I've been a string and fret player for 35 years starting with guitar. If it has strings and frets (and fretless in a couple of cases) I can figure it out. I've built s few Partscasters but nothing from scratch as I've never felt the confidence needed to construct a neck from scratch or do the fret installation. For reasons that'd take too long to explain, after discovering the CB DIY Build Community, I decided I could do this and a dulcitar was the way to go. I'm planning on building one as a Christmas gift for a friend who lives in Maine and if it comes out ok, another for her sister in California. Are there any pitfalls that most beginners seem to get caught in that I should be aware of to avoid? Any helpful tips? The gal in Maine is partial to the four stringed dulcimers and dulcitars, so that's what I'm aiming to build. I'm installing a pick up system in it too so she can plug it in. I've "electrified" a number of ukes, mandolins and banjos, so that part I'm comfortable with. I'm just looking to avoid any rookie mistakes.

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I still make mistakes Kirk, it's just part of the game.

Just have fun building. The first time I built a neck it came out great.

I was amazed. So take a chance.  Rooster

I really like building dulcimer strummers. I have no musical training and can barely play, but I love the sound. They are not that difficult to build.
Depending on the size of the chamber (box), you will get a different overall sound (pretty obvious).
Beginner mistakes that I made was getting the neck/fret board the correct height and this effects the bridge height. Now I put the neck in or next to the body to make sure I get the right position.
Double then triple check measurements!
When I started, I looked at tons of images. It helped me see many approaches and ideas. Above all, learn from the mistakes, accept that the next build will be better than the first. Plan on making two... The process is great!
Good luck and post your work.

Make sure you get your neck level with the playing surface of your box. Allow for pickup clearance if you include an electric pickup. I have a 2 string dutar that didn't quite get those measurements right, so we are compensating with a higher bridge and string trees at the tuner end of things. I'll post images once I get the improved, stronger bridge in place and can plunk out some songs. Somehow I ended up with a 21.75" scale rather than 25". No idea how that happened, but there are online calculators that allow for any scale length you can imagine. The build is fretless, but I will use bright tacks to indicate the major pentatonic notes.

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