DIY? building a dulcimer kits/plans

Don Grundy
Don Grundy
4 years ago
188 posts

I have four Backyard Instruments. Three chromatic DAd tuned; one with regular strings; the other with nylon strings.  The third chromatic is tuned DAAA.The fourth is tuned DAd with 1.5: 6.5: 8.5 and 13.5 frets.  My favorite of these is whichever one is in my lap.

 I also have a Folkcraft chromatic cardboard dulcimer my son built for me.

 I have heard of cardboard Backyard Instruments lasting 30 years.

I don’t know of the availability of plans.

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
4 years ago
2,120 posts

There are no plans for cardboard dulcimers.  There are only kits to put together or completed cardboard instruments.  The kits are under $100. 

You can easily make a trapezoid or box dulcimer body roughly 30" long by 5" to 8" wide by 2" deep using tape and Elmers glue. If you want anything fancier, I suggest you buy a cardboard kit.

A length of straight 1x2 pine or poplar or maple from one of the big box stores is your fretboard for only a couple dollars. 

A set of inexpensive tuners is under $20 and fretwire is under $7 from CBGitty or StewMac.

A set of strings under $8 usually from any music shop. 

The spacing for the frets you can get from WFret or the StewMac calculator or a couple other places for free.  

If you'd like any help in the construction process, join us here in the Groups area under Building Dulcimers, and we can easily talk you through a build...

updated by @ken-hulme: 12/29/20 03:48:57PM
4 years ago
188 posts or Backyard Music, may have plans. Otherwise the backyards are cheap and you can create the design from their product. Backyards are surprisingly good for a cardboard model.

4 years ago
6 posts

Hi All,

I have been away from this forum for a long time but recently a friend asked me about building them a dulcimer.  I have been reading about cardboard/styrofoam kits and it has really piqued my interest.

Does anyone know of a site where I can find plans, or other info that may help me along?