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Strings won't stay in tune


My dual bridge dulcimer is two years old. For the most part it sat unused for quite a while. I tuned it earlier today and a good majority of the strings went flat on both bridges after a few minutes. I did tap in the tuning pins a bit but that didn’t help. Any suggestions will help.


Is it a Dusty dulcimer? What model? Unless the tuning pins feel really loose, chances are there’s nothing wrong with it! If it hasn’t been tuned in quite a while, it’s likely to take more than one tuning before it holds pitch, so I’d encourage you to tune it up a few more times and see what happens.

Just so you know, the tuning pins are threaded like a screw, so tapping them in won’t help if they are actually loose. But my guess is that the instrument is just adjusting to being under tension after so long and there will be a settling-in period where you’ll have to tune it pretty frequently.


I will continue to tune this weekend. I bought this dulcimer from Phil Boulding (Magical Strings) and if necessary he will repair if it won’t stay in tune.I live in Las Vegas and there are no dulcimer repair shops here.


Unfortunately, there is a crack running along the tuning board itself.


I’m sorry to hear that! Dry weather can be hard on wooden instruments with thin soundboards. It sounds like you’re on the right track with contacting Phil Boulding to see what he recommends. If there is a crack, it’s maybe not a good idea to keep tuning it up until you can get the crack evaluated. Best of luck!


I’m assuming you sell strings. Do you also have a manual on how to string a dulcimer? I’d also be interested in anything you have that I can use on the dulcimer to prevent the drying out of the wood. My wife owns a large harp and has never had a problem with her strings.


We do sell strings, although if you have a Magical Strings dulcimer, Phil would be able to provide you with more accurate stringing information for your particular instrument.

We have some information on our website that covers some of the basics about how dryness can affect wooden instruments and what you can do to safeguard your instrument. You can read it here. Hopefully that helps!