Dulcimer Carry Case
Thanks Steven- "July" needs to be as comfortable (and safe) as possible- it's a long trip to her Texas home
I had just completed the box that July's Dulcimer will travel about in. I totally got lost in this fun project. The Folk Art bird on the box mimics the 'Bird of Paradise' on July's upper sound holes. I need to make one for me next!
Thanks all, I am feeling more confident now that I have gotten started on it. Staying in touch with the buyer and making sure I am providing what she wants (1 1/2 fret, 3 strings, Strap Buttons and stuff). I've been heeding your advice here. So far, so good :-)
Hi all. I wanted to share some thoughts about an exciting development in my Dulcimer Journey.
Earlier this week, I received a request to purchase my most recent dulcimer! She asked if I could make some changed/alterations (converting the 4 strings to 3 strings and adding a 1.5 fret) I suggested that I could make a new custom 3 string dulcimer with the 1.5 fret for her and she accepted. She also asked for a wooden carry case to be made as well. It is my first order and I am very excited to build it for her. The price is quite nice as well.
I promised to keep the customer updated with photos of the progress of her instrument and case. (I hate when I order an instrument and have no idea how it is coming along especially months down the road). She liked that idea.
For some reason I have a deep fear that something will not be to her liking and she will be disappointed. Of course I would offer to provide a complete refund if that was the case. The worst part is it would be a big disappointment for me if I did not meet expectations.
I started work on the new dulcimer "July" and already I am second-guessing myself as to if it is good enough so far. (Maybe that piece of wood is not as nice as another piece I can get. Stop and begin anew... etc.) I may never be completely satisfied with it but just wonder how/when others feel when they say, "OK, here it is, it's done" and just wait for the report card?
Its always so interesting to see the many creative designs and elements used for dulcimer sound-holes. There are some true beauties on display on this thread that sparked my design interests with the creativity and artistry of these unique elements.
I always have liked the traditional Heart and Weeping Heart motifs and used them on the few dulcimers I have made, including my recent March's Dulcimer. Also beautiful are the various Rosettes that are on many dulcimers. I have used them in my April and May Dulcimer (as well as soon completed June's Dulcimer), tinting some with a splash of color for a nice effect.
This is a wonderful discussion!!
I've been trying to find a printable full size pattern for a traditional scroll head like yours. Would you have one you could email me? thx
Your dulcimer is looking good!
Hi Bert. I don't use a scroll pattern, but just draw my scroll design right on the block of wood. I did locate a web-page that has full-size violin Head patterns here: http://jordansandquist.com/js2/
It is toward the bottom so scroll down (no pun intended). Right click to open the diagrams to full-size. copyrihhted but it appears you just need to ask permission.
It does look like sassafras.
Thanks Bert and Steven. I added the inlay strip down the back purely for aesthetics (the back is one piece of wood). And the tuning scroll design seems to be evolving in style from my initial concept. It's interesting to see how things develop over time and practice!
May's Mountain Dulcimer is all built (maybe another bit of varnishing tonight) and ready for the strings!
Curly Maple top, Black Walnut body and Tuning Scroll, with Bolivian Rosewood Fingerboard, nut and bridge. Also Gotoh planetary tuners.
The carved/pierced wooden medallions are a nice addition, and I decided to paint the top ones, giving it a Celtic Illumination feel...
I think this is my best dulcimer to date :)
May's Dulcimer is progressing along nicely, but I have a change of mind with the new dulcimer, opting out of using all Black Walnut. I decided to make a "big brother" to April's Dulcimer by using a longer, 26.5 inch Fingerboard, also with a Curly Maple top, Black Walnut body and with the same, long-neck tuning scroll design and Gotoh tuners.
With a longer vsl, I am curious to see how this one sounds compared with the 25" one with the same materials that I just completed.
I am glad to learn this information also, thanks for the question and the responses.
I am personally learning by experience the variations, with my newest 25" VSL and the other 26 1/2" ones. They each have lovely tones and it will be interesting to know what one I favor most (nt yet sure!). I may do a 25 1/2" on the one I am making now....
I am considering building an all Black-Walnut Mountain Dulcimer next since I have the wood handy, and it would look and sound lovely.
Even though it's not made yet, I already have "separation-anxiety" as I hope to offer it for sale
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!).
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-
p.s: yes! Mahogany is a wonderful wood for dulcimers!
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
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...)
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.