Warren May Mahogany Dulcimer need home

Ellen Rice
Ellen Rice
@ellen-rice
3 weeks ago
51 posts

Y'all are super! Thanks for the words and actions of support. I did contact the email address given for Warren May to ask if there were any records for this instrument. A woman responded with a pretty brisk message about using a flashlight to read the insert on the inside of the instrument (which I had done already) -- so I don't think there's any special news that direction. 

I did take Strumelia's suggestion and played it this afternoon with the noter. It sounds fine -- but that's not my usual playing style and I can't see myself going there much (besides that wasn't the intent of the donor).  It was a good exercise. 

I think I'll take some more photos next. Inching forward . .. 

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
3 weeks ago
1,496 posts

Here's one on Ebay with an asking price of $700 . Of course, that's just the asking price.  No one has bought it yet.




--
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-turtle: 09/28/21 08:08:31PM
Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
3 weeks ago
815 posts

I did a quick search on eBay of recently sold Warren May dulcimers. There were two hourglass dulcimers sold; of for $285 and the other for $315. The other May dulcimer was his hourdrop model and it sold for $629.95. This is just an indication of what the eBay market place is bringing at the present time.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Richard Streib
Richard Streib
@richard-streib
3 weeks ago
169 posts

I think your plan to sell and use the proceeds to purchase a dulcimer fitted to the playing style of those around you is admirable. So many folks would not want to take the time to do that. 

I think you would want to price it at $600, maybe less. You can adjust your price lower. I just sold a Warren May premium model to a local lady who is a friend of mine. Because of that relationship I sold it for far less than it is worth. But I did not have to pack and ship it.

It seems many current players prefer to have the extra frets and mechanical tuners as you noted in your area. If you are willing to wait it out, I am sure you will find a buyer, but it may take a couple of months or more. The holidays are coming up and the vaccine has not prevented me from having dulcimer acquisition disorder (DAD).

You may want to contact Warren May. He may have someone with interest that would not demand a new dulcimer. PM me and I can help you with contact information.

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
3 weeks ago
2,018 posts

Perhaps there are a few old traditional tunes that appeal to you that you might like to try out in drone style on this dulcimer. Think DAA tuning, and maybe Start with Go Tell Aunt Rhody. You could also try the beautiful Aoelian mode tuning of DAG, and play Shady Grove. It might be a lovely thing to do when you are feeling like playing something beautiful and haunting, without needing to play chords on all strings. Think about it.. worth a try maybe since you already have the perfect dulcimer for that.




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Ellen Rice
Ellen Rice
@ellen-rice
3 weeks ago
51 posts

Thank you so very much for thinking on this! You are sharpening my thinking. My desire to "do right" should not extend into evaluating someone else's heart. And Ken is also insightful. I play "melody/chord" and I should give the instrument a try with a noter. 

It's a lovely instrument -- but it isn't served if it sits against my wall and isn't played. Will continue to think on how to move forward. 

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
3 weeks ago
2,018 posts

Have you sold things on Ebay before? If so, then that's a fairly easy way to sell it, though you have to ship it carefully. If not, perhaps Craigslist, or contact any dulcimer club within driving distance. You must decide whether you are willing or able to ship it.

If it has no cracks or damage at all, then i imagine someone might pay anywhere between $350-600. It's a tricky time for guessing values now due to pandemic. But I'd think $450 would be a logical price with the case and without counting shipping.

If you want to sell it, you really can't be worrying about it going to a 'happy home'. You kind of have to assume that whoever buys it would be happy and deserving.




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
3 weeks ago
1,864 posts

You're right that Warren probably built that to be played in DAA or other 1-5-5 tunings.  But not because it's a "Kentucky" dulcimer.  Built in 1990, with a true diatonic fretboard (no 6+ fret), Warren probably set it up to be played in traditional Noter & Drone or Fingerdance style, not the modern Chord-Melody style. The label inside may given you some insight -- it may have been custom built for someone.  

Can't help with the value though... others who know Warren better will help I'm sure.

Ellen Rice
Ellen Rice
@ellen-rice
3 weeks ago
51 posts

I live on the west coast and do what I can to teach/share the mountain dulcimer. Recently I was contacted by someone clearing out an estate and they wanted to pass on a dulcimer "to a deserving student."  I said I would be glad to evaluate the instrument and felt I could get it into interested hands if it seemed playable. 

I was delighted to open the carrying case to find a very pristine Warren May mahogany dulcimer made in 1990. I struggled with tuning the instrument and finally replaced the middle and melody strings and applied some "peg" dope to the tuning pets. I tuned it to DAD and it was . . . okay. I wasn't thrilled with it. 

Some times insights do come in the night. I woke up about 3 a.m, thinking "This is a Kentucky dulcimer. It may need to be in DAA."

Today I re-tuned the dulcimer to DAA, and it's now a happy, lovely instrument. I'm amazed at the change. 

But now I'm kinda stuck. We play DAD in my area (some DAC) -- and, while the peg tuners are now much, much better, it's still taking some care to tune this dulcimer. I'm not thinking it is for a beginner in my "neck of the woods." 

I'm thinking the right way to honor the spirit of the donor is to sell this instrument and replace it with a good quality beginner's instrument (I like Ron Gibson's  -- and basic McSpaddens).  In this way I could get an instrument into the hands of someone in the area and help them launch into this musical world. 

But how do I price this Warren May dulcimer? Who might be the right sort of happy home for it? (peg tuners, no 6.5 fret). Words of advice would be appreciated. I'm out of my depth right now. 

small warren may.jpeg
small warren may.jpeg  •  126KB