About your “Eedy Beede” octave dulcimer:
The strings are ball end and their gauges are either:
Bass - .024” bronze wound
Middle - .012 plain
Melody - .010 plain
Bass - .022” bronze wound
Middle - .010 plain
Melody - .008 plain
The heavier set gives a bit more volume and "ooomph" but the lighter set is easier on the fingers and has a more shimmery sound.
You can buy these as individual guitar strings at a music store, or contact me and I can send you a set.
The fingerboard is “floating” rather than directly attached to the body. It is held in place by two stainless steel allan head bolts, which take a 7/64” allan wrench and are accessed through two 1/4” holes in the back of the instrument. As a rule they won’t need any attention from you. (Fun to slide music under it while learning a tune.)
Your instrument has bridge pins rather than a traditional bridge. These have been positioned precisely to achieve the effects of a compensated bridge, which greatly improves intonation throughout the dulcimer’s range. This intonation is optimum with the suggested string gauges and in DAD tuning. It’s also possible to tune as low as A with acceptable results.
The finish is lacquer with a light citrus wax polish and should need little attention other than occasional wiping with a soft cloth. If you'd like to re-wax it I use Howard's Feed and Wax made with citrus oil and bees wax. Available at some Ace hardware stores, Home Depot and I see Amazon sells it now too.
The tuners are sealed gear Ping minis, also found on some Taylor and Martin guitars. They should give a lifetime of service.
You can play it in your lap, or standing up with a strap, overhand or underhand. There is no "right" way to play the dulcimer - whatever works for you is right.
I have a theory of music that is only two words long. Just this...
Abandon yourself to it - experiment - be bold - if it doesn't please you you'll let it go, if it does you'll do more of it - and before you know it - you'll be making delightful music....;-)
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