Thank you for the update, Dewey. Don't forget to change it's position from time-to-time so it darkens all over and not just on the top and one side.
"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
The mystery of wood has been solved. Cherry doesn't darken if it's not exposed to light. This was in a case in a closet when it wasn't being played. Bob Lazenby contacted me and it is cherry. Upon doing some follow up reading, you accelerate the color change by exposing it to natural light, so....it is definitely darker today than it was yesterday. I'm going to hang it on the wall when it's not being played and let it age and darken.
I agree with John that the wood looks like cherry which is one of the woods Lazenby used. However, this dulcimer was made in 1980 according to label and I think I might have darkened up by now. At any rate it is a beautiful instrument. Enjoy.
"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
Dewey -- If you join the Beginners Group as Strumelia suggests (you have to join the Group to see more than a question or two, and to create posts), one of the first things you'll see there is an essay I wrote years ago for beginners like yourself called I Just Got A Dulcimer, Now What? which is an illustrated glossary of terms -- so we all speak the same jargon -- like nut versus upper bridge and fretboard versus neck (dulcimers don't have a neck). It also has answers to many beginner questions about the tuning, playing, care and feeding of your new acquisition.
With your 28-5/16" VSL compared to the Roosebeck's 25.5", you should be alright in using them. The String Choice Calculator suggests .009, .012 and .019 wound for strings where the Roosebeck set has .012, .014 and .022 strings. The calculator usually presents "light" gauges and we often suggest going up one or two gauges from the calculation.
However, I recommend buying at least one more complete set of strings (just to have extras around should you break one during tuning). You can probably find single strings at a local acoustic music shop. I would suggest buying .011. .014 and .021 wound strings. While you're at the store, I also suggest picking up a tube of Peg Dope, a liquid used to help wooden tuning pegs hold their tuning. Not something you use very often, but worth having should you need it; and head-and-shoulders better than any home remedy.
When you get strings and are ready to tune, start a new post over in the Beginners Group, and we'll talk you through the process.
Great photos of the label! Sure looks like Lazenby's name to me.
Dewey you have a beautiful dulcimer that looks to be in perfect condition. How wonderful that it was your father's dulcimer. If I were you I would not hesitate to try and contact Bob Lazenby with questions about your particular dulcimer- I'm sure he'd be tickled pink!
Do join our Beginner's Group which is the perfect place to ask all your questions in figuring out how to tune, how to play, etc.
It's difficult to get everything into a single photo, but here are cropped pieces to try to give the best views.
From inside nut (I had to look up what the "nut" was, I was thinking it was probably the thing between the instrument and the chair, but then figured out it was the upper bridge)...any way, inside nut to inside bridge is 28 5/16 inches. Seems like a fairly odd size compared to what I've read about.
Beautiful instrument. I'll let others speak to the wood.
The 5 strings are arranged as two pairs and a single. The pair closest to you are the Melody strings. The outer pair are the Bass drones, and the single is the Middle Drone.
Since the dulcimer is a vintage design without the 6+ fret common these days, I would suggest you learn to play either Melody-Drone or Noter & Drone style, where you pick out the tune on the Melody strings, and the others drone along as accompaniment. Trying to play chords without the 6+ fret you may find challenging.
Those Roosebeck strings have 1 wound bass string and 4 plain steel strings. The two thinnest -- .012s will go on the melody string pair. The wound bass string will go on the outer side of the Bass string pair. The other two will go 1 as the Middle Drone, the other as the inner Bass string.
However, those strings may not be appropriate for your dulcimer. The gauge of the string depends on both the open note you want to tune to and the VSL -- the distance between the nut and the bridge. The Roosebeck 5-string dulcimer has a 25.5" VSL, if your dulcimer's VSL is much longer -- say 27+ inches, the Roosebeck strings may break if you try to use them.
If you tell us the distance from the inside edge of the nut to the inside edge of the bridge, we can use a string calculator to see if they will work. If not, you'll have to buy five single strings or a dulciemr set of 4 strings plus a single to make up your own set.
All that aside. Two good tunings would be DdAAA or DdAdd, where d is an octave higher in pitch than D and the As are 5 notes higher in pitch than the D --- D..E..G..G..A If you want to tune a bit lower, then CcGGG or CcGcc would be good choices.
I'm completely new to dulcimers and am attempting to learn to play this instrument.
I'm sure Mr. Lazenby get's tired of people asking him questions, so I won't ask it directly. Maybe somebody else knows. This dulcimer was given to my by my dad. He didn't know much about it other than he got it on a trip to Tennessee and enjoyed it over the years. He said he watched a guy making instruments through a window and he bought this one. There is a music store tag inside it from Pigeon River Music with an address of 101 Marshall Street, Pigeon Forge, TN and a phone number that is no longer in service. There is also a sticker that is coming lose and is smudged that looks like it says "Bob Anne Lazely" in cursive blue ink with a date that says 1/(not decernable)/80 in the same blue ink. The instrument is made completely of a blond type wood, had 5 wooden tuning pegs, three nails for the string loops, lower "F" style holes at the bottom, and two round holes at the top of the body. After a little research, I concluded that it was probably Bob Lazenby that made the instrument based on the Pigeon River Music store. After finding his profile on this site, the "Anne" makes more since to me.
The questions: 1. What kind of wood is this probably made from? 2. I ordered a set of Roosebeck 5 string dulcimer strings. What do I tune them to? I can find what you tune 3 string dulcimers to. Any other info about this dulcimer (model, tuning, etc) would be greatly appreciated.