compendium of makers
General mountain dulcimer or music discussions
Hey, Ken. Yes, I've already picked up some good info there. Thanks!
Thanks! I was very pleased to learn its history and to manage to acquire it. Marsha gave me some good advice about not changing anything about it. I like playing noter style. I love the tradition and history of this instrument.
My sister-in-law started lessons in Florida this year, although I suspect she's playing chord style. But we're going to see what we can do together to entertain the family over Christmas.
Hi, I'm Lizabeth. I posted to the First Dulcimer thread before I saw this, so I've got an intro on there. But, briefly, I've wanted a dulcimer since high school, when a friend learned to play during a summer working in the Appalachians. I looked at them a lot but never pulled the trigger until a couple of weeks ago when I found a mountain dulcimer in a flea market. I eventually bought it. It's a Morris Jethro Amburgey (son of Jethro) built in 1978, and it's in perfect condition. I'm teaching myself noter and drone playing. I've been playing native American flute for four years. My family is pretty musical, so I pick things up pretty quickly. I love being here. I think forums are an excellent way to connect folks and disseminate information.
I hope these photos are right-side up! The first one is of Marsha Harris. She put a new string on for me, tuned the dulcimer, and gave me some pointers.
Thank you all for the responses. Sorry I was vague. I saw a dulcimer for sale, and it was in a sturdy wooden case with a fitted interior. The corners of the case had metal caps to protect them. The seller said there were no markings that he could find in or on the dulcimer as to who was the maker. That's mainly what I was trying to find out was who might have made it. I thought with no markings that the case might be a clue.
Bob, your case is gorgeous!
Is there a maker who traditionally sold his instruments in wooden cases with metal caps on the corners to protect from damage? I was searching around on this forum and other places on the Internet over the holiday weekend and saw this and can't find it now. Very curious. Thanks!
I picked up my first (and only) dulcimer on November 9th. I found her in a flea market. I checked her very carefully the day I found her; she seemed to be in great shape, had one string broken. I asked the price but didn't buy her. I went home and researched the maker's name to learn what I could, then I went back the next day and checked her out some more. I started talking price with the owner, but he was being squirrelly, denied having told me the price he'd given me the day before. I finally told him I was going out of town and if she was still there when I got back I'd look at her again. He threw a price at me "if you take it today" as I went toward the door. I told him I'd think about it and left. But I had decided that I was going to have to give her a pass; I had the money to buy her but was saving it for my trip. It was just luck that I had gone by this place and that the dulcimer was there. But I felt really bad; I wanted to get that instrument.
Based on my research and the answers I received when I posted questions on Everything Dulcimer, I knew this dulcimer was something I needed to snag. That just caused me more angst. But I was leaving in a few days for Native Rhythms, a native American flute festival in Melbourne, FL, something I had been planning and saving for. Well, on the 9th as I was heading out on my trip I detoured back over to the store, which was an hour out of my way. I had called the day before and learned that the dulcimer was still there. I finally reached an agreeable price with the owner, though he still tried to get extra money for the case (in bad shape, has to be replaced). I stuck to my guns and he gave in, though.
So my new dulcimer went along for the ride to Native Rhythms. While I was there I met Marsha Harris, a fine musician on both dulcimer and native American flute. I showed her the instrument. Marsha put a new string on, tuned her, and gave me some pointers on playing. She confirmed what I had learned about my new instrument and that she was in good shape.
So who made her? She's on my lap in my profile picture above. The maker was Morris Jethro Amburgey, the son of Jethro. He crafted her in 1978, #73. I know she's not really an instrument for a beginner (so I've been told, twice), but that doesn't worry me. I feel very privileged to be the caretaker of this beautiful dulcimer. She's not a Jethro, but she's a dulcimer that comes in a direct line from Uncle Ed Thomas through Jethro Amburgey to Morris. I appreciate the significance of that. I am so happy to finally be able to learn to play, something I've wanted for a couple of decades. And I feel sure that if I ever decide to sell her I will be able to. I'm (hopefully) posting some photos, some now and some later from my phone. You'll note in the second set that the frets don't extend all the way across. I've been told that Jethro would do that, too. There is no paper label inside. Instead the maker info is carved into the strum hollow. I've seen photos where Jethro did the same.
So there's my l-o-n-g story of my first dulcimer. She probably will not be my last, if this follows the same route as my history with my native American flutes. They do tend to multiply...