Mountain Dulcimer bridge nut made from rigid plastic, Tradition of NC mountain instrument makers repurposing plastic
I have a Mountain Dulcimer made by the Washburn Company that I bought over 40 years ago. I used to play it but it has mostly, for many years, hung on the wall as a decoration.
One of my young grandkids seems to have an inclination and ear for music. So I ordered some strings.
Some of the pins holding the string ends were missing. I never thought they were substantial enough in the first place. I replaced them with nail heads.
Then I noticed that the bridge nut was damaged so I searched for replacements on the internet and found some.
Then I remembered the tradition of NC mountain instrument makers using whatever materials they had available.
They weren’t looking to the internet for help.
What I first remembered was someone using cut up pieces of old toothbrushes to look like jewels. They looked better than you might imagine.
That was it!
I decided I could find a piece of rigid plastic, cut it to size and make the string grooves.
That is what I did.
The bridge nut and the strings are installed and so far so good.
Of course the real test, is that of time.
And of course, if I were really a craftsman, I would make it out of bone.