27" scale, tuned DAd.

Just ordered the nut and saddle and don't know how much I should sand them down as I'm not really a dulcimer player.

Thanks in advance

1 Answer 1


The optimal string height for a mountain dulcimer won't be radically different than for any other fretted instrument. It is at least partly a matter of personal preference. In general:

  • The string height will need to be high enough that you can play a note on any fret without buzz
  • If you tend to play hard, you will need to increase the string height. If you are a more gentle player, you can go with a lower height

This article deals with building from a kit, but does address your specific question, down in Step 27.

Several players recommend a height about the thickness of a dime at the first fret, and about the thickness of a nickel at the seventh fret. The general strategy recommended is to bring the bridge and saddle a little bit at a time until you find a height that works for you.

NB: Original link is dead.

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