Dulcitars/Strumsticks musical instruments

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Project by llwynog posted 01-05-2014 10:29 PM 3145 views 8 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My last music-oriented project proved very gratifying and instructive. In the meantime, my son developed a growing interest for guitars and asked me one for his birthday.
Back then, I was following’s ukulele build while realizing that this would certainly be too involved a project for me. I then stumbled upon Aaron's dulcitar project and thought that this might be much more within the reach of my skills set.
I then had a quick search on the internet for plans and studied other Lumberjock-made dulcitars such as rdwile's blogpost (which includes a great video about tuning the instrument).

Dulcitars are pretty simple to make and frankly, building one or several does constitute much difference in time investment. That is why, talking about dulcitars to some guitar playing friends who had never heard of them, I decided to make a total of 4 and give away the extra 3 instruments.

When I say that dulcitars are simple to make… it is more or less true if you follow these plans (plans link at the bottom of the page) and if you have access to a bandsaw. I do not own a bandsaw, so several operations turned out to be slightly more involved and time consuming.

Picture 1: the four finished dulcitars
Picture 2: ripping the walnut for the dulcitar bodies
Picture 3: gluing the soundboards (fir) and the back boards (ash)
Picture 4: inserting the fret wire in the proper location
Picture 5: instruments top and bottom details
Picture 6: I have access to a small cnc mill at work with which I got a small billet of brass milled to a design to be used as my mark. A quick heating over the kitchen stove turned this brass pattern into a nice woodburning tool.

What about my son ? He got his dulcitar today and appears to have found it to his liking :

Until next time,

-- Fabrice - "On est bien bĂȘte mais on sent bien quand on se fait mal" - my grandfather

13 comments so far

View Druid's profile


941 posts in 1885 days

#1 posted 01-05-2014 11:43 PM

Sure looks like he’s happy with it. I have to take a look at the plans, then decide if I want to try one out.
Do you have any links for us to be able to hear one being played? Good job.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View hoss12992's profile


3330 posts in 983 days

#2 posted 01-06-2014 12:42 AM

Very impressive. Great job

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View Aaron McCain's profile

Aaron McCain

118 posts in 1929 days

#3 posted 01-06-2014 02:00 AM

Those look great! Glad you found the links on my page helpful and thanks for the additional links. I’ve taken mine backpacking/camping a few times this summer and it is fun to have. How did you finish them?

View ward63's profile


344 posts in 2177 days

#4 posted 01-06-2014 02:06 AM

Interesting design. Beautifully done.

View Vince's profile


1059 posts in 2519 days

#5 posted 01-06-2014 09:44 AM

Very nice

-- Vince

View rdwile's profile


154 posts in 1201 days

#6 posted 01-06-2014 10:25 AM

Nice Build – C’est beau,

Your son will enjoy that for years to come – you will have to build him a guitar next – that’s how I started down that slippery slope. Glad our video was helpful.

Enjoy the music,


-- Richard D. Wile,

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4166 posts in 1946 days

#7 posted 01-06-2014 11:57 AM

If the customer is happy, what joy
With the look on your sons face,
I think you have a happy customer
Nice Build


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Mauricio's profile


7077 posts in 2241 days

#8 posted 01-06-2014 05:19 PM

Great pic of the budding musician! Great work man!

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View llwynog's profile


287 posts in 1668 days

#9 posted 01-06-2014 09:27 PM

Thank you everyone.

John, I can’t play a music but you can hear a dulcitar on rdwile’s post I linked to, or here or also here

Aaron, I used some tabletop varnish to finish the instruments. I do not often use varnish but I figured that the extra protection was required.

Rich, thank you again, the video was really helpful.

-- Fabrice - "On est bien bĂȘte mais on sent bien quand on se fait mal" - my grandfather

View mcoyfrog's profile


3799 posts in 2684 days

#10 posted 01-06-2014 09:30 PM

very cool I love them

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View Roger's profile


17851 posts in 1894 days

#11 posted 01-06-2014 10:00 PM

Very awesome. I’ll bet they make some good tunes.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View Dave's profile


11256 posts in 1930 days

#12 posted 01-07-2014 01:16 PM

You sir are well above most.
Wonderful work.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View mafe's profile


10541 posts in 2179 days

#13 posted 01-12-2014 02:35 PM

Wauuu, they are beautiful.
Now I really feel like building one, even I cant play!
My God your son has a wonderful face on that last picture.
He is lucky to have such a fine father.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

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