WadeEinkauf’s 2020 Brotherhood Build – The 6 and a half fret

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by wadeeinkauf, Mar 7, 2020.

  1. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    Wade, let me humbly suggest exploring lots of alternate and open tunings - they will open a whole new world of playing. I am mostly an acoustic player and at any given time have any of my acoustics in some sort of altered tuning - dropped D, open G, D or C or one of several modal tunings (ironically I don't play in DADGAD but I do understand its appeal). I play both chorded stuff and with a slide, both in the upright position (so called Spanish) and lap style (kinda like a dulcimer).

    It is also very worth your while to study enough music theory that you understands scales and how chords are put together. I was mostly a folky/bluesy sort of self taught player for most of my guitar playing years but a few years ago I got a wild hare and built a hollow bodied jazz guitar. Well, you can't play folky three chords and the truth on a jazz guitar, you need to play all those chords with names no one can pronounce which forced me to learn what a 6th or 13th was and why they sound jazzy... Honestly, I should have done that fifty years ago.
     
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  2. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    Freeman I agree wholeheartedly.
     
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  3. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    ROFLOL... my spouse was fine with the CNC purchase as she got to be the CEO and majority stock holder. IE: my boss. :) But yea...what you state is reality for many folks!
     
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  4. control voltage

    control voltage TDPRI Member

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    You mentioned that you're thinking of 4 strings, equally spaced, as opposed to having the two strings nearest to the player's body paired and (generally) tuned in unison. That could certainly give you more chording options, but I suggest listening to a bunch of dulcimer music, and seeing whether you'd miss having the shimmery sound of the paired strings. To me, that's a big part of a dulcimer's appeal.

    It looks good, by the way.
     
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  5. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    I haven't found chord diagrams for the 4 strings equally spaced yet. I have seen some good tutorials for 3/4 unison string setup. The Bing Futch Youtube site is excellent. I'll just stay with that for now. Thanks for you insight.
    Wade
     
  6. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    You could tune to the full chord - D (DAF#) or even G (GDB) and then play the I, IV and V chords at that equivalent of frets 5, 7 and 12 with the noter (I keep trying to remember the ones that are missing). It certainly isn't traditional dulcimer playing but it might work. I mostly play my weissenborn in open D - its just kind of a dulcimer on steroids.
     
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  7. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I play my 4 string CBG in C6 (ACEG) but with slide and no frets.That's a WHOLE different rabbit hole ;)
     
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  8. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    Got the end piece/nose piece made and glued in yesterday. Put in the bottom braces.
    I have made the nose piece a bit bigger than needed but was concerned with support for the top.
    20200316_154522.jpg 20200316_154529.jpg

    I have decided to go with a 27 inch scale. I worry that the shorter scale would sound more tinnie. Also it seems to be a more common scale than a 25 ish. And that is what these plans I have call for. It will take a little more care cutting the frets since I have the Stewmac fret scale template for 25 and 25.5 scales and the fret slotting table saw blade. Both these items seem really over priced to me BUT....together they work really well. I got really tired of cutting the slots by hand...so I guess they are worth the price when you consider the reduction in aggravation.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2020
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  9. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Support for the top? That's what the fretboard is for. I even hollowed the back side with a core box bit.I even made my first two guitars along that theory.The second is right here beside me 30yrs later doing fine :)

    90024408_638404206949163_5289037485249134592_n.jpg


    27" scale is dead easy,though chromatic.Add 1.5" to the nut mark of your 25.5 scale there.Nut becomes fret 1 and Bob's your uncle :lol:
     
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  10. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    Crazydave is not so CRAZY after all....Now that is a VERY valuable insight! I had always known that cutting off the first fret would give you the scale (for some models) of the mustang, duosonic, musicmaster but had not connected that knowledge to extending the scale. Seriously Dave you saved me a lot margin for error with your post. I can use my scale template with the little notch and the table fret saw blade and as you suggest only measure and mark the (new) first fret. THANK YOU! Bob will now be getting an invitation to our Thanksgiving dinner.

    Support for the top: Actually my concern IS for the fretboard. The fretboard is a 3/4 inch thick piece of walnut (in my case) It is glued to the top of sound board/top. It runs around 30 inches from the beginning of the headstock to the end/nose piece. The way the plans are there is no center piece support that is the full thickness of the instrument/end piece and headstock end piece. It must be fine since this is how dulcimers have been made but it seems to me there could be flex in the fretboard...hence a bit more to support the fretboard on both ends. If you notice how some people play the dulcimer you notice some force applied to the sound board to accentuate the beat during strumming.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2020
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  11. 2blue2

    2blue2 Friend of Leo's

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    Whoa, breaking news!
    Nice!
     
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  12. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    For what it is worth, mine is a 28 inch scale. Remember that changing the scale will change the tension, actually quite a bit since it is a squared term in the equation. Obviously you can compensate buy changing string gauges but is is worthwhile to know what strings (and tunings) you are going to use when you start building an instrument. Some dulcimers use loop end strings, some like mine have pins. Also on longer scale instruments it can be difficult finding strings that are long enough - should not be a problem with a dulcimer since there isn't a long distance to the pins or tail but worth thinking about.

    Also, on mine the fretboad ends about 5 inches from the bridge. Looking thru the little "sound hearts" I see braces at the widest parts of the upper and lower bouts (the hourglass of mine) at about 5 and 19 inches from the nut. The braces go from side to side and from the top to the back. Somewhere in my collection of GAL literature there is and article or two on building dulcimers - I'll take a look to see if they show any bracing.

    Its kind of interesting - I haven't played mine in years and honestly haven't looked closely at it. But peering inside right now I see that I signed the back in 1976. Do you even remember 1976?
     
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  13. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    The plans I have call for 3 braces on the bottom plate only. Makes sense. I guess you do not need braces on the top sound board might dampen vibration. But you do have the fretboard glued to the top. I have seen one builder demonstrating that if the fretboard is shorten to the point it is not over the end/nose piece it increases volume/vibration. There was little more to it than this..not sure I understand exactly what he was doing. He called it decoupling the fretboard.
    As far 1976 goes..I am about your age. Some of my most vivid memories are from that year. I was flying dustoff in South Korea that (and several other)years. Between the weather and other things it go so bad that when on standby at night when we got a mission call we answered the phone with "If you ain't dying we ain't flying.
    20200317_094607.jpg 20200317_094623.jpg
     
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  14. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    One of the things that is interesting to me about dulcimers (looking at mine which is sitting on the book shelf next to me) is that the bridge is sitting on top of the big thick tail block. I am mostly a builder of acoustic guitars and I've spent quite a bit of time studying and thinking about how the string energy is transmitted to the top, the effects of bracing, the forces on the bridge. I build both fixed and floating bridge instruments and know how different the forces are (in my other life I was an anal engineer) and everything about the design of a dulcimer says they should not work.

    In fact, I'm just starting to get an idea that maybe I could build one with a guitar like bridge (and bracing) and maybe a chromatic scale so it could be played in any key. I've probably got enough scraps of wood... But the last thing I need is another box with strings on it.
     
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  15. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    Building acoustic instruments is a whole new world to me. I value guys like you that have experience in it. I became infatuated with electric guitars as a teen and never got over it.
    I found the video about decoupling the finger board. I am not sure how this works other than letting the sound board vibrate without being damped. Seems like all builders would have figured this out a long time ago.



    Now I am wondering if you could still attach the fingerboard to the end/nose piece for stability reasons BUT do the 32nd of inch under cut from the bridge to some point just before attaching the fretboard to the end block. Seems like it would accomplish the same thing with the sound board since the sound board is not vibrating where it is glued to the endpiece anyway????
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2020
  16. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    Interesting. I can only make a few comments based on my experience building guitars but his approach does make some sense. First, the traditional dulcimer, including mine, has the bridge sitting right at the end of the instrument over what would be the tail block - a fairly large hung of wood that anchors the top, back and sides. He moves that forward a couple of inches so it is sitting on the top but away from the end block - that would seem to impart a lot more energy to the top itself rather than dampening it with the block. The he leaves a gap between the tail end of the neck where the bridge is located. That would let the end of the neck rotate slightly under string tension - the bridge of a pinned bridge acoustic also does that. Now when you pluck the string the bridge will very slightly rotate, driving energy into the top (the top of an acoustic guitar "rocks" on the axis of the bridge rather than vibrating directly up and down). He does an interesting demo of that by blocking the gap with the card, then releasing it to vibrate. What I think I heard thru my tiny PC speakers was a bit more bass and a bit more complexity, possibly more volume but that is very hard to tell without instrumentation.

    I guess what I was thinking about if I decide to build this was to move the bridge a couple of inches onto the top itself and making it separate from the neck - just like a guitar assembly. I would probably pin the bridge but I might also make a tailpiece - that would give me the ability to compare the top rocking vs vibrating directly up and down. My dulcimer has two full octaves plus a couple of frets - I might shorten the f/b to just two to free up a little more top. Then the big decision would be how to calculate the forces on the top and how to brace it....

    I realized something else while watching that vid - the reason I never bonded with trying to chord and finger pick mine. Its totally bass-ackwards from playing a guitar lap style - with the treble course close to your body you are playing the lead with your thumb. I play dobro and weissenborn lap style but I play the bass with my thumb and lead with my fingers. As I recall trying to chord the dulcimer I was still strumming. Using the noter makes sense but trying to finger pick it just wouldn't work. Mmmmm.... maybe that is a good reason to NOT make it chormatic - I would just be confused.

    Anyway, the more I look at this simple little instrument the more impressed I am that is sounds and plays as well as it does. I haven't played mine for years but think I'll throw a new set of strings on it and set the bridge and noodle around this afternoon since I'm more or less stuck in the house.
     
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  17. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for your interest and insight
    Wade
     
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  18. RatBug

    RatBug Tele-Meister

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    I was 13 and saw both of my first concerts that summer (The Moody Blues and KISS). My parents just dropped me off at the show and picked me up.
     
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  19. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    1976 had a couple of great songs also. As a guitar player I am torn between the raw talent and artistry of George Benson playing Leon Russell’s This Masquerade. Leon Russell writing a Jazz classic???…and Peter Frampton’s Do You Feel Like We Do….. So it depends on if my friend Jack Daniels is visiting. You can guess who Jack likes!



     
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  20. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Its painfully obvious I've fallen prey to a hated fault. I ASSUMED! :mad:. Something I constantly accuse northerners of doing I've done.Growing up around Appalachia I assume people know things they couldn't.
    To whit,ever wonder why dulcimer kits and some plans generate a low volume instrument? Yet watch a video of mountain people and it has more volume and tone? First you'll notice the bridge is back almost 6" from the tail and the pins for the loop strings are at the very end of the fretboard and appear to float? Because they do lol.The string anchor portion is rebated above the block on mine a distance of 2" where the actual fretboard begins,NEVER touching the tailblock and leaving the top to vibrate :D
    Again so sorry Wade and Freeman but I try to refrain from spewing every little detail I've ever heard as fact in the matter of some here.I TRY to be more humble than that :oops:, and of course appear crazy as a loon :lol::lol::lol::lol:
     
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