Kentucky. The shorter scale length is an asset for her due to age & arthritis issues. She finds the shorter scale much easier to play & chord on.

Thanks for taking the time to check it out.

10 comments so far

View mountain934's profile


115 posts in 3518 days

#1 posted 07-03-2016 10:11 AM

Wowzers..that is one beautiful dulcimer you have created Dave. Top notch craftsmanship !!

-- R.S.Bretz, Pa.

View Scott Oldre's profile

Scott Oldre

1128 posts in 4312 days

#2 posted 07-03-2016 12:18 PM

Beautiful piece. The patience and technical skills to create a musical instrument is not lost on me and most. Thanks for sharing.

-- Scott, Irmo SC

View johnstoneb's profile


3157 posts in 3054 days

#3 posted 07-03-2016 01:51 PM

That is nice looking. Great job.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3685 days

#4 posted 07-03-2016 04:57 PM

A very nice marriage of walnut & oak. I’ll bet it sounds as beautiful as it looks.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View solardave's profile


77 posts in 2925 days

#5 posted 07-03-2016 06:02 PM

Thanks for the nice comments everyone. It was a fun project, and the fact that it provides someone else joy every day is heart warming for me.
I love creating instruments for people.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3748 days

#6 posted 07-03-2016 07:52 PM

This is a great looking musical instrument and so nicely done.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View johnhutchinson's profile


1243 posts in 2511 days

#7 posted 07-03-2016 08:07 PM

I’m totally blown away by this one !!!

My only attempt at a musical instrument was a dulcimer, but it was a double courting dulcimer that ended up looking like an oversized cigar box.

I’m a HUGE dulcimer fan, and Warren May in Berea, KY is one of my heroes.
When I was illustrating for Popular Woodworking, I had the pleasure of working with him on a few of his furniture pieces. I bought one of his serpentine tables—it’s something that I’ll treasure forever.

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View mikeacg's profile


1723 posts in 1939 days

#8 posted 07-04-2016 12:24 PM

Never saw a dulcimer/banjo before but it looks great! Can you share a sound file so we can hear it? I am fascinated by the concept. I think the weirdest instrument in my collection right now is a resonator uke…

-- Mike, A Yooper with a drawl,

View Purplelady's profile


88 posts in 1841 days

#9 posted 07-04-2016 11:41 PM

Wow! Great job. I know how hard you worked on that. Beautiful workmanship! I’m not a great dulcimer player but I try. I made one that is a 25 3/4 length which I like better than the 26 1/2 Warren May dulcimer. But the May dulcimer sounds better in tune than mine. I need to lower the action.

Your banjo/dulcimer is beautiful! What is the scale length?

-- Marsha, Northeast Ohio

View NotaJock's profile


179 posts in 1980 days

#10 posted 07-05-2016 03:02 AM

I have a banjo-mer made by Doug Thomson.
It’s fun to play for a change from the regular dulcimer.
The one you made for your aunt has a larger head.
That scroll is delightful and the whole instrument is a work of art.
I bet your aunt is the envy of her dulcimer group.
Lovely work.

-- Mike in SoCal, now East Texas

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