Having built a few standard CBG's and Strummersticks (almost all 3-strings tuned GDg),, I'm intrigued by the idea of a mountain dulcimer. I'm guessing the lap-style would be to reverse the high-to-low strings and tuning dd-A-D (the twin dd melody strings being at the 'top' of the fretboard, in typical CBG layout). OR, if I take the Seagull design idea, played more like a typical guitar, go D-A-dd. Am I on the right track here?
Also, why are the twin strings tuned to the same note (like on dulcimers or mandolins)? THanks for your insights!
Thanks Gary. The neck sits on and is attached to the top whether it's one piece or two. One tricky thing is that many dulcimers have a "hollow" neck to give added resonance. It's not a requirement but I think the extra work involved is worth the effort. Hmmm, now that you mention a two piece top butted to the neck, that might be an interesting experiment!
Hollow Neck? That's interesting. I recall that there's some Lap Steel guitars from back in the 1920's and 1930's that had hollow necks by the brand name Wiessenborn.
It would be interesting to make one.
Weissenborns are still made by several companies. Their heyday was during the Hawaiian music craze of the early 1900's. Good ones are worth a few thousand dollars. Even the kids like them.
Very close to the I beam concept Gary. What I usually do is make a 3 piece neck. The top is about 3/16". I glue 2 sides on which are about 1/4" thick and however tall you want the neck up from the body. The sides are flush with the top so frets run all the way across. I'll then cut out those arches you mentioned which act as sound ports. I'll try to get a picture of what I'm talking about since reading this can be confusing.
I did a quick mock up using some scraps. It might give a better idea of how I make my hollow necks.The top pic shows the top with sides attached flush. The frets go on this surface The bottom pic is the hollow bottom which gets attached to the box. Looks kind of like a long skinny miter box. I often cut 3 arches into the sides.
Thanks Jim! I see what you're talking about. Pretty cool - thanks for sharing the details on this technique. I will definitely have to try building one now!
Ooops, that should have read 3/8" for the top piece. 3/16" would be way too thin.
PS - I love that video link, Milt! Very impressive!
Very nice, Randy!
Hi, yes hollow necks are and old idea, I have a English 1930's Windsor 5 string Zither banjo with an hollow neck. I has slits just under the fretboard in the neck as soundholes.
When I built dulcimers, back in the day I always made hollow necks.
Not only but also, a Weisenbourn slide guitar does not have a hollow neck as such, but more of a hollow body that runs from tail to peghead and goes narrower under the fretboard area.
Here's a photo of one of mine that I built a while ago.