Long Neck Fretted Dulcimer

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Launching this blog has given me cause to revisit some of my past projects.  The first fretted instrument that I built was a long neck dulcimer.  It is tuned and sounds like an Appalachian Dulcimer.  But instead of playing it on your lap, you hold it like a guitar or an octave mandolin.

Looking at my pictures of the build process was a real trip down memory lane.  Many of the techniques that I used in 2011, I still use today.   Others caused me to laugh and say “You’re kidding, I did it like that!




For example, bending sides.  Before I heard of a Fox bender or even a bending pipe,  I wrapped the side in wet paper towels, cooked it on a hot plate, and wrapped it around a cookie tin.  Same process, I guess.  Apply heat and wrap around a form.



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I didn’t have a lot of clamps yet but I did have a lot of things that were heavy.  This is how I glued the back onto the body.




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Here is something that hasn’t changed.  I still use those clamps sometime when gluing in linings.

Notice also the Spanish Heel.  That is a type of neck-body joint in which the sides are inserted into slots in the end of the neck heel.  Only recently have I tried that again.  Everything else has used a bolt-on neck.


Fretting has changed too.  I no longer use a calculator and a ruler to figure out where to cut the frets slots by hand in a miter box.  And there are much easier ways to bend to pre-bend frets.  But it all worked!

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