Forum Activity for @nate

NateBuildsToys
@nate
07/20/24 05:56:51PM
278 posts

violin uke


Adventures with 'other' instruments...

Sounds interesting id love to see a photo

NateBuildsToys
@nate
07/08/24 05:29:43PM
278 posts

Hanging some dulcimers as a wall display


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Very interested to hear what others with actual knowledge do for this. Personally, I have mounted dulcimers on the wall by securing them with picture frame mounting hooks, and hanging them by a piece of twine that is tied to the scroll and tailpiece. Because the twine puts a lot of friction on the hook, it will stay at whatever angle you position it. I am sure there are more simple and elegant solutions so I'm looking forward to hearing from others.


updated by @nate: 07/08/24 05:31:37PM
NateBuildsToys
@nate
07/07/24 02:51:58PM
278 posts

Mutual acknowledgement


Site QUESTIONS ? How do I...?

The dulcimer community has been the most positive, helpful and encouraging out of any instrument I've played, by a lot.

NateBuildsToys
@nate
07/06/24 10:42:25PM
278 posts

Travel Dulcimer string angle issues


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

It looks to me like the spacer is not only meant to keep the strings at their correct distance, but also is meant to pull them down over the zero fret. That is why the strings are going through holes, and not just resting over the top like an actual nut.

NateBuildsToys
@nate
07/06/24 07:29:41PM
278 posts

Travel Dulcimer string angle issues


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

My mistake I thought the nails were screws. Are the nails loose? It visually looks like the spacer is meant to be flush with the edge of the fingerboard, but has been pulled out of place and tipped over by the force of the strings.

NateBuildsToys
@nate
07/06/24 06:11:09PM
278 posts

Travel Dulcimer string angle issues


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

if you were to tighten those screws, would the nut be upright and flush with the end of the fingerboard? It seems to be leaning pretty dramatically toward the zero fret and the screws look pretty loose. Maybe is just needs to be re-secured

NateBuildsToys
@nate
07/06/24 04:55:04PM
278 posts

Travel Dulcimer string angle issues


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

Is that "nut" screwed into the fretboard?? Thats a.....creative.....solution..... 

I think it would be simpler to replace the string spacer bar than to replace the tuners. Theoretically, if the spacer bar is lower than the 0 fret, it shouldn't matter that the tuners are higher than the spacer. The only challenge is anchoring the spacer to the headstock well enough that force from the strings doesnt lift the spacer up.

Lots of options for that, good luck!

Nate

NateBuildsToys
@nate
06/27/24 07:58:18PM
278 posts

John (Jolm?) Dubroff dulcimer


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

That's really cool. That would be a really useful thing for me to do on dulcimers I make with eye bolts for tuners, since theyre super finicky to fine tune

NateBuildsToys
@nate
06/27/24 04:19:15PM
278 posts

John (Jolm?) Dubroff dulcimer


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

I am curious about how that affects the break angle of the string. Is the bead difficult to move, due to the pressure on it, or does it slide easily?

NateBuildsToys
@nate
06/27/24 04:10:55PM
278 posts

John (Jolm?) Dubroff dulcimer


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

Okay, I think that is what I originally thought ken H meant. So, the strings are always in contact with the bridge, and the beads do not change the VSL for intonation? The beads just redistribute the tension that is past the VSL, to allow small tuning adjustments to the open string?

NateBuildsToys
@nate
06/27/24 02:02:03PM
278 posts

John (Jolm?) Dubroff dulcimer


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

Thanks to both kens and Robin for the explanation. The fact that it also has an installed bridge in front of them made that unintuitive to me. Now that I understand better, that seems like a very clever feature.

NateBuildsToys
@nate
06/27/24 12:32:58PM
278 posts

John (Jolm?) Dubroff dulcimer


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

Oooh, so are they basically fine adjusters for bridge intonation? Sort of like having a separate floating bridge under each string? Kind of like on an electric guitar bridge?


updated by @nate: 06/27/24 12:35:57PM
NateBuildsToys
@nate
06/27/24 11:50:10AM
278 posts

John (Jolm?) Dubroff dulcimer


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

That's really interesting. So is it basically the case that sliding the beads forward and back slightly changes the amount of tension?

NateBuildsToys
@nate
06/26/24 10:11:10PM
278 posts

John (Jolm?) Dubroff dulcimer


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

Could those beads on the strings be "dampers" similar to the ones on some mandolins and other instruments with a lot of string length past the VSL? Just a thought, I'm not familiar with that sort of fine tuners so I don't really know or understand how they would function.

original


updated by @nate: 06/26/24 10:14:19PM
NateBuildsToys
@nate
06/22/24 06:45:03PM
278 posts

The Positive Thread...


OFF TOPIC discussions

John, I don't really do anything that special. I like to mix sweet fruits and berries with tart fruits and berries to balance it out to my own taste. I have a friend who collects wild honey so I use that whenever I get the chance, but usually I like brown sugar, and sometimes settle for white sugar. I leave all the pulp and skin in the mixture, then filter it out after fermentation. I use champagne yeast and a specific gravity gauge to measure the alcohol content and usually stop fermentation at 15% abv. I filter it with cheesecloth and allow the fine particulate pulp to remain, because I believe that a small amount of flesh and skin can decrease hangover symptoms.

NateBuildsToys
@nate
06/21/24 12:09:37AM
278 posts

The Positive Thread...


OFF TOPIC discussions

Strumelia:

Ooh, that is exciting Nate, you are a winemaker now!
we have blueberries coming soon on our backyard bushes. We already put the netting over them to keep the birds from eating them. The blue jays and squirrels would eat them all otherwise.

 
Definitely jealous of your blueberry bushes. They are my favorite for jams and pies.
I've actually been making small batch fruit wine for a few years now as a hobby! It's super fun and this area has tons of wild blackberries, grapevines, oregon grapes, and even some wild strawberries if you're lucky. There are also lots of planted japanese plum and fig trees in the area. SOOO much better than the berry and fruit wines from the store.
NateBuildsToys
@nate
06/19/24 10:34:52PM
278 posts

The Positive Thread...


OFF TOPIC discussions

Very excited to see that the Oregon grape bush in front of my apartment is ripening! Oregon grape is the state flower of Oregon, but a lot of folks here don't know that it's edible and makes a delicious tart wine when fermented. The flavor is like a pomegranate flesh with a plum skin. I am stoked to be starting a gallon of wine today!
original


updated by @nate: 06/19/24 10:37:58PM
NateBuildsToys
@nate
06/15/24 12:21:19AM
278 posts

The Positive Thread...


OFF TOPIC discussions

Really glad to hear you're recovering, John. I'll keep you in my prayers. Hope you're feeling well soon.

NateBuildsToys
@nate
06/06/24 01:39:28AM
278 posts

Shifting bridge and nut


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

John C. Knopf:

Wow! People who wrote on that page use English in some mysterious ways!

 

" Its is made of sturdy metal, which is very. 

NateBuildsToys
@nate
06/04/24 03:38:00PM
278 posts

Shifting bridge and nut


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

LOL whoops, I typed out almost the exact same message you did at the same timemrdance

NateBuildsToys
@nate
06/04/24 03:34:56PM
278 posts

Shifting bridge and nut


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

Both the bridge and nut look to be in slots. If I am understanding correctly, the issue is that they do not fit snugly into the slots and are not glued into place, so the bridge and nut are being pulled sideways in their slots by the force of the low D string.

After seeing the photos, I definitely think that you should remove the strings, and then glue the nut and bridge into place, taking serious care to make sure that they are perfectly centered on the fingerboard, and also being very careful to make sure that the nut is held firmly in place while the glue sets. you seriously want to avoid leaving any kind of gap between the nut and the fingerboard, as that will mess up your intonation. On some dulcimers, the bridge and nut can be replaced for different string arrangements, but your bridge and nut have slots for both of the common arrangements, so probably the bridge and nut were not intended to be sitting loosely.

NateBuildsToys
@nate
06/04/24 03:11:11PM
278 posts

Shifting bridge and nut


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

AG Murton:

I had no idea there were so many factors to consider. I'm used to switching between tunings on the banjo like crazy and assumed I'd have a similar experience on the dulcimer.

 
It's not usually an issue, but with a mass produced dulcimer, there may be small manufacturing oversights to resolve. I would say the easiest solution is definitely to just glue both the bridge and nut into their slots with a drop or two of superglue. You probably don't want to use a bunch of glue, to avoid mess and in case you later want to replace them.
NateBuildsToys
@nate
06/04/24 02:33:47PM
278 posts

Shifting bridge and nut


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

I have one dulcimer with this issue and what I noticed is that without the second melody string, my whole bridge and nut slide juuuust enough to recenter the strings on the fretboard almost perfectly, lol. Actually ended up deciding not to fix it.

It is not normal though. Typically, when the bridge and nut are both unglued it is best to have string spacers past them, which hold the strings in the correct places. Normally the nut serves as a spacer on the head end, and the anchor pins correctly space the strings at the tail end, but since your nut is not glued down, I would say there are two possible fixed that come to mind:
1: Simply glue the nut into it's slot. I personally think that gluing things down that weren't built to be glued can be bad practice down the line, but typically on many dulcimers, the nut would already be glued in.

2 Build a small "string spacer." It could look something like this simple drawing.
PXL_20240604_181655611_2.jpg
The spacer would be placed under the strings, just past the nut toward the pegbox, and would relieve that pressure pulling sideways before the tension gets to the nut.  The spacer should be about 1/8" wider than the fingerboard, and that extra width should hang off the bass side with a small "leg" that can hold onto the corner of the fingerboard to keep it from pulling. The spacer should be made of a hardwood, with slots cut at the same spacing as the slots on the nut. Make sure the slots are deep, so the strings arent being lifted off the nut by the spacer. I would recommend doing this, because it doesnt damage or alter the dulcimer. The piece could be made easily and can be removed at any time.


updated by @nate: 06/04/24 02:59:41PM
NateBuildsToys
@nate
06/02/24 06:37:32PM
278 posts

Folk Instruments?


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

iwbiek:

Hello! I live in Europe (born and raised in KY) and today I was browsing the website of a chain of music stores here called "Muziker." I was intrigued by the fact that their acoustic guitar section was divided into three sections: "dreadnought," "jumbo," and "folk." The first two were self-explanatory, but I was curious about the third. It seemed to be mostly parlor and 0-shaped guitars, with one very pretty archtop thrown in. Furthermore, I've heard banjo players here refer to longnecked banjos as "folk banjos." The plot thickens.

 
All three of those are guitar "shapes" but its pretty weird that those would be the three categories. I'm guessing to them, folk guitar denotes a smaller body size, intended for more intimate performance? That would be in contrast to jumbo or dreadnought which are two larger styles, but with different shaped shapes and structure. Just a guess.
updated by @nate: 06/02/24 06:38:04PM
NateBuildsToys
@nate
06/01/24 03:35:55PM
278 posts

Folk Instruments?


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

Gstringer:

Since I come from simple folk, it was explained to me quite simply:  a folk instrument wasn’t a commercial instrument, and widely available.

 
I agree, and also I think modern consumerism has really blurred the lines with this. Folk art is very popular and nowadays you can readily find folk instruments sold at music shops, often as a gimmick.
My local music shop sells jaw harps branded with Snoopy from Charlie Brown, spoons connected at the handles, as well as neckties made out of washboard material. They also sell fancy cigar box guitars with 2 rows of pickups and had a washtub bass with a fretboard. In stores, I have seen at least a dozen guitars that use a license place as a soundboard, and have never once seen a person play one in real life. 
There are also tons of extremely fancy highly modern banjos stylized to look more folksy or traditional, typically by making them fretless, or tackhead, or by using a gourd. I can't help but laugh at the irony in a fretless tackhead gourd banjo with mother of pearl fret marker inlays. 


updated by @nate: 06/01/24 03:40:39PM
NateBuildsToys
@nate
05/31/24 06:49:11PM
278 posts

Folk Instruments?


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

What makes it a folk instrument? Being played by folks, of course! Not fancy musicianers or college educated theoreticians, or masters of stage.... just folks. Lol, but seriously I think that the interpersonal nature of folk tradition and instruction really defines a folk instrument, like Dusty said.

I also think that, more importantly, folk music and folk instrument tend to be words that people self describe with, denoting a modesty and sincerity to either the style of music or to the instrument. The word "folk" tells me that I can expect music that is intimate and genuine and not under some allusion of being excessively formal or pretentious.


updated by @nate: 05/31/24 06:51:14PM
NateBuildsToys
@nate
05/16/24 02:57:51PM
278 posts

How Many Dulcimers Do You Own?


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I have been giving away my dulcimers to people around town, and out of the 10 or so that I had a couple months ago, I now own 3. One problem with making experimental dulcimers is that I end up with *tons* that don't look or sound that good. I'd still feel bad just breaking them down for their hardware, though, so they pile up until I offload them on local musicians. lol

NateBuildsToys
@nate
04/29/24 02:27:29AM
278 posts

anchor pin pulled out


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

Dusty Turtle:

I think the reason Richard suggested using loop end strings was not to save time, but to minimize the possibility that the wood might degrade and lose the grip on the screw. If you never have to unscrew the screw, the wood would be more likely to stay intact.

 

It seems to me that the screw pulled out because it was way too short. If you use a 3/4" long screw, even if the wood eventually does degrade, the screw will just sit in it like a pin. Because the first screw is so shallow, I would think a more appropriate length screw would make threads below the area that tore out. A drop of candle wax or some graphite shaved off a pencil lead can be dropped into the screw holes to relieve the friction when screwing and unscrewing, and preserve the grooves that the screw fits into.

Dusty Turtle:

you can also make a loop end string out of a ball end string by removing the ball. Just squeeze it with some plyers and pry it out.

 
I will have to try that. That is a total game changer for me, thanks for the tip Dusty. I try to buy anything I can from my local music store, since it's the only one in town that was able to stay open through the pandemic. I didn't know it was that easy to take the ball out of the loop on strings, and I think that will come in handy a lot with all the guitar strings I have.
NateBuildsToys
@nate
04/28/24 11:20:53PM
278 posts

anchor pin pulled out


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

When I am using wood screws for ball end strings, I will usually use this type
Capture.JPG
So that the screw is nice and secure

NateBuildsToys
@nate
04/28/24 11:10:22PM
278 posts

anchor pin pulled out


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

In my experience, loop end strings for dulcimers tend to be in very particular light gauges that aren't ideal for much tension in DAD tuning with shorter VSLs. I prefer much thicker gauge strings, which usually means buying guitar strings, either individually, or just a set that includes the gauges i want.
Personally, I use screws as well as ball end strings on a lot of my dulcimers and don't find that it adds much time at all to replacing strings, less than a minute of screwing and unscrewing total. I would say that pins or headless nails look much nicer though.

NateBuildsToys
@nate
04/28/24 07:37:41PM
278 posts

anchor pin pulled out


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

Those screws look pretty short, I'd say replace them all with longer ones. Putting two strings on one screw or nail seems like a lot of stress, even if it were a longer one. Since the two ball ends are stacked, the 'top' one will be applying a lot of leverage. It looks like there is a small crack running from the screw hole already, but maybe that's just a surface scratch. If the instrument will be 4 string in the future, consider drilling a 4th hole next to the melody string anchor and replacing all 4 with longer screws or finishing nails.


updated by @nate: 04/28/24 07:38:29PM
NateBuildsToys
@nate
04/17/24 11:35:59PM
278 posts

Question about the 6 1/2 fret


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

This was a really cool learning opportunity

Thanks for suggesting this topic

Nate

NateBuildsToys
@nate
04/16/24 05:48:02PM
278 posts

Question about the 6 1/2 fret


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

Dusty, the link between using the 6.5 fret and also fretting on the middle string is exactly what I was thinking. 

Ken, that is cool and informative I had never even considered that other fret layouts could be used.

NateBuildsToys
@nate
04/16/24 02:15:18PM
278 posts

Question about the 6 1/2 fret


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

A related question I have is: are there any historical examples of dulcimers with partial/staple frets that also include a 6.5 or 1.5? Also, was 1-5-8 in use before the 6.5 was added?

NateBuildsToys
@nate
04/13/24 11:22:01AM
278 posts

Does soundbox tension affect volume and tone


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

Thank you Ken Dan Robin and Randy for the information, I suspect that investigating these designs will provide me with useful information

NateBuildsToys
@nate
04/12/24 07:54:39PM
278 posts

Does soundbox tension affect volume and tone


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

A while ago on here I saw a dulcimer that had gap under the tail end of the fingerboard, with the string tension pulling it up from the box. The idea was that by having the tail end of the fingerboard (where the strings were mounted) detached from the box, the string tension would pull hard on the area with the string pins, lifting it so that it hovers a couple millimeters above the soundboard potentially increasing volume. Does anyone know what this feature is called, so I can look into it more?


updated by @nate: 04/12/24 07:56:07PM
NateBuildsToys
@nate
04/12/24 05:34:12PM
278 posts

Does soundbox tension affect volume and tone


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

John Petry:

Having set up many violins & cellos etc over the years....You may want to explore using a sound post. Not really a "dulcimer" thing, but you're an outside the box kinda guy anyway. If you Google "adjustable soundposts" you will find much info good and bad about using them in so- called "real" instruments... Bottom line, is that moving the amount and location of tension to the vibrating surfaces [top and bottom] can and does change the tonal qualities. I suggest an adjustable only because there are no standard rules when it comes to dulcimers and the dimensions. Instead of having to re mount your strings, an adjustable may give you more room to play around, or just source some dowel rod and have at it..[or pencils, chopsticks,...] Changing the tensions to the body and try and find the "sweet" spot[s] if any? Then we'll have to find out if heart holes with pointy bottoms sound as good as rounded ones......

just the meanderings of a wandering mind......

 
John that's very insightful. I have built a few dulcimers with various soundposts, but hadn't thought about how some of that information can be applied to this question. Thanks for the food for thought.
NateBuildsToys
@nate
04/12/24 03:18:18PM
278 posts

Does soundbox tension affect volume and tone


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

Ken Hulme:

I think if you had half of the string tension pulling up and half the string tension pushing down, the result is not increased tension but rather a neutralized/balance of tension not helping at all...

 
Ken, I think you may be right about that. My hope is that the forces won't exactly be "balanced" but opposing. That by pulling and pushing, the entire area would become much more rigid, and possibly more responsive. 

My other main question is: if I shouldn't go half and half, what arrangement is optimal? All strings mounted to the fingerboard? All strings mounted to the box. I suspect that mounting them to the fingerboard rather than a tailpiece may produce more volume.
NateBuildsToys
@nate
04/11/24 12:37:55PM
278 posts

Does soundbox tension affect volume and tone


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

I am trying to ask about how to utilize the string tension to put the box under extra pressure, and if this can be good for tone or volume.

Here is a drawing that hopefully helps explainoriginal

Let's assume the dulcimers have identical dimensions and the same break angle, and the only difference is whether they are mounted to the fingerboard or the box.

In figure A, when the strings are anchored to the fingerboard, the 60-100 pounds of string tension should be trying to pry the fingerboard up off the box. I am wondering if this "pulling" is adding extra stress and tension to the box, and if having the wood under more stresses makes it more rigid and stiff and allows it to transmit vibration better.

In figure B, when the strings are anchored to the side of the box, the 60-100 pounds of string tension is laying across the end of the fingerboard, pushing it down into the top of the box. I am also wondering if this improves overall responsiveness of the instrument, by distributing that 'pulling force" across the tailpiece into the side panels. 

I hypothesize that if you could mount half your strings to a tailpiece and the other half to the fingerboard, the forces would be pulling the fingerboard up while also pushing it down, adding a huge amount of stress to it, possibly making it more stiff and responsive.


updated by @nate: 04/11/24 12:41:49PM
NateBuildsToys
@nate
04/09/24 03:51:08PM
278 posts

Does soundbox tension affect volume and tone


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

Hey folks, this question might be poorly asked but here goes.

Does a soundbox that is under more tension have any additional clarity or additional volume? Is this the reason that 'lighter' builds are more responsive?

When I think about a musical saw, the volume seems to directly correspond to the amount of tension out on the saw blade.

Similarly, a washtub bass seems to be quite a bit louder on its high pitched notes, when the string is pulling the hardest on the tub.

I have been thinking a lot about where the strings are anchored on my dulcimers. Anchoring them to the fingerboard should apply an upward 'pulling' force on the area of the fingerboard with the pins. Meanwhile if the pins are anchored on an actual tailpiece of the box, they are stretched across the end of the fingerboard and are 'pushing' it down into the soundboard.

Does one of these produce more resonance than the other? 

original

Here is a picture of a test dulcimer I built where the strings can be mounted to either the box or the fingerboard. (Sorry it's a bit ugly, form follows function) I am thinking of mounting both outer strings to the fingerboard, and the middle string to the box. My speculation is that this will put a huge amount of extra tension on the fingerboard, and the middle string will help prevent the fingerboard from being pulled off the soundboard. sadly I can't test this out until the local music shop opens back up in a few days.

Any information of how much tension matters, and how to properly harness that would be greatly appreciated


updated by @nate: 04/09/24 03:54:26PM
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