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Help: changing dulcimer wood pegs

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GUEST,Linda Shoesmith 02 Sep 01 - 10:04 AM
Sorcha 02 Sep 01 - 11:40 AM
Auxiris 02 Sep 01 - 12:25 PM
catspaw49 02 Sep 01 - 02:55 PM
catspaw49 02 Sep 01 - 03:07 PM
W y s i w y G ! 02 Sep 01 - 04:05 PM
Bill D 02 Sep 01 - 04:31 PM
catspaw49 02 Sep 01 - 05:00 PM
Sorcha 02 Sep 01 - 05:19 PM
Bill D 02 Sep 01 - 07:00 PM
Auxiris 03 Sep 01 - 09:02 AM
Ma-K 03 Sep 01 - 01:48 PM
GUEST,Linda Shoesmith 04 Sep 01 - 08:49 PM
catspaw49 04 Sep 01 - 09:06 PM
Jon W. 05 Sep 01 - 01:40 AM
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Subject: changing dulcimer wood pegs
From: GUEST,Linda Shoesmith
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 10:04 AM

I have a dulcimer made by Homer C Ledford (number 4063) which has the traditional wood tuning pegs. I have had it several years and haven't played it because I couldn't keep it tuned. I have been told I could change the pegs (I hope this is the correct name!) and put in metal ones for a more stable tune. 1. If this dulcimer has a collector's value (which I am told it does), will it hurt it's value to change the tuning pegs? I really want to start playing.

2. What is the best way to go about doing this? Does it need to go to a dulcimer maker? Could a music store do it?

3. The wood seems dry and I would like to treat it. What should I treat it with? Is lemon oil okay?

Thanks for your help.


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Subject: RE: Help: changing dulcimer wood pegs
From: Sorcha
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 11:40 AM

Seems to me your first option would be to contact Homer:

Ledford's Musical Instruments
Homer C. Ledford
125 Sunset Heights
Winchester, KY 40391
(859) 744-3974
spradel@aol.com
www.members.aol.com/hlccb
(Wood) Musical Instruments

I would be inclined to not do anything without talking to him.


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Subject: RE: Help: changing dulcimer wood pegs
From: Auxiris
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 12:25 PM

Hi, Linda. Just a comment from my point of view: if you do want eventually to play it, I'd think very seriously about changing the traditional wooden friction pegs for modern tuning machine heads that WORK. There are some on the market that are relatively discreet and I don't really see why the change would have that much impact on the instrument's value, especially if it makes the instument playable.

I have two Appalachian dulcimers, one with friction pegs and one with modern machine heads: guess which one gets played the most? I've learned to live with the friction pegs by using peg dope and prayer, but I'd never buy another dulcimer equipped with them. Yes, they're pretty, but frankly they're also a royal pain in the butt.

Good idea to have such a thing done by a competent luthier.

cheers,

Aux


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Subject: RE: Help: changing dulcimer wood pegs
From: catspaw49
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 02:55 PM

Uh.......Wooden pegs can be made to work quite well and you can probably find someone locally to take care of it.

Homer Ledford's Dulcimers are wonderful and traditional instruments and he may be the best builder of all time......Please consider calling or finding someone locally (violin shops) before you go the mechanical route. This is akin to taking a vintage Martin guitar and turning it into a Dobro. Please consider this.

Or go buy another and sell that one.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: changing dulcimer wood pegs
From: catspaw49
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 03:07 PM

Let me elaborate just a bit........

Most builders today use mechanical tuners for simplicity and easier tuning, and hacks like me use them because it's just faster too........But friction pegs can work quite well and perhaps you can try a few fiddler's tricks to make yours useable. Here's some advice from the best luthier anyone knows, Frank Ford....CLICK HERE-there are 2 pages. This is an easy thing to do and well worth a try.

Again, I'd urge you not to go to mechanical tuners on one of Homer's instruments.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: changing dulcimer wood pegs
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 04:05 PM

Spaw, did you find last year's thread on fiddle pegs (Rick F started it) applicable to dulcimers? If so that might make sense as a link here too.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Help: changing dulcimer wood pegs
From: Bill D
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 04:31 PM

The secret to making wooden dulcimer pegs work, I am told by maker Keith Young, is plain blackboard chalk. Rubbed on the peg, it prevents both sticking & slipping. I have played a Keith Young dulcimer(Walnut & wormy Chestnut...with walnut pegs) for many years, and that seems to work for me...


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Subject: RE: Help: changing dulcimer wood pegs
From: catspaw49
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 05:00 PM

The link says the same thing and Everyone I know with friction pegs uses chalk, but the application can be too much and actually make them "grabby." See the Frank Ford link above.

Same thing was covered in the other thread Susan.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: changing dulcimer wood pegs
From: Sorcha
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 05:19 PM

The peg holes DO have to be properly reamed/tapered. Perhaps just fitting a new set of pegs would work?


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Subject: RE: Help: changing dulcimer wood pegs
From: Bill D
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 07:00 PM

yep..proper fit IS crucial. Being a woodturner, I can do this...and make new ones...(have one broken one now...I let someone play it who used brute force to turn it...*sigh*)


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Subject: RE: Help: changing dulcimer wood pegs
From: Auxiris
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 09:02 AM

Linda, another option might be—if you can spare the money, that is—to buy another basic model dulcimer that is already equipped with machine heads and not change the pegs on the Homer Ledford one at all. That way, you'll be able to tune easily for the time being and then you can "graduate" to the Ledford one after you've had time to get used to or replace the existing friction pegs with new friction pegs that work better. By the way, does the dulcimer you have include the 6-1/2 fret? A very useful thing, the 6-1/2 fret!

cheers,

Aux


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Subject: RE: Help: changing dulcimer wood pegs
From: Ma-K
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 01:48 PM

Hi Linda.....Glad to see your here. I,m the old lady from the Log Village. I knew you would get the very best advice here at the Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Help: changing dulcimer wood pegs
From: GUEST,Linda Shoesmith
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 08:49 PM

Thanks for all the information! I have decided not to change the pegs. It is a beautiful instrument and I don't want my amateur abilities to get in the way. I will search for another instrument - or learn to play it as it should be played. I will start with the chalk trick.

I emailed Homer and he sent a nice reply. Thanks for that idea, also.


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Subject: RE: Help: changing dulcimer wood pegs
From: catspaw49
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 09:06 PM

Thank you Linda for a good decision!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: changing dulcimer wood pegs
From: Jon W.
Date: 05 Sep 01 - 01:40 AM

Has anyone fitted a dulcimer with fine tuners (as used on violins)? I believe there are some that just go on the strings and require absolutely no modification of the instrument (Suzuki?). I'm not sure if there would be room in back of the bridge of a dulcimer though.


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