Holly Tannen
Holly Tannen
@holly-tannen
last year
3 posts

Thanks for all your good advice.

I sold the dulcimer to a friend who knew more than I did about bridge placement. He's happily playing it. I still owe him a lesson....

NateBuildsToys
NateBuildsToys
@nate
last year
227 posts

Was the bridge originally glued, or did it simply fall off when string tension was lowered? If it was already glued it could be possible to see on the fingerboard where it was previously, based on color difference/glue residue.

Irene makes a very important point though. Its also been my experience that placing the bridge improperly is somewhat common, so be very careful that you find the absolute best spot for it before gluing, or maybe just see how it sounds unglued. It might be good!

A fixed bridge can be very convenient though.In the dulcimer group I used to play in, pretty much every time I tuned up a dulcimer I'd check the octave and I'd say over 20 cents off was the standard. Their problem, though, was that they had floating bridges and werent being careful while restringing. A little bump here and there can destroy intonation pretty fast.

A fixed bridge can be nice if you know exactly where you want it to be, but be careful, or you could end up making another one of the dulcimers irene describe. Especially, be careful if you do end up using a book or rock or something makeshift to clamp it while the glue dries. The smallest little shift to the bridge caused by applying the pressure at an angle could move the bridge slightly and could make a big difference in the intonation, and you wont know til the glue dries!

Nate

Maddie Myers
Maddie Myers
@maddie-myers
last year
2 posts

IRENE:

oh oh....Maybe the bridge was supposed to be movable!!!!!   I NEVER glue my bridges down.   I adjust intonation of my dulcimers by making my bridges FLOATING.   I know there's been discussions on this before.   And I know that some ONLY glue them down or make a little trough to set the bridge in.   However, when I've found these old home made dulcimers and fixed 'em up......OFTEN that little trough is way off and that dulcimer was never in tune.  Before you glue it down, string up the dulcimer.  The strings will hold that floating bridge down.  Using a app on your phone or a tuner....... On the lowest string first pluck it to a D or C........ THEN pluck the 7th fret.  If it is a perfect octave, your bridge is in the right place.   I go even further to see if the 14th fret is 2 octaves perfect.  Now if it's SHARP, lower your floating bridge by moving it away from the top of the dulcimer.   If's it's FLAT, move that floating bridge up.   ALL IN TINY MOVES.   Now you can do that with each string after that.  Sometimes you'll have the bridge too high....sometimes too low.  And as we've talked on here before.   Your string height up at the NUT of the dulcimer should be close to a DIME (money) distance.   Down at the lower strumming part of the strings, it should be about a Nickle's worth of distance from fret wire to the string.  

I read this over and over, I sure hope this is clear.   Please anyone help correct me if this doen't make sense.  I've loved it when I've made fixed bridges on repair dulcimers become floating bridges.  I "think" I hear the dulcimer say, "whew, finally I'm in tune!!" The dulcimer surely has a sweet tone when they are IN TUNE!!   aloha, irene

IRENE
IRENE
@irene
4 years ago
167 posts

oh oh....Maybe the bridge was supposed to be movable!!!!!   I NEVER glue my bridges down.   I adjust intonation of my dulcimers by making my bridges FLOATING.   I know there's been discussions on this before.   And I know that some ONLY glue them down or make a little trough to set the bridge in.   However, when I've found these old home made dulcimers and fixed 'em up......OFTEN that little trough is way off and that dulcimer was never in tune.  Before you glue it down, string up the dulcimer.  The strings will hold that floating bridge down.  Using a app on your phone or a tuner....... On the lowest string first pluck it to a D or C........ THEN pluck the 7th fret.  If it is a perfect octave, your bridge is in the right place.   I go even further to see if the 14th fret is 2 octaves perfect.  Now if it's SHARP, lower your floating bridge by moving it away from the top of the dulcimer.   If's it's FLAT, move that floating bridge up.   ALL IN TINY MOVES.   Now you can do that with each string after that.  Sometimes you'll have the bridge too high....sometimes too low.  And as we've talked on here before.   Your string height up at the NUT of the dulcimer should be close to a DIME (money) distance.   Down at the lower strumming part of the strings, it should be about a Nickle's worth of distance from fret wire to the string.  

I read this over and over, I sure hope this is clear.   Please anyone help correct me if this doen't make sense.  I've loved it when I've made fixed bridges on repair dulcimers become floating bridges.  I "think" I hear the dulcimer say, "whew, finally I'm in tune!!" The dulcimer surely has a sweet tone when they are IN TUNE!!   aloha, irene

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
4 years ago
2,233 posts

Holly, get the regular TiteBond, not TiteBond II (which is waterproof and therefore very difficult to remove by heat or steam, in the event of needed future fixes on the dulcimer)




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Holly Tannen
Holly Tannen
@holly-tannen
4 years ago
3 posts

Titebond it shall be. Off to the hardware store...

Thanks, Ken and Ken!

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
4 years ago
2,103 posts

That other Ken has given you the straight dope.duck   The "intonation"  as you call it is set by the distance from the inside edge of the nut to the face of the bridge. Just don't use epoxy or "super glue" as they are realllly hard to remove if needed.  Titebond can be released by an appropriate application of heat.

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
4 years ago
1,062 posts

Holly, from what I can see the photo, the bridge sits on top of the fret board. If you can tell where it belongs from glue spots on the fret board you can glue it back in to place with a little bit of wood glue. I use Titebond original. If there is no clear indication of where the bridge belongs you need to measure from the nut to the 7th fret, double that distance and place the bridge face at that spot. The face is the spot where the strings first contact the bridge on the fret side of the bridge. You may need to lightly sand off the old glue on both the bottom of the bridge and fret board to assure adhesion. It will be good to apply pressure to the bridge while glue dries; usually about a half hour, but it doesn't hurt to let it dry longer. Just make sure when you apply the pressure the bridge doesn't shift position. In my shop I would use a clamp to do this, but if you don't have a clamp, a heavy book or brick or any heavy weight will do. Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any questions.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Holly Tannen
Holly Tannen
@holly-tannen
4 years ago
3 posts

Hi y'all -

I'm a newbie here myself -

I have a dulcimer I'd like to sell, and a potential buyer, but the bridge has come off.

I've lost touch with my dulcimer repair person.

How would I do it myself? What kind of glue would I use? If I glue it flush with the edges of the fretboard, dare I hope that the intonation would be correct?

Thanks!

Holly

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