i just found this thread. I too have John Maxwell made in the Upper Cumberland Craft Center. Wooden pegs and it is marked # 2332.
I can't help you with more info regarding your particular instrument, but I do nave more info on John Maxwell; plus an original 45 recording of him and his people playing. If you wish I will be glad to copy and send you the info. Is there a notch in the nut/bridge for a 4th string?
I can not find much info on Maxwell dulcimers. I also can not find a model number or any number for that matter on mine. The tag on the inside just says, "Mountain Dulcimer Handmade by John Maxwell Cookeville TN." All the photos of his dulcimers I have seen have 4 strings. Is there anyone anywhere that I can talk to or take my Dulcimer to that could possibly tell me about it. I know of only one place near me that I can go but this gentleman makes his own Mountain and Hammer dulcimers.
The pic in kusani's photo certain looks like the frets are set in just intonation (flattened 3rds and flattened 6ths). It should play beautifully in DAA (or DAAA for 4 string equidistant). I'm sure that around the time (60s and 70s) a few observant makers would have copied Jean Ritchie's 4 string equidistant set-up where she played a single melody string with a noter and had 3 x drones - usually DAA - as no doubt customers would ask for it. A number of makers around that time were using a just intonated fret placement as it is the natural fret position for DAA playing. However, in areas where unison tuning had a long tradition the fret pattern would have been slightly different.
My Maxwell has only 3 strings and NO 61/2 fret the tuning nobs are all wood. I will try to get some pics posted and see if I can find a number somewhere. Has there been any legitimate documentation of Maxwell knockoffs? The diamond shaped cutouts are very rough but the f cutouts are quite equal and very well done. The tone and all is very pleasant to listen to, though I do have to change the strings.
My Maxwell, see pic. in signature on left, was built in 1976. Maxwell, from Cookeville, Tn. around 2300 dulcimers between the mid-60's and late 70s. My instrument has 4 strings (equal distant), and does not have the 6 1/2 fret. My guess yours would be mid-60's to early 70's, but can't be sure.
Possibly. But we'll need clear close up and overall photos., and inside, of the sticker and the area around it. Most Maxwell's have a number associated with them that is not a date, but a model number. One "caution" is that Maxwell dulcimers may not have the frets set for the modern "plays well with everything" intonation. There are numerous reports of Maxwell dulcimers being in Just Intonation or some other system.