Thomas reproductions (Messenger/Knopf/other?)

Kevin R.
Kevin R.
@kevin-r
3 weeks ago
15 posts

You won't go wrong with either. I have a Thomas built by John, and a Prichard built by Kevin. Both are wonderful.


updated by @kevin-r: 05/08/20 11:22:27PM
John Gribble
John Gribble
@john-gribble
3 weeks ago
94 posts

A vote for Kevin here, only because I have and love one of his instruments. It's a teardrop, though, not a Thomas.

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
3 weeks ago
1,736 posts

You won't got wrong.  I have one of John's Thomas replicas and really love it.  Both Dan and Booby make fabulous traditional dulcemores as well, in other styles.

magictime
@magictime
3 weeks ago
8 posts
Richard Streib

I have a K Messenger Thomas reproduction. He used an early 1930's Thomas from which he took his pattern. It looks and sounds might good. It is really sweet in Ebb.  I have seen and heard J Knopf's Thomas reproductions. They as well look great and sound great. As John said they are a bit different but both accurate to the Thomas dulcimores. You won't go wrong with either.Why not get one of each? I can post a picture of the Messenger Thomas if you like.

Thanks! But I seek one dulcimer to rule them all... I don't really have the space or the money to start accumulating a collection, and if I did, they'd be (properly!) different styles. Don't worry about the photo, I think I have a pretty good idea of their appearance.

Anyway, having been in touch with both John and Kevin re timescales etc., I think I'm going to go with John.
Richard Streib
Richard Streib
@richard-streib
3 weeks ago
127 posts

magictime:

I'm weighing my options for ordering a meantone fretted Thomas replica. I'm in the UK and as far as I can ascertain, nobody over here is building such things for sale, whereas at least two American luthiers with excellent reputations specialise in this type of historic replica - John Knopf and Kevin Messenger. Is there anything members would say in terms of comparing and contrasting the two? For instance, looking at pictures I have the impression that the upper and lower bouts are almost the same size on John's, whereas the lower bout is noticeably wider on Kevin's - is this correct? Are they based on earlier and later Thomas patterns perhaps? Any effect on sound? Anything else people would say? Any builders I'm overlooking? (I'm aware of Dan Cox and Bobby Ratliff, but as of right now I'm leaning towards a reproduction rather than simply a traditional

I have a K Messenger Thomas reproduction. He used an early 1930's Thomas from which he took his pattern. It looks and sounds might good. It is really sweet in Ebb.  I have seen and heard J Knopf's Thomas reproductions. They as well look great and sound great. As John said they are a bit different but both accurate to the Thomas dulcimores. You won't go wrong with either.Why not get one of each? I can post a picture of the Messenger Thomas if you like.

magictime
@magictime
3 weeks ago
8 posts
John C. Knopf:

Hi, Magictime!  This is John Knopf.  You asked if the bouts on my Thomas dulcimores are the same width, and they are NOT.       My cheap camera distorts images, sometimes badly.  I've noticed that myself. The upper bouts are narrower by nearly an inch.  I think Kevin used a different Thomas dulcimore for measurements in making his reproduction.  As you may know, Uncle Ed didn't make any two of his dulcimores alike, but there are many similarities.  So - - Kevin makes a great replica of Thomas dulcimore "A", and I make great replicas of Thomas dulcimore "B".  The sound is very similar.  I hope this clears things up for you.

Many thanks for that clarification John. I thought that was probably the explanation. So hard to compare appearances, and sound for that matter, given the inherent differences between cameras, angles, recording conditions etc.!
John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
3 weeks ago
208 posts

Hi, Magictime!  This is John Knopf.  You asked if the bouts on my Thomas dulcimores are the same width, and they are NOT.       My cheap camera distorts images, sometimes badly.  I've noticed that myself. The upper bouts are narrower by nearly an inch.  I think Kevin used a different Thomas dulcimore for measurements in making his reproduction.  As you may know, Uncle Ed didn't make any two of his dulcimores alike, but there are many similarities.  So - - Kevin makes a great replica of Thomas dulcimore "A", and I make great replicas of Thomas dulcimore "B".  The sound is very similar.  I hope this clears things up for you.

magictime
@magictime
3 weeks ago
8 posts

I'm weighing my options for ordering a meantone fretted Thomas replica. I'm in the UK and as far as I can ascertain, nobody over here is building such things for sale, whereas at least two American luthiers with excellent reputations specialise in this type of historic replica - John Knopf and Kevin Messenger. Is there anything members would say in terms of comparing and contrasting the two? For instance, looking at pictures I have the impression that the upper and lower bouts are almost the same size on John's, whereas the lower bout is noticeably wider on Kevin's - is this correct? Are they based on earlier and later Thomas patterns perhaps? Any effect on sound? Anything else people would say? Any builders I'm overlooking? (I'm aware of Dan Cox and Bobby Ratliff, but as of right now I'm leaning towards a reproduction rather than simply a traditional instrument.)