Changing tuners on a Warren May dulcimer.
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About a year ago sent my Warren May #3277 back to him to have a 6 1/2 fret and mechanical tuners installed. He stated that he felt the replacement Grover tuners would not affect the value of the dulcimer. Warren keeps the original wooden peg tuners and when asked why he said he hopes to make some more traditional dulcimers in his old age and has problems carving the wooden pegs with old hands.
I wonder if we get carried away with collectors value of our dulcimers, that said, i would never alter my old 1972 Homer Ledford #2191 YP 1900 with 150 year old yellow poplar sound board and matched burled walnut sides, walnut back, wooden tuning pegs, partial wire frets and first and second frets positioned for old time playing and original Ledford wooden case. There are few dulcimer players in the area and our group plays songs requiring the 6 1/2 fret so i end up playing my 1989 Ledford #5296 0446 which came with 5 Star mechanical tuners and spruce top. It is easy to tune and good enough for 80+ year old ears.
Here is a plug for Ralph Lee Smith's "The Story the Dulcimer" 2nd edition. Our favorite musical instrument is evolving still. Enjoy...