Hondo HD2 - peg problems, worn finish

John Gribble
John Gribble
@john-gribble
3 months ago
94 posts

Kusani:

"You will need a very thin-bladed screwdriver though, so you don't strip the heads of those teenie screws."  Or you may need a very small phillips head screwdriver. 

 

More likely.

Also, the holes on the new machine head plate may not line up with the old holes. Ideally you have a drill and a set of small bits. If not, a push pin or thumbtack will make a suitable hole.


updated by @john-gribble: 03/08/20 04:10:11AM
dulcididdle
@dulcididdle
3 months ago
4 posts

Thanks everyone, I will give it a try! Thanks, too, for the explanation that the popping could be caused by string tension adjusting. I had a hunch that that might've been happening!

Kusani
Kusani
@kusani
3 months ago
127 posts

"You will need a very thin-bladed screwdriver though, so you don't strip the heads of those teenie screws."  Or you may need a very small phillips head screwdriver. 

 

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
3 months ago
1,736 posts

Dusty is spot on about the string pop sound!

Yes anyone who can use a screwdriver can change tuners -- especially a set on a bar.  You just need to make sure the new set has the round gear oriented towards the body of the dulcimer, not on the outward side.  This helps the tuners work properly; otherwise they can slip and not stay in tune.

You will need a very thin-bladed screwdriver though, so you don't strip the heads of those teenie screws.  

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
3 months ago
1,255 posts

@dulcididdle, I just want to follow up on the least important of your initial questions: the popping sound you heard and the string going very flat.  When you put on a new string and start winding, there simply isn't as much tension on that string as there will be later, when you get it up to pitch.  So often it winds loosely around the post.  Then, either while you are tuning or sometimes a little while later, the tension will pull that loosely wound part tighter.  That is probably what happened when you heard the popping sound. And yes, strings go flat as that happens.  When I put new strings on I manually pull on the string to increase the tension, and then as I get close to pitch I repeatedly pull the string up, stretching it, trying to get the winding as tight as possible and all the stretching out before I start playing.  New strings always needs to stretch a bit (going flat in the process), but you can speed that process up so there will be less re-tuning later if you just pull on the new string as I've described.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
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dulcididdle
@dulcididdle
3 months ago
4 posts

Also, can the average person do the tuner replacement? I can use a screwdriver, measure, and stuff like that, but have few other carpentry/luthier skills.

dulcididdle
@dulcididdle
3 months ago
4 posts

Thank you, Ken, very helpful advice! On to find some new tuners and the urethane. Cheers!

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
3 months ago
1,736 posts

I would just replace the tuners.  You can get a pair of cheap 4x4 mandolin tuners (4 tuners on a plate) for $15-$25 on Ebay.  Make sure you use the 'stick' which has the round gears on the body side, like the ones you show in the photo.  

Finish -- I would use a rub-on urethane (no rattle-can)

Strings winding neatly -- I always go through the hole, around the peg, and back through the hole as I pull the string on.  Then I  take a quarter turn or so of the knob to bring the string up in tension.  After I get to the note I need, I trim the ends of the strings close to the tuner shaft.  No sense in winding around the tuner shafts multiple times.  No matter where a string breaks, you'll never be able to shorten it and re-use it!

dulcididdle
@dulcididdle
3 months ago
4 posts

Two maintenance questions that I'd appreciate help on:

1. Recently I brought a Hondo HD-2 dulcimer out of storage and replaced the strings that had been on since the early 1980s. Before changing the strings I'd noticed inconsistencies in the tuning gears. I would turn and turn the pegs but they didn't seem to change the string tension, then they would get very hard to turn, then past a certain point they would turn again. When I changed strings this problem became much worse. Within 30 minutes of changing the bass string, the string made a popping sound while I was playing, although it didn't break. It went very flat, though, and the tuning peg is very tight--so tight that I'm afraid to turn it. Also it looks like the entire tuning assembly is loose near the melody strings (I'm looking at the air space between the tuning assembly plate and the headstock in the side profile photo). I'm interested in suggestions on how to get the gears running more smoothly, and any other maintenance that this area might need. I'm also looking for tips on getting the strings to wind neatly around the pegs, and I'm not sure if the string end needs 'locking' (like on a mandolin) when it's first threaded through the peg hole?

Photos of the tuning mechanism:

IMG_6981.JPGIMG_6980.JPG

IMG_6982.JPG

2. I would like to put some oil or wax on the instrument to give it some protection (I live in a very arid place). In these photos note that the finish has worn off of the fingerboard. I'm wondering what to apply to the body of the instrument and to the fingerboard. The instrument has a matte/satin look and the body is plywood.

IMG_6978.JPGIMG_6983.JPG

I know this is a lot of info and questions, and really appreciate any help in fixing these issues. Thanks in advance!