Ruggs & Jackel Pre Folkcraft

Nathina
Nathina
@nathina
4 years ago
188 posts

Ken Longfield:

Two things I noticed about that post this morning: the label photo is no longer part of the post and the dulcimer is now called a Folkcraft. Curious.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

They can keep it. I just can't fully match it to a Rugg and Jackel, and with the label sitting on a carpet, Might as well call it a blue lion and get a label from somewhere, which is what they may have possibly done. There was one earlier that was suppose to be a McSpadden, but definitely wasn't.

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
4 years ago
1,118 posts

Two things I noticed about that post this morning: the label photo is no longer part of the post and the dulcimer is now called a Folkcraft. Curious.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Nathina
Nathina
@nathina
4 years ago
188 posts

Ken Longfield:

If this is the dulcimer on eBay, I think the price is way too high. I'd value it at less then half the price, maybe around $300 - $350. My concern is that the label displayed is not shown in the dulcimer but on the carpet. I am unsure whether that is a Capritaurus sound hole and peg head. I'm sure Howard Rugg would be able to tell us. Just my opinion, but I would stay clear of this dulcimer at this price.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken that is the one I was wondering about. The label bothers me being separate. It would have had to come off, which is rare, and then tweezed out of the sound hole, difficult. Plus I can't see the hitch pin pattern. I was having my suspicions so I asked.. Thanks.

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
4 years ago
1,118 posts

If this is the dulcimer on eBay, I think the price is way too high. I'd value it at less then half the price, maybe around $300 - $350. My concern is that the label displayed is not shown in the dulcimer but on the carpet. I am unsure whether that is a Capritaurus sound hole and peg head. I'm sure Howard Rugg would be able to tell us. Just my opinion, but I would stay clear of this dulcimer at this price.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Nathina
Nathina
@nathina
4 years ago
188 posts

ghcstr:
Nathina:

Considering the same manufacturer, a pre break up Capritaurus W/OSSC (walnut what is ossc?) would be better ?

How about: w/OSSC means “with original soft shell case” — does that fit what you’re seeing?

It has a the standard plush cardboard case. Very little about the dulcimer itself, outside of the label that says it is a Capritaurus and from CA. Certainly doesn't look much different than the Rugg and Jackel. 

ghcstr
@ghcstr
4 years ago
3 posts
Nathina:

Considering the same manufacturer, a pre break up Capritaurus W/OSSC (walnut what is ossc?) would be better ?


How about: w/OSSC means “with original soft shell case” — does that fit what you’re seeing?
Nathina
Nathina
@nathina
4 years ago
188 posts

Considering the same manufacturer, a pre break up Capritaurus W/OSSC (walnut what is ossc?) would be better ?


updated by @nathina: 11/29/20 06:48:47PM
Nathina
Nathina
@nathina
4 years ago
188 posts

Any Idea as to reasonable price?

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
4 years ago
1,118 posts

My bad, 1983. Still second one made that day.

Ken,

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Nathina
Nathina
@nathina
4 years ago
188 posts

Ken 1982 or 83

I am thinking the price is a little high for this one. Trying to keep myself from the potato chip craze.


updated by @nathina: 11/29/20 05:02:04PM
Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
4 years ago
1,118 posts

The label you have in the photograph is an original FolkRoots label from a dulcimer made November 14, 1982 and was the second instrument completed that day; a 38 year old dulcimer.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
4 years ago
1,118 posts

FolkRoots, once owned by the Ruggs and Steve Jackel, was sold to Folkcraft when Howard and Steve decided to part ways. Folkcraft bought all the molds for making FolkRoots dulcimers and ti was shipped from California to Connecticut. When David Marks retired he sold Folkcraft which now owned FolkRoots to Richard Ash who moved the company to Indiana. A couple of years ago Howard Rugg decided to start making some instruments again and revived the Capritaurus name.

To see an assembly line of instrument building visit the Martin Guitar factory in Nazareth, PA or the Taylor Guitar Factory in El Cajon, CA. I think McSpadden was closer to having an assembly line approach but only in the sense that today worker A may be gluing up backs, worker B is cutting fret slots, worker C is bending sides, etc. Tomorrow worker A may cut fret slots, worker B bending sides, and worker C is gluing up backs. Lynn McSpadden told me that the worker who glued on the back signed the dulcimer, but everyone in the shop had a hand in building it. I'm not sure if that is still the case today.

I suspect that is what happened in the early days of FolkRoots and Folkcraft. At one time Richard Ash's brother, Steve, signed all the instruments and after Steve's death Richard's father seemed to take over that task. No matter who signs it, there are several people involved in building FolkRoots and Folkcraft dulcimers today, but this dulcimer assembly in no way resembles the assembly line building of Martin or Taylor.

Now to your original question, which FolkRoots is better? The answer is subjective. The old dulcimers are well made and have held up over time. The newer dulcimers come in a greater variety of woods and choices of tone holes. The same mold is used today as was used 50 years ago. I'd be happy with either one.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."


updated by @ken-longfield: 11/29/20 04:32:07PM
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
4 years ago
2,278 posts

I have never seen an established American dulcimer company that does not put together all their dulcimers by hand, with care. Any maker that sells multiple dulcimers is naturally going to make up some of the pieces in multiples ahead of time to save time- so for a standard size they build often, maybe they'll cut 6 fret boards instead of only one. Even a maker who produces only custom dulcimers, one at a time- well if they've sold dulcimers for a while, they likely have some parts already cut and hanging on the wall, ready to use on their new custom order.

I've never heard of an actual assembly line for dulcimers, or of machines that make dulcimers. This isn't China we're talking about. 
I believe that companies that sell lots of dulcimers will definitely have an organized method that saves time and is simply more efficient. Even small luthiers have ways they use to avoid wasting time and energy. Any outfit that offers their own standard model dulcimer would be losing potential customers if they didn't have a couple of them made and ready to ship.
This simply means it makes sense to put together their more popular dulcimers several at a time. 
And if a company produces a lower priced model of dulcimer based on less expensive materials such as plywood, or a standard model that they sell a lot of and therefore have some in stock ready to ship... well that still doesn't mean it was created on an assembly line, and it doesn't mean it was not hand made with care and attention. Just my two cents.




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990

updated by @strumelia: 11/29/20 03:18:14PM
Nathina
Nathina
@nathina
4 years ago
188 posts

So the Rugg and Jackel are a massed produced line assembly as noted by the high Serial number. Also seems that the sticker fell out of the instrument. Price wise not on the level of the current Folkcraft. 

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
4 years ago
2,137 posts

Yes that is a legit Folk Roots label. 

Rugg & Jackel made Darn Fine dulcimers!     As Dusty says, Capritaurus and Folk Roots were two different critters however.  The Folk Roots line was more of a production dulcimer than a hand-crafted dulcimer.  Are current Folkcraft better than a Folk Roots?  Depends on your personal interpretation of better.  

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty
4 years ago
1,742 posts

Nathina, some others here would know the story better than I, and Howard Rugg himself is a member here and can fill in the details.  My understanding is that the Rugg brothers started making dulcimers under the Capritaurus name and then the dulcimer renaissance happened in the Santa Cruz area, so to keep up with demand, they separated Capritaurus from Folk Roots.  The Folk Roots dulcimers by Rugg and Jackel used some plywood and other techniques to keep costs lower and production higher.  The still had the same design, though, as the large-bodied Capritaurus dulcimers that were probably the first dulcimers made with a larger box to get more volume.  Eventually they sold Folk Roots to Folkcraft, as you know.

So are they good instruments?  Yes.  But they are probably do not compare to the high-end instruments made today, which cost a lot more and have been built on some of the design principles that the Ruggs pioneered.

If you have a question about a specific instrument, you might ask Howard. He still has records on most of the instruments they made and can often tell you the specific woods used, whether that 6+ fret was made by them or added afterwards, and more.

My understanding is that the Folk Roots line of dulcimers made by Folkcraft are made of solid wood with no ply, but they honor the large box design of the original Folk Roots dulcimers by Rugg and Jackel.  The main advantage to buying one new is that you could get exactly the features you want.  On the other hand, Howard Rugg resurrected Capritaurus Dulcimers and is making instruments again, so if the Rugg design interests you, you might see what he is offering.

P.S. I moved this discussion to the Forum on specific instruments and specific luthiers since that seemed a better fit and would be easier to find by others later on.




--
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: 11/29/20 12:59:59PM
Nathina
Nathina
@nathina
4 years ago
188 posts

is a Ruggs and Jackel pre folkcraft a good instument? Are the current folkcraft better? What type of label did they use and was it inside the instrument?


updated by @nathina: 11/29/20 12:31:54PM