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DIY - Electric Mountain Dulcimer

Finished Electric Mountain Dulcimer

During my preparation of building a 3 string cigar box guitar (CBG), I became aware of the Mountain Dulcimer, also a 3 string instrument. I decided to make an Electric Mountain Dulcimer first.

This is a very basic design, only "a board with strings". I took a standard 800x200x18 mm edge-glued beech panel. For the "neck", I cut off a 40mm part, and for the bridge support a 50x160mm part.

An area of 80x40x5 mm was cut off from the neck part to obtain the desired strength for the tuners. A strip of 540x40x8 mm beech was used for the fret board. Two triangles were cut off from the base support for easy tuners access. A cavity was drilled and routed for a volume potentiometer and the out jack was installed in the bridge part.

The scale length was aimed at 27.5 inches (700 mm). The fretboard was glued on the neck piece and slots were cut as indicated in the table below. Normal diatonic fretting was used (including the 6+ fret).

Fret 1 2 3 4 5 6 6+ 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 13+ 14
distance from nut (mm) 76.4 144.4 175.6 232.8 283.8 307.1 329.2 350.0 388.2 422.2 437.8 466.4 491.9 503.6 514.6 525.0

The neck was bolted on the base support and the 3 string pick-up was placed at the end of the neck.

An aluminium 90 angle profile (10x10mm) was used as nut.

The dulcimer was treated with hard wax oil. Rubber door stops were added so the dulcimer can be placed on the floor for storage.


Standard tuning (D4 A3 D3), D'Addario EJ64 Dulcimer strings.

Material used