Mudcat Café message #4028694 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #167157   Message #4028694
Posted By: GUEST
16-Jan-20 - 07:53 PM
Thread Name: Any dulcimer folk help- intonation grrr
Subject: RE: Any dulcimer folk help- intonation grrr
Hi, Nick, Robin Connaughton. I used to make dulcimers back in the eighties, even wrote a book about them. Love them! Dont, throw it out. Anything can be made to work

What you are describing shouldn't happen, and if I could get a look at the bugger I am sure I could sort it. Maybe the u-tube or a video. (unless you can get it to Canberra?)

Meantime there are a couple of things. Most dulcimers don't need much intonation work. They are pretty tolerant of it. Mine is a seventeen fret one John Day made to my design in 1978. Its a five string (not five different strings,only meaning that there are double strings on the melody string (the one closest to you) and two strings an octave apart on the position furthest from you. So it tunes like a three string, dd A dD, or dd G dD. The octaves and harmonics up to the second octave intonate fine, and the only intonation correction on it is a half millimetre or so on the bridge for the wound string.

A couple of questions. Is it fourteen or seventeen strings? Which strings if any are wound strings? If it has been set up for one wound string and you replace it with an unwound one that can cause problems, but not big ones. If you replace an unwound string with a wound one, the groove in the nut may not be wide enough, and that string will stick while tuning.

Has it got a zero fret, one a couple of mm in front of the nut? This can improve the tone of a dulcimer, but if it is done after the nut was put in, it shorts the whole measurement of the fret positions. You can tune it Ok open, but then every note after the first fret is out. I once made a useful amount of money correcting a whole batch of Korean dulcimers that had a short zero fret placement like this, and you could not tune them correctly without removing the zero fret, shaving off the edge of the nut, then replacing the fret a little further back. Yours isn't a fourteen fret Korean one is it?

Also, if it has a zero fret, make sure that the groove in the nut is deep enough. If it is not deep enough in one groove, the string there will not sit on the zero fret and will have a longer space to the first fret. This particularly possible if you are replacing an unwound string with a wound one.

Its got to be fixable. Make a video.