Beginner questions about dulcimer care

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
4 months ago
2,124 posts

If you're lucky there is a dust/pressure/scratch some sort of mark on the surface of the fretboard.  Otherwise measure from the inside edge of the nut to the top of the 7th fret and double that from the inside edge of the nut to the inside edge of where the nut is a good place to put the bridge to start.  Position may need a bit of tweaking from there...


updated by @ken-hulme: 01/02/24 10:34:56PM
GreatLakes73
GreatLakes73
@greatlakes73
4 months ago
4 posts

Thank you all for your guidance! Yes, I figured out you don’t remove all the strings at once once I realized the bridge has fallen off and was somewhere on the living room rug 😉. I need to take it in to a luthier here to get something addressed and he’s going to help me with replacing the bridge in the right spot. I think I saw a video on how to figure out where the bridge should be, but now I can’t locate it.

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
4 months ago
2,124 posts

Welcome!  Warren  is a great resource and still building a few instruments a year at his home shop.  He'll happily answer your questions.  

I would leave his instrument tuned DAA or Ddd, and have your other instrument with the 6+ tunned to DAd since it was probably built with that tuning in mind.  

A wipe down with a damp rag is the perfect cleaning process.

One thing to note is that when changing strings we almost never recommend stripping the instrument 'bare' as you called it.  The reason is that if the instrument has no mark or slot where the bridge is supposed to go, it can be a real pain to get it back in the proper place so the instrument sounds correct -- the distance between nut and fret is critical to within a millimeter or so....   Better just to get in the habit of removing and replacing one string at a time.


updated by @ken-hulme: 01/02/24 04:00:00PM
John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
4 months ago
389 posts

Hi!  Welcome to the site!  I've known Warren May for probably 45 years now, and he always has a good word to say.  He's friendly and talented and likes to talk!  He'll give you more dulcimer information than you ask for.  I'd visit his shop once or twice a year in the past, and he always remembered me, by name, and would ask me how things were in Detroit.  Very fun guy to talk with.

Richard Streib
Richard Streib
@richard-streib
4 months ago
234 posts

Warren May is still building dulcimers. He is a delightful and friendly gentleman. The questions you pose he would be glad to answer. His number is on his website. If you leave a message I have always found him to return calls. Hope that helps.

GreatLakes73
GreatLakes73
@greatlakes73
4 months ago
4 posts

original

GreatLakes73
GreatLakes73
@greatlakes73
4 months ago
4 posts

Hello! I have a 2006 Warren May all cherry dulcimer I bought used a few weeks ago and am just learning about. I’m in the process of restringing and just wondering, while I have it “naked,” if I should do anything more than wipe it down with a very slightly damp cloth. It looks to be in very good condition. 

one other question: this dulcimer has no extra frets. I’m thinking of leaving it tuned to DAA. I do have another instrument coming next week that has a 6.5 fret, also from Warren May. Should I leave that tuned to DAD or do his dulcimers in general do better with DAA? Please forgive my ignorance. I do have a background in piano but know nothing really about different modes, etc, etc what I’ve tried to pick up from this site so far. Thanks!