I’m a hammered dulcimer player here in Albuquerque and can tell you that the dry weather does a number on all of our instruments. Definitely keep humidifiers going all winter and all summer, too, unless you have an evaporative cooler for your air conditioning unit. That puts a lot of moisture in the air and my instruments do better in the summer when that is running. If the buzzing is due to humidity it’s probably because your wood is contracting and causing something to loosen up. If you have rosettes or some other decoration in your sound holes, you might take a look at those. I’ve had those loosen up with the dry weather before and cause buzzing. I have a bunch of harps, too, and one thing we learned is that the buzzing is not always coming from strings. It’s often coming from some other source...and like I said, the dry wood contracting can be a source of that. If you’re getting buzzing with multiple strings, it’s probably not the strings themselves. It’s something else. As Ted said, check your bridges and every possible place that something could be loose or out of place.
Hope this helps!
On Tue, Apr 9, 2013 at 11:21 AM, Heli L. Roosild <email@example.com> wrote:
Today, when I went to tune my HD (in preparation for a local jam), a number of courses in the lower bass bridge didn’t sound right no matter what I did. There was a distinct buzz on some of the courses, while one course seemed “dead.” But everything had sounded right yesterday, when I did a lot of playing.
I was able to get through the jam fine, so I had high hopes that the buzz was a temporary fluke. But I never needed those low notes at the jam, and when I got home and checked them, they were worse, if anything, and some other notes on the bass bridge (further up) were buzzing as well. I have checked the outside of the HD, and can’t see any cracks or other obvious problems.
My dulcimer (dearly beloved!) is about 20 years old, built in West Virginia. About 5 years ago, I brought it from Northern
Virginia out here to very dry New Mexico—and this past year the humidity (usually around 30%) has been even lower (in the teens). I can’t help but think that this has something to do with it.
Can anyone tell me what’s happening? Should I replace those bad-sounding strings? Or is this something more serious?
I really have no idea what to do to “fix” the problem—or even if it can be fixed. And I haven’t yet found any instrument builders here who might be able to help me.
I am so grateful for this wonderful resource of the HD List--I know one of you will have an answer for me!
Many thanks in advance.
(Ms.) Heli L. Roosild
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