marg
@marg
2 months ago
535 posts

Beautiful dulcimer and I like that the fretboard is cut away. I have one like that and it allows me to put a Seymour Duncan pickup under the strings; so pedals, processors or amp can read the strings - not the vibration.

skip:  Interesting (so the string breaks over the slot further back.) I did not know this

JimGoodin
JimGoodin
@jimgoodin
2 months ago
4 posts

Skip thanks - I think I should leave it alone now as it's much improved but thank you re filing the string slot.  I had also and hand not mentioned but I put a new bridge on it last night as well as new tuner keys.  The bridge by the way is fixed though I know the floating allows some advantages in terms of adjusting on the fly.  I'm planning to get another at some point from a builder whose work I like but this Etsy one which has certainly taught me some things already re improving it's playability, for a modest investment is offering a good start with decent woods.  Here's a pic.

Jim

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Skip
Skip
@skip
2 months ago
273 posts

If you have a floating bridge it can be re-positioned, which can help some. Another trick is to make the base string VSL a bit longer by modding its slot in the bridge. That's done by refiling i so the string breaks over the slot further back. It may be too late to try this though since you've already lowered the bridge [many times, refilling the slot lowers the string]. 

JimGoodin
JimGoodin
@jimgoodin
2 months ago
4 posts

Skip thanks.  I didn't note and just checked dime and nick again (this time right order as I think I had it backwards earlier) but they are much better in spect.  Just barely touching where they weren't and yes got it, re little can do huge and it did albeit positive thusfar.  Thanks again folks.

JimGoodin
JimGoodin
@jimgoodin
2 months ago
4 posts

Happy to report that I did 20 sand strokes with 320 (didn't have 400) to nut and saddle and it's notably better.  @+/-10 cents where it had been more like 20!  I will say I'm learning a lot re my ability to work on an instrument.  I have background of few years in other instruments and have danced with bit of work on other instruments but have done the most with this dulcimer which I bought the wrong way, took a chance on etsy but I am bringing it around so cool.  Thanks Ken for the lead!

Skip
Skip
@skip
2 months ago
273 posts

Dime next to the 1st fret, nickel on the 7th fret. If its high on the 7th, then mod the bridge, then check both places. Be careful about modding the nut, a little bit can have drastic results and barely affects the 7th fret. I suggest doing the 7th first, leaving the space a bit high then doing the nut, if needed. If you have a zero fret, all change is done at the bridge since the nut there is basically a locator/separator.

JimGoodin
JimGoodin
@jimgoodin
2 months ago
4 posts

I'm new to the community and latching on to this as I appreciate finding the thread for current needs I'm having.  In my case my dulcimer is a bit high at the first fret meaning it's clearing the nickel instead of just touching and sharpening by the third fret.  I don't have an exact measurement but it feels high.  I realize other factors can be affecting intonation but don't at this time feel I have any warping.  I did go over the frets with a rocker finding inconsistencies and did some leveling which helped with some buzzs on bass string and couple spots on the high pair.  This dulcimer though new to me was used or been in storage.  It was made in 2003 according to it's inner label and appears in good shape but the intonation is few cents sharp in spots which I've been trying to improve so I'm hoping taking Ken's advice and sanding some on the nut in my case and possibly the saddle might avail.  Thoughts?

Blondie
Blondie
@blondie
2 years ago
28 posts

Yes, I was thinking this through and it didn't make sense - but adjusting the bridge makes perfect sense!!  Again thanks to all for your help.  Much appreciated.

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
2 years ago
1,769 posts

Doh!!  Yer right, Bob!   My bad... musta been a Senior Moment.  Adjust the Bridge, not the Nut, Blondie!

Bob
Bob
@bob
2 years ago
88 posts

Ken, I think if the string height at the first fret is fine, but too high at the 7th fret, the bridge/saddle (not the nut) needs to be lowered.

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
2 years ago
1,769 posts

Lowering the action is really pretty easy:  

Slack the strings and remove the nut.  

Lay a sheet of 400 grit sandpaper face up on a flat surface.

Sand 10 or 15 strokes off of the bottom. 

Slip the nut back in place, tighten the outer strings, and check the action height with your nickel.

Repeat as needed...

Blondie
Blondie
@blondie
2 years ago
28 posts

Thanks and I did try this with the dime and nickel.  The dime test was good, however, the string was way above the nickel at the 7th fret.  Apparently, I have an instrument where the action needs to be lowered.  Thanks to all who shared information.  Now to find someone to do it!

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
2 years ago
1,769 posts

Phil has the right idea.  It's what we call the Nickel & Dime Action Height.  Slide a dime next to the 1st fret.  The strings should just touch to top of the dime.  Then slip a nickel on top of the 7th fret; again the strings should just touch the nickel.  If the strings don't touch, then the action can certainly be lowered.  

It's nice to know that MMD uses the Nickel & Dime for their base action.  

Phil Myers
Phil Myers
@phil-myers
2 years ago
25 posts

I just talked to John Hawk who is a dealer for MMD. He told me the action should be the width of a nickel sitting on top of the seventh fret. Most people buy MMD's because of the low action. I have 2 myself and to me the action is perfect.

Blondie
Blondie
@blondie
2 years ago
28 posts

Look what I found on youtubehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysNByKoB5tE 

I used his template and it measures 2.5mm at the 7th fret.

Blondie
Blondie
@blondie
2 years ago
28 posts

How do I measure so you get a better picture?

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
2 years ago
1,769 posts

The ones that I've seen and played were not particularly high.  It's an easy enough fix to set the action down where you want.   How high is "high" at say the 7th fret?

Blondie
Blondie
@blondie
2 years ago
28 posts

I was wondering if other MMD owners find the action to be high?  I recently acquired a fairly new MMD and the action is killing my fingers!