Good! keep us posted on your work with this instrument. Know anything more about Davis?
Here is a tip on finding out how low to get the saddle:
First check to see that the frets are level. To do that, use a good quality set of machinist squares or combination squares. Choose sizes that will span the frets three at a time. Start with setting the blade of a square across frets 1-2-3 and see if the blade of the square rocks on the 2 fret Check on both ends of the frets and the middle.
If it does, that fret is high. Grasp the dulcimer by the fretboard (being careful not to let fingernails dig into the top!) and lift it slightly off the table so you can hammer the fret without having the top get the force of the blow.
Now give that fret a somewhat ungentle tap and test again. Remove the strings and file the fret down only if you cannot get it better seated. Then check the 2-3-4 fret, and so on up the fretboard, choosing smaller squares so the blade only crosses three frets at a time. If you don't have a square small enough to fit across only three frets at the top end, use a single-edge razor blade for a straight-edge or some other known and trusted straight edge (ground and polished machine lathe tool bits, for instance). I would not trust aluminum bar to be straight for this purpos, due to how it is formed.After you're sure the frets are all level, you're ready to see how low you can get that saddle.
Begin by replacing the saddle with the shank of a drill bit 1/64" less in diameter than its height, and tune the bass string to concert pitch, and check at each fret for buzzes. Don't worry about getting the saddle placement right during this. Keep reducing the diameter of your temporary saddle until you find some buzzes happening. Make sure the buzz isn't coming from just one fret that may be still a bit high. If you're getting buzzes from more than one fret, you now know that the saddle has to be at least 1/64" higher than that drill bit.
I like to shave floating saddles to height by putting a small plane upside down in a vice and using it as a one-blade jointer planer. You can get real fine shavings off and easily keep the bottom of the saddle straight. (By the way, make sure the area where the saddle is going to sit is flat before you start any of this work! A rocking saddle will rob the dulcimer of sound.)
updated by @dwain-wilder: 01/31/23 02:30:24AM