traildad
@traildad
one month ago
70 posts

Thanks for the positive thoughts. It will be my go to instrument when playing with others. It has a good sound and volume. 

Silverstrings
Silverstrings
@silverstrings
one month ago
42 posts

That is wonderful news, Traildad. Enjoy your new dulcimer. I still play my little Deluxe 58 Black Mountain Dulcimer quite frequently. It has a sweet and clear tone. Happy holidays.

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
one month ago
1,397 posts

Glad it worked out, traildad!




--
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.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
one month ago
1,923 posts

I'm so glad this worked out so well Traildad!  Thanks for the happy update!  thumbsup




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
traildad
@traildad
one month ago
70 posts

I brought my dulcimer back to Dave and he adjusted the action. It now looks like the nickel and dime fit perfectly. Also the buzz is gone. 👌

Silverstrings
Silverstrings
@silverstrings
one month ago
42 posts

Yes, I think taking to him is the way to move forward. Keep us posted. I am hoping that you will get it resolved so you can play to your heart’s content without the buzzing. 

traildad
@traildad
one month ago
70 posts

Silverstrings:

Traildad, were you able to get together with Dave of Black Mountain Instruments regarding your new dulcimer issues?

I have been wondering what effect colder temperatures might be having. I don’t heat my house and it seemed to start with the cooler temperatures. I just took it to my dads yesterday and warmed it up in my truck twice and left it at work all day so it was warmed to normal room temperature. The buzz is still there. Now that I know it isn’t temperature related I will arrange a time to take it to him. 

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
one month ago
1,923 posts

Nathina:

Now to adjust the action the nut is to adjust the first fret, the bridge for the 7th, or is there something else?

Well, just that one will also need to be sure the string gauges are appropriate to both the tuning to be used, and the scale length/VSL of the dulcimer. Otherwise even with correct action you might wind up with buzzes (strings too loose), or strings that are too high tension and perhaps unpleasant to play. Keep in mind also that beginner players often like very low action for their sore fingers, and people who strum vigorously might need slightly higher action to avoid strings hitting the frets. (This being a separate consideration from the "noter players like higher action" thing.)




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Nathina
Nathina
@nathina
one month ago
187 posts

Ken Hulme:

The dime sits alongside the 1st fret.  The nickel sets on top of the 7th fret.  The strings should just touch the coins.

Right, I agree. Now to adjust the action the nut is to adjust the first fret, the bridge for the 7th, or is there something else?

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
one month ago
1,798 posts

The dime sits alongside the 1st fret.  The nickel sets on top of the 7th fret.  The strings should just touch the coins.

Nathina
Nathina
@nathina
one month ago
187 posts

Hopefully not to add confusion to the action, after reading a thread earlier, the dime should fit under the 1st fret space. According to Ken, not on the fret, and the nickel should fit under the 7th fret space. Adjusting the action for the 1st fret space would be at the nut, for the 7th would be at the bridge. Is this correct? Does the string just touch the dime or the nickel?

There was obviously some discourse on that thread that made it unclear.

Thanks.

Silverstrings
Silverstrings
@silverstrings
one month ago
42 posts

Traildad, were you able to get together with Dave of Black Mountain Instruments regarding your new dulcimer issues?

Don B
Don B
@don-b
2 months ago
9 posts

Dusty, just to be clear I am not having issues with my McCafferty dulcimer. I was just checking the dime and nickel trick. I love my McCafferty dulcimer and I always get great compliments on the looks/quality from other players. Terry is having  a sale this weekend, but I did not act quick enough and the one I wanted is sold out. Snooze and you Loose!!

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
2 months ago
1,397 posts

@don-b, Are you having a problem with your McCafferty or did you just try to test it with the nickel and dime trick? It sounds like the only buzz you are getting is from improperly fretting the strings, meaning user error.  I have a McCafferty, too, and have no problem with the action or the fretwork.  If you are getting a buzz (and it's not from your own faulty fingering), then contact Terry.  He will make it right. In general, the action on his dulcimers is very low, since flatpickers generally want low action which is conducive to fast playing, but the fretwork is impeccable, and you should not have a buzz from faulty workmanship.  I contacted him recently because the pick-up jack in my dulcimer has come loose and rattles around, and I will be sending the dulcimer to him very soon, not only to fix the jack (which he has started to glue in but only after he made my dulcimer), but also to have a custom bridge made.  He is very friendly and takes his craft very seriously.

Don B: regarding the dime and nickel - on my McCafferty dulcimer the dime at first fret is very tight and the string needs to rise ever so slightly to get the dime under it. At the 7th fret the nickel is loose fitting with the string just over the nickel with out touching. So should I be concerned. This appears to be equal with all strings. I also do not hear any buzzing unless I do not push down on the string correctly. When people say they get buzzing, is that with plucking open string or fretting them?




--
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.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
2 months ago
1,798 posts

Don:  as long as you're not getting any buzzing the action isn't too low and you don't have to worry.  But if you change strings and then get some buzzing it may be because the new strings are a tad larger or less tight.  Buzzes usually happen when you fret.  If you get buzzes from un-fretted strings there is definitely an issue.

Nathina
Nathina
@nathina
2 months ago
187 posts

Don B:

regarding the dime and nickel - on my McCafferty dulcimer the dime at first fret is very tight and the string needs to rise ever so slightly to get the dime under it. At the 7th fret the nickel is loose fitting with the string just over the nickel with out touching. So should I be concerned. This appears to be equal with all strings. I also do not hear any buzzing unless I do not push down on the string correctly. When people say they get buzzing, is that with plucking open string or fretting them?

I assume that the buzzing is occurring with an open string. If buzzing during fretting it is an incorrect placement of the fingers. Actually some guitarists like to use the buzz with a distortion pedal for sound effects.

Silverstrings
Silverstrings
@silverstrings
2 months ago
42 posts

I agree with Ken Hulme. Let David Johnston take a look at it. It will be worth the wait to get any concerns figured out. Keep us posted. I know you are excited to finally have that dulcimer. I know you had a wait a while. 

Don B
Don B
@don-b
2 months ago
9 posts

regarding the dime and nickel - on my McCafferty dulcimer the dime at first fret is very tight and the string needs to rise ever so slightly to get the dime under it. At the 7th fret the nickel is loose fitting with the string just over the nickel with out touching. So should I be concerned. This appears to be equal with all strings. I also do not hear any buzzing unless I do not push down on the string correctly. When people say they get buzzing, is that with plucking open string or fretting them?

traildad
@traildad
2 months ago
70 posts

Ken Hulme:

If you are getting together with the builder, DO NOT DO ANYTHING until he checks it over.  If you live that close to the builder, don't be doing things yourself.  That's just silly.  Let the builder do any modifications he feels are necessary.

I wouldn’t do any more than try a heavier string. Any thoughts on the best way to fix it? Shims or a new saddle?

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
2 months ago
1,798 posts

If you are getting together with the builder, DO NOT DO ANYTHING until he checks it over.  If you live that close to the builder, don't be doing things yourself.  That's just silly.  Let the builder do any modifications he feels are necessary.

Nathina
Nathina
@nathina
2 months ago
187 posts

Strings stretch, wood contracts or expands with humidity. Every wooden instrument needs to be retuned every few days. Try a hammered dulcimer. 15 minutes of retuning normally.

IRENE
IRENE
@irene
2 months ago
179 posts

Yeah on the question, Yeah on the answers and Yeah for us learning lots here.   Happy winter playing to all of you.  aloha, irene

traildad
@traildad
2 months ago
70 posts

Ken Hulme:

You've got the nickel & dime idea WRONG. 

The strings should just touch a dime setting next to the first fret.

They should also just touch a nickel balanced on top of the 7th fret not the 6th fret.

If open strings are sharp before playing  -- how sharp is sharp?? A few cents?  Half way across the dial?  If the instrument is in tune when you put it away --- and is sharp when you come back to play again -- you have some serious environmental issues going on.  Where are you storing it.  in direct sunlight at any time?  In a cold back room?

Ok I rechecked it. The dime does fit nicely between the string and fretboard at the first fret. The nickel won’t fit anywhere between the frets and strings. Should that be corrected before I try other fixes? What would be the fix? Shim the saddle or replace it?

traildad
@traildad
2 months ago
70 posts

I have emailed David about the buzz when fretting at the 9th fret. We are supposed to set a time to get together. Later it started buzzing when played open. It is stored in its case in my closet but it is cold. It did seem to begin as the weather changed. So if the heavier string fixes the buzz do I leave the action set as I described it or bring it up so the nickel will fit as prescribed?

edit to say the dime fits correctly.


updated by @traildad: 11/27/20 11:51:13AM
Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
2 months ago
1,122 posts

Weather changes can cause buzzes.  Please, go with the easy experiment suggested by Strumelia.  




--
Robin T
one of the Moderators here :)
Keep a song in your heart!
Silverstrings
Silverstrings
@silverstrings
2 months ago
42 posts

I agree that it might be because of the winter changing the tension on the strings. I would also reach out to David Johnston of Black Mountain Instruments. You bought the dulcimer new so he should be willing to make it right. I would call him up and discuss your problem. I tried to email him a while back and he does not respond.  

Any luthier worth his salt would make his product right for you.  

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
2 months ago
1,923 posts

This is a common thing- once winter sets in, the bass string begins to have a buzz against one or more frets. The Winter Buzz. That's due to the shrinking/expanding of the instrument and the resulting lessening of tension on the strings. The bass string has a wider vibrating arc when played and it's also the fattest string, so it happens there most often.

The first and easiest thing to try and also the least invasive:  replace the bass string with one that is a step thicker.  If it's a .24 wound string, replace it with a .26 wound string, for example.  The tighter tension will pull the bass string tauter and prevent it from swinging around so much when played. 
Please, try this simple string change before you start sanding things and altering bridges!




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
2 months ago
1,798 posts

You've got the nickel & dime idea WRONG. 

The strings should just touch a dime setting next to the first fret.

They should also just touch a nickel balanced on top of the 7th fret not the 6th fret.

If open strings are sharp before playing  -- how sharp is sharp?? A few cents?  Half way across the dial?  If the instrument is in tune when you put it away --- and is sharp when you come back to play again -- you have some serious environmental issues going on.  Where are you storing it.  in direct sunlight at any time?  In a cold back room?

traildad
@traildad
2 months ago
70 posts

It’s a new dulcimer so I won’t try any self help first. I will sight down the fretboard though. I’ve noticed several times that it is tuned sharp when I check it before playing. Warping was my thought on how it would go sharp on its own. 

robert schuler
robert schuler
@robert-schuler
2 months ago
241 posts

Sight down the Fingerboard it may be warped. Try putting a very thin shim under the bass side of the bridge. A shim should be no thicker than a guitar pick. That might solve the problem. You might just have a fret that's too high in some spot. Check to see if all frets are set properly. A gentle tap with a hammer might fix that. Perhaps the frets were not leveled properly by the builder. Dulcimers are not rock guitars, raising the action with a taller bridge is fine, and the tone and volume will definitely sound better.... Robert

IRENE
IRENE
@irene
2 months ago
179 posts

Well, I've filed frets, but you need to talk to the maker of this dulcimer.  You might need to raise the bridge and I suggest that before you go a filing frets down.   The nickel deal is just a suggestion. You might need raise the bridge.  If this is a brand new dulcimer, let's see what others have to say here.   aloha, irene

traildad
@traildad
2 months ago
70 posts

I noticed a buzz on the bass string fretting at the 9th fret a while back. Now the bass string has a buzz unfretted. I got a dime and a nickel and checked the action. The dime fits in at the 6th and the nickel won’t fit in at any fret. This is for all strings. What should I expect to be done to repair it? Replace the bridge and nut or file frets? It’s a new dulcimer so I want it done right. Thanks