Forum Activity for @pristine2

pristine2
@pristine2
01/12/16 10:06:03PM
33 posts

Label reading help/late revival dulcimer


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Yep .. I'm convinced now too. The VSL is 28 1/2", another nearly uniquely McSpadden thing.


updated by @pristine2: 01/12/16 10:06:31PM
pristine2
@pristine2
01/12/16 10:28:34AM
33 posts

Label reading help/late revival dulcimer


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Thanks! When I talked to Jim it was pretty early on after he bought the place. I will ask him again.

pristine2
@pristine2
01/12/16 09:02:04AM
33 posts

Label reading help/late revival dulcimer


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

I once asked about them on everythigndulcimer.com (maybe 2009?), and someone volunteered the name of a kit builder .. but I wasn;t convinced then, and I can no longer find the thread.


Lynn McSpadden has passed on ... I suppose I could track down Larry to see if he recognizes it ...


updated by @pristine2: 01/12/16 09:04:03AM
pristine2
@pristine2
01/12/16 08:59:54AM
33 posts

Label reading help/late revival dulcimer


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Alas, Jim Woods at McSpadden didn't recognize these when I asked him a few years back.

pristine2
@pristine2
01/12/16 08:51:29AM
33 posts

Label reading help/late revival dulcimer


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Yes, it's a late 1970s  kit -- I've seen many of these instruments, for which even identical stick-on "builder's label" was apparently provided. In fact there are three of them, identical in virtually every respect, in my shop.

They are very good instruments. Many (like this one) intone very accurately, which is a surprise. That precisely why I wanted to see if the assembler might still be with us.

I've never connected them to McSpadden before, though. TK-9? Do you know of some way I might substantiate this?

Here's another one, same era, pretty much identical:

http://s302.photobucket.com/user/pristine2/slideshow/78%20kit%20Keuhle


updated by @pristine2: 01/12/16 08:52:10AM
pristine2
@pristine2
01/11/16 05:35:44PM
33 posts

Label reading help/late revival dulcimer


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

The first name is Bill, but I cannot make out the surname. Any guesses would be appreciated ...

 


updated by @pristine2: 06/08/16 09:24:05PM
pristine2
@pristine2
09/30/15 04:58:04PM
33 posts

Interesting British-made dulcimer


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

This dulcimer was apparently made in Yorkshire (there's a Haworth address inside).

A ;little rough-hewn, maybe, but I'd certainly buy it at the asking price if I were in the UK

http://www.ebay.com/itm/331666519485


updated by @pristine2: 06/08/16 09:24:05PM
pristine2
@pristine2
07/08/15 08:19:16PM
33 posts

odd frets


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I'm not the only one who likes odd bits of fret on my dulcimers, here and there:

pristine2
@pristine2
07/21/14 06:29:33PM
33 posts



I function almost entirely by ear (which is why I was first eagerly recruited and then summarily dismissed from my high school orchestra) -- although I also learn by closely watching others play. For whatever neurotic reason I cannot stand reading music or tabs. As my ear and memory fade in old age, the disadvantages of this approach are abundantly clear.As a kid I eventually compelled myself to read music, when, after burning through three piano teachers in two years, there was no one around to show me how to play Chopin nocturnes. But it was very frustrating. It would take me weeks to memorise a piece from sheet music. I could learn the same piece in a couple of days if someone took the time to walk me through it, or just play it in front of me a few times.
pristine2
@pristine2
03/12/14 10:53:40AM
33 posts

Dulcimer competitions


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Looks perfect, Robin .. thanks.

pristine2
@pristine2
03/12/14 05:30:59AM
33 posts

Dulcimer competitions


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Thanks Dusty. Sounds like someone needs to set up something for us seniors. You know, the first annual "over-the-hill mountain dulcimer and wheelchair shuffleboard jamboree."

Although I'm not in Hong Kong any more, I'm still in pretty isolated circumstances, at least when it comes to the dulcimer. No open mikes around here, just closed coal mines and factories mostly.

There are an enticing number of dulcimer festivals out there, and so far I've only been to one. But I haven't dug up much on competitions.

pristine2
@pristine2
03/11/14 09:27:20PM
33 posts

Dulcimer competitions


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

Now that I'm back in the US for awhile, I find myself growing complacent with my dulcimer playing. Maybe its just because I'm getting older, but I haven't felt like I've made any progress in awhile, and I'm often disinclined to play.

The idea of participating in a dulcimer competition is appealing, not because I could possibly win anything, but I think it would sharpen up my focus and improve my playing.

Any suggestions on where I might throw my hat into the ring? I'm in Pa. Also, are there age limits? Are the contests only intended for young people?


updated by @pristine2: 06/11/15 07:40:26AM
pristine2
@pristine2
01/12/12 10:21:07PM
33 posts

What's up with the headless vids?????


General mountain dulcimer or music discussions

I generally appear headless. Including my face in the video just makes the experience more stressful for me somehow, and in any case I usually want people to be thinking about the music rather than me ...

pristine2
@pristine2
10/19/11 11:11:59PM
33 posts



I do know from John Naylor that the Cripple Creek folks at one time were investing in other builders around the country, not just Colorado. Perhaps there was a business arrangement of some kind?
pristine2
@pristine2
01/01/14 11:39:34AM
33 posts

A W Jeffreys Jr.


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

A major cause of premature decay & death among vintage dulcimers is dessication. Long periods of dryness is particularly damaging. It will cause cracks, warp the fretboard and ruin the finish. Vintage mountain dulcimers sourced in the south central and southwest US usually show signs of dessication, but I've seen this damage on instruments from just about everywhere.

In the UK, dry air isn't going to be much of a factor except in winter when you have the heat on. Then you should really keep tabs with a cheap hygrometer. A relative humidity (RH) of 40%-65% is quite safe. If you're getting readings of 35% or less, your instruments ARE at risk. If they are already dry, 55% is a good number to re-hydrate them gradually over a couple of weeks.

I keep my US instrument room, which is really quite large, at between 42% and 51% during the winter using a console humidifier (placed at one side of the room, so the other side stays a bit drier). During the winter I have to add water to the tanks pretty much every day. My instruments are happy. That goes for all my wooden instruments, including my piano, which stays in tune much longer properly humidified.

Damp air can also damage your instruments, but is really less of a concern in temperate climes (unlike Hong Kong, where 95% for weeks on end is common). Dehumidification is a lot more expensive than humidification, too.

pristine2
@pristine2
12/31/13 02:48:26PM
33 posts

A W Jeffreys Jr.


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Before applying anything to the surface, I would place the instrument in a humidity controlled room for an extended period of time. Above 50%, but less than 60%.

R

pristine2
@pristine2
12/31/13 01:48:43PM
33 posts

A W Jeffreys Jr.


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

If you want to play in DAG, I'd suggest a 013 in the melody course. It will hold its pitch much better, and will be a bit louder, too. Same gauge will do fine in DAA, but will be a bit too stiff for DAD.

For what it is worth, Jeffreys probably shipped his completed instruments in CGC or CGG. I have one 1991 Jeffreys that came in the original still-sealed box 18 years later. It was in CGC, and very nearly in tune!

To replace the fret pattern, luthiers usually plane down the board and use an overlay thinned to match the original height. You can decide to keep the original fret remnants underneath visible on the sides, or not. You can also plane down the nut and bridge in proportion to the new board surface, and skip the overlay.

R

pristine2
@pristine2
12/31/13 11:48:00AM
33 posts

A W Jeffreys Jr.


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Thanks for posting those snaps of your AWJ. It's a very early specimen, I'd say, probably from the early 1960s, before he adopted the scroll he seems to have used always thereafter. I assume there is no date written to the left of the instrument number?

pristine2
@pristine2
12/31/13 10:02:13AM
33 posts

A W Jeffreys Jr.


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Hi

I still have four AWJs (maybe even five, if I can find one that I've lost track of). I've handled maybe 10 in total. The earliest I've seen (and happen to own) is from the late 1950s, with half-width frets. It is the only half-width fret Jeffreys I know of. The rest range from 1962 to 1991, all with full-width frets. I'll be selling one or two, so I'll be writing detailed descriptions over the next few weeks. I'd be tickled pink to see them move at $400, but I'll probably set the reserve in the mid-200s.

Since you have already swapped out the tuners (with something very nice, I might add), and if you're still ready to invest in the instrument, I suggest you completely replace the existing fret pattern. You might even consider adding extra frets. From what I've learnt about the builder, I think he would applaud you (though I also think it important to preserve at least a few examples of unmodified originals, too).

Your impulse to preserve the integrity of the instrument is the correct and ethical one. Invasive surgery on a vintage instrument is a drastic course of action, to be sure. But occasionally, it is the right course, provided there are very good reasons, you are conscious of what you are doing, and you are willing to write about it. Documenting a change usually legitimises it, from history's point of view. Moreover, Jeffreys built in sufficient quantities (I can only guess about 2000 pieces in total) to warrant some experimentation. They are fine musical instruments, after all, and should be used as expressively as possible. That sometimes requires a radical change.

There are three or four people in the country capable of doing this for you, and the cost would be between $100 and $200, depending on which one you use. I hope to be one of those people soon, but I don't yet have the skills developed. I had Ben Seymour re-fret a late model Jeffreys for me last year, and I am very pleased with the results. Ben was careful to match the existing fret wire, and maintain the feel of the action. There are others capable of good work, too -- PM me for some suggestions.

Best,

Richard

pristine2
@pristine2
12/31/13 08:41:16AM
33 posts

A W Jeffreys Jr.


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Just one fellow, AW Jeffreys Jr of Stauton Virginia, whose name is often misspelt.

I spoke to his son a couple of years back. He could not enlighten me about the numbering system, but Jeffreys clearly used more than one. On the AWJ instruments I own, the numbers are not in sequence with the dates on the labels.

Jeffreys started building sometime around 1958, and his last instruments are dated 1991. Very few changes during the entire period, though he added a zero fret at some point in the late 1970s.

They are wonderful, very sweet-sounding dulcimers. They are not, however, in equal temperament. He instead used a much older fret pattern, probably left over from half-width-fret dulcimers, that yields a beautifully intoned scale on the melody course but doesn't accommodate chording very well.

AWJs don't sell for a fortune, though I remember one moving on eBay for $400. Depending on age and condition (the really early ones do sell at a premium), you can still pick one up for $125.

Richard

pristine2
@pristine2
05/20/12 10:32:07AM
33 posts

A W Jeffreys Jr.


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Well the aesthetics are not nearly as refined & elaborate as Geoff's, but my Frank Bond is a *wonderful* instrument, already up there with among the most valued vintage dulcimers I own.

It arrived in fine cosmetic condition, but it is clear that the last owner must have been frustrated. It was strung with the bass string in the middle.The ebony heal is very soft, so the strings just dig into it when you increase string tension -- the last owner probably never got it into tune.I just put a piece of felt there under the strings, which solved the problem ... eventually I will replace the ebony itself. The nut is destroyed, but there's a zero fret so it is still perfectly playable.

The sound is warm, loaded with complexity, and balanced. The intonation, totally against expectations, is just fine.

Bond must have used something like a Jess Patterson as model. It's nearly identical in shape to an Amburgey, though the top bout is a bit more slender and, like a later Patterson I own, the frets are almost full width. They aren't stapled, but fret wire cut to leave few hairs of space on either side, so they do not quite reach the edges of the fretboard.

This leaves the three courses of strings quite close together, making chording a little difficult -- my only real gripe.

I suck at photographs, but I will try to get some shots.

pristine2
@pristine2
05/08/12 07:40:09AM
33 posts

A W Jeffreys Jr.


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Hi:

Sorry to have frustrated you! I was instantly punished with a higher price.

You've obviously got the nicer of the two Bonds, built with someone special in mind. I must have one of Frank's more pedestrian models, perhaps intended for general sale. I think it is rather less Sunhearth, and more a copy a 50s-era Jethro Amburgey -- albeit with full-width stapled frets & a North Carolina fiddle scroll.

pristine2
@pristine2
05/07/12 10:38:19PM
33 posts

A W Jeffreys Jr.


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Hi:

I could not resist acquiring this dulcimer, which I assume to be made by Frank Bond, from an Australian seller:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/261011188867

Pretty pricey, but it is a piece of history after all.

I assume the intonation is poor, but those look like stapled frets, which are quite easily tweaked a few cents in either direction without having to re-work the board.

Richard

pristine2
@pristine2
03/22/12 07:41:04PM
33 posts

A W Jeffreys Jr.


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Thanks for posting these pics of the Frank Bond dulcimer. Are there more of them (fairport7.jpg, fairport22.jpg, etc)? Do you own this instrument?

I did some rough & ready research on Frank Bond for the vintage builders list on ED a couple of years back. Interesting fellow!

(In retrospect, though, I have often kicked myself for finding and talking to both Roger Nicholson and Tim Hart about Frank Bond -- who very few people remember -- while asking virtually nothing about either musician, both of whom died shortly afterwards. A very memorable display of stupidity.)

Best,

Richard

pristine2
@pristine2
02/07/12 12:29:37PM
33 posts

A W Jeffreys Jr.


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Interesting instrument ... and early.

The headstock and tail are entirely different than the design he employed faithfully for at least 30 years.

There's no zero fret, placing it in the early 1970s and any time earlier. The low serial number may or may not imply something from his initial work in the late 1950s. I know he had more than one number series.

pristine2
@pristine2
01/10/12 10:05:13PM
33 posts

A W Jeffreys Jr.


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Fortunately, the frets with pitch errors all lean flat! I do the same on my Jeffreys player, built in 1991, which I treasure. I keep another here in Hong Kong that he built in 1962, but I rarely play it.

Ben Seymour recently installed an entirely new fretboard pattern on a Jeffreys for me. It is still in the US so I have not played it yet. You can hear it (barely) here:

pristine2
@pristine2
01/10/12 03:19:52PM
33 posts

A W Jeffreys Jr.


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

At the height of the market a few years back, I saw a Jeffreys sell for $400 on eBay. It wasn't in particularly good shape. But even very nice ones typically only fetch $100 -$150, as most buyers assume that the intonation is not in equal temperament (and that's true at least for the six or seven that I have played).

I find that the intonation on the older instruments -- those without a zero fret -- is a bit better. Many of these are entirely solid wood, too, where most of the later ones are all ply except for the top and the fretboard. Yours may be one of these.

pristine2
@pristine2
12/28/11 12:46:44PM
33 posts

A W Jeffreys Jr.


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

He was really a tireless campaigner for the dulcimer, and apparently a guy with a lot of dignity and charm. I only wish he had recognised the errors in his fret pattern. Had he done so, his instruments would be worth many times what they are.

The same is true for a number of seminal builders of the period, though.

Ben Seymour just refretted a four-string Jefffreys for me. It sounds lovely. Even with the original fretwork, though, the sweet, plaintive sound of his dulcimers is absolutely authentic and very difficult to find now.

Richard

pristine2
@pristine2
12/27/11 06:01:49PM
33 posts

A W Jeffreys Jr.


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Interesting ... I was wondering when he had started using a zero fret. This narrows it down.

Four-string Jeffreys are pretty uncommon. Nice instrument!

Best,

Richard


updated by @pristine2: 06/16/15 06:37:20AM
pristine2
@pristine2
12/26/11 09:28:49PM
33 posts

A W Jeffreys Jr.


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

Hi and thanks for the photo!

It's a lovely instrument - I especially like that whimsical, narrow strum hollow. Very little to remind me of Jeffreys, though. The instrument appears almost certainly to be the work of another builder.

The shape, the soundholes, the wide fretboard and the geared tuners (assuming they are original) have nothing in common with Jeffrey's typical work, which barely changed from 1960 until his last instruments in 1991.

Earlier Jeffreys instruments would not have thin gauge fretwire like this one. And without info to the contrary, I'd guess that this instrument was made in the 1970s or later.

Jeffrey's book was available independently of his instruments and its presence with the dulcimer is not indicative of the builder. It's always possible that he was experimenting, but unless you have some other reason to suspect it was made by Jeffreys, it almost certainly was not.

Sure looks like a fun instrument, though! Would love to hear it played.

pristine2
@pristine2
10/19/11 10:13:22PM
33 posts

A W Jeffreys Jr.


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

I've seen a couple Jeffreys dulcimers without labels, and one (from 1961) where he signed the instrument in pencil on the inside back panel. It's possible that the adhesive on the label in your instrument simply failed and it fell out, but you might take a good look inside with a flashlight.

If it is shaped like a Jeffreys, I doubt it is a copy. I have wondered, though, whether Jeffreys may have also sold kits, like many makers did -- I know he advertised in craft magazines, but I've never seen one of the ads and don't know whether kits were an option.

Not long after my initial post to this thread my computer died, rendering a lot of data unavailable (it was backed up, but the encryption key doesn't work). Unfortunately the address and telephone of Jeffrey's son in Virginia is in that data.It seems to be irretrievable, but the man's name is Jeffreys and I remember he is still living near Staunton. Your post inspires me to track him down.

By the way, Ben Seymour is doing a complete re-fret of a Jeffreys for me. Imagine those sweet plaintive tones of the Jeffreys intoning in equal temperament! Yum.

Richard

Benjamin W Barr Jr said:

I believe that I may have an early model of an A W Jeffreys, Jr. dulcimer. When I purchased it in Houlton, Maine a number of years ago, it came with the booklet that has been mentioned earlier. It is the revised version (1964) that I have. However, the dulcimer is not signed, so it is possible that someone could have made a copy of one of Jeffrey's dulcimers. The description is similar. The action was high, but I had it lowered.

Anyway, I wanted to comment on this thread...after all, it was a search for information on Jeffreys that has led me to this site and I think it is going to be a good place to hang out.

pristine2
@pristine2
12/17/09 09:01:35PM
33 posts

A W Jeffreys Jr.


Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions

The way my AW Jeffreys sings is the benchmark I use for what a traditional dulcimer should sound like. There's something about that sweet, plaintive cry that I find incredibly seductive.The instrument doesn't intonate well, but it doesn't matter much when I stick to the melody string.I've been researching AW Jeffreys. He was a very significant person in the history of our instrument. I've spoken to his son and hope to arrange a longer interview soon. One of these days I'll wriote a proper article about him.Richard