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Re-fretted Maxwell Dulcimer

musician/member name:
Duration: 00:00:47
John Maxwell's dulcimers are beautiful and sound lovely. But his fretwork was so inexplicably strange that most of his instruments have sat un-played for decades.I had Ben Seymour replace the fret pattern on this 1975 Maxwell four-string. It now sings in equal temperament.
12/21/14 06:59:20PM @pristine2:

Thanks all. Alas, the instrument sold for a pathetic $115 on eBay. Pretty disappointing for me, but someone got a good deal.

Robert L. Porter, Jr.
12/21/14 06:56:29PM @robert-l-porter-jr:

That dulcimer sure does sound great. Good song, good job.

Cindy Stammich
12/18/14 10:43:57PM @cindy-stammich:

Ohhhh Myyyyy - that dulcimer has a beautiful song - and I LOVE the way you play!!!!

More please!!!!!!!!!!!!!Smile.gif

Patty from Virginia
12/18/14 09:06:58PM @patty-from-virginia:

It sounds really nice. <edit>

12/18/14 08:08:37PM @pristine2:

<edit> Glad you are enjoying the Williams. He is one of my favourite builders.

12/18/14 03:02:06PM @pristine2:

Thanks all. In truth I'm hugely out of practice. First time I have played a dulcimer in months. I'd better start loosening up those fingers....

12/18/14 03:00:37PM @pristine2:

Maxwell's fret pattern yielded a scale neither in equal temperament nor any other rational intonation system I can identify. Harsh and dissonant. Chording an original Maxwell is basically impossible, despite the full-width frets, because there are pitch errors of 20 cents or more all over the board.

In noter-drone play it is more tolerable, but even using a simple melody against the drone seems more dissonant, even angry, than "haunting" or "dark". The third is wildly sharp, for example, whereas in just intonation it would be 14 cents flat to equal temperament.

Ken Backer
12/18/14 02:51:07PM @ken-backer:

Love your playing there, and the use of the harmonics. And it does sing.
What was so odd about about his fretwork?

Lexie R Oakley
12/18/14 02:22:34PM @lexie-r-oakley:

I am glad you got this dulcimer fixed up, very pretty song.

Guy Babusek
12/18/14 02:05:54PM @guy-babusek:

Such a beautiful tone, and you play so well too!