Wire cutter recommendations for dulcimer strings

Susie
Susie
@susie
one month ago
470 posts

Dusty Turtle:


I use a combination string turner/wire cutter made by D'Addario.  I actually have a few of them and keep them in instrument cases.  They make changing strings super easy.


D'Addario PLanet Waves Pro Winder



I have one of these too, that is part of my travel kit, in case I break a string and need to do a quick change while on the road. My normal cutters and battery string winder stay at home for all my scheduled string changes on all my instruments.  Yes Dusty, these do work good.

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
one month ago
1,591 posts

I use a combination string turner/wire cutter made by D'Addario.  I actually have a few of them and keep them in instrument cases.  They make changing strings super easy.

D'Addario PLanet Waves Pro Winder




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
ocean-daughter
@ocean-daughter
one month ago
37 posts

Wally, that's a good idea. 

What I've sometimes done is use one of those clear plastic zipper pouches to hold all the little accessories.  Although some pliers kind of need a pouch of their own, because they are clunkier.  And now I have a little pick holder I love, that holds my 6 or 8 favorite picks (gleaned from an extensive pick-testing project). 

Right now I'm thinking of a pouch to hold a bunch of extra strings and a dollar store nail clipper for emergencies...

Wally Venable
Wally Venable
@wally-venable
one month ago
26 posts

I've used "dollar store" nail clippers. Hard to beat the price and they can get lost in a gig bag.

ocean-daughter
@ocean-daughter
one month ago
37 posts

Thanks everyone!  This gives me more of an idea of what to look for.  I agree that the cheapest won't be necessarily the best in this case. 

I did see diagonal cutting pliers online, and they looked like a good tool.  But perhaps I'll go to Home Depot and look at the pliers and cutters in person. 

As far as nail clippers, I do have a pair that isn't as great for nails, maybe I should try repurposing it! 

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
one month ago
893 posts

I don't use wire cutters. I use diagonal cutting pliers. That's not a semantic difference, but a difference in the steel alloy used in the construction of the pliers. A few years ago I purchased a set of small Husky pliers that included a small 4 inch diagonal cutting plier along with a needle nose plier and flat blade plier. They work well for instrument construction. I also have another small diagonal cutting plier that I keep in my traveling gig bag. I've had since 1974. I have a cheap pair that I bought at store called "Ollies" that sells "good stuff cheap" just to have an extra pair around. They work well also.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
one month ago
1,970 posts

i use an end cutter rather than side cutter.  Don't buy the gold plated one, but don't buy the dollar-store cheapo either.

Susie
Susie
@susie
one month ago
470 posts

I went to my local hardware store and looked at all the choices. I bought the size I wanted and the pair that felt best in my hands and were a quality brand. I change lots of strings on my dulcimers, guitars, etc., etc., etc. and they are still working great. Again, I'd stress a quality brand, RATHER THAN the cheapest set you can find on Amazon. Like they say, you get what you pay for. 


updated by @susie: 06/27/22 08:13:50PM
John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
one month ago
315 posts

You can use just about any wire cutters with steel strings.  Harbor Freight Tools sells them, as do dollar stores, admittedly not the best quality, but serviceable for a while.  Don't tell anyone, but in a pinch you can use nail clippers too, if you don't care to use them on your nails again!

Richard Streib
Richard Streib
@richard-streib
one month ago
191 posts

I have a small wire cutter that has lasted 20 plus years. Most of the small wire cutters are designed for small gauge copper electrical wire which is softer than steel.

The advice not to use for steel wire is likely cautionary on the part of the manufacturer, retailer or both.

ocean-daughter
@ocean-daughter
one month ago
37 posts

Yesterday I changed the strings on a new-to-me vintage dulcimer, and I borrowed my husband's 8-inch wire cutters because I couldn't find mine.  Today I was looking on Amazon for some small wire cutters, but most of them say "don't use these for steel wire." 

I figure I need some wire cutters small enough to get in there and snip the wires close to the tuner, but strong enough to last.  Or should I just plan on replacing the wire cutters every so often?  (Admittedly it takes me awhile to get around to changing the strings, so cheap ones might last awhile if I can keep track of them.  But I'd like to have some good ones.) 

What do you use for cutting strings?