Does anyone recognize this dulcimer?
I have never seen a Bill Davis with the upper f holes, and only a couple that were done with heart holes, mine also has just the upper round ones, I'm attaching a couple of pictures of the signature, and the headstock so you can see the Davis looks quite a bit different. My understanding is, and I very well could be wrong on this, is that Davis was the "original" builder of the fiddle side design.
Looking at the photos you posted, I would still lean towards it being a Clemmer.
Thanks for the info on the Davis kits. Do you know for certain he did a style with the f holes at both the top and bottom? The only ones I have seen had round holes at the top, f holes at the bottom.
As was mentioned about Bill davis, it does look like his style, and he did sell kits, the ones he personally built were signed by him carving/engraving his name on the back side of the dulcimer, kits were not signed. I was fortunate enough to find a Bill Davis sometime back, signed that way but also carvet with the name of the person he built it for.
Otherwise I would also lean towards Mike Clemmer.
Either way a sweet one, I love the five strings, and as far DADisease, I am now up to 28, the dulcimers live in the house, if I add any more I'll be sleeping outside.
It looks like cherry in these photos, but it could be walnut with reddish lighting when the photos were taken.
Cherry looks deep orange or orange-red, and sometimes has small black "pitch pockets" here and there in the wood.
Walnut usually shows more grain, and can be medium- to chocolate-brown in color.
On Saturday at the Pocono Dulcimer Club Winterfest I encountered a similar dulcimer. The shape is the same. The peg head shape is slightly different. The pegs on the one I saw are wood, not mechanical friction tuners as in the photo here. The lower sound holes are identical, but the upper sound holes on the one I saw are round. Another difference is that the one I examined was made of wormy chestnut. There was no label inside. Bill Davis did sell kits but I do not know whether any of them were this style. This shape is also the shape used to make the "Masterpiece" dulcimer in Chet Hines book How to Make and Play the Dulcimore.
"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
Bill Davis made kits for this style. I know, because I helped a lady repair hers. The head on his was different though-- it had chip carving on the sides of the scroll, and the end was larger. Too bad there's no label in it. Chet Hines wrote a book on how to build a "masterpiece dulcimore" like this.
That's no kit, believe me! No one I've heard of in 40 years has ever made a kit for the fiddle shape; it's not a simple build. It's not "vintage", that's for sure, but it might be a dozen years old. There should be a maker's label visible through (usually) the lower, far side sound hole. Mike Clemmer is the primary builder of that style, although a few others offer it. If the seller is only asking $100, snap it up -- tonight!
Jennifer, she's a beaut! Looks like a Mike Clemmer ("Wood 'N' Strings", Townsend, TN) from here. If so, snap it up!
Bill Davis from Gatlinburg, TN and Jean Schilling from Cosby, TN popularized that particular style, with its violin shape, its 5 strings and its large size.
Thanks for any help!
updated by @jenniferc: 01/17/17 12:45:11PM