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Cable-Drive Linear Bearing Dampers

Instructions for Installing, Removing and Storing,

and Adjusting Your Dampers

Please read these instructions all the way through before you begin.

Note – This is all going to seem a little confusing at first … but, honestly, once you've gone through the entire procedure a few times … it will be easy!

Be sure to read the “Adjusting” section at the end of these instructions so you will have a clear understanding of how the system works. Please … please … call me if you have any confusion at any point. It's important for you to fully understand all of these instructions to get the full use and enjoyment out of your Damper System. My cell is: 828-301-1622.

Damper System Accessories

Your Cable-Drive Linear-Bearing Damper System comes with a few items that will be needed during some of the outlined procedures.

  • Foam Pipe Insulation - to protect the finish on the damper bars in the case or especially when stored separately from your dulcimer.

  • Crochet-Hook - to remove the "ball-end" of the cables from the damper bars.

  • 7/64" Allen Wrench - fits the lock-screws on the damper bars.

  • 2mm Allen Wrench - fits the cable knarps in the foot pedal.

  • Toolbox - to store your foot pedal and damper tools when not in use.

Damper Bar Installation

     Note that we recommend the damper bars be “stored” in foam pipe insulation and left in the dulcimer when it is in its case. See Damper Bar Removal and Storage.


     These instructions are for if you have your damper bars are stored separately from your dulcimer, or if you have removed them for any other reason.

  • Take the left damper bar out of the foam insulation and, with the adjustment screws on each end of the damper bar facing away from instrument, lower the aluminum posts into the upper and lower linear bearings on the left side of the dulcimer.

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The Linear Bearing is in the circular cut-out of the corner scroll.

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Left Damper Bar properly installed.

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The Aluminum Post at each end of the damper bar goes into one of the Linear Bearings.

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The Damper Bars have an Aluminum Post at each end.

  • Repeat this procedure with the longer damper bar, on the right side. Remember: screws facing out, away from instrument.

  • You can store the insulation in the case until you repack the dulcimer.

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Right Damper Bar properly installed.

     The damper pedal is stored in it's own separate carrying case. Lift pedal with attached cables, out of case and place under the instrument with the “heel” closest to you.

  • Working with one cable at a time, begin by taking the left cable and sliding the cable housing all the way down into the barrel adjuster located on the left side of the pedal. At the opposite end of the housing, pull the ball end of the cable out of the housing as far as possible.

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Foot Pedal with Cables properly seated in the Barrel Adjusters.

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Ball-End of Cable.

  • Grasp the exposed ball end of the cable and thread the ball end through the hole in the back of the dulcimer on the left side. As soon as the ball comes through the soundboard on the top, use the hooked end of the crochet hook to grab the ball end of the cable pulling it away from the felt and lift the ball up to the opening on the damper bar. I find it easier to gently lift the damper bar up at first as I'm hooking the cable.

  • Note: To double check that the cable is installed correctly, make sure that the ferrule at the upper end (metal end of the housing) is inserted as far as it can go into the back of the dulcimer and the ferrule on the lower end is inserted as far as it can go into the barrel on foot pedal. Use the end of the crochet hook to press the ball end all the way into the access hole on the side of the Damper Bar. Alternatively, you can try pumping the damper pedal a couple of times.

  • Hint: Pressing the damper bar down with the opposite hand will make inserting the ball on the damper bar easier.

  • Do the same procedure with the right cable on the right side of the instrument.

     Your Damper system should now be ready to use. Everything was pre-adjusted and checked before shipping or pick up. Place the pedal wherever it seems most comfortable for the foot you intend to use. Your heel should be on the floor as you “damp” the strings with the toes or pad of your foot. The felt on the underside of the Damper bar should be just slightly above the strings until you begin to depress the pedal. You can vary the amount of damping by varying the amount of pressure applied to the Damper pedal.

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Cable Ferrule fully inserted into the back of the dulcimer.

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Ball-End of Cable coming through the top of the soundboard.

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Opening for Ball-End of Cable in the side of the Damper Bar.

Damper Bar Removal and Storage
  • Working with one side at a time, use the crochet hook to grab the ball end of the cable and slide it out of the damper bar access hole by pulling it toward you.

    • Hint: Press down on the damper bar with your free hand to relieve tension on the cable.

CDLB Damper Instructions-3.jpg

Opening for Ball-End of Cable in the side of the Damper Bar.

  • Once the cable is free, remove the damper bar by placing one hand on each end of the bar and lifting carefully, evenly and straight up, until the rods are clear of the linear bearings.

  • Retrieve the foam insulation from the case.

  • Starting at one end slip the bar down through the slit in foam until the full length is enclosing the bar. The felt side should be “up.”

  • Do the same procedure with the other side.

  • Now, pull the cables down through the instrument, one at a time.

  • With the cables still attached to the foot pedal, lay the pedal in the case.

  • Slide the cable housing up out of the barrel adjusters in the foot pedal. This will allow you to lay the cables over without “kinking” and carefully coil the cables around the inside of the pedal box in the widest loops possible.

  • Note: You can store the Allen wrenches and hooking tool in the pedal box as well.

  • For travel, place the dulcimer into its case, then place the protected damper bars carefully back into their linear bearings before closing the case.

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Cable Housings lifted out of the Barrel Adjusters to avoid kinking the Cables during storage.

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Foot Pedal and Cables in their case.

Adjusting the Action of the Damper Bars

There are 3 ways to raise or lower the damper bars for optimum clearance and performance:

1. Barrel Adjusters

  • There are two Barrel Adjusters on the top of the foot pedal, one for each cable.

  • Loosen (counterclockwise) the lower (black) lock nut. This allows the upper (silver) knob to turn freely.

  • Rotate silver knob clockwise to raise the respective damper bar. Rotate counterclockwise to lower it.

  • When desired clearance from the strings has been attained, re-tighten the black lock nut to hold the silver knob in chosen position.

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Barrel Adjusters on the top of the Foot Pedal.

2. Aluminum Support Posts

  • There is a lock-screw on the outside at the top and bottom of each damper bar.

  • Micro-adjustment: With the larger 7/64" Allen wrench, loosen the lock-screw.

    • Note: the Allen wrench fits into the head or end of the adjustment screw.

  • Adjust the support post up or down to “micro-adjust” the distance between the felt and the strings.

    • Hint: with the bar removed, use the starting length of 1 & 5/8 inches for the exposed post.

  • Once the adjustment has been made, re-tighten the lock-screw, finger tight. Then, snug it up, maybe 1/16th to 1/8th turn with the 7/64" Allen wrench. CAUTION: do NOT over-tighten!!! Over-tightening may cause the damper bar to crack.

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Aluminum Support Posts and Lock-Screws are located at the ends of each Damper Bar.

3. Cable Knarps

  • There are Cable Knarps located underneath the tongue of the foot pedal directly below each of the two barrel adjusters. These create a stop to limit the length of the cable.

  • For cable stretch: After some use, the cables may “stretch”. Adjustment of the stops becomes necessary.

    • With the pedal and damper bars installed properly, pick up the pedal and hold it at eye level. Look under the tongue at the cable stops.

    • Depress the tongue with your hands. Notice if there is any unusual slack when the tongue returns to its “up” position. Take note of how much slack there seems to be.

  • To adjust:

    • At the dulcimer end, remove the ball-end of the cable from the damper bar.

    • Pull the lower end of the cable from the foot pedal to access the knarp.

    • Use the smaller 2mm Allen wrench to loosen the set screw that is located in one end of the knarp.

    • Slide the knarp up the amount it was slack and re-tighten. If you noted, let's say, 3/8” of slack … then loosen the cable stop … slide it 1/4” to 3/8” up the cable and re-tighten.

CDLB Damper Instructions-12.jpg

Cable Knarp pulled out of the side of the foot pedal.

  • Note: Make sure you tighten the set screw in the knarp very tightly, it can slip if it's not locked down tight enough.

  • Now re-install in the foot pedal, hook up the damper bar and see if you've “taken up the slack.” If it's close, but not quite right, refine it by adjusting the barrel adjusters according to the directions in option 1.

*Please remember – you can always call me (828-301-1622) for any help you might need in accomplishing these tasks.


Final Test: To make sure your damper system is adjusted correctly, use a hammer to tap on all the strings to make sure that the notes ring clearly and are not being partially dampened by the felt. Next, depress the damper pedal and tap on all the strings to make sure the felt is contacting the strings evenly, and therefore dampening all the strings simultaneously.

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