Mountain Dulcimer Headstock?

If it's not a guitar or a bass guitar discussion, and it's got strings, put it here.

Mountain Dulcimer Headstock?

Postby Dick (DT) Trottier » Sun Jan 29, 2012 9:09 am

I was given a partially assembled mountain dulcimer built from a kit sold by Constantine's I'd guess in the 1980's or there about. There's a neck, with the nut and fret slots all pre-cut. Thing is, the neck ends less than an inch from the nut slot. I'm looking for ideas as to how I can get tuners on it...
Dick (DT) Trottier
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 6:49 am
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Mountain Dulcimer Headstock?

Postby Jim McConkey » Sun Jan 29, 2012 2:54 pm

Do you have picture, Dick? Short on the nut end sounds wrong. If anything, sometimes the fretboard ends short of the tail block. Not having the fretboard firmly attached to the tail block really opens up the sound. Usually the fretboard will end at the nut, which is at the end of the soundbox. The pegbox, where the tuners or pegs go, is typically attached at the end of the soundbox. Do a Google Images search on "dulcimer headstock" and you will see.
MIMForum Staff - Way North of Baltimore
User avatar
Jim McConkey
 
Posts: 885
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:00 pm
Location: Way north of Baltimore, MD

Re: Mountain Dulcimer Headstock?

Postby Dick (DT) Trottier » Sat Feb 04, 2012 8:36 am

Hi Jim,
Thanks for your reply. Here's a photo:
DSCN2564.JPG
Where's my pegbox?

I didn't know if there was some common way of building up a pegbox or headstock from what I've got. No problem, though... I'll just make a new neck, perhaps a bit longer.
Thanks again...
Dick (DT) Trottier
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 6:49 am
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Mountain Dulcimer Headstock?

Postby Tom Owen » Sun Feb 05, 2012 1:49 am

That would appear to be the tail end of the fingerboard and the slot is cut for the saddle. The blank probably doesn't have a nut slot cut as a lot of headstock
designs will cut the nut slot in the peghead.
User avatar
Tom Owen
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:56 pm
Location: Kauai, Hawaii USA

Re: Mountain Dulcimer Headstock?

Postby Jon Whitney » Sun Feb 05, 2012 5:26 pm

You could probably join a head stock on that with a dove tail or V joint or something similar.
User avatar
Jon Whitney
 
Posts: 170
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2012 1:04 am

Re: Mountain Dulcimer Headstock?

Postby JC Bradshaw » Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:11 pm

Unless I am mistaken that is the nut slot. It looks like I can see fret slot 1 at the rubber band and also fret slot #2 a little past that. Kits would normally have a strum hollow at the saddle end and there is not one in the picture. Frets 1 & 2 have wide spacing on mountain dulcimers.
JC Bradshaw
 

Re: Mountain Dulcimer Headstock?

Postby Jim McConkey » Sun Feb 05, 2012 11:40 pm

Dick, how about a shot of all the parts you DO have. I suspect you are missing a few. And please tell us if what appears to be pencil lines on your fingerboard look like they are the fret lines. The nut will go at the end with the widest-spaced frets, and the bridge will go a few inches from the last of the closely-space frets. As previously mentioned, there would normally be a strum hollow between the highest fret and the bridge. Is there a hollow already carved on that fretboard?

This Folkcraft kit will give you a good idea of what you should have. For a kit as old as the one you have, the head will almost surely be a scroll-style, like pictures in the Folkcraft image. It will also serve as the block at the head end of the instrument. Geared banjo tuners work great on those, but you could use violin pegs if you want to go cheap. I strongly recommend geared tuners.
MIMForum Staff - Way North of Baltimore
User avatar
Jim McConkey
 
Posts: 885
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:00 pm
Location: Way north of Baltimore, MD

Re: Mountain Dulcimer Headstock?

Postby Dick (DT) Trottier » Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:31 pm

Thanks for the link to Folkcraft Jim. I have similar parts: flatsawn walnut sides and back, a soundboard (mine's bookmatched spruce), a neck (mine is slotted but not fretted and has no strum hollow). Big difference: I have no pegbox. In the Folkcraft kit it looks like sides, back and top glue to the pegbox and the neck is attached afterward as a separate unit atop the soundboard. My kit was partially assembled with the back and sides glued to end blocks on both ends leading me to think that the neck and head stock/pegbox should be a separate assembly.
I've built four dulcimettes, having never seeing a traditional dulcimer: they just aren't very common where I live in Massachusetts. I was motivated by a couple of grand-daughters that like to make noise and a $100 acoustic challenge on this forum. Design was based on directions I found in an article by John Calkin in 'American Lutherie' a couple of years back.
I'd like a traditional dulcimer and thought that this partially assembled one would get me on my way. As time allows I'll do a bit more research on traditional designs and build one up from scratch.
Dick (DT) Trottier
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 6:49 am
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Mountain Dulcimer Headstock?

Postby Jim McConkey » Sat Feb 11, 2012 9:03 pm

Sounds like your kit is missing a few parts. If the instrument was made to have a guitar-style paddle head, the neck would extend long enough past the nut to allow for a scarf joint. Given the age of your kit, I would NOT expect a paddle-style head. For a traditional peg box, it is most common to attach the sides directly to it, but certainly people have made peg boxes that attach directly to the end block. You can even use a big screw to hold it on, and disguise it with a strap button on the end of the heel of the neck (put one at the tail, too, or use a combo jack/strap button if you are going to put a pickup in it). You can use a solid block for the peg box, but it would be easier to laminate 3 pieces of 1/2-5/8" wood (perpendicular to the top/back of the instrument), and just leave the hollow space hollow from the start. Much easier than carving a square hole! You can also use a contrasting color in the middle for added good looks. You can find a lot of picture on dulcimer construction with Google.
MIMForum Staff - Way North of Baltimore
User avatar
Jim McConkey
 
Posts: 885
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:00 pm
Location: Way north of Baltimore, MD


Return to Other Stringed Instruments

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

Your purchase from these sites helps support the MIMForum, but only if you start at the links below!!!
Amazon music     Amazon books     Amazon tools     Rockler tools     Office Depot    

The MIMF is a member-supported forum, please consider supporting us with a donation, thanks!
 • Book store • Tool store • Links • 
cron