Musical Traditions Dulcimer circa 1980
Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions
I would be grateful to hear from anyone who knows anything about this instrument.
A family dulcimer passed into my hands in December, 2009. It belonged to a old-time music lover named Fidello Henderson from Henderson North Carolina. He got it from a friend about 25 years ago, and he passed away four years ago. It's a Musical Traditions hourglass from Sandpoint, Idaho, circa 1980. It has a sweet, dark, old-time sound.
The fret wear indicates that it was played noter-drone style.
Here are the specifications:
Type: Four-string (doubled-melody) walnut or poplar hourglass with scroll pegbox, four heart-shaped soundholes and no 6+ fret.
Built late 1970s or early 1980s.
Strings: 0.010 x 2, 0.014, 0.023 (not original)
Tuners: Sta-Tune nickel-plated friction tuners, black plastic keystone buttons.
Label (three hand-written signatures)
MUSICAL TRADITIONS John Rourke, Larry Kiefer, Gordy Robinson
Height, soundbox: 2.0
Height, fretboard; 0.75
Height, overall, including strings: 2.88
Width, upper bout: 4.75
Width, lower bout: 5.75
Pegbox walls: ~0.18
Pegbox holes: ~0.27
Musical Traditions was associated with the Guitar's Friend music store in Sandpoint. Guitars Friend later relocated to Moscow, ID. The shop and dulcimer operation were written up in the Marketplace Section
of Canadian Folk Music Bulletin
, Volume 1.5, 1978. In this article, Musical Traditions is said to have made dulcimers for Jean Ritchie:
Jean Ritchie is probably the most well-known of mountain-dulcimer players. The fact that she has "Musical Traditions," the dulcimer company at "Guitar's Friend," making dulcimers for her own sales service indicates the quality of those instruments.
Musical Traditions also sold this dulcimer as a kit, although mine appears to have been shop-built in Sandpoint. Here's an exploded diagram from an advertisement in Dulcimer Players News, Fall 1981, p22. It appears identical to the instrument that I have. (Thanks to Dan Landrum for permission to use this advertisement)
I found one reference
to a more elaborate Musical Traditions instrument on Everything Dulcimer in 2005. I will post additional information here if I learn more about the instrument.
updated by @flint-hill: 10/27/19 12:02:25PM