Nikolas, I've never had a problem with buzzing on my Walter Messick dulcimer. I took off the melody string on the "outside" and have had no difficulty playing chord melody. I noticed you say you have sta tites for tuners. You say you have the tear drop model. I have an hour glass that has geared tuners. I have never had a problem with them. In fact they are very smooth more so than the open geared tuners on my cardboard. I too have a McSpadden and I have to say that Walter's is just as loud as it. They only difference is that I kept the double melody strings on the McSpadden. I also have to say that when I go to jam my Messick, Cabin Creek, is still my go to instrument. If you had buzzing after purchasing his instrument he is more than willing to make good on it and repair it.
TK O'Brien, or Walter Messick feedback on sound/voice.
I forgot to mention that I got the hourglass shaped dulcimer from Walter. It does have the geared tuners. The teardrops he makes have the Grover Sta-Tite metal friction tuners. That might make a difference for some as far as ease of re-tuning.
I own a Cabin Creek, Walter Messick, dulcimer. I like the sound of it. I know everyone's likes can be different. I do know that you can call up Walter and he can play his dulcimers over the phone for you. That's what he did for me. I have to say when I received it and played it for the first time I was not disappointed. It sounded better in person than it did over the phone but it did sound good over the phone.
There are closer to 50 different factors that can effect the tone of an instrument. None is more important than another, really. Generally we say listen to a specific instrument, not a general maker's line, as each dulcimer can be different. Call the builders and ask them to play a specific instrument for you over the phone or Skype. Buy by ear, not maker's name or shape or wood or VSL or any other things. Generally speaking a dulcimer with more cubic inches in the body will be deeper sounding than one with less cubic inches.
I am just looking for feedback on the sound of the O'Brien, compared to Walter Messick? I have heard the O'Brien as having a better "sad", "lonely" sound, but was curious as to the Messick, has a beauty right now I am seriously considering. American Chestnut. I really like the deeper, more melancholy, "sad" sound. I know, cheery soul! :-)
updated by @george-desjardins: 08/02/23 09:43:37AM