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How often to change dulcimer strings?

December 10, 2021 - How often to change your dulcimer strings.

Happy Friday, Folkcraft Friends!

Let's talk about strings. Dulcimer strings. Changing your dulcimer strings regularly helps keep your instrument sounding and looking its best. But how do you know how often you should change them? Only whenever one breaks? Every few weeks or months? These are good questions. I polled some professional dulcimer players to try and get some answers. It turns out one artist will change strings if one breaks and another changes their strings weekly. Personally, I would recommend a happy medium:

• When a string breaks, change the whole set (even if they're just a few weeks old)
• Change your strings a few days before you have an important event, like a concert or a festival coming up.
• If your strings are three to four months old, change them.

What kind of strings do I need?

Instrument strings come with either loop ends or ball ends. They sound exactly the same, but some instruments can only be strung with one type or the other. It depends on how the instrument was built. When you buy a set of replacement strings, make sure you get the right kind of ends. We recommend ball-end strings for all Folkcraft and FolkRoots dulcimers, although loop end strings will also work.

changing dulcimer stringsThe labeling on this string set identifies the strings as STD (standard dulcimer, not baritone or bass), 3 (3-string set, Ball (ball ends), and RW (our Roller-Wound bass string, which doesn't squeak as much as a bronze wound string).

Strings can be purchased individually, or in sets that are ready to use. The sets come in vinyl pouches approximately 4" x 4", and have carefully thought out gauges that'll give you a good tone and a good balance, volume-wise across the strings. The big decisions you'll need to make are: ball end or loop end; and 3-string or 4-string.

Here's a link to all of our string sets at

Richard Ash