I have two identical Brick House boxes that say they want me to create a mountain dulcimer out of them. I'm wondering now about the neck design. I've seen the necks that are arched on the side that meets the soundboard leaving smaller contact points with the box. I think this is done to let the soundboard vibrate more freely than it can with the whole length of neck glued /screwed to it. 

Is that true, or is it just done to make it prettier?

If it is for sound, do you think the extra work is worth the payoff?

Thank you for your input, Bluesheart

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It is done for added volume but also for looks. To really add volume hollow out the fret board. From where the fret board stops at the peghead  to just before the scoop out. There`s 2 ways this can be done. Routing out a channel or making a 3 piece fret board.      CGB Mountain Dulcimer

When I made my Dulcimer I used the tablesaw to make a channel in the fretboard, and cleaned it up with a chisel. I marked between the 7th.fret and the strum hollow so I wouldn't cut too far, and set the depth on a scrap piece of wood. I moved the guide over about a blade width at a time until I got the proper width. It should work even better with dado blades

You can make the 3 piece fret board fairly easy like I did the one for my hollow neck slider. Just omit the bottom Hollow Neck Designpiece.

Many professional dulcimer makers, like McSpadden simply hollow out the fretboard. Most high end custom makers at least have an option for the scalloped fret board as it does add volume and looks pretty. If you decide to scallop the fretboard, space them equally and leave at least a quarter or three eights in contact between each scallop, probably a half or more before the scoop. Either way it should sound good.

Cool, a hollow neck seems like a good idea. Would one also have opening/s in the top under a hollow neck to"let the sound into the boxes" ?

Most modern dulcimer (or is that an oxymoron?) do have narrow slots beneath the center of the fretboard. Most I've seen have 2 or 3 about half the length of the fretboard. There's a pretty good drawing of a dulcimer top at www.davidbeede.com.
Click on his full size dulcimers and you'll see maybe four on his, but it's easier to understand by seeing it.

 It's probably cheating-but I just make sure that my neck is thinner than a standard guitar neck, and flat in the back (though rounded at the sides). I then glue and peg small, matching rectangular blocks where I want the points to meet, and then use a round file and fine grit emery board to sculpt the result into a rounded arch. For some reason I find this so much easier to do than hollowing out the neck.

Yes, the small blocks under the neck idea occurred to me as well. Sounds like a good compromise. Thanks!

 De Nada...

I ended up using 3 boxes for the body and kept the neck raised off of them with small oak spacers. Boxes are open to each other and neck bolts to boxes with #6 machine bolts and flat washers. If I still had a router I would have routed out the neck and cut openings in the boxes and mounted it direct. Overall I am very pleased with how it sounds, especially in a quiet room. Playing with others I find the volume needs a boost so that is when the piezo will be handy. The tone and sustain are as good or even better than I had hoped for. Not being a dulcimer player, I find I tend to do most of my "Finger Dancing" on the D instead of the doubled melody strings (dd) but I like what I'm hearing!


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