Help me identify this MD (if at all possible)

ex machina
ex machina
@ex-machina
2 months ago
6 posts

Ken Hulme:

File for "fit" reasons not aesthetics.  A string will normally set firmly into a V notch, but can slip around inside a saw kerf.  I have a set of small jewelers flies - triangle, square, round, half round -- that attach to an included handle.  I think the set was $10 at Ace hardware.

Gotcha, I'll have to look for jewelers files, sound useful. My razor saw seems to have worked ok, had to finesse it a bit for the wound string, but none appear to be moving around in their slot. Thanks for the tip.

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
2 months ago
1,764 posts

File for "fit" reasons not aesthetics.  A string will normally set firmly into a V notch, but can slip around inside a saw kerf.  I have a set of small jewelers flies - triangle, square, round, half round -- that attach to an included handle.  I think the set was $10 at Ace hardware.

ex machina
ex machina
@ex-machina
2 months ago
6 posts

Ken Hulme:

FWIW, we almost never leave a nut or bridge full height and cut slots down into it; we cut the height of a blank down to something reasonable and use a triangular file to make the notches (they don't have to be very deep -- not more than 2x the diameter of the string).

Thanks, Ken, a rookie mistake not to cut down the nut to a reasonable size beforehand. Do folks prefer triangular notches for esthetic reasons or otherwise? One reason I took so long to get around to the task was that none of my files seemed small enough, then I remembered I had a small 50-year-old saw from my model rocket building days that fit the bill. ;) 

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
2 months ago
1,764 posts

FWIW, we almost never leave a nut or bridge full height and cut slots down into it; we cut the height of a blank down to something reasonable and use a triangular file to make the notches (they don't have to be very deep -- not more than 2x the diameter of the string).

ex machina
ex machina
@ex-machina
2 months ago
6 posts

Strumelia:

Assuming the dulcimer's "zero fret" was positioned in the correct place, I have to ask- did you cut slots deep enough so that the strings rest on the zero fret?  Because if the strings are now higher so that they no longer touch the zero fret, then the intonation might be off on all the frets because you'll have changed the scale but not the fret layout. Sorry, I just had to ask because you can't tell from the photos.

Looks like a decent dulcimer, and the price was certainly right!

Hi Strumelia, thanks for the response -- it took a few tries to get them cut low enough for the zero fret to do its job. If I had to do it again I'd have shaved a bit off the top before slotting. Live and learn!

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
2 months ago
1,824 posts

Assuming the dulcimer's "zero fret" was positioned in the correct place, I have to ask- did you cut slots deep enough so that the strings rest on the zero fret?  Because if the strings are now higher so that they no longer touch the zero fret, then the intonation might be off on all the frets because you'll have changed the scale but not the fret layout. Sorry, I just had to ask because you can't tell from the photos.

Looks like a decent dulcimer, and the price was certainly right!




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
ex machina
ex machina
@ex-machina
2 months ago
6 posts

Hi folks, I picked up a damaged mountain dulcimer from a thrift store for $20 before the lockdown and finally got around to cutting and slotting a replacement bone nut and bridge. It lacks a maker mark and suspect it might be a kit build with its zero fret and laminate top, though it's a tad fancy with binding and a rear ornament I might not expect to see on a kit, but I'm no expert. Couldn't find a direct replacement at the length and slot width I had to work with, so I found a bone saddle blank and gave it a shot myself. Not a perfect job but ok for a first-timer, I reckon.

Anyway, it plays pretty well and sounds decent to my inexperienced hands and ear, so I'm having fun with it. Anyone have a clue about its maker or parts source to satisfy my curiosity? Wood guesses also welcome -- thanks!

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updated by @ex-machina: 09/28/20 04:16:50PM