A few weeks ago I attended the Summertown Bluegrass Reunion in Tennessee a vendor had a table full of fiddles. One item was different and so caught my eye (see photos below). I asked the vendor what it was and he didnt know and I remarked to him that it looked like a mountain dulcimer though he didnt seem to know what a mountain dulcimer was. I inquired what he wanted for the item and he said $40. I didnt buy it but latter I almost wished Id bought it.
That evening I looked on EBay and someone had the same type of item, also for $40, but this time if I bought it I also be out the price of postage so again I passed. That one did not sell.
A few days later I looked on EBay and someone else had another one for sale, asking $10. They erroneously called it a plank guitar, as did others on EBay, though the box doesnt call it a guitar at all. Figuring $10 plus postage was reasonable for a curiosity I bid on it and won.
Heres the Ebay description of the item I bid on:
This is a vintage Tut Taylor creation "HEE HAW", Yongestreet Productions wooden PLANK hillbilly musical instrument. Plank measures 24" long x 3 1/2" across, is three stringed, made of wood. It is stamped with the trademark Mule and the "Hee Haw" logo, dated 1976, & also is a Tut Taylor creation. This guitar was once used by blind students at the Tennessee School for the Blind.
I e-mailed Tut and he replied back confirming that the item is indeed a dulcimer and that I should tune all three strings the same (the box says to G).
Mr. Taylor also told me, This was my creation sold by a company in Tenn. They were played on Hee Haw by Roy Clark and Junior Samples.
I have received the item and it plays about like a $10 dulcimer, a bit tinny, but it does play. I mostly bought it for the curiosity factor anyway and am glad I did.
I looked up Tut Taylor, The Flat Picking Dobro Man, on the Internet and learned he was once a repairman at Gruen's Guitars in Nashville (probably the world's premiere vintage guitar shop) and now builds some of the best resonator guitars around.
I also found this about him:
Tut Taylor (born November 20, 1923) is an American bluegrass musician.
Taylor played banjo and mandolin as a child, and began playing dobro at age 14, learning to use the instrument with a distinctive flat-picking style. Taylor was a member of The Folkswingers in the 1960s, who released three LPs; he recorded his debut solo effort in 1964. Later in the 1960s, he played with the Dixie Gentlemen and in John Hartford's Aero-Plain band.
Taylor became a local Nashville, Tennessee fixture. In 1970, he co-founded the instrument shop GTR there, soon after releasing another solo album. He also co-founded the Old Time Pickin' Parlor, a Nashville venue noted for performances of old-time music, as well as Tut Taylor's General Store.
Tut's webpage: http://webpages.charter.net/tutbro/ and www.tuttaylor.com
Also see the Old Time Pickin' Parlor http://oldtimepickinparlor.com/fr_home.cfm
updated by @david-bennett: 06/11/15 07:37:18AM