Musical Traditions Dulcimer circa 1980

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
5 months ago
573 posts

I'll need to check some brochures for certain, but I think in 1976 Musical Traditions dulcimers were made in West Virginia. i do not recall when Hank Levin sold the Musical Traditions line to the folks in Sandpoint, Idaho.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
5 months ago
881 posts

@maddie It sounds as though you have a treasure!  




--
Robin T
one of the Moderators here :)
Keep a song in your heart!
Maddie
Maddie
@maddie
5 months ago
1 posts

I know this is an old post but..I just noticed the Musical Traditions brand on my dulcimer today and did a search and found this so thought I'd write. Wow! Mine does look like these. In 1976 my father and I went to the Fifth String - An acoustic music store on Scott St in San Francisco that had opened not too long before that. My sweet dad bought me my first dulcimer. I still have it today. I will take a photo and post here soon I hope. It does not have a tag inside. I had no idea it originated in Idaho until tonight! My guess is someone at the fifth string put together one of their kits as there would have more profit in it. I think he paid around $65 for it. 

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
7 years ago
1,615 posts

Nice to see you Flint!




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Flint Hill
Flint Hill
@flint-hill
7 years ago
63 posts

Hi Ken and Stephen.

As far as I have been able to determine, The Sandpoint MT dulcimers have no connection to Hank or to his instruments. It appears to be a independent use of the name. The two principals at Sandpoint, ID were John Rourke and Larry Kiefer, two of the signatories mentioned above.

Larry Kiefer may be the same person who galvanized the Wichita, KS folk scene in the early 1960s.

That's everything I've been able to learn about the instrument.

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
7 years ago
573 posts

I think Hank Levin now lives in California. He no longer makes mountain dulcimers. I have a web site somewhere for his current endeavors. If I can find it, I will post it here. I, too, have a MT dulcimer which is all cherry with the Grover tuners.

Ken

I found it. Here it is:http://www.musicaravan.com/home

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
9 years ago
1,534 posts
Sandpoint, ID rings a bell from somewhere. It's such a hole-in-the-wall kinda place for a dulcimer shop... Ask Robert Force - www.robertforce.com. I seem to remember he and Albert knew this outfit, or had some connection to it. Another one to ask might be Lance Frodsham, another of the early Pacific Rim project folks.
Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
9 years ago
881 posts
Musical Traditions2375 Edgewater TerraceLos Angeles, Cal. 90039p121May have no connection to your luthiers. . .


--
Robin T
one of the Moderators here :)
Keep a song in your heart!
Flint Hill
Flint Hill
@flint-hill
9 years ago
63 posts
Robin, no I didn't know that!
Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
9 years ago
881 posts
Ken,You probably already know that Jean Ritchie, in her Dulcimer People, includes a shop of that name in a "Where To Buy" section, located in Los Angeles.Good luck in your search!


--
Robin T
one of the Moderators here :)
Keep a song in your heart!
Flint Hill
Flint Hill
@flint-hill
9 years ago
63 posts
I would be grateful to hear from anyone who knows anything about this instrument.

A family dulcimer passed into my hands in December, 2009. It belonged to a old-time music lover named Fidello Henderson from Henderson North Carolina. He got it from a friend about 25 years ago, and he passed away four years ago. It's a Musical Traditions hourglass from Sandpoint, Idaho, circa 1980. It has a sweet, dark, old-time sound.

The fret wear indicates that it was played noter-drone style.

Old dulcimer, new to me


Dulcimer Peghead

Here are the specifications:

Description:
Type: Four-string (doubled-melody) walnut or poplar hourglass with scroll pegbox, four heart-shaped soundholes and no 6+ fret.

Built late 1970s or early 1980s.
Strings: 0.010 x 2, 0.014, 0.023 (not original)
Tuners: Sta-Tune nickel-plated friction tuners, black plastic keystone buttons.


Label (three hand-written signatures)
MUSICAL TRADITIONS John Rourke, Larry Kiefer, Gordy Robinson
Sandpoint, Idaho
1385


Dimensions, inches:
Length: 35.5
Height, soundbox: 2.0
Height, fretboard; 0.75
Height, overall, including strings: 2.88
VSL: 28
Width, upper bout: 4.75
Width, lower bout: 5.75
Pegbox walls: ~0.18
Pegbox holes: ~0.27


Musical Traditions was associated with the Guitar's Friend music store in Sandpoint. Guitars Friend later relocated to Moscow, ID. The shop and dulcimer operation were written up in the Marketplace Section of Canadian Folk Music Bulletin, Volume 1.5, 1978. In this article, Musical Traditions is said to have made dulcimers for Jean Ritchie:

Jean Ritchie is probably the most well-known of mountain-dulcimer players. The fact that she has "Musical Traditions," the dulcimer company at "Guitar's Friend," making dulcimers for her own sales service indicates the quality of those instruments.


Musical Traditions also sold this dulcimer as a kit, although mine appears to have been shop-built in Sandpoint. Here's an exploded diagram from an advertisement in Dulcimer Players News, Fall 1981, p22. It appears identical to the instrument that I have. (Thanks to Dan Landrum for permission to use this advertisement)

Musical Traditions dulcimer kit advertisement

I found one reference to a more elaborate Musical Traditions instrument on Everything Dulcimer in 2005. I will post additional information here if I learn more about the instrument.



updated by @flint-hill: 06/09/16 08:21:50PM