It was time to install the friction pegs which was quick and painless because I had prepped for them when I put together the peghead.
The fine tuners were next. The only other time I added fine tuners at the other end was for the Dog Head dulcimer I made for myself. For that one, I found plastic beads in the shape of dog bones. I have seen pictures of dulcimers that used plain beads and I knew that would work. My preference, however, was to have the fine tuners reflect the theme of the instrument, if at all possible. I hit on the idea of using actual alligator teeth to accomplish this. I purchased 15 teeth from a really funky website.
Unfortunately, there were several problems, even though the teeth were the perfect size. Two-thirds of each tooth was hollow and I felt that the tension of the string might break through. Also, there was a little curve to the teeth which made it difficult to work in a 1/16″ drill bit. Finally, when I tried to drill anyway, the teeth were way too hard to make a hole. Rather than try to track down a dentist for assistance, I decided to mount the teeth onto small blocks through which each string would pass.
Since I really needed to drill a hole perfectly straight through each block, I purchased a drill press clamp that helped me hold it in place. I then meticulously shaped each block to fit the curve of each tooth and epoxied a tooth on each block, ensuring that the teeth did not extend over the edge of the blocks to bite the dulcimer player.
After adding strings, tuning, and setting up the instrument, Dulcimer #50 was finally complete!
BRAVO!!! I absolutely love my new gator dulcimer. Now this Gator Girl has to name the lovely beauty. Something elegant and feminine, with a hint of toughness. Something that speaks to Florida…hmmm, something to ponder. I will keep you posted. Maybe we need a “Name It” contest, LOL. No matter what, I am all smiles and played for 3 more hours after our weekly Jam. Such a Joy to play! Thank you Tim!!