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Hello to all,

My husband just finished his first dulcimer and it is awesome... He had to have the  fret slots cut . He is wanting to get a template to cut his own slots. Can anyone tell us where he can find one.. This would be very appreciated.

Thanks for any and all help..


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Replies to This Discussion

Check out what Dwain Wilder has at Bear Meadows: . It will be a dulcimer specific template.

Do a Google search for "fret calculator".  There are a bunch of them out there.  Just find one that works for you.  Most of them require you to delete the frets not used on the diatonic fretboard but once that is understood any vibrating string length is available to you.

Stay in tune,


Best to make your own as indicated by Jon. Purchase an aluminum meter stick from Harbor Freight(about $3.00), use a fret calculator for the VSL desired, mark your scale accordingly. I use a scribe but any sharp nail will do. An aluminum flat bar from the hardware store can be substituted for the scale. Just make sure you always measure each fret from the nut position.

Every dulcimer I make seems to have a different VSL, so a template would do me no good.  I am currently working on a cigar box dulcimer for my 5 yr old grand daughter and the VSL is 20.25" long.  Just finished cutting the frets last night.  I use the StewMac fret calculator.  The measurements are given in 1/1000th of a inch or mm...way too precise!  I have a good steel rule marked in 64ths of an inch.  To convert the decimals to 64ths, I just multiply the decimal portion of the measurement by 64.   Thus 5.885" becomes 5 and 56.6/64ths inches, which I round to 5 57/64ths.  Mark your lines with an Exacto knife and a square.  Cut with a miter box.         

Thanks for the info.. I am sure my husband will try this.

Thanks again,


Hi Cheryl,

I have an Excel spreadsheet that calculates fret spacing for guitar and dulcimer that you are welcome to if you can use it. But recently, I used a program called "Fret Calculator" that not only calculates but prints the fret layout.  I checked the printout and found it to be extremely accurate on my printer. (I also checked the calculations and they are right on, too.)

It's free. You can find it here:




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