A Henry C Desler Just came in for restoration.

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
2 months ago
1,790 posts

It helps prevent confusion if we all use the same terminology when describing instruments, and the terms used for dulcimers are not necessarily the same as those used for other stringed instruments. 

Mountain Dulcimers have a head block, a scroll or flat tuning head, a tail block, two sides (usually), a top, a back, a nut and bridge (but no saddle usually) and a fretboard which may also have a fingerboard on its top. Some have feet on the back. 

A "heavy, square" tail block is not necessarily a Galax style element; many instruments from different regions have large tailbocks of various shapes.  What normally distinguishes the Galax is it's double back, it's wide (7-10") elliptical shape (not teardrop), it's extreme depth (2.5" to 3.5") and usually 3 strings of the same thin gauge tuned normally to ccc or ddd.  Check out Kudzu Patch Dulcimers -- Ben Seymore is the "king" of Galax instruments...


updated by @ken-hulme: 12/18/20 04:34:12PM
Nathina
Nathina
@nathina
2 months ago
185 posts

Ken Hulme:

Builder's name doesn't ring any bells.    Galax style dulcimers did/do not normally have feet.  


Sorry I used the term foot as the base of the dulcimer not meaning feet as on the back.

Nathina
Nathina
@nathina
2 months ago
185 posts

Strumelia:

As far as I know, a dulcimer having feet doesn't specifically suggest WV.  Galax dulcimers are traditionally tuned in unison all high ddd or equidistant dddd stringing. BTW we have a Group here on fotmd for Galax dulcimers- might be some fun threads in there to check out for fun.
Maybe the 1/2" action was an experiment to use it as a lap steel, with a slide? Obviously one cannot fret a 1/2" action. Maybe they clipped on a pickup. People do things weird things with dulcimers they find. Do you think the bridge and nut were replaced with high ones? Can't say much without pictures.

Sorry when I say foot it is the design on the end at the base, not feet as in underneath. The bridges are original and will be fixed. Anyway here are the pics before stripping it down. Heavy square block base I was led to believe is a WV style. There was no way to get the string anywhere near the fret board even with a noter. But all will be repaired and it will shine again.

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Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
2 months ago
1,896 posts

As far as I know, a dulcimer having feet doesn't specifically suggest WV.  Galax dulcimers are traditionally tuned in unison all high ddd or equidistant dddd stringing. BTW we have a Group here on fotmd for Galax dulcimers- might be some fun threads in there to check out for fun.
Maybe the 1/2" action was an experiment to use it as a lap steel, with a slide? Obviously one cannot fret a 1/2" action. Maybe they clipped on a pickup. People do things weird things with dulcimers they find. Do you think the bridge and nut were replaced with high ones? Can't say much without pictures.




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
2 months ago
1,790 posts

Builder's name doesn't ring any bells.    Galax style dulcimers did/do not normally have feet.  


Nathina
Nathina
@nathina
2 months ago
185 posts

This time I am taking before and after. I don't know what Desler was thinking when he built this. The body is solid and the wood is good but the action is litterly 1/2 inch + off the fret board. There was 6 feet of string on each tuner and they were all .024s. Noting the construction I think he thought he was making a baritone and larger heavier strings required higher action. Currently it is completely unplayable, but I will start on the restoration eventually, and it will sing again, actually for the first time. This thing could never be played in the state it is in. The style is a galax, WV foot style. Hopefully when finished it will be something. This should make a good baritone when finished.Short VSL, and narrow fret board, 3 string.


updated by @nathina: 12/18/20 10:35:45AM