Edd Presnell dulcimer
General mountain dulcimer or music discussions
What a BEAUTY!
Yes, Dave, I've made several of this very kit over the years. They are very easy to put together if you take your time and follow directions. The resulting dulcimer is a fine looking and sounding instrument.
Irene, I usually buy my thinwood from several sources, depending on what I need. I've resawn my own stock in the past, but am not very good at it, so I let others do it for me. I use a lumberyard in Toledo, one in Charlotte, MI, and I mail-order wood from one in Wisconsin and one in Kentucky. There is a sawmill in Alaska that supplies beautiful quarter-sawn spruce, as well.
You really did seem to enjoy yourself, Irene! What a hoot! We had an intensive 3-day dulcimer learning gig. I won't forget how my legs complained over all that walking! They still hurt, but I'm glad I went. None of the group were what you would call "spring chickens", able to walk anywhere and everywhere. I'm glad you like the Singleton. It's leaving me this weekend...
Yes, here is a photo of the original in Lexington, Kentucky. The folksinger John Jacob Niles altered the fret pattern, but I used the normal diatonic pattern for my replica.
Here's a new Uncle Will Singleton dulcimer replica I built for a player in Toronto. Its name is "Angel", taken from Psalm 34:7. Singleton was the local dulcimer builder in Viper, KY and was related to Jean Ritchie. The poplar body really rings out when played. The red heart and diamond are cherry inlays in the fretboard.
Wow, Dan! That 24 carat gold and diamond dulcimer is just what I'm in the market for!
The shipping charge alone would kill the deal...
And I (John Knopf) have a black walnut J. E. Thomas hourglass dulcimer with hand-carved pegs and homemade strings. Upside-down heart soundholes and staple frets. Sounds great! It's ready to go now, and it's $350 plus shipping. You can see my website by clicking on my ad below, when it shows up on the left-hand side.
Here is the outworking of some brainstorming I've had recently. You know how an idea gets in your head and won't go away peacefully? Well, this lil' guy is less than 12" long, but can be played-- SORT OF. It's my version of a true "pocket dulcimer". Just thought you might like to see it!
So, full steam ahead! Congratulations on building your first dulcimer. You'll get lots of ideas for future ones now.
You could try sanding the back flat if the bow is minor, or you could glue 3 feet on the back like they did in the old days.
All I found was this old listing on Reverb:
It probably looks like yours. No date given, but the same labeling.
Hollowing the fretboard saves weight and adds more cubic inches of soundbox, and usually yields a little more sound.
All things being equal, it's a good idea to hollow it out. Another question is whether or not to cut holes in the top under the fretboard. I like to cut them out, but doing that may not make it sound much different. Best wishes on your repairs!
I agree with Ken. Robin Clark should be able to help you, friend.
It seems to me that the strum hollow was "invented" by either Charles Prichard in Huntington, WV or by Ed Thomas in Bath, KY, long after dulcimers were being built, as Ken said. If you look at old Virginia dulcimers, for example, you'll see many scratch marks on their flat fretboards, where the strum hollow would normally be.
Matt, I mention the following to my customers who buy one of my dulcimers in the wintertime:
I tell them to bring the box into their house, but NOT TO OPEN IT for an hour or so! I know it's agony to be so close to enjoying a new instrument, but it will be worth it. There is a real danger of thermal shock occurring if a cold wooden instrument is suddenly subjected to warm temperatures. I don't know of any breakages so far, but I've experienced the heartbreak of seeing the fine lacquer finish of a Warren May poplar dulcimer CRAZE in front of my eyes when I took it out of its cold box too soon. It looked like the surface of old china, with fine cracks all over it. It's difficult to repair the finish.
With much patience and care -- far more than I have.
My usual top and bottom thickness is about 1/8", but I try to go thinner than that if I can. As you might have read on this site, or elsewhere, you can get get good sound out of a Tennessee music box even when the top and bottom panels are over 3/8" thick.
It's mostly aesthetics, Lisa. Some like the look of a wasp-waisted dulcimer more than other body styles. Uncle Ed Thomas of Bath, Kentucky and C. N. Prichard of Huntington, West Virginia popularized the shape over a hundred years ago.
I don't know what to say to this news.
To me, Mike was the embodiment of the old-time Kentucky dulcimer spirit. A quiet and knowledgeable man who wanted to help others understand dulcimer history and mountain music. He did his part to perpetuate the best of tradition.
Rest in peace, friend, and may God bless your family left behind. Too sad...
Just bear in mind that if you alter McSpadden's design and you want to sell the dulcimer later, the modification may affect the value of the dulcimer.
It may be that the biblical translators were just thinking of this term generically. The two words of which the word "dulcimer" is composed are dulce (sweet) and melos (melody), thus indicating some kind of a musical instrument that makes a sweet sound or melody. Just a suggestion.
What a beautiful piece of craftsmanship!
Some were pretty strange looking. He seemed to enjoy monkeying with fretting patterns on dulcimers. I had to ignore the fretting pattern on a Nathan Hicks dulcimer he glommed onto in order to reproduce a Hicks dulcimer for our "Banjimer". I'm not sure what the original Hicks pegs looked like either, since J.J.Niles threw some violin-family pegs in the mix.
The Wilsons are somewhat legendary in Michigan, having built dulcimers and exhibited them at festivals. As I understand it, Richard built the dulcimers and Denise provided the inlay work, and maybe the soundholes. They do (did?) excellent work.
There is also a McSpadden "Sweet Song" dulcimer kit listed on the site.
I just found this listed on shopgoodwill.com! A very pretty, high-quality dulcimer with beautiful heart and flying geese soundholes. Flying geese inlay on the back. Item #58634975.
How can I close the new Chatroom sidebar that started showing up on my display? Can it be minimized or turned off?