Warren May, McSpadden, Blue Lion?????

ButtercupVictoria
ButtercupVictoria
@buttercupvictoria
5 years ago
4 posts

Ken Hulme:

MacDonalds, Longhorn Steakhouse, Commander's Palace.  

McSpadden, Warren May, Blue Lion

McSpad and Blue Lion are "production" instruments at both ends of the dollar spectrum.  A Warren May is an individually made masterpiece that may not be for everyone.  Don't buy any of these without trying them...

That's hilarious!

HEWalker
HEWalker
@hewalker
5 years ago
27 posts

Another question-does anyone have a sound clip of a Beard?

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
5 years ago
1,631 posts

Ken Hulme:You can buy two Warren Mays for the price of a Blue Lion! 

That's a bit of an exaggeration. New Warren May dulcimers start at $400 while the Blue Lion IW goes for $550.  In both cases you can order fancier models and fancier woods and and go over $1000.

Ken Hulme: I found over the past 40 years that my taste changed radically.  

I haven't been playing for that long, but I, too, find my preferences have changed.  Another reason not to overspend on your "dream" dulcimer until you're really sure what you are looking for.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie

updated by @dusty-turtle: 05/30/18 08:53:38PM
Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
5 years ago
2,028 posts

You can buy two Warren May's for the price of a Blue Lion!  I've played all three you brought up, plus a number of other higher-end dulcimers over the years like Bonnie Carol and Modern.  Each builder has his/her own "voice" of instruments. 

I found over the past 40 years that my taste changed radically.  Originally I liked those deep, mellow sounding instruments, and I even had a couple of custom-built dulcimers made in that "range" by Nic Hambas and Till Holloway.  But then my taste changed, and today I prefer the "high silvery" sound of traditional dulcimers much more than the deep mellow sound of more modern instruments.  There's no accounting for taste!

HEWalker
HEWalker
@hewalker
5 years ago
27 posts

I am leaning toward the Warren May over the McSpadden......I have played a Warren May, now to try a McSpadden......I wasn't considering the Blue Lion but Hubby mentioned it!   I think he is convinced I will sell a few once I get a new one.    I know what I want and what I don't want.....curious what I might have missed (like the width of the fingerboard differences)  Thanks so much for all the input....more is welcome!

 

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
5 years ago
1,631 posts

What those three dulcimers have in common is that they are all high quality instruments that retain their value well.  But they are all very different. I've not played a Warren May dulcimer, but his instruments probably have a more traditional sound than the other two.  McSpaddens are very well balanced and are famously easy to play.  Blue Lions have a bigger bass sound than McSpaddens.  But there are other small differences, too.  The McSpadden fretboard is a bit smaller than the Blue Lion fretboard, and Blue Lion strings are a bit further apart.  The VSLs on standard models are also different.

If you have lots of money, buy a dulcimer by each of those builders, play them for a while, and then send me the ones you don't love.grin

If that's not an option, wait.  There are so many variables in dulcimer builds that unless you've been playing for a while and know exactly what you want, you don't know what your preferences are.  It took me a few years of playing to determine exactly what kind of dulcimer I wanted (and I want different ones for fingerpicking and flatpicking!).  Take your time.   If you can visit Warren May, play some of his dulcimers.  If you are at a festival and see a McSpadden or Blue Lion vendor, play some of their dulcimers.  Whenever you hear someone play a dulcimer that sounds especially nice to your ears, ask if you can play it, and ask what the player likes about it.  Eventually you won't have to post the question with which you started this forum because you'll already know what kind of dulcimer or dulcimers you want.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
Richard Streib
Richard Streib
@richard-streib
5 years ago
210 posts

I concur with Ken and Kusani. The sound and feel of every dulcimer can be very personal and fit one player better than another. It would be best to try the one you wish to purchase before spending the money. That is not always as practical as one would wish. Even 2 identical custom-made instruments by the same builder can sound a bit different played side by side.

I have owned/played McSpadden and Blue Lion. They are both excellent and sound great. But they are worlds apart in sound, not at all in a negative way: just different.  I like the sound of Warren May's dulcimers but have only strummed one in his store in Berea, never owned one.

Blue Lion sometimes has a vendor space at some festivals and sometimes there are McSpadden resellers/dealers at some festivals so that may be an option for trying each of those. I do not know if Warren sells at festivals or not. I know the last festival I attended had a couple of people come by just to shop the vendors though they did not register for the festival.

Deciding on another dulcimer is always a process and the careful buyer weighs lots of factors over time to make the best decision. If only one could buy all three and then decide and send the others back.

Best wishes on making your decision.

HEWalker
HEWalker
@hewalker
5 years ago
27 posts

I have had  the opportunity to try out two different Warren May dulcimers and I absolutely adore the sound of both......I was just curious what your thought were regarding which you prefer!

 

Kusani
Kusani
@kusani
5 years ago
134 posts

Echoing Ken's comments a bit; don't buy any dulcimer without trying it unless you are a beginner and buying a 'cheapo' to learn on to decide if you want to keep playing and purchase a 'keeper'. 

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
5 years ago
2,028 posts

MacDonalds, Longhorn Steakhouse, Commander's Palace.  

McSpadden, Warren May, Blue Lion

McSpad and Blue Lion are "production" instruments at both ends of the dollar spectrum.  A Warren May is an individually made masterpiece that may not be for everyone.  Don't buy any of these without trying them...

HEWalker
HEWalker
@hewalker
5 years ago
27 posts

I am in the market to add another dulcimer (you can't have too many, right???)  What are your thoughts on these three?  All opinions welcome!  GO!