John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
7 years ago
275 posts

To answer your question about possible woods used, I"d say mostly walnut, with some pretty figured (burl or crotch figure) bookmatched walnut on the back, and an unknown wood --possibly spruce or similar softwood--on the top. The tuning pegs look like Brazilian rosewood to me. It looks like the original fret spacing on the fretboardwas cut inaccurately, and an overlay was glued on and new fret slots cut in it. The nut and bridgelook to berecent replacements for what was originally a paired melody string setup. Note the grooves worn in the tailblock.

What surprises me is the different levels of finish and craftsmanship evident in this dulcimer. Somebody who takes the time and effort to carve a scroll, fit friction pegs to the holes and bookmatch beautiful figured wood on the back should show similar care in doing the tailpiece joinery. Maybe some of a fine dulcimer was rebuilt by an amateur?

Jennifer Wren
Jennifer Wren
@jennifer-wren
7 years ago
17 posts

Thanks Randy! My other dulcimer also has fiddle edges...now I know what to call it. I prefer them!

Randy Adams said:

The top and bottom plates extend past the sides 1/8 of an inch or so.....it's old school.....I like it....


Randy Adams
Randy Adams
@randy-adams
7 years ago
89 posts

The top and bottom plates extend past the sides 1/8 of an inch or so.....it's old school.....I like it....


Jennifer Wren said:

Randy, what are fiddle edges?

Randy Adams said:

No matter how it got to where it is now it's a nice dulcimer Jennifer. I like the scroll, the bridge placement, the fiddle edges. All the other stuff gives it character! I bet it does sound good. Back looks like walnut.

Jennifer Wren
Jennifer Wren
@jennifer-wren
7 years ago
17 posts

Randy, what are fiddle edges?

Randy Adams said:

No matter how it got to where it is now it's a nice dulcimer Jennifer. I like the scroll, the bridge placement, the fiddle edges. All the other stuff gives it character! I bet it does sound good. Back looks like walnut.

Jennifer Wren
Jennifer Wren
@jennifer-wren
7 years ago
17 posts

Thanks for your comments everyone. It was sitting next to a used McSpadden and a Folkcraft, and they were very nice, but after playing them side by side, the sound of this one just had "it" for me. I left without it twice, partly because I was a bit fearful of the wooden tuning pegs. They are finicky, but I've come to like them. I wish I know the story behind it, but I enjoy imagining the possibilities.

Also, I added a photo to show more of the frets from the side to clear up that confusion.

Jennifer Wren
Jennifer Wren
@jennifer-wren
7 years ago
17 posts

Kenneth, I'm not sure which piece you are referring to, so I took a picture from another angle, which may clear up any confusion.

540_forums.jpg?width=721
Kenneth W. Longfield said:

That's a nice find Jennifer. I am having trouble figuring out the second picture. Do the strings go under the round metal piece or over it? Under the metal piece it looks to be a walnut bridge with slots for four strings. Or maybe that is where strings cut in to the end of the fret board. The nut definitely looks like a replacement.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
7 years ago
1,216 posts
As I wrote before, I think the skills of the original builder were decent-- and "decent" is likely an understatement-- it's got some very nice touches. For me, sound is everything and looks a bonus. You've got both here!
Jennifer Wren
Jennifer Wren
@jennifer-wren
7 years ago
17 posts
I should have made it clear that all the frets had been moved. I will post another picture later today.
Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
7 years ago
796 posts

That's a nice find Jennifer. I am having trouble figuring out the second picture. Do the strings go under the round metal piece or over it? Under the metal piece it looks to be a walnut bridge with slots for four strings. Or maybe that is where strings cut in to the end of the fret board. The nut definitely looks like a replacement.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Pete Staehling
Pete Staehling
@pete-staehling
7 years ago
5 posts

Do we know that it was only a couple frets that were moved? Based on what I saw I thought it likely they all were moved. Can't tell for sure from the pictures though.

Oh and it looks like there were two melody strings at one time before the nut and bridge were replaced. The groove on the bridge is evidence of that. It looks like you could add one back pretty easily if you wanted to.

Ken Hulme said:

If the bridge was moved, John, all the frets would have re-cuts, not just a couple.

Skip
Skip
@skip
7 years ago
289 posts

Only 4 frets shown and it looks like a veneer overlay was applied, so not enough info.

The workmanship looks good and the sound is good = good deal.

Wood may be walnut with a spruce top?

Randy Adams
Randy Adams
@randy-adams
7 years ago
89 posts

No matter how it got to where it is now it's a nice dulcimer Jennifer. I like the scroll, the bridge placement, the fiddle edges. All the other stuff gives it character! I bet it does sound good. Back looks like walnut.

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
7 years ago
1,846 posts

If the bridge was moved, John, all the frets would have re-cuts, not just a couple. I suspect the builder didn't have his/er table of numbers right next to the cutting, and mis-remembered a couple numbers in transferring from the table to the wood.

Yes, lots of players play above the 10th fret -- especially chord-melody stylists working on variations into the second octave

John Tose
John Tose
@john-tose
7 years ago
26 posts

It looks to me like originally the bridge was further up the fretboard and someone has decided to move it backwards right to the end, then having to move all the fret positions to match. I can't imagine why anyone would go to all that trouble but if it sounds good now, maybe it wasn't so good before?

Does anyone actually ever use those frets way up above the tenth fret anyway? Most of us strum there anyway - well I do, you can tell by the wear on the fretboard surface - as the sound is less tinny than when you strum over the `strum hollow'.

That's a nicely worked scroll so the original builder can't have been lacking in skill...

Jennifer Wren
Jennifer Wren
@jennifer-wren
7 years ago
17 posts

That hadn't really occurred to me Robin, but that is possible.

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
7 years ago
1,216 posts
I could well be mistaken. . . It seems the original builder may have had decent skills yet those who made changes to the instrument later were not expert.
Happy strumming!
Jennifer Wren
Jennifer Wren
@jennifer-wren
7 years ago
17 posts

Oh, I meant to mention that. I don't see any name.

phil
@phil
7 years ago
129 posts

nice find. I am glade that it has found a new home and will be once again singing happily.Grin.gif have you tried looking in the sound holes to see if there writing on who made it?

Jennifer Wren
Jennifer Wren
@jennifer-wren
7 years ago
17 posts

Hello! I found this dulcimer in a shop the other day and after playing it for awhile kind of fell in love with it. It's been banged around a bit and is inexpertly made, but that is what endears it to me. Most importantly though, it has a lovely sound.

I wonder if anyone has any guesses as to the type of wood. I'm also curious about the fact that the tuning pegs and the pins are set up for 4 strings, but the bridge and the nut for 3. An indecisive maker? A later change? It's also interesting that is only goes to the twelfth fret...luckily I rarely play higher than that. It's got a 28 inch VSL, and the strum hollow is really long! I've not seen one that looks quite like this...but then I haven't seen as many dulcimers as many of you. Here's some photos.

534_forums.jpg?width=750 535_forums.jpg 536_forums.jpg 537_forums.jpg?width=750 ?width=750

538_forums.jpg?width=750 Oops, looks like some missteps with the frets!

539_forums.jpg?width=750


updated by @jennifer-wren: 06/08/16 09:24:05PM