Does anyone recognize this dulcimer?
This Fleming dulcimer is wonderful! It is missing one mechanical tuning peg--the outer part you turn--but sounds beautiful as a four-string! Definitely glad I got it and thank you for the recommendation that gave me the little push, Jennifer! And guess what--no buzzing! Once I got the bridge set correctly (and the strings, which, holy smokes, I'm not sure what previous owner was thinking. . .!!!) intonation is excellent and tone is warm even with mostly old strings! Sigh. So lovely!
How lovely! And good to know that using a capo can make it playable, in the event that mine suffers from the same ailment as yours. I have plenty of dulcimers that need special accommodations to be played :), so perhaps this will be one more of those-- I will ask about the fret buzzing, but I don't think it will be productive since this person doesn't know dulcimers (that's the story, anyway!!).
(ones he personally built were signed by him carving/engraving his name on the back side of the dulcimer,)
Sam Carrell also, I just picked up a Carrell fiddleside dulcimer. He also signs his name on the back
I hope you enjoy your fiddleside dulcimer, I have my Sam Carrell '84 fiddleside tuned DAA (only using 4 strings, not the 5th string) and the tone is also so beautiful.
This particular dulcimer turned out needing the frets redressed, or possibly replaced, which I haven't had done yet. It was made in 1973 of mahogany. It has a beautiful tone with incredible sustain. Eventually, I'll get the frets fixed so it doesn't buzz so badly. It has a 29 inch VSL (vibrating string length), which makes it rather difficult to chord if you have small hands.
Happy dulcimer shopping!
I have never seen a Bill Davis with the upper f holes, and only a couple that were done with heart holes, mine also has just the upper round ones, I'm attaching a couple of pictures of the signature, and the headstock so you can see the Davis looks quite a bit different. My understanding is, and I very well could be wrong on this, is that Davis was the "original" builder of the fiddle side design.
Looking at the photos you posted, I would still lean towards it being a Clemmer.
Thanks for the info on the Davis kits. Do you know for certain he did a style with the f holes at both the top and bottom? The only ones I have seen had round holes at the top, f holes at the bottom.
As was mentioned about Bill davis, it does look like his style, and he did sell kits, the ones he personally built were signed by him carving/engraving his name on the back side of the dulcimer, kits were not signed. I was fortunate enough to find a Bill Davis sometime back, signed that way but also carvet with the name of the person he built it for.
Otherwise I would also lean towards Mike Clemmer.
Either way a sweet one, I love the five strings, and as far DADisease, I am now up to 28, the dulcimers live in the house, if I add any more I'll be sleeping outside.
It looks like cherry in these photos, but it could be walnut with reddish lighting when the photos were taken.
Cherry looks deep orange or orange-red, and sometimes has small black "pitch pockets" here and there in the wood.
Walnut usually shows more grain, and can be medium- to chocolate-brown in color.
On Saturday at the Pocono Dulcimer Club Winterfest I encountered a similar dulcimer. The shape is the same. The peg head shape is slightly different. The pegs on the one I saw are wood, not mechanical friction tuners as in the photo here. The lower sound holes are identical, but the upper sound holes on the one I saw are round. Another difference is that the one I examined was made of wormy chestnut. There was no label inside. Bill Davis did sell kits but I do not know whether any of them were this style. This shape is also the shape used to make the "Masterpiece" dulcimer in Chet Hines book How to Make and Play the Dulcimore.
"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
Bill Davis made kits for this style. I know, because I helped a lady repair hers. The head on his was different though-- it had chip carving on the sides of the scroll, and the end was larger. Too bad there's no label in it. Chet Hines wrote a book on how to build a "masterpiece dulcimore" like this.
That's no kit, believe me! No one I've heard of in 40 years has ever made a kit for the fiddle shape; it's not a simple build. It's not "vintage", that's for sure, but it might be a dozen years old. There should be a maker's label visible through (usually) the lower, far side sound hole. Mike Clemmer is the primary builder of that style, although a few others offer it. If the seller is only asking $100, snap it up -- tonight!
Jennifer, she's a beaut! Looks like a Mike Clemmer ("Wood 'N' Strings", Townsend, TN) from here. If so, snap it up!
Bill Davis from Gatlinburg, TN and Jean Schilling from Cosby, TN popularized that particular style, with its violin shape, its 5 strings and its large size.
Thanks for any help!
updated by @jenniferc: 01/17/17 12:45:11PM