[Originally Posted: Mar 25, 2011]

 

I have decided to call this the "boat paddle box", or simply the "paddle box" design, because of the shape of the final product. This body style is the traditional body style for stick dulcimers and was popularized by the McNally Strumstick™.  Here is a diagram of the body design that we are talking about:

Here is a photo of my first boat paddle box

instrument which I just completed:


And here (above, right) is a photo of a couple paddle shaped instruments that Kev Lloyd has built (positioned next to a McNally Strumstick for comparison). It was this photo and Kev Lloyd's plans which inspired me to try to build my own. Below I have copied Kev Lloyd's original drawings here, but have reoriented them and scaled them down for easier viewing.

 


In Kev Lloyd's drawings, the tail block is labeled "A" in the "pink drawing" above. The tail block acts as a kind of wedge, forcing the sides of the sound box aside, forming the interior space of this style of sound box. So, it seems like it should be a fairly simple sound box to build.

 


 

Here are some of the initial questions (and answers) I had:

 

1.) Do we need to steam, boil or soak the two strips of wood that will become the sides of our sound box so that they will bend easily when we wedge in the tail block?

 

It turns out that you can build this box without steaming or boiling the side walls in order to bend them. However, be careful when you dry bend the side walls as they will want to shoot the tail piece out across the room.

 

2.) How important is the internal bracing in the soundboard? I have build other box instruments with 2 mm thick veneer, and have not needed to add internal bracing. If I use the same material here, would I still need to brace it?

 

So far the 2mm veneer (ply) is holding up pretty well on my new paddle box guitar without adding any bracing. A similar instrument, my square box guitar did need additional bracing under the bridge, but the width of the sound board is about 1/3 more than on the paddle box.

 

3.) The critical part looks to be the tail block. What are the angles on the tail block, especially where it contacts the side boards? My guess is 30 degrees.

 

Thirty degrees of angle looks right at the point where the side pieces intersect with the tail-piece.  I also decided to keep the tail piece "flat bottomed" so I could stand the instrument on end.

UPDATE 9/20/2012: As I build more of these instruments I've come to realize that the angle where the side boards meet the tail piece is more like 25 degrees. So, my best advice is to try to measure it (or eye-ball it as close as you can), then cut the corners of the tail piece and if any "inaccuracy" remains when you do your dry fitting, take care of it with a wood file. In most cases the angle should be around 25 or 30 degrees - nothing a bit more filing can't take care of. I usually have to do a bit of extra filing to make the two joints fit right.

Tags: A-body, boat paddle, canoe paddle, paddle box, sound box, stick dulcimer body

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Here are my estimates as to the dimensions of a stick dukcimer based on these drawings. When I build mine, I will make the neck a bit smaller as I prefer 20" (or 50 cm) scale lengths. Do these dimensions look about right?

-Rand.

 

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Okay, I have re-calculated the dimensions for my project which will have a 50cm (approx 20 inch) scale length. Here is that drawing.

-Rand.

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Here's some details on how I'll build my tail block (transom). The whole instrument, including the tail block will be built out of cherry trim wood and a lot of glue!  Here's the plan:

I think the difficult part will be rounding "the top" of the tail block. I will also have to play a bit with the angle where the side pieces meet the tail block as I'm still not exactly sure what this angle should be (should be around 25~30 degrees). Will likely mock up an instrument by clamping together the wood slats that will make up the neck and the sides of the sound box and get an estimation of the angle that way.

-Rand.

 

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I have started some wood working to build the neck, side slats and tail block. I just glued it up, so I should have the framework about half done today. So, I decided to post a few photos of what I've done so far. The first photo shows the neck I laminated for this project, which includes side slats.

The side slats are 3cm wide and 0.5 cm thick. I plan to add another layer of side slats to double the sound box depth to 6cm, which is the same depth I used on my previous 2 box guitars. I'll likely do that work tomorrow. I labeled some points of interest on the photo in red. Hopefully, you can read it. Here are some more photos:

This shows a dry fit. The scale on the neck shows where my 50 cm scale length will be. The first 30cm will be on the neck and the second 20cm will be on the sound box. I plan to have 14 frets: fret 0, fret 6.5 and frets 1 thru 12.

The sound box will be 34cm long, not counting the 2cm thick tail block. The sound box will also be 18 cm wide at the tail block, so I believe the volume size of this sound box should be 4 or 5 times larger than a McNally standard Strumstick. I think that by making it large it will be easier to hold and hopefully, louder and deeper sounding.

The final photo I have today is a close up of the tail piece, showing how the side slat fits up against the tail piece. After gluing it up, a decided to reinforce the glue joint by drilling a hole and screwing in a small wood screw. The tension on the side slats is pretty great, so I was afraid the glue joint might not hold. I probably should have steamed or soaked in boiling water the side slats to shape them, but I decided I'd try the lazy way and see it the shape would hold up on its own. Without shaping it acts like a big spring, explaining why I have to clamp it down so well. It has shot the tail piece across the room several times now.

Well, that's all for now.

-Rand.

 

 

 

 

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Well, today I got the basic framework of this instrument finished. I need to find some good wood (veneer) for the sound- and back boards. The last batch of 2mm veneer, which I still have, was cut in 8" strips, so I don't have any pieces long enough unless I cut it so the grain of the soundboard is at right angles to the grain of the neck, etc. So, I will likely go hunting for more scraps of veneer, this time having it cut in strips of 16". As it is supplied veneer comes as really big pieces like plywood or drywall. So, I have them cut it into more manageable sizes. Anyway, here are some photos of where I am at with this instrument.

Now that I have a chance to handle it in 3D, it looks to me like a paddle. So, maybe the name for this style of sound box is (or should be) "paddle-shape".

 

I'll be taking a few days off from instrument building as it's the Qing-Ming festival and my daughter has a couple more days off from school (so I'll be baby sitting for 4 days).

 

-Rand.

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Here are a few more photos...


Here I have glued on the 2mm veneer on top the frame to form my sound board. I have also added the sound hole. After reviewing the dimensions of my sound box and neck, I decide a 50cm scale length was too short, and so I have decided to make it 23.75" which is the same scale length as on a McNally Standard Strumstick. You can see the black mark on the sound box where the bridge should be located.

 

You may have noticed that the 2mm veneer extends up the neck to where the headstock begins. This was done so when I glue on the fretboard, there would not be a 2mm bump that the fretboard would encounter as it intersects with the body, allowing me to have a couple more frets over the body.

 

Here's a photo of the back side of the sound box. I have tried twice and failed twice to cut a backboard which will fit the back side of this 'box'. I have improved my cutting technique and am using a coping saw which splinters the wood less as compared to my hack saw. I guess I'll just have to keep at it until I get something that fits half way descent and then use filler to fix any problems. I think square boxes with box joints are a lot easier to attach sound board and back board too. On this instrument I have to kind of inlay the back board in between the side  boards and this requires a really precise cut.

In the mean time, I've started working on the headstock. It will be a slotted headstock and I'll be using a 1x3 set of open geared tuners. Still need to drill the holes for the tuners. Will likely do that tomorrow. So, that's where I'm at.

-Rand.

UPDATE 9/20/2012: After building more of these instruments, I've found the best way to cut the 2mm plywood veneer is with a large "box-cutter" style utility knife. The ones that work best are the expensive "stout" or "big handled" ones as you will need to apply a lot of pressure on the blade when you cut the plywood veneer. If all you have is a cheap flimsy box-cutter, then you will likely have better results if you use a coping saw instead.

To cut the sound-board from the piece of plywood veneer using a stout utility knife, first turn the veneer upside down and place the paddle-box frame on top the veneer to act as a kind of "cookie cutter". It's best to actually clamp the frame down over the plywood veneer as you can easily mess up your cut should the frame move relative the the veneer as you are cutting. It will take 4 or 5 passes of your utility knife to cut through the plywood veneer. Also, it's best to try to cut all the way through, rather than say cut half way through and then try to break the board along the cut. This will avoid splintering the edge of the sound board, possibly ruining and wasting the piece of plywood veneer. Also, since you are cutting all the way through, it's best to have used an old piece of plywood as your cutting surface, rather than to do it on your kitchen (or dinning room) table. This process will scratch the underlying work surface. So, you were fore-warned! Once you have all 3 sides cut, you can clean up the edges with sand paper, but don't remove all the excess wood yet. Do that after you have glued the plywood veneer to the frame. The back-board can then be cut using this same procedure.

After the sound-board and the back-board have been cut, and the rough edges sanded, you can proceed to glue them onto the frame. I usually begin with the sound-board, so that once it has dried, I can then cut the sound hole using a 1" Forstner bit. The thing about drilling holes through wood is that the underside of the wood needs to be supported otherwise the bit will splinter the wood as it breaks threw. So, once the sound-board has been glued in place (and has dried), I place the frame and soundboard over a piece of scrap wood, clamp it into place, and drill the sound hole from the inside of the sound box outward. The Forstner bit will continue to cut a bit into the scrap wood, but it will not splinter the edge of the sound hole. In the past, I have tried using a Forstner bit to drill a sound hole in completed sound boxes, but the inside edge was always rough and splintered from when the Forstner bit broke through no matter how carefully and slowly I cut. So, now I cut my sound holes early -- after the sound-board has been glued to the frame, but before the back-board has been glued into place.

In terms of locating the sound hole, I generally position about half-way between where the end of the fretboard will be and where you expect the bridge to be locate, centered along the center-line of the sound box. Because I can't see exactly how the fretboard and the strings and the bridge will be before the sound hole is cut, sometimes it is a bit off-centered. There is a tendency for these paddle-box sound boxes to be a bit unsymmetrical around the center line. More experience usually will help to eliminate these symmetry problems, and result in a better positioning of the sound hole. After the sound hole is cut, you can proceed to glue on the back-board. After it has dried, you can take a wood rasp or wood file to trim the edges of the back-board and the sound board back down the the sides of the frame. Then some sanding and you should have a nice looking sound box.
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Hi All.

In my last post I said the scale length of a McNally Standard Strumstick is 23.75". I'm not sure why that number stuck in my mind, but it's wrong. The real scale length (VSL) is 22.5" and I have confirmed it by both measuring my instrument and looking at the product specs in the documentation which came with the instrument. Sorry for the misinformation. Also, I've known about this mistake for about a week now, and discovered it when I was re-measuring the nearly completed paddle box to determine optimal nut and bridge placement. That had to be decided before I could build the fretboard. My fretboard layout is based on a scale length of 22.5" to make it comparable to the McNally Strumstick, but the fret positions are based on the Stew-Mac fret calculator. They differ a bit on the two instruments. Not sure why. Likely my poor workmanship. Here are some more photos of my build:

These first two photos are of the completed headstock. The nut is just a cut bolt, and the headstock is slotted to support a 1x3 set of open geared guitar tuners. The current set of strings are strings 2, 3 and 4 from a set of six acoustic guitar strings. The next photo shows the angle and wood cut off the end of the neck to form the headstock. You may also notice that do use a fret 0 in addition to my "nut" (which really just serves to position the strings across the fretboard).

UPDATE 9/20/2012: These days, instead of using a 1x3 set of open geared tuners, I prefer to use three individual tuners (the kind with the string hole located mid-shaft). I still use a slotted head stock, but I position 2 tuners on the top (or left side of the slotted headstock) and one on the bottom (or right side of the slotted headstock). The melody string (string 1) is then routed to the single tuner on the lower (right) side of the headstock, while the two drone strings are routed to the upper (left) side of the neck. I also find that this allows me to position the tuners closer together (by placing the tuners on alternate sides), and when I hang my finished instrument on a nail in the wall, it will sit flatly (parallel) to the wall. When you have all three tuners on one side, when you hang the instrument on the wall, it will tilt the instrument outward at about a 45 degree angle from the wall (doesn't look so good IMHO).


The next photo (below) shows the fretboard, which uses real frets (as opposed to cut nail or tie-wraps, which I've used on many earlier builds). In fact, I am now out of fret wire. Will have to see if I can find a source in China. The other thing about this fretboard is it uses diatonic fret spacing as most stick dulcimers do (stemming from the tradition of Mountain Dulcimers).

Below is a shot of the body and sound board. From this angle you can see the "rather too long" heel. Next time I build one of these I want to try to shorten the heel by an inch or so to make it easier to reach the highest pitched frets.

I located the position for the bridge on the sound board by tapping on it until I heard the loudest and richest tone the box produced. From there mapped out the scale length, etc. The sound hole may be too large, as I don't feel as much air puff out when I tap the back of the box as compared to by two earlier box guitars (which use the same 2mm thick veneer (ply) for both the sound board and the back board). If you look closely at the tail piece, you can see the wire strings (string 1 & 2) cutting their way through the wood. I will likely have to replace the tail piece. Hope I can learn to build something sturdier. The tail piece is made of poplar wood colored brown. My last photos shows that it can stand on its end (flattened tail block).

That's all folks!

UPDATE: 9/20/2012:  Ever since this first instrument, I have not bothered building "deep" sound boxes by doubling the width of the sideboards. Instead my sound boxes tend to be 2.5 to 3 cm thick, depending on how wide the slats of trim wood are that I use for the sides. The resulting instruments have plenty of volume and resonance.

Also, I have found that a center core of 1" by 1" hardwood makes a nicer sounding instrument (though the neck and headstock will be somewhat heavier). This also simplifies the frame construction as all you need to glue up are the two side slats to the central core (glued up one at a time, of course), and the tail block. I have also noticed longer scale lengths sound better than short ones. So, if you are looking to build a sweet sounding instrument, try a 25" scale length with solid core head and neck.

The only problem with long scaled stick dulcimers is that if you play chordal style, many of the chords will be a long reach. You don't have this problem as much on a mountain dulcimer because players aren't also wrapping their fretting hand around the neck, so they can stretch their fingers much further. If you are a chordal player, maybe a mountain dulcimer will suite you better.

So, far the paddle-box dulcimer design is my favorite. Easy to build, Sounds good, plenty of resonance, fair volume - plenty for playing to small groups in intimate locations. If you need more volume, you can always add a piezo pickup and use it with an amplifier.

Below I have more info on more recent builds.

-Rand.

 

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Great design, very nice. I'm gonna have to think on something this creative. Thanks for the pictures and new idea!
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Hi Moedecker.

 

I'm glad someone finds this writeup and photo interesting. Sometimes I think I'm just writing to myself. The build was easier than I thought it would be, but then I didn't bother with messy wood bending techniques like steaming the wood. A little careful "man handling", a couple strategically located nails and a bunch of clamps coaxed it into shape while gluing it up. Next time I'll try to build some kind of jig with the shape modeled into it so I can get a more symmetrical result. In the mean time I have a number of other builds I want to do, some with other shaped sound boxes (hexagonal, octagonal, circular). Just trying to improve my general wood working skills, then will re-address some om my favorite designs and try to build a higher quality instrument worthy enough to sell. My wife would like my hobby to turn into a money making enterprise. I keep telling her my skills are no where near that level.

-Rand.

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Randy,

 

Thanks for your detailed notes and pictures on this.  I am thinking of building a ukulele along this lines.  I currently have a tenor fluke and it has a triangular shape and you can also stand it up  :).  I have started building a tenor uke from a kit I bought from ebay.  The sides are together with the neck and tail block and the kerfing installed.  I have started to inlay a rosette in the top and when done, I will start the bracing of the top and back.

 

I take it you are in China and don't have access to many tools or materials.  Thanks for starting this thread and for all your work on it.

 

Tom

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Hi Tom Walters.

Building from a kit is a good way to get started. I should probably do the same, as they probably teach you the "proper" way of doing things. For instance, kerfing - I have never used it, but I can see it should make the instrument a lot stronger around the corners. My main limitation here in China is finding suitable materials to build with. I have standardized my last several builds on cherry wood which I buy in long strips and which is intended to be used as trim. The strips can be cut to length and glued together in different ways to form laminated necks, sides of boxes, fretboards and other structural elements (like the tail block for my paddle box gitar). So, my methods are different from many builders, but I get there in the end. And my instruments are sounding better than the cigar boxes that I used to build around. One of projects on my list is to build using a cigar box, but with a 2mm ply (veneer) sound board and (perhaps) backboard in order to see where the good sound is coming from (the sound board, backboard of sides of the box). This hobby and my writings about my projects here on CBN also gives me a cultural link to my native culture--something to help me over the feeling that I'm "stuck in China".

-Rand.

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We're reading it, sometimes just don't get in here for awhile. And go ahead and make them for money, hell they have a store called $99 guitars out here and people cater to it all the time. So make some CBG's and keep them at a workin' man's price level and you'll do fine, I'd like to give it a try one of these days myself but it's a balance between all the other things I do incuding playing guitar on the weekends that it's hard to produce one for myself let alone for sale. Well keep posting, I for one am paying attention and appreciate and enjoy it!! Thanks!



Rand Moore said:

Hi Moedecker.

 

I'm glad someone finds this writeup and photo interesting. Sometimes I think I'm just writing to myself. The build was easier than I thought it would be, but then I didn't bother with messy wood bending techniques like steaming the wood. A little careful "man handling", a couple strategically located nails and a bunch of clamps coaxed it into shape while gluing it up. Next time I'll try to build some kind of jig with the shape modeled into it so I can get a more symmetrical result. In the mean time I have a number of other builds I want to do, some with other shaped sound boxes (hexagonal, octagonal, circular). Just trying to improve my general wood working skills, then will re-address some om my favorite designs and try to build a higher quality instrument worthy enough to sell. My wife would like my hobby to turn into a money making enterprise. I keep telling her my skills are no where near that level.

-Rand.

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Replies to This Discussion

Rand,

While this blog has been up for a little while, I want to thank you for your very detailed presentation.  You do excellent work, especially when taking your limited resources into account.  I have a whole shop full of power tools and I can't do half as well as what you have shown us.

Your blog on the paddle strummer has inspired me to tackle one or two of these myself, and to really take my time to hone my craftsmanship and finishing techniques.

Thank you.

Hi Hal,

My latest project is a mid-sized boat paddle 4-stringer. By "mid-size" I mean bigger than the McNally strumstick, but smaller than my first paddle box stick dulcimer described earlier in this discussion thread. The neck is poplar wood I brought back from the States; you know the kind, 1.5" wide by 0.75" thick -- popularly used for necks by many CBG builders. To this center piece of my neck, I added (glued on) two 36" lengths of the cherry wood (3cm by 0.5cm). The last 10 or 12 inches extend beyond the end of the neck and will form the side walls of my sound box. Here is the photo of the neck and sound box frame.

 

I have already put on 2mm thick plywood veneer for both the back board and the sound board. In addition, I glued on a layer of plywood for the length of the neck up to the nut so that when I install the fret board, I won't have an un-even "jog" where the neck meets the sound box. I slotted the headstock (which as you can see from the photo above has been slanted downward by about 15 degrees using a scarf joint). I have installed 3 separate geared tuners on the headstock, and a 4th tuner just above the 4th fret. I will fret it next, using diatonic fret spacing, and with the 4th string it will be a kind of cross between a strum stick and a dulcijo. Still not sure how I will tune it, but there's plenty of time to figure that out after I build it. Hopefully, this info will be helpful in your project. Good luck.

 

P.S.  I feel this type of instrument is actually easier to build than box guitars, unless you already have a box built (as is the case with CBGs).

-Rand.

Thanks Rand!  That is very similar to how my plan is shaping up, though I may make the neck and heel a bolt-on style.  I think this will give me a bit of latitude should I mess up either the body or the neck (but not both!)  I will also be using a scarf joint neck, slotted headstock, and I may use ukulele tuners.  Not sure about scale length yet, but I just finished a 3-string CBG with a 23" scale and it fits my fingers nicely, so it will definitely be shorter than my usual 25.5".

Take care!

Hi Hal.

Let us know how you do your bolt on neck, photos too!  I usually mess up when I try making a bolt on neck. Usually I get either a bowed up neck at the neck-box junction when I try to tune the instrument the first time, or I get a bad "downward slant angle" so my action is either too high or too low. I think they (bolt on necks) are a lot more work than they are worth, especially on a small box that has to have additional bracing added to better support the neck/box joint. I guess I need more research and practice making them.

As far as tuners, I would recommend geared tuners. Ukulele friction tuners are hard to tune compared to geared tuners. Geared tuners offer what amounts to "fine tuning" as compared to friction tuners. They are not that much more expensive if you shop around (like C.B Gitty's).

As far as shorter scale lengths, I think they are great, especially on diatonically fretted instruments. Most of mine have a 50cm (about 20") scale length. On my current project, the scale length will be 60 cm (23 & 5/8") scale length. This should give me some idea if I like longer (24") scale length instruments.

Well, keep us informed on how your project progresses and turns out.

-Rand.

Great work and very instructive.  I have been making lap steel CBGs and this has given me an idea for making a weisenborn style guitar.Thanks

 

Hi All...

Just an update... The September 4-Stringer project came to a abrupt halt after I screwed it up by trying to add a fifth string to the side of the neck to make it into a 5-string paddle box banjo. I have since recycled the frets and tuners, etc. and threw out the rest (except the head and top of the neck so I'd have a good example of a nice scarf joint; maybe for teaching down the road).

Since then, I built another paddle box stick dulcimer that features 3-strings, a slotted headstock (no scarf joint), a 1x3 set of open geared guitar tuners, and a 3-octave diatonic fretboard (frets 1-14, plus 6.5 and 13.5). The scale length is 60cm (just short of 24"), so for me it is a long fretboard and so, its a bit more difficult to play as compared to my usual 50cm (about 20") VSL stick dulcimers. However, it produces uncommonly sweet sounding notes, so I may build some more long necks to see if sweet sounding notes is a characteristic of long strings, or was this build just a fluke. Here's a photo of it that compares it against the standard McNally strumstick and my first paddle-box stick dulcimer.

My new instrument is shown in the middle. If you want to read more about it, visit my CBN personal page.

-Rand.

A couple more build details. For this new build I wanted a thinner neck for a 3-stringer as compared to the 4-stringer Sept. build, so I used a thinner hardwood core. On the latest build, I used 1"x1" hardwood for the core rather than the 1.5" x 0.75" poplar wood that I used on the unsuccessful September build. Using a solid piece of hardwood for the neck core saves a lot of labor in terms of building up a neck from 6 or 7 strips of trim wood as I did on my first paddle-box stick dulcimer.

Also, for both the September build and my latest build, the tail block was built up from three short lengths of trim wood, and this seems to work just fine. The tail block on my first paddle box build was over-engineered and is twice as thick as it needs to be. But, the thicker tailpiece allows me to round the corners nicely (or maybe the whole tail piece), whereas with a thin tail block I tend to end up with pointy corners.

That reminds me that I cut the angles on the tail block to be 70 degrees. To be sure, use a protractor when you try to dry fit the tail block to the head/neck/box-frame assembly. Also, instead of using nails to temporarily hold the neck block in place while gluing it up, I used a roll of gaze (that thin cloth used to bandage wounds) and that held it in pace pretty well. To tighten it up, I ran a ballpoint pen thru the cloth gaze and twisted it like a tourniquet. It worked pretty well, except for a few threads that got stuck t the glue ad to be cleaned up.

The tail piece is simply a 3 cm length of trim wood that I slotted with a small hack saw (once for each string) and screwed to the soundboard where it overlies the tail block for a solid anchor point. I used 3 guitar strings with the ball ends, but on other instruments I've used banjo strings with looped ends. When stringing up with banjo strings, I run a cut nail through the looped ends after stringing the3 strings thru the slots (holes) in the tail piece. I have also used this kind of tailpiece with nylon strings by tying figure-8 knots in end of the string. Sometimes, instead of placing the tail piece on the soundboard, I place over the edge on the broad face of the tail side of the sound box, making sure the screws anchor into the end of the neck on these "neck almost thru" design. When I do that, I need to protect the top edge of the sound box from being cut into by the strings under tension. This can be done with a piece of cut can, or better yet with a strategically placed nail. Let me see if I can find a photo to show what I'm saying...

-Rand.


Rand Moore said:

Hi All...

Just an update... The September 4-Stringer project ...

Here's the photo of the simple wooden tail piece that uses a strategically placed cut nail to protect the edge of the sound box from being cut by strings under tension...

The other problem with placing the tail piece over the edge like this is that you can't stand the instrument up on it's tail end like you can if you instrument has the tail piece mounted on the sound board [and then anchored to the underlying tail block via the 2 screws (or to the neck on "neck almost thru" designs)].
-Rand.


Rand Moore said:

A couple more build details....

Check out Habanera Hal's build photos and write-up of the 4 "Paddle Stick Guitars" he built simultaneously just this past October. Here's the link. And here's a teaser...

Great job, Hal!

-Rand.

Just an update...

I have built several more "paddlebox dulcimers", most using a 50cm scale length. Three use 3.0cm x 0.5cm cherry trim wood, while one used 2.5cm x 0.5cm trim wood for a lower profile instrument (thinner neck, shallower sound box), and another used 3.7cm x 0.5cm trim wood (from a new supplier) that allows me to build deeper sound boxes, but these require more work trimming down the neck and headstock to 3cm (my typical neck thickness). The 3.7cm wide trim wood will also let be experiment with 4 string designs in the coming months. Anyway, I have updated a couple drawings to show how you can build a 50cm VSL paddlebox dulcimer using just two 2.2m lengths of 3cm x 0.5cm trimwood. This size of wood is fairly easy to find in China (where I live 10 months of each year) and so, I assume, it won't be too hard to find in the rest of the metric using world.

 

So, here they are..

 

 You can double click on the drawings to enlarge them.

 

Here's the second drawing...

 

In addition to the fully laminated necks, I have experimented with one "solid core" neck made of some unknown hardwood (with two slats of cherry trim wood to form the sides of the neck and body) and it resulted in a really nice sounding instrument, maybe my best sounding instrument. So, I have two theories why this is. One reason is that this instrument has a 60cm scale length that better matches guitar string specs. The other reason is the solid hardwood neck. To prove out these ideas, I'll have to build some more 60cm paddlebox dulcimers. When I do, I'll update this discussion with drawings and what I find out from these experiments. I'll also work on perfecting my building techniques and skills. Oh yeah, here's a photo of that sweet sounding 60cm paddlebox dulcimer...

 

 

-Rand

 

Excellent tutorial & how-to !

Thank you,

rc

Hi Rusty Case,

Thanks for stopping by and reading my tutorial/how-to on paddle-box dulcimer construction. It's been a while since I read it, and I've built maybe a dozen more instruments since that first build. So, today I went back and added some updated information. If you scan through the document you will see occasional "UPDATE 9/20/2012:" in red which will point you to my new comments.

-Rand.

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Jigs & Tools

Started by mitch jones Dec 12, 2018. 0 Replies

Piezo Placement

Started by Doug Patterson. Last reply by Paul Curry Apr 13, 2017. 9 Replies

my first two guitars made this year

Started by Ron Lutz. Last reply by Ken Vickerson Apr 10, 2017. 4 Replies

Notes on Making Sound Boxes for Metal Resonator CBGs

Started by Rand Moore. Last reply by Philip Hale Mar 29, 2016. 8 Replies

Homemade Box Clamp

Started by Monterey. Last reply by Monterey Jun 28, 2015. 13 Replies

Where do people find solid wood stock for soundboards?

Started by Barsymes Cratchnee. Last reply by Monterey Mar 9, 2015. 6 Replies

How I made the box for Reuben's birthday guitar

Started by sasquatch. Last reply by sasquatch Jul 28, 2014. 8 Replies

Building your own box that opens? Anyone done this?

Started by Barsymes Cratchnee. Last reply by gary sheldon Jun 17, 2014. 12 Replies

Measuring wood ( and/or box) resonances - cheaply

Started by Darren Addy. Last reply by gary sheldon May 19, 2014. 9 Replies

Box for three string reso

Started by Michael Fred Johnson. Last reply by Michael Fred Johnson Apr 30, 2014. 11 Replies

deltaresonatorcones.uk

Started by martin baker. Last reply by martin baker Apr 29, 2014. 2 Replies

Placing the Resonator Cone

Started by Rand Moore. Last reply by Rand Moore Apr 28, 2014. 1 Reply

Most useful power tool for CBG

Started by David Ford. Last reply by Barsymes Cratchnee Jan 9, 2014. 14 Replies

My CATBRO Resonator

Started by Tom Walters. Last reply by Rand Moore Jan 2, 2014. 7 Replies

Alt. box material

Started by Bert the Welder. Last reply by Mike Strehlow Dec 5, 2013. 3 Replies

My New "Thin-Walled" Sound Box Design

Started by Rand Moore. Last reply by Rand Moore Nov 4, 2013. 6 Replies

Advice on first box build

Started by Richey Kay. Last reply by Richey Kay Nov 4, 2013. 6 Replies

Rand Moore My Mountain Dulcimer Project

Started by Rand Moore. Last reply by Rand Moore Aug 22, 2013. 9 Replies

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shane wagstaff commented on Daniel Hulbert's video
10 minutes ago
BrianQ. replied to micky rooney's discussion aluminium bobbins
"That’s pretty much the article about induction pickups they were talking about, minus the big…"
17 minutes ago
shane wagstaff posted a video

Scruffycaster

This video is about Scruffycaster
37 minutes ago
Will "KOOLDOG HOOCH" Bonner replied to Will "KOOLDOG HOOCH" Bonner's discussion Scale length for 17" box in the group Building a Cigar Box Guitar 101
"17"x6"x7" I'm leaning toward a deeper bass tone, just don't have a clue…"
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Ice Out

"Yup guys. Ice is leaving the inland lakes. All you see here is melted overnight. Gone today. Sunny…"
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AGP # posted a photo

AGP #353 - ''Bundy Bear'' - Repaint & Headstock Signature

Probably can't see any difference in the Pic, but the new Paint Job is definitely an improvement on…
2 hours ago
David Pfeiffer posted a status
"$ Tree_ Kid's toy mic has spring inside looks like reverb springs 4 sound effect_Got 10_Doing piezo & springs experiments_Maybe new device?"
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AGP # commented on Dave Lynas's video
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Ice Out

"A Nice Nimble Fingered bit of Pickin' & Frettin' Dave!, I'm guessing if the ice…"
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Will "KOOLDOG HOOCH" Bonner replied to Will "KOOLDOG HOOCH" Bonner's discussion Scale length for 17" box in the group Building a Cigar Box Guitar 101
"Thanks everyone for the advice, it's giving me something to chew on. There's a personal…"
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