Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions
Hi there Silverstrings. I own multiple Fellenbaum dulcimers and can tell you that he builds excellent well-crafted instruments. I do not find them wider or deeper than many other makers (I own quite a few dulcimers by different makers). Also, I need to comment on the statement that an instrument's woods do not affect sound in any discernible way - that's not true. A wood's density and its age can have quite an effect on sound:
Effects on pitch: Lower-density woods absorb higher-frequency sound waves more than lower-frequency sound waves.
Effects due to reflection and resonance - softer woods absorb sound waves more than than harder woods do, and reflect less.
Effects due to age - as wood ages, internal sap hardens and hemicellulose degrades, which changes acoustical properties of any wood.
Can you hear these kinds of differences? Many people can. For a good demonstration, try listening to classical guitars. Traditionally, classical guitars come with one of two woods for their tops - spruce or cedar. It is very easy to find multiple examples of identical guitar models by a particular maker that differ *only* in the choice of tonewood for the top. Listen to a bunch of these with cedar tops and compare them to those with spruce tops. I'd be *very* surprised if you don't hear the difference between the two.
It is also true that the volume of the sound box and a host of other considerations *also* affect the sound of instruments. But it is incorrect to suggest that the woods used in their creation do not.