Forum Activity for @Bob

Bob
@Bob
04/26/17 01:06:46PM
85 posts

The Positive Thread...


Off Topic discussions

Best wishes to you Robert. I still plan to drive down the road to see you and your creations soon!

Bob
@Bob
04/24/17 08:24:38PM
85 posts

Glued In Frets?


Building dulcimers

So, I have been reading about various ways of finishing fingerboards (particularly guitar makers using Rosewood) and came across an interesting thing: I have read how guitar builders often glue in their frets.

Do you glue your dulcimer frets in? (I have not, but am open to ideas!).

Thanks!

Bob
@Bob
04/19/17 01:02:09PM
85 posts

Starting a new dulcimer


Building dulcimers

Hi Doug,

That's great news about your wanting to build dulcimers! And being an experienced woodworker is a great help.

My brother-in-law had asked me the same question, but he had little woodworking experience.  One suggestion I had for him was to begin with getting a quality dulcimer kit- that way he could get a good idea of the various parts and the way the various parts come together (with hopeful some step-by-step instructions). As it comes together, he would have a pretty good, working knowledge of what goes into making one. In time and with experience, personal skills can dictate what you may bring to your own creations, weather it be the type of woods you like, or the dulcimer body shape or the tuning head style, and even down to the string anchors and sound holes. 'Personalisation' is what makes these instruments as wonderful and varied as they can be, as well as a legitimate art form (yes, even 'folk art")

I am sure that there are lots of different ways, and each maker has his own process. I am not really proficient but make a few when time is available. Try looking through the internet as well. I have seen many people document how they make an instrument (dulcimers, Violins, guitars and even ancient instrument recreations). I have a taken photos of how I made one or two, showing the various things I do in making them, from connecting the head and tail to the sides, as well as carving a tuning scroll, etc.

Hope this brief reply is helpful. I really wish you lots of fun and enjoyment in your creative journey! Please don't hesitate to ask people in this great forum any questions. I know I have been aided a lot here!

All the best to you-

~Bob

p.s: yes! Mahogany is a wonderful wood for dulcimers!


updated by @Bob: 04/19/17 01:06:13PM
Bob
@Bob
04/12/17 12:18:37PM
85 posts

What's your Favorite Finger Board length?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

hugssandi:

I'm not sure if this is but so helpful, because this is vastly smaller in size than what you're asking, but I have fallen in love with my 17" Feather Dulcimer.  I loved playing my Walnut Creek, too, but there were songs I never could get that I seem to just play out of the blue now.  That makes me think a 26.5" (and I see you added 25") might be beneficial to some.

Thanks hugssandi and others- your comments are indeed helpful. I decided to use a 25" fret board pattern for my April dulcimer happys


updated by @Bob: 04/12/17 12:19:40PM
Bob
@Bob
04/09/17 10:39:56PM
85 posts

What's your Favorite Finger Board length?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Thanks friends- I am tossed up between a 26.5 and a 25". Thanks for sharing your choices and why.

 

 

Bob
@Bob
04/09/17 09:18:30PM
85 posts

What's your Favorite Finger Board length?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Just wondering, with all of the various sizes an styles of dulcimers out there, what is your favorite VSL / Finger Board length between bridge and nut?

I have been making 27 inchers and think I might try a 26.5 inch one on my new dulcimer (less finger stretching...)

Bob
@Bob
03/20/17 10:00:12PM
85 posts

The technician and the artist


Chord/melody modern style playing discussions

Sometimes my right hand does not know what my left hand is doing.

Bob
@Bob
03/18/17 05:45:17PM
85 posts

Fret Material


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

I am using brass frets on my newest dulcimer. I had a question about their longevity and I spoke with a pretty noteworthy luthier supplier who said they should last a good long time, not to worry, if they are the style you are looking form. They do look nice on the Bolivian Rosewood fret board.

Bob
@Bob
03/10/17 11:24:57AM
85 posts

Just intonation and limitations


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Thanks Robert and Ken. Very helpful ! smiler

Bob
@Bob
03/09/17 10:08:08PM
85 posts

Just intonation and limitations


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Yes, this is really interesting! 

I was thinking of designing, for a JI fingerboard, a sound box to set a blank fret-board on top. I would rig a dulcimer string to stretch over it to mark off the notes using an electronic tuner, and then cut in the fret slots... I wonder if it would work.

So... if I was going to build a dulcimer with the idea that I would offer it for sale,  would it be better to have the scale in Equal Temperament or Just Intonation?

Bob
@Bob
03/09/17 02:01:15PM
85 posts

Fret Scale Templates


Building dulcimers

I remember there was a full-scale 26" or so down-loadable dulcimer fretboard template (I wish I had saved it!)...


updated by @Bob: 03/09/17 02:01:43PM
Bob
@Bob
03/09/17 09:04:44AM
85 posts

Just intonation and limitations


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Are the pre-slotted fingerboards sold by Folkcraft Just Intonation or Equal Temperament?

(I am planning to make a JI finger board using an electronic tuning meter to locate fret positions...)


updated by @Bob: 03/09/17 09:05:30AM
Bob
@Bob
03/08/17 03:46:52PM
85 posts

Just intonation and limitations


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Just found this discussion- it is so interesting.

Bob
@Bob
03/07/17 01:18:01PM
85 posts

PA German Zitter


Building dulcimers

That's great information thanks Ken. I may just try making my own wood stain now :-)

Bob
@Bob
03/06/17 09:33:39PM
85 posts

PA German Zitter


Building dulcimers

Very cool! It looks old! I am interested how you attached the tuning head to the body. Cant see any seam. You're a very good woodworker! Also, how did you make the stain? Poplar usually needs as sanding sealer as it has very distinct grain.

Looking forward to hearing it!

By the way, will you display it at the center/museum where you found and copied the original?

Bob
@Bob
02/24/17 10:28:24AM
85 posts

PA German Zitter


Building dulcimers

Hi Ken,

I am really looking forward to seeing your new Zitter project! As a "living Historian" (Re-enactor) these things excite me!

I haven't been able to see very clearly the tuning keys on the original you are recreating, but they appear to resemble violin pegs. I was looking at various épinette des Vosges and noticed they have that type of tuners.

Actually, seeing what  you are doing sparked my imagination and I am planning on building one after my current 5 string walnut/spruce dulcimer is completed!

Bob
@Bob
02/21/17 11:25:33PM
85 posts

Single or Double Melody Strings?


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

My new project is a 5 string dulcimer with double melody string. Its my first at this style. The body is 2 1/4" deep so it should be nice and full sounding.


updated by @Bob: 02/21/17 11:29:42PM
Bob
@Bob
02/20/17 09:05:23PM
85 posts

PA German Zitter


Building dulcimers

Pretty cool and great story! I like how you have brought these into the public and keep their history alive.

Do you know what the original woods were that were used? It appears you have selected Poplar for your recreation. Do you think that wood was used? It is plentiful in the Northeast US/Colonies and used commonly as a secondary wood in cabinetry.

As Bert said, it will be interesting to hear it's voice!

Bob
@Bob
02/20/17 04:55:53PM
85 posts

Starting a new dulcimer


Building dulcimers

Ken Longfield:

Looks good, Bob. I have cuts all over my hands from work I did this weekend. I'll try to take a few photos tonight and post them - of the work, not the cuts.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a new song."

Thanks Ken- would love to see your work-- I am sure the cuts were well worth it!

Bob
@Bob
02/20/17 11:12:26AM
85 posts

Starting a new dulcimer


Building dulcimers

Kusani:

VERY nice job.  I hope you are pleased with the sound. 

Thanks and yes, very pleased with the sound thumbsup

Bob
@Bob
02/20/17 11:11:09AM
85 posts

Starting a new dulcimer


Building dulcimers

Kusani:

VERY nice job.  I hope you are pleased with the sound. 

I learned something new with this instrument. I was thinking the frets were a bit off as I played the higher notes, which got me really upset. Then I realized that I needed to tune it much more carefully, as the "sympathetic strings" need to be just right or the melody string would be off. Now, it sounds just amazing. My favorite so far!

Bob
@Bob
02/20/17 11:07:53AM
85 posts

Starting a new dulcimer


Building dulcimers

Bee Lick Farm:

Absolutely beautiful.

Now go wear the first set of string out. Play it until the strings are in shreds and your fingers bleed.

Really wonderful job, looks fantastic. Congrats!

Thanks . And I already got a bleeding finger making that dulcimer!

Bob
@Bob
02/11/17 11:27:40PM
85 posts

Recording and Amplifying your mountain dulcimer ?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Thanks Noah. For the microphone I went way lower budget than the SM57 for now & selected a PylePro Hand Mic (along with a stand) and a small Sawtooth Guitar Amplifier.  They both had pretty decent reviews. I may spring for more pro grade down the line but it seems like a good start.

For recording, I will just have to wait a bit until I know more of how to set all that up on a computer.

Thanks again for your help!

Bob
@Bob
02/11/17 06:07:50PM
85 posts

Recording and Amplifying your mountain dulcimer ?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Thank you Ken and  Dusty. Lots of good information there. I have just a small Point-and-shoot digital camera with a video switch, but it really is very poor quality, naturally. 

I remember seeing a small mic that clipped on to a dulcimer and was plugged into a small amp. It was a pretty simple set-up, and i was years ago, so I dont know if things are that simple now. It looks like dusty might be speaking about something similar with the Sure SM57 and a small amp. For me, the simpler the better. 

Bob
@Bob
02/10/17 05:34:50PM
85 posts

Recording and Amplifying your mountain dulcimer ?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Actually this is two questions:

1) What type of video/audio recorder do you use (or suggest) ? The video camera I have has records all sorts of static or background noises.

2) If you use a mic with an amplifier for a Mountain Dulcimer, what type do you use and what would you suggest? Hopefully nothing very expensive blinders

Thanks for any and all suggestions :-)

Bob
@Bob
02/08/17 06:45:45AM
85 posts

What Are You Working On?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I am just learning some simple cords now. Small steps but enjoying the results blush


updated by @Bob: 02/08/17 06:48:26AM
Bob
@Bob
02/07/17 12:06:36PM
85 posts

Black Walnut and Sitka Spruce Dulcimer project !


Building dulcimers

I am getting ready for my next Appalachian Dulcimer project. It will be made from American Black Walnut, with a Sitka Alaskan Spruce sound board. 5 strings (double melody strings), Scroll-carved tuning head with Planetary geared tuning pegs (these things are great!). I think it will be made to sell, unless I get too darned attached to it :-)

Bob
@Bob
02/05/17 03:45:24PM
85 posts

Starting a new dulcimer


Building dulcimers

Well, today I have finished building my newest Appalachian Dulcimer. I am pretty happy with it. Have learned a few things on this one too (I am learning as I go). I like the finish (a wipe on Polly) and let it "cure" a few days before stringing it. The geared planetary pegs (my first time using them) will make tuning easier I am sure!  I think it will be fun to play! 


Bobs new 2017 dulcimer sm.jpg Bobs new 2017 dulcimer sm.jpg - 733KB
Bob
@Bob
02/03/17 07:24:47PM
85 posts

Selecting the wood finish


Building dulcimers

I applied a light coat of the Minwax today. I really like it. Nice, easy application. Who knows, maybe by the end of the weekend this dulcimer will be completed. And the world will have just a bit more music banjo

Bob
@Bob
02/02/17 12:47:08PM
85 posts

Selecting the wood finish


Building dulcimers

Hi Mark,

So glad to read your post and see your photos (You make beautiful dulcimers indeed!).

For the finish, I was just looking to use many very light layers of wipe-on polly. I don't know if I want to use a heavy varnish, and I am not familliar with 'curtting" or diluting them. I had read that the Minwax product was good-to-go and was going to go with that.

I had read that, with Purple Heart., a water-based finish was not the best, as it tended do lower the brightness of the wood. Also, layers of tung oil might not be the best finish for a musical instrument.

I don't think i would need a sealer, would I?


updated by @Bob: 02/02/17 12:48:00PM
Bob
@Bob
02/01/17 07:26:34PM
85 posts

Selecting the wood finish


Building dulcimers

Thanks Ken and Bert. I will give it a go!

Bob
@Bob
02/01/17 03:32:29PM
85 posts

Selecting the wood finish


Building dulcimers

Hi all,
I will be soon completing my next mountain dulcimer, made from Cherry (Top), African Mahogany sides and back, and Purple Heart Tuning Head, Tail and Finger Board.
I want a soft luster finish and after doing some reading, think Minwax Wipe-On Polly (Satin Finish) is the one to use.
Has anyone used this product, particularly on Purple Heart, and what were your results?
Thanks

Bob
@Bob
01/29/17 08:29:25PM
85 posts

Starting a new dulcimer


Building dulcimers

Lynn austin:

Wow, another beauty Bob!  It's interesting how you faded out the Purple Heart in the strum hollow.  Love the weeping heart lower sounholes!

Thanks Lynn- its always exciting to see how these turn out. I am finding that design ideas just come to mind as it comes along.

Bob
@Bob
01/29/17 05:36:05PM
85 posts

Starting a new dulcimer


Building dulcimers

Some more work on the new dulcimer- it's ready for final sanding, lacquering and installing the hardware...


Dulcimer 43.jpg Dulcimer 43.jpg - 801KB
Bob
@Bob
01/27/17 11:44:59AM
85 posts

Starting a new dulcimer


Building dulcimers

I finished cutting, carving and filing the sound holes for the Cherry top. After it is glued to the dulcimer body, the edges will be trimmed. 


dulcimer 29.jpg dulcimer 29.jpg - 226KB
Bob
@Bob
01/23/17 11:06:54AM
85 posts

Starting a new dulcimer


Building dulcimers

Mark Runge:

Really pretty. I love to woods you chose together!

Thanks- Wood selection was fun. I was lucky to find a great source for the Purple Heart!

Bob
@Bob
01/23/17 11:04:32AM
85 posts

Starting a new dulcimer


Building dulcimers

Kusani:

Nice work.  I cut my sound holes before glueing the top on.  What tool(s) do you use to cut them?

I also cut the sound holes before gluing the top (or the finger board) down as well. (The parts shown are just 'dry fit" without glue at this stage.)

For the sound holes I use a drill to make the pilot holes. Then a coping saw to rough-out the shape, and then just the coping saw blade (no handle ) to do more detailedl work. Finish up with needle files and very fine sand paper.

Bob
@Bob
01/23/17 06:24:06AM
85 posts

Starting a new dulcimer


Building dulcimers

Had a few more hours to work on the dulcimer yesterday. Got the bottom glued and trimmed and now working on the Cherry top... it is coming along slow but sure.


Dulcimer 25.jpg Dulcimer 25.jpg - 679KB
Bob
@Bob
01/04/17 09:19:06AM
85 posts

Robert Mize 5 String tuning help wanted


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Estes George:

Saw Joes posting on the stringing on this Mize, and agree, who knows how many times it's been restrung with whatever range of strings.

 Also Joes comment on what fine craftsman Mize and Orthey were, But he left one other fine craftsman off that list. Mr. Joe Sanguinette himself.

 I stumbled across one of his Elk River Dulcimers, #1322 on a random E bay search, picked it up just for the beauty of it, and have not been disappointed one lick with it as far as intonation, sound, play-ability, would be a cold day in hell before I ever parted with it now, one of those sight unseen gems!!

 Take a look at the photos of the one I was lucky enough to find.

 All I can say is if you are ever fortunate enough to come across one, don't hesitate, grab it up!!

 

 

That is a BEAUTY! I love the lines, the sound holes and the hearts in the strumming hollow. The simple chip carving adds a whole new element to the design that is splendid and simple. Thanks for sharing these photos. Its a very pretty dulcimer!!!

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