what to clean a dulcimer with

Skip
Skip
@skip
3 weeks ago
354 posts

Will they scrape off? The fretboard probably has no finish to damage [oiled?], so you could try using a new single sided razor blade [or fine {400} grit sandpaper on a popsicle stick edge?] and carefully scrape between the frets without marker dots.


updated by @skip: 11/03/22 04:03:55PM
marg
@marg
3 weeks ago
593 posts

Thanks Ken but the little dots are in the Ebony fret board, they are not the pearl place markers. I will look into the fret board conditioners, that would be good to have on hand. 

I have cleaned the dulcimer and it now looks like new. You can see the difference between grimy strum hollow before & updated photo attached. 

I lower the action, just a hair to make it easier to play and sing as I slide up the fret board. It is a Prussia Valley Butternut & Walnut 3" deep dulcimer, I knew under the grim it would be beautiful with a full tone - and it is.

Thanks for all your help

Oh, I blacken the 1.5 until I get use to it - it will wear off in no time.

Gary Sager.jpg
Gary Sager.jpg  •  58KB


updated by @marg: 11/03/22 03:39:27PM
Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
3 weeks ago
920 posts

The little dots look like they are stick-on and not inlays, so any cleaning or oiling of the fret board is going to loosen them. If you like the dots, you can have a luthier inlay pearl dots in the same spots. It requires drilling holes in the fret board, gluing in the dots, and then leveling them with the fret board. Ebony fret boards do dry out over time depending upon how much they are exposed to sun and air. A good fret board conditioner such as those sold by Fender, Dunlop, Taylor, Music Nomad, Lizard Spit, etc. will restore your fret board. Use as directed.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

marg
@marg
3 weeks ago
593 posts

Ok, I got rid of the grime - thanks, that's all it was in the strum hollow -

The ebony fretboard still has the little dots (not as much but still there) and looking like it's needs oil or something to bring it back & protect it.

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
3 weeks ago
1,616 posts

I've had good experiences with Howard Feed N Wax , but if there is tangible grime like adhesive on the instrument you might want to try to get rid of it first.




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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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John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
4 weeks ago
326 posts

Maybe try cigarette lighter fluid if it's an adhesive of some sort, or try just a little dish soap and water on a rag to start?  

It's likely just sitting on TOP of the wood, not IN it.

marg
@marg
4 weeks ago
593 posts

Need to clean an older dulcimer, I just got and I'm not sure how it was protected in the past - 

What would be the best to use:

Murphy oil soap, or lemon oil, or Howard's wood feed, or an instrument cleaner and what type. Mostly in just this spot of the strum hollow but a few little dots on the ebony fretboard.

Can it be cleaned or is it in the wood?

see attached photo

thanks,

m.

strum hollow.jpg
strum hollow.jpg  •  115KB

small dots ebony .jpg


updated by @marg: 11/01/22 08:28:11PM