Outlander-Barb
Outlander-Barb
@outlander
11 months ago
25 posts

Thanks so much Trail Dad. Hope to have it soon. Robert Schuler instruments are unique & lovely. :) 

Gail..mentioned small hand issue to Rick so hope he did the 1 3/8 but, like you said, not a huge diff. Found video on tuners & how to use Accutune module on Joe Collins web link off NHD page. Learned so much! Had no idea what types of tuners were even available or what/how/why to use Accutune Module. Rick & Joe each discussed & now I understand. What a great enhancement & design. Hope NHD adds lots of info/materials about the design, etc. as they redo the webpage....great selling points most like me who aren't in the mainstream dulcimer community would never even know existed. 

Gail Webber
Gail Webber
@gail-webber
11 months ago
70 posts

I like the 1 3/8 because I have small hands.  Might not matter for you - really not much difference.

traildad
@traildad
11 months ago
88 posts

Congratulations on ordering your new dulcimer. I also think they have a wonderful sound. I came very close to getting one but it just didn’t work out. I ended up getting a large body dulcimer from Robert Schuler here on the site. Enjoy your new love. 

Outlander-Barb
Outlander-Barb
@outlander
11 months ago
25 posts

Fretboard width not brought up. Assumed Rick had a standard width. Honestly don't know why a player might prefer one over another. Maybe I'll send an email to ask...good to know about Ewing capo. Tks.   Barb

Gail Webber
Gail Webber
@gail-webber
11 months ago
70 posts

My fretboards are 1 3/8.  They also make 1 1/2, so it depends on which you requested.  My Ron Ewing capo fits either one.  I know you are excited about getting yours.

Outlander-Barb
Outlander-Barb
@outlander
11 months ago
25 posts

Gail...can you tell me the width of your New Harmony fretboard so I know what size capo to buy....thanks ahead of time. Don't have the dulcimer yet but should be any day now. 

 Barb

Gail Webber
Gail Webber
@gail-webber
last year
70 posts

Yes, Rick is great to work with.  I'll try to post some pictures of mine.  I have had trouble uploading photos here in the past. 

Outlander-Barb
Outlander-Barb
@outlander
last year
25 posts

Rick Gooden. After telling him specs I wanted, ie 25" VSL, extra frets & showing him one of their web pics of a baritone that had the dark wood tones I like, I told him to take over & do what he does so well ... designing my new dulcimer to his specs. He explained everything he wanted to do, why, etc. and gave me options. I genuinely learned quite a bit. Above all, I was impressed with his confidence in his craftsmanship & product and his attitude towards how he likes to do business. I found that same sense of integrity with Ron Gibson & it really means a lot to me personally & its what makes me a returning customer. I had to laugh because he's simply not gruff like he looks in some of the pics they put up. :) I suspect he's just a man who'd like to put all that aside & get down to doing what he loves doing. I am the same so I understand. 

I'm sure I'll love the final product. Lucky you to own three. :) Hope I can drive down this fall & get a chance to see the shop and maybe see a dulcimer being worked on. I'm at the top of Illinois, west of Chicago & the shop is at the bottom of Indiana so a long drive but worth it. An overnight stay for sure. Put on some loud, good music and away I go......... 

Seeing shop...woodworking fascinates me...I'd be very good doing that I suspect because of my love of detail & patience. It must feel similar to what I feel as I progress through a very complicated Japanese knitting pattern using an exquisite yarn....takes so much attention but a thrill to see as it slowly takes shape in my hands. Can't wait..it'll be a loooooooooong 3 weeks I suspect. LOL  Hey, I'm still waiting for pics of those beautiful dulcimers you have ... hope you can post them. I'd love to see them. Thanks again.  Barb 

Gail Webber
Gail Webber
@gail-webber
last year
70 posts

That's great!  I'm glad you had such a good experience.  Did you meet with Rick Gooden or Rick Huffman?  I'm sure you will love what they build for you.  The workmanship and sound are hard to beat in my opinion.. 

Outlander-Barb
Outlander-Barb
@outlander
last year
25 posts

Gail..I met with Rick via Zoom yesterday & what an interesting man he is. We talked of cabbages & kings :). He made some suggestions & gave me a lot of information. I placed my order for a 25" VSL whale tail model with black tuners, butternut top, dark Peruvian walnut back & sides. Rick said he'd look for woods that have a lot of character as well since I like that. The whole experience was good & I felt he truly backs his craftsmanship & sound in every way. I also like the idea of knowing I have somewhere to send the dulcimer if I ever need to. I feel totally at ease with my decision. I mentioned you & Rick said he has several customers who have 5 of his instruments so you are in good company indeed.

He'd just returned from the Gateway Dulcimer Festival & they are totally out of dulcimers so he's starting on mine right away :) When I mentioned I like the dark configurations on the Peruvian walnut (plus want a warm sound) & butternut, he seemed to like that particular combination greatly & said it has outstanding tonality together. I actually prefer a darker top but with the black tuners & dark Katalox overlay on the fret board I thought it would look lovely which is also what I wanted. 

All in all, dealing with New Harmony Dulcimers has been a pleasure and I'll definitely be a return customer because of that. So many luthiers are just wonderful to deal with. Ron Gibson is one I've had experience with as well. Great people. I'm happy with my choice. Barb 

Outlander-Barb
Outlander-Barb
@outlander
last year
25 posts

Dusty...thank you for the additional information & comments. I had made plans for a new dulcimer but it didn't work out so it's been a bit of a scramble to find something else.  A performer/music teacher I'll be taking lessons from knew my other dulcimer hadn't worked out and she told me the New Harmony sound was lovely. That seems to correspond with what you explained about the full sound & undercut bridge effect. A rounded guitar sound is exactly what I'd like. I feel like your quote ... keep one foot in the past & one foot forward into the future. I like the innovations Rick Gooden has made & don't mind something new & modern. 

I'll ask Rick when we meet next week whether I'm a candidate for the Accutune module. I'm just an advanced beginner & not sure I'll be able to recognize when finer tuning is needed. By the way, I was watching your Modern Flatpicking video here last night. That's how I want to play. Thanks for taking the time to make the videos.

Anyway, while I know the shade of wood tones I like, I'm very interested in hearing what Rick has to say about wood choices. I noticed they are reconstructing a new website. When I sent him a brief email outlining what I had in mind, I wrote that I like simple elegance so appearance was important to me. Just now, I saw what they put up while working on a rebuilt website & low and behold, they said their dulcimers have a simple elegance. I'm so glad they took it to heart that elegance can, indeed, be simple & doesn't require hundreds of dollars worth of embellishments. The more I hear, the more I am respecting the level of talent Rick has in his ideas. He said he is looking forward to designing my new dulcimer and so am I. Nice folks there in New Harmony but then, I have yet to meet a dulcimer person I didn't like. Great people all.  Thanks for taking the time to give me the information you did ... it really helps me know I'm making the right decision. Wish I could visit New Harmony & get a peek at dulcimers in progress to watch the making process.  So interesting I think.   Barb

Gail Webber
Gail Webber
@gail-webber
last year
70 posts

Barbara, I think you have made a good choice.  You will have to tell me about it once you decide!

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
last year
1,592 posts

I know a few people who have bought New Harmony dulcimers over the past year or two.  They rave about the big, full sound.  I haven't played one myself, but hope to soon.  I met Rick (the luthier, not the business/PR guy) in Zoom when New Harmony was a vendor at the virtual Berkeley Dulcimer Gathering.  He seemed to know most of the other dulcimer makers in the country and was familiar with the variations in their designs. I'm not ready to buy another dulcimer right now, but we discussed my personal preferences, and he was certainly willing to build a dulcimer to please me.

Several luthiers offer a three-string option, and a few (like Modern Mountain Dulcimers) only make dulcimers with three strings.  That approach may be in the minority, but it is not unheard of.

As @gail-webber explains, the accutune bridge is a way of adjusting the compensation for each string individually, providing greater accuracy in intonation depending on tuning and string gauge. 

Perhaps just as importantly, the New Harmony design does not really use an end block.  Instead the strings latch onto an undercut bridge with several inches to spare before the end of the top. That design allows the sound board to resonate a lot more than it does on a standard dulcimer. The resulting sound resembles not the traditional, high silvery sound of older dulcimers but the warmer, round sound of a guitar.

As for the hole in the head, I assumed it was simply so that the instrument would be easy to hang on a wall on a simple peg, like those traditional Shaker chairs.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
Outlander-Barb
Outlander-Barb
@outlander
last year
25 posts

Gail....an update. Just heard from Rick Gooden & we're Zooming next Tuesday to talk about him designing a dulcimer for me. I sent him an email with general thoughts ie VSL, wood tones, tuners, etc. .... he said he could easily design something very nice for me within my price range so I'm thrilled. He's going to be gone the rest of the week to the Gateway Dulcimer Festival. 

And the journey begins....thanks to you.   Barb

Outlander-Barb
Outlander-Barb
@outlander
last year
25 posts

Thanks again Gail. I'm still in the process of shopping for a new dulcimer & am looking into all I can. Your info helps so much with the New Harmony instruments. I have a well made, very pretty Ron Gibson Barbara Allen style baritone that I've dragged everywhere & enjoyed for almost 5 years but now these old hands need something easier to play & a 25" VSL. I'll never sell my Gibson but probably won't play it as much as I did before.  I'm looking forward to driving down to New Harmony for the Dulcimer Chatauqua on the Wabash in October too. 

Gail Webber
Gail Webber
@gail-webber
last year
70 posts

As far as just 3 strings - I always remove one when I've had dulcimers with the double melody string.  I do a combination of strumming and cross picking and find it much easier without the double melody string.  I think people who play noter/drone style like the double strings more because of the sound.

Gail Webber
Gail Webber
@gail-webber
last year
70 posts

Two of mine have the accutune feature - instead of just a movable bridge you have 3 different places to fine tune the strings on the bridge.  It's supposed to help fine tune the upper notes.  Honestly, I haven't really used the feature a lot.  Once I get the strings in tune they seem to be pretty accurate up the fretboard.  They do make custom instruments.  All 3 of mine are custom made with exactly what I wanted and they were very nice to work with.

Outlander-Barb
Outlander-Barb
@outlander
last year
25 posts

Thank you Lisa. I've missed the Gebhard Woods festivals the last few years so I'm sorry I didn't go to see these. Gail Webber just responded to my private email to her & gave me a lot of info on how/why she loves the New Harmony. She actually has 3 of them but she also said she plays in an orchestra so she sounds like a pro player. It was so nice of her to give me such a good response...its just what I wanted to know. I think the instruments look really nice hanging from pegs when you see that in the website store pics. I wouldn't store it that way at home...no pegs. LOL Thanks again.   Barb

Lisa Golladay
Lisa Golladay
@lisa-golladay
last year
108 posts

As I recall from a conversation at the New Harmony booth at Gebhard Woods a few years back, the hole in the head is so you can hang the dulcimer from a peg.

If only the hole in my head was so convenient :-)

Outlander-Barb
Outlander-Barb
@outlander
last year
25 posts

Hi Ken...thank you. Agree, I saw the 'sold' dulcimer descriptions with VSL but none gave dimensions. They have 4 different series of instruments: Brio, Whale Tail, Private Reserve, Pinnacle Series. I couldn't find anything about what the differences or specs are for each of those series & seeing that would really help me know where to start. There's nothing wrong with the design...I just am curious about why there is a hole in the peg head.  I'm also curious what/how the Accutune module I see near the saddle is/works. There's nothing wrong with 3 strings only but, again, I'm just curious. You seem to think I'm challenging the design innovations but I'm not .... I'm just curious to know & thought perhaps there was a New Harmony owner who could tell me. General info like that is helpful for anyone considering getting one. It'd be easier to read that on the website to get a good concept of what to select vs arranging a Zoom meeting to get answers. 

When I wrote them an email asking about getting one made within my price range, etc. since everything was 'sold', I got a response from Rick Gooden and he is more than willing to Zoom meet so we can discuss woods, tuners, etc. so they do make custom orders. The overall design is determined but that's much the same as anywhere else but there isn't a 'take it or leave it' attitude as you describe. They seem like nice people who work with their customers.  

I'd still be interested in hearing from anyone who owns one and know what they think about them. I don't know anyone other than a dulcimer teacher, Dona Benkert, who said they sound lovely. 

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
last year
1,973 posts

Why do they have a hole in the tuning head?  Why only 3 strings?  Because that is New Harmony owner Rick Goodin's design.

He does not build custom dulcimers to your specifications -- he builds dulcimers to his specifications, and you can choose to buy one or not.  He seems to have plenty of buyers waiting for his next creation.

I just now went to New Harmony's website, and every dulcimer there has the VSL listed. 

He actually only has 3 instruments available at this time -- all the other instruments shown are sold.  He posts sold dulcimers to give you some idea of what to expect from the combination of design and wood choices he chooses to make.


updated by @ken-hulme: 07/30/21 07:19:26AM
Outlander-Barb
Outlander-Barb
@outlander
last year
25 posts

A dulcimer teacher told me about this brand & how lovely they sound. Can anyone tell me why there is a hole in the peg head? It's so unusual. What/how do you use what they call an Accutune module? I was surprised they don't have any specifications about depth, length, etc. except on 'Sold' instruments. It sure leaves a lot of questions to be asked if you are considering them. I also noticed they don't seem to make anything other than a 3 string instrument. So many makers offer 3 or 4 equidistant so this was a surprise. Thanks.

Gail Webber
Gail Webber
@gail-webber
3 years ago
70 posts

I have a hard time posting pictures here.  The file size is too large and I have trouble changing it.  I'll try to record something soon and post it.

 

Steven Berger
Steven Berger
@steven-berger
3 years ago
146 posts

Looks like you got a winner there, Gail!

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
3 years ago
893 posts

Enjoy your new dulcimer.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
3 years ago
1,346 posts

Yup, what @Bob said.  :)

Bob
Bob
@bob
3 years ago
86 posts

Sounds nice Gail- do you have any photos?

Gail Webber
Gail Webber
@gail-webber
3 years ago
70 posts

I received my newest dulcimer a week ago.  It was made by Rick Gooden at New Harmony Dulcimer Company in Indiana.  It has a beautiful walnut back and sides, swamp ash top, Brazilian rosewood fretboard and 26" VSL.  I'll have to say that if I had to run out of the house with just one, this would be it!  It sounds really great on fast fiddle tunes or slower pieces and the workmanship is wonderful.  


updated by @gail-webber: 10/27/19 12:02:25PM