If you're going to spend that much $$$ of a dulcimer, play it before you buy it!
Blue Lion IW Style 1 Red Cedar & Walnut question
Thanks everyone for your responses. I did the math and it would not save me much money. I just bought the McSpadden in my profile picture and will hold off for now. Dusty, the strings being farther apart and the floating bridge kind of made me rethink it. I want a dulcimer with a 1-1/2 fret down the road and am willing to wait. Again, thanks to Banjimer and Dusty Turtle.
If you've got the opportunity to purchase a Blue Lion at a good price, don't pass it up. Blue Lion is not currently accepting orders. When they do accept orders, the wait can be 6 months to a year or more due to the high demand for their instruments. Incidentally, their instruments have a full-bodied well-rounded sound, somewhat guitar like. Many dulcimer players love them as the quality is top-notch.
Hi . I have an older Blue Lion I with a cherry body and cedar top. It does indeed have a big, warm sound. I doubt the walnut is much different. Here is an audio recording of my playing Rosin the Beau that shows off the big sound the instrument offers. If you scour my videos and audio clips I'm sure you could find other examples, too, but I didn't have good recording equipment on some of that older stuff.
My only complaint about Blue Lion dulcimers is that the strings are set so far apart from one another. That works great for fingerpicking, when you need your fingers to get in between the strings, but it is hard to flatpick fast with that setup. At one point I talked to Bob and Janita Baker about making me a custom nut and saddle to move the strings closer together, but I never did that. I use the instrument now mainly for fingerpicking and use one of my other dulcimers for flatpicking.
The I model does not have the fancy inlay of the II model, but I have never been able to hear any significant difference between the two. However, the Acoustic Jam model is a standard dulcimer built with the extra large body they use for the baritone, and that one supposedly has more volume.
If you do buy the dulcimer, or even if you ask for a sound sample, be aware that Blue Lion dulcimers have a floating bridge. When I first got mine (used from a noter/drone player) the bridge was not placed right and the intonation was off. It's an easy fix, but you have to be aware that if something sounds "off" it is not a design or build defect.
Dusty T., Northern California
As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie