It really is a beautiful dulcimer, but it strikes me as a non-Stanley Hicks instrument. It seems to me to be a dulcimer built in the Stanley Hicks style by somebody else (David Love). The Stanley Hicks label inside the soundhole seems to be out of place somehow. Maybe Stanley acquired it from Mr. Love, and put his label of ownership in it? There is plenty of room inside the heart cutout to affix a label after the dulcimer was completed. Just my musings...
Stanley Hicks / David Love dulcimer
Help me out, historians and collectors. I just acquired a Watauga Co. NC dulcimer with the labels of two known craftsmen: Stanley Hicks and David Love. The Hicks label was centered in a soundhole where you would expect to see a Hicks label, but the Love label was almost hidden toward the center of the back.
Hicks I know, as does every Foxfire fan, but Love was a new one. I've only found one other dulcimer with his name in it, and it did not have the Hicks label. Love was a woodcarver, and the stylized eagle effigy pegbox was one of his hallmarks.
My hypothesis on this dulcimer, which has Love's eagle peghead and a body that just screams Hicks: the instrument was a collaborative effort between the two craftsmen. The two lived in the same general area--Watauga Co.--and Love's sister Dovie was married to a Hicks; so a sharing of ideas and even efforts would be easy to imagine. Either Love supplied the pegbox and Hicks built the dulcimer, or Hicks made the component parts and Love assembled them using his pegbox.
Historians, collectors, and Watauga Co. music aficionados: can you confirm a hypothesis or share something I don't know? (This is my first venture into the rich musical heritage of Watauga Co., so there's a LOT of stuff I don't know!) Do you know more about Love, or about collaborations or any other professional or social relationship between Love and Hicks?
Thanks in advance!
updated by @william-mann: 03/19/18 05:37:19PM