Introduction: Ray Jacobs Rocky Mountain Dulcimer/cardboard Guitar
This is a gorgeous sounding 3-stringed instrument made of scrap wood and cardboard. BIG sound, simple and cheap to make. This instructable is a bare bones intro, but there's a complete pdf available for free, either here (if I can figure it out), or at handprintpress.com/freedownloads (you can also buy a cheap paper version from Amazon or Handprintpress). I hope this opportunity will find its way to interested people who will take and share the gift of music as wide as possible! For more inspiration, look up Andy Mackie and his strumstik, www.sothosounds.org, landfillharmonic (on vimeo), and el sistema in Venezuela.
In reply to Kiteman's comment below (the system wouldn't accept my response or register the captca code): I'm new to instructables: if there's a requirement that the author be the maker, I guess I'm guilty. I took pix while Ray did (most of) the work. (I did some of the assembly on this particular instrument. When I got home, I made another one from a bowl I turned on a foot-powered lathe, but it didn't sound nearly so good.) However, the images are screen shots of a pdf I put together, so it is my material. Please do download the pdf for the entire process, in much greater detail. Mostly I work with wood and mud (adobe, or cob). I have a variety of work up at handprintpress.com/kiko
Step 1: Ray and Shirley Playing Cardboard Dulcimers
Step 2: Neck and Back
step 1: The neck
tight grain, strong wood: fir, larch, etc. Most 2x4s should work. The tighter the grain the better. Ideally, orient the grain vertically. See the illustration for dimensions.
Step 3: Frets!
see image for text
Step 4: More Frets!
see image for text
Step 5: Body
here you see Ray wrapping the cardboard around the plywood base and gluing it into place; see captions for more detail.
Step 6: Play!
Ray says pick a tune, find the notes or chords, and play! Forget what you did wrong and remember what you did right. Play with other people. If it's important to you, it will come. Since the fretboard lacks most of the half steps, it's harder to make a bad note. See the entire pdf for more, downloadable free from handprintpress.com/freedownloads