June Apple Dulcimer tone/sound

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
5 months ago
1,900 posts

Richard, what lovely instrument. I love the snowflakes and love your description.  Maybe one day we will get treated to a little demo from you playing it.   smile

It's a wonderful thing to own an instrument that is a joy when we strum it.  dulcimer1




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Banjimer
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
5 months ago
63 posts

Richard, I'm glad you are happy with the sound of your June Apple model dulcimer.  Mine is similar to the one you have with the following exceptions: Mine has traditional heart-shaped soundholes and only three planetary pegs at my request.  Carl and his staff are great.  They are very accommodating in meeting requests for minor changes like number of strings and soundhole design.  I haven't checked the website lately, but their prices are a bargain compared to many new dulcimers out there.

Richard Streib
Richard Streib
@richard-streib
5 months ago
124 posts

Banjimer:

I have a June Apple dulcimer.  It doesn't have the light silvery sound of the J.E. Thomas  reproductions that I own.  Nor does it have the resonant sound of the larger bodied dulcimers.  The sound falls somewhere in between.  You could probably describe it as a balance between the two.  Keep in mind that Carl and his staff at June Apple Dulcimers manufacture several different models of dulcimers and dulcimer ancestors.  The June Apple model has a somewhat smaller size than other models made by June Apple, so it's not surprising that the sound is somewhat closer to traditional than it is to guitar-like.  June Apple also makes a larger-bodied dulcimer.  I don't have personal experience with the larger model, but I would assume that its sound is more resonant and similar to other dulcimers with wider, deeper soundboxes.  In short, the difference in sound is more  a combination of volume and resonance.  Everything else being equal, smaller-bodied dulcimers have less volume and less resonance.  Larger-bodied dulcimers have more volume and more resonance.  Other factors to consider are the type of wood used, particularly the soundboard (top), and the thickness of the top, back, and sides.  I'm not a builder.  A builder would be more qualified than I to describe the various factors affecting the sound of any given dulcimer.

The dreaded malady DAD is currently in remission. So glad my bank account was not quarantined. I have recently come into possession of June Apple model dulcimer from June Apple Dulcimers. This model is copied from the shape and size of the Huntington dulcimers. It sports book-matched walnut back with decorative stripe, walnut sides, book-matched top of Western Red Cedar, Wenge fretboard overlay. It has snowflake design sound holes as well as snowflake position dots. As @banjimer notes in his post the sound is not as silvery as the Thomas reproductions but it is not as resonant and mellow as the larger bodied modern dulcimers. The tone is in a word "sweet". It is not an overly loud instrument with its tone quite well balanced across the spectrum. Craftsmanship is superb. I have it strung with 3 strings since I prefer a single melody for noter style playing. It has notches for double melody and for 4 equidistant. Fretboard is taller for noter playing.  It sounds so good I can't imagine a lot of change after it "plays in" some more.

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
last year
1,830 posts

Yes -- there are McSpads that are 3" deep.  There are several models of McSpadden. Some as shallow as 1.5", commonly at about 2" deep.  At least some of the older ones with a 28.5" VSL were that deep;  I found the dimensions in a listing of McSpaddens for sale.

DulcimerJones
DulcimerJones
@dulcimerjones
last year
19 posts

Ken, are there McSpaddens that are 3" deep?  Mine is only 1.75" deep.  That would change the cu inches considerably, or am I missing something as I often do?

Richard Streib
Richard Streib
@richard-streib
last year
124 posts

Thanks, Greg. Sounds like Carl is very good to work with for a custom.

 

Banjimer
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
last year
63 posts

Here's a link to June Apple Dulcimer.  The smaller model is the June Apple Model.  The larger model is the Poplar Hill Model.

https://www.juneappledulcimers.com/collections/mountain-dulcimers

 

Banjimer
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
last year
63 posts

I have a June Apple dulcimer.  It doesn't have the light silvery sound of the J.E. Thomas  reproductions that I own.  Nor does it have the resonant sound of the larger bodied dulcimers.  The sound falls somewhere in between.  You could probably describe it as a balance between the two.  Keep in mind that Carl and his staff at June Apple Dulcimers manufacture several different models of dulcimers and dulcimer ancestors.  The June Apple model has a somewhat smaller size than other models made by June Apple, so it's not surprising that the sound is somewhat closer to traditional than it is to guitar-like.  June Apple also makes a larger-bodied dulcimer.  I don't have personal experience with the larger model, but I would assume that its sound is more resonant and similar to other dulcimers with wider, deeper soundboxes.  In short, the difference in sound is more  a combination of volume and resonance.  Everything else being equal, smaller-bodied dulcimers have less volume and less resonance.  Larger-bodied dulcimers have more volume and more resonance.  Other factors to consider are the type of wood used, particularly the soundboard (top), and the thickness of the top, back, and sides.  I'm not a builder.  A builder would be more qualified than I to describe the various factors affecting the sound of any given dulcimer.

Richard Streib
Richard Streib
@richard-streib
last year
124 posts

Thanks Ken. That is a great explanation. 

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
last year
1,830 posts

 

It is a known dulcimer maxim that the larger the interior volume of the instrument, the more bass/baritone/guitar-like the sound; conversely a dulcimer of the same basic size with a smaller volume will have a more traditional "high silvery" sound.  The way most dulcimers add to the deeper sound is by increasing the depth of the sides.   Shape (hourglass vs teardrop vs TMB) has nothing to do with the sound here; only the interior volume.  

 The dimensions of the June Apple are given as 1-3/4" x 6-1/4" x 35-1/2"

So although it's only 6-1/4" wide, it's 1-3/4" deep, and multiplied out, that gives you 388 cu. in. of interior body.

Compare that to my traditional Virginia Hogfiddle which is 1-1/8" x 5-1/4" x 35-1/4", or 208 cu. in.   

Then compare those to a more or less standard McSpadden at 3" x 7" x 36" = 756 cu. in., which has a more modern "guitar-like" sound. 

So... compared to most common dulcimers, the June Apple model will have a "more traditional" sound, certainly.

Richard Streib
Richard Streib
@richard-streib
last year
124 posts

June Apple's website describes their June Apple model as based on the Huntington design. Has anyone played one and does it have the more traditional sound or a more modern guitar like sound?

Any feedback welcome.

Thanks, everyone.