ahhhhhhhhhhhh, come on.............where did you got this instrument of beauty? Surely it has a story. I've come back from my "girls trip" to California and went into quite a few thrift shops.....Chico, CA has the best Farmer's Market I've been to. yep, I was looking for some dulcimer, but found a alto wood recorder for $2.00 and looked it up on line and it's worth $300.00 so I did a good score there. Treasures everywhere right? So glad to be back home and enjoying this larger computer instead of my phone. aloha, irene
Early CapriTaurus Dulcimer
Wow, that is beautiful! Where did you even find such a gem? It looks to be in great shape too. It must have spent most of its life sitting in a case/closet somewhere. Congratulations and enjoy.
As far as tuning, the others have great ideas. What's the VSL? I think I'd experiment with different tunings too and find the sweet spot for the instrument. More than likely, D tuning.
Indeed, that's a fine looking instrument. It's amazing how rich the wood looks.
We tend to be snobs about wood and denigrate plywood, but I have one dulcimer with a plywood top and it has a real punch to it. My guess is that the combination of the larger boxes of the Capritaurus dulcimer and the ply will mean you have a pretty powerful instrument there.
If you are going to play with other people, you will want to tune to D, and since the dulcimer is a true diatonic (no 6+ fret), I agree with that DAA would be a good choice. However, if you are playing by yourself, see if you can find the sweet tone. Put your mouth near the sound hole and "hoo in the hole," meaning sing different pitches into the soundhole. It is possible one or two might resonate more profoundly than the others. If so, tune your bass string to that tone and the other two a fifth above it. That's where the dulcimer will sing the most powerfully.
At some point Howard became very meticulous about the dulcimers he produced and has records of every single one. This must indeed be a really early model before he developed that bookkeeping practice. You have a genuine historical artifact there.
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
What a nice looking instrument. I would tune it DAA low to high and play it in the traditional noter or finger dance style.
The Hearts of the Dulcimer film has quite a bit about the Ruggs brothers. Google for that website.
updated by @john-gribble: 10/17/20 01:52:00AM
I recently purchased a beautiful early CapriTaurus dulcimer. See photos.
Howard Rugg the craftsman who made this dulcimer said he guesses its from 1969-71 when he just opened his shop in Felton, CA. He said it was made before guitar machine tuners. It is mahogany plywood body, solid wood fingerboard and tailpiece with violin tuners.
He said he and his brother designed this dulcimer and his brother made the jigs. Howard assembled, trimmed, sanded, and finished them. The crew would polish, string up and ship them. He also said the plywood sounds great! Also, that this dulcimer is a very early model.
Inside the sound hole you can see an ink stamp and not a paper label. It reads CapriTaurus Dulcimer made in Felton, California. It has round sound holes verses hearts.
Any thoughts or suggestions playing this type of dulcimer?
What are some different tunings that would sound nice?
Any other thoughts or knowledge about this dulcimer or CapriTaurus maker?
Thank you for your replies.
updated by @kevin63: 10/17/20 09:32:57AM