Looking to Upgrade/Add to my Dulcimer Collection

Dwain Wilder
Dwain Wilder
@dwain-wilder
3 weeks ago
25 posts

Ken Hulme:


I believe John does put feet on, and he would certainly do so by request.  Freeing up the bottom of the dulcimer to vibrate acts as a natural natural amplifier, giving you a noticeably louder voice...   I love Darlin' Corey!



Ken, John, very interesting to read. Up in the northeast, dulcimer builders do not feature feet, so I thought I was the only one doing so.


Here's an idea passed to me by Walt Martin of Sunhearth: place the feet offset in the major bout, so there is a space for the player's right leg to pass between them, instead of having to shift the instrument to avoid having one's thigh embossed.


So I place the treble-side foot between the bout and the waist, the bass-side foot between the bout and the tail, leaving plenty of room for the posture to shift.  See "Baby Grand" detail .


Looking forward to more discussion of the Tennessee Music Box!


updated by @dwain-wilder: 01/09/23 01:07:35PM
Michael Willey
Michael Willey
@michael-willey
one month ago
10 posts

Thanks, Ken.  I.D. Stamper was a KY dulcimer legend and he only recorded one album - Redwing on June Appal Records.  The first time I ever heard Darlin' Corey was on that album.  I just love it, too!

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
one month ago
2,025 posts

I believe John does put feet on, and he would certainly do so by request.  Freeing up the bottom of the dulcimer to vibrate acts as a natural natural amplifier, giving you a noticeably louder voice...   I love Darlin' Corey!

Michael Willey
Michael Willey
@michael-willey
one month ago
10 posts

Well, I have been really impressed with everything I have seen on the website.  My goal for 2023 is to perform at the Smithville Jamboree in July.  Like I said, I haven't made up my mind yet, but I can definitely see myself singing "Darlin' Corey" at the Jamboree while accompanying myself on the TMB.  

John, the Schnaufer/Conaster article on TMBs says that some builders put little feet on the TMB; to lift it off the table and allow it to resonate more.  I couldn't tell from the pictures on your site if you put feet on your TMB.  What are your thoughts on that?

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
2 months ago
2,025 posts

Michael -- John is being modest.  he is one of the top five or six replica/traditional instrument builder out theretoday.  His Uncle Ed Thomas Kentucky hourglass dulcimers are very sought after!

Michael Willey
Michael Willey
@michael-willey
2 months ago
10 posts

John, I can't do anything until after the first of the year, and I haven't really made up my mind yet, but would you please send me a PM with the price of a TMB?  Thanks very much.

John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
2 months ago
342 posts

Thanks, Michael!  I derived my music box design from that very article.  That's the type of article I just eat-up and refer to over and over-- the history, the mystery and the revival of these old forms!  So many dulcimer folks these days have never seen or heard anything about these primitive dulcimers.  Including ME, several years ago!  I want to preserve them with my work.

Michael Willey
Michael Willey
@michael-willey
2 months ago
10 posts

Ken, Thanks for your comments.  I agree, I like the traditional look of John's TMBs.  Ron Gibson has an article on his website about why he builds a modernized TMB and I get that.  But I'm pretty traditional about dulcimers in general.  There's a great article on TMBs co-written by David Schnaufer and Sandy Conaster at:  https://dulcimerarchive.omeka.net/histtnmusicbox

Michael Willey
Michael Willey
@michael-willey
2 months ago
10 posts

John, I checked out your FB page.  You do beautiful work!  I'm following you now on FB.  That sounds so sinister, doesn't it?  I'm following you, John!  winky   I clicked "follow" because I couldn't figure out how to send a friend request.  I'm not on FB very much.  The Galax is beautiful.  I noticed the frets are just under the first string.  Did Galaxes traditionally have just one melody string?  

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
2 months ago
2,025 posts

John's TMBs are very traditional and have a great voice.  The big difference is that John's TMBs are made to be played traditionally --  with the melody string only being fretted -- so they have frets only under the melody string.     Gibson's TMB isn't very traditional and has frets all the way across the fretboard.  

John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
2 months ago
342 posts

I make old-fashioned TMB replicas, Michael.  You can see some of them on my Facebook page under "John Knopf".  They're patterned after ones made in middle Tennessee in the late 1800s.

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
2 months ago
2,025 posts

Gibson makes a very nice TMB.  They have a big voice.  

Michael Willey
Michael Willey
@michael-willey
2 months ago
10 posts

Hey, all!  I have a Bill Berg 5-string and I'm looking at upgrading/adding to my dulcimer collection next year (which will be so soon upon us!!).  I've been looking at Ron Mooney out of Salem, VA ( https://appflutesanddulcimers.com/) or Don Gardner ( https://www.gardnersdulcimer.com/) and Ron Gibson in KY ( https://gibsondulcimers.com/).  I especially like Ron Gibson's Tennessee Music Box.  I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with these three or maybe you could recommend someone I haven't thought of.  Thanks so much.