Moon Dancer
Moon Dancer
@moon-dancer
5 months ago
15 posts

Moon Dancer "]

John C. Knopf:

I believe that George Looney's name appears on one of my McSpaddens as well!  Looks like yours has the scroll end, before they switched to flat tuning heads. Congratulations !

 

Thank you John! It may not be as pretty, but I do think the flat head is more practical/preferable. 

Moon Dancer
Moon Dancer
@moon-dancer
5 months ago
15 posts

John C. Knopf:

I believe that George Looney's name appears on one of my McSpaddens as well!  Looks like yours has the scroll end, before they switched to flat tuning heads. Congratulations !

 

Moon Dancer
Moon Dancer
@moon-dancer
5 months ago
15 posts

Ken Longfield:

Moondancer, I'm traveling at the moment and will be home on Sunday. I have brochure from McSpadden from 1974 which shows the M8 and the price with case at that time. I'll scan it and post it here. I may also have a price list for McSpaddens from the early 1990s.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Thank you Ken, i’ll be looking forward to that! Safe travels sir.

Moon Dancer
Moon Dancer
@moon-dancer
5 months ago
15 posts

Ken Longfield:

The spruce top was an upgrade on the M8 and is solid wood as were all the tops. George Looney was one of the craftsman in the McSpadden shop. People think that because a person's name appears on a McSpadden dulcimer that that was the person who built it. That was not the case. Building McSpadden dulcimers was a team effort and all the craftspeople had a hand in each dulcimer. They took turns doing the various tasks. The person who was responsible for gluing on the back was the one who signed the instrument. Your dulcimer appears to be in very good condition. I'm sure that you will enjoy playing it.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

I remember reading about this when I started researching older model McSpaddens. It was surprising to learn that each dulcimer was a team effort. I suppose the crafter who added the final touch assumed responsibility for all aspects of its quality with their signature. Very cool that builders sign their work~when each piece is a work of art, it deserves a signature. 

John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
5 months ago
382 posts

I believe that George Looney's name appears on one of my McSpaddens as well!  Looks like yours has the scroll end, before they switched to flat tuning heads. Congratulations !

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
5 months ago
1,063 posts

Moondancer, I'm traveling at the moment and will be home on Sunday. I have brochure from McSpadden from 1974 which shows the M8 and the price with case at that time. I'll scan it and post it here. I may also have a price list for McSpaddens from the early 1990s.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
5 months ago
1,063 posts

The spruce top was an upgrade on the M8 and is solid wood as were all the tops. George Looney was one of the craftsman in the McSpadden shop. People think that because a person's name appears on a McSpadden dulcimer that that was the person who built it. That was not the case. Building McSpadden dulcimers was a team effort and all the craftspeople had a hand in each dulcimer. They took turns doing the various tasks. The person who was responsible for gluing on the back was the one who signed the instrument. Your dulcimer appears to be in very good condition. I'm sure that you will enjoy playing it.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Moon Dancer
Moon Dancer
@moon-dancer
5 months ago
15 posts

NateBuildsToys:


Moon Dancer "]


The seller accepted my offer, and it should be here someitime next week.  It’s thought to be an M8, built somewhere in the neighborhood of 1984 from walnut (back and sides) with a spruce top. 



https://fotmd.com/image/image/image_file/312/original>:


 
congrats on the purchase! its a fine looking instrument and I hope you have fun with it.


Thank you Nate. Keep us posted on your waterproof dulcimer. I think you might find a great niche market amongst Floridians and coastal resident players everywhere :) 

Moon Dancer
Moon Dancer
@moon-dancer
5 months ago
15 posts

Forgot to add, the builder is a gent by the name of George Looney

original

NateBuildsToys
NateBuildsToys
@nate
5 months ago
229 posts

Moon Dancer "]


The seller accepted my offer, and it should be here someitime next week.  It’s thought to be an M8, built somewhere in the neighborhood of 1984 from walnut (back and sides) with a spruce top. 



https://fotmd.com/image/image/image_file/312/original>:


 
congrats on the purchase! its a fine looking instrument and I hope you have fun with it.

NateBuildsToys
NateBuildsToys
@nate
5 months ago
229 posts

Ken Hulme:

Nate -- build a dulcimer out of 1/8" plexiglass...  I played one once -- sounded decent anyway.  

 
That is definitely going on the "think about more until I have a good way to implement it" list, Ken

Moon Dancer
Moon Dancer
@moon-dancer
5 months ago
15 posts

Moon Dancer "]


The seller accepted my offer, and it should be here someitime next week.  It’s thought to be an M8, built somewhere in the neighborhood of 1984 from walnut (back and sides) with a spruce top. 



https://fotmd.com/image/image/image_file/312/original>:


Moon Dancer "]


The seller accepted my offer, and it should be here someitime next week.  It’s thought to be an M8, built somewhere in the neighborhood of 1984 from walnut (back and sides) with a spruce top. 



https://fotmd.com/image/image/image_file/312/original>:


 


oh, an d it was built by George Looney 

Moon Dancer
Moon Dancer
@moon-dancer
5 months ago
15 posts

The seller accepted my offer, and it should be here someitime next week.  It’s thought to be an M8, built somewhere in the neighborhood of 1984 from walnut (back and sides) with a spruce top. 

original

Moon Dancer
Moon Dancer
@moon-dancer
5 months ago
15 posts

Ken Hulme:

The only laminate dulcimer that I've seen de-laminate was one that didn't quite survive last year's Hurricane Ian.  And that was a combination of being submerged for a week in water who's temperature was approaching 100F.  Several years ago I acquired a 'no-name' laminate-body dulcimer, and had passed it on to a student.  She called about three weeks after we were hit by Ian, and wondered if it was recoverable.  Their house had more than 4 ft of water trapped inside for over a week before they could even get back onto Sanibel island and think about beginning recovery.  They had to empty not only water but organically stinking mud from inside the instrument.  The water receded and things began dry out -- in temperatures also around 100F with no A/C -- no electricity.  It started de-laminating wherever there were bare plywood edges.  The finish had crackled enough to let water under the 'skin', and of course the inside was not protected at all.   I salvaged the tuners and that was it.

Other than that I've not heard anything a laminate dulcimers not standing up to normal use.   One that Harpmaker Dave made me out of Baltic Birch, lived aboard my un-airconditioned sailboat for a decade, and had no issues at all in our het and humidity here in Southwest Florida.

@mooddancer -- I understand you have an acquaintance who builds and plays -- why not get him/her to build you are shorter scale dulcimer which I understand is what you're looking for?.  That would no doubt be better than any McSpadden ever made.  

 

Living in the foothills of the mighty Blue Ridge we will probably never have to worry about any hurricane flooding or mudslides of that magnitude. Ian was a devastating monster of a storm. I imagine it must have been especially terrifying to anyone who sheltered in place. On the flip side of Florida life, the story of the dulcimer that lived aboard your sailboat for 10 years is pretty awesome, and a testament of your builder’s craft for sure~amazing. And yes, I do have an acquaintance who both plays and builds, but her dulcimers are priced well outside of my reach. 

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
5 months ago
2,103 posts

Nate -- build a dulcimer out of 1/8" plexiglass...  I played one once -- sounded decent anyway.  

NateBuildsToys
NateBuildsToys
@nate
5 months ago
229 posts

At the risk of making light of a serious situation, a dulcimer full of muddy water sounds like something I'd like to try playing. I have been wanting to try to make a dulcimer that is entirely coated in a waterproof finish, inside and out, and let it "soak" to see if anything happens.

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
5 months ago
2,103 posts

The only laminate dulcimer that I've seen de-laminate was one that didn't quite survive last year's Hurricane Ian.  And that was a combination of being submerged for a week in water who's temperature was approaching 100F.  Several years ago I acquired a 'no-name' laminate-body dulcimer, and had passed it on to a student.  She called about three weeks after we were hit by Ian, and wondered if it was recoverable.  Their house had more than 4 ft of water trapped inside for over a week before they could even get back onto Sanibel island and think about beginning recovery.  They had to empty not only water but organically stinking mud from inside the instrument.  The water receded and things began dry out -- in temperatures also around 100F with no A/C -- no electricity.  It started de-laminating wherever there were bare plywood edges.  The finish had crackled enough to let water under the 'skin', and of course the inside was not protected at all.   I salvaged the tuners and that was it.

Other than that I've not heard anything a laminate dulcimers not standing up to normal use.   One that Harpmaker Dave made me out of Baltic Birch, lived aboard my un-airconditioned sailboat for a decade, and had no issues at all in our het and humidity here in Southwest Florida.

@mooddancer -- I understand you have an acquaintance who builds and plays -- why not get him/her to build you are shorter scale dulcimer which I understand is what you're looking for?.  That would no doubt be better than any McSpadden ever made.  

Moon Dancer
Moon Dancer
@moon-dancer
5 months ago
15 posts

John C. Knopf:

The difference in size between the M-8 and the M-12 will be in the body width/size.  I believe that they both use the same fretboard and scale length.  Both are beautiful to play and hear.

John C. Knopf:

The difference in size between the M-8 and the M-12 will be in the body width/size.  I believe that they both use the same fretboard and scale length.  Both are beautiful to play and hear.

Oh, okay. So, there wont be any tiny hands advantage to me, but “beautiful to play and hear” definately trumps fretboard scale. I will be very content in that knowledge. Thank you John. I love learning all of this wonderful history~it just adds to the fun of it all. 

John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
5 months ago
382 posts

The difference in size between the M-8 and the M-12 will be in the body width/size.  I believe that they both use the same fretboard and scale length.  Both are beautiful to play and hear.

Moon Dancer
Moon Dancer
@moon-dancer
5 months ago
15 posts

Richard Streib:

I am remembering that maybe the change over from laminate to solid wood was about 1996. It seems I remember the McSpadden having to send too much of the plywood back due to poor quality and it was slowing down production. I have had 2 McSpadden's with laminate bottoms with no trouble at all.

Richard Streib:

I am remembering that maybe the change over from laminate to solid wood was about 1996. It seems I remember the McSpadden having to send too much of the plywood back due to poor quality and it was slowing down production. I have had 2 McSpadden's with laminate bottoms with no trouble at all.

Well, this is music to my ears~thank you! And somewhere along the way, I read that the M8 is slightly smaller that the M12, which may also be a good match (if it works out) as I have very small hands and it might be a tiny bit easier reach for chord placement.  

Moon Dancer
Moon Dancer
@moon-dancer
5 months ago
15 posts

Ken Longfield:

If I recall correctly the M-8 is about the size of the kit John is building. If, as you say, it well cared for, you will have a fine dulcimer to play. I do hope you are able to get it. I look forward to seeing it.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

I haven’t had any reply yet, and Im really trying not to get to get my hopes up…but failing miserably! I offered as much Im able to at the moment, but it’s still $50 less than he’s asking. Perhaps this one is not meant for me. And that’s okay, because armed with all this new information, the search field just opened up a whole lot .Thank you (all) for helping me navigate. There’s a lot of information on the internet, and Im learning just how much I dont know every day!  
Richard Streib:

I am remembering that maybe the change over from laminate to solid wood was about 1996. It seems I remember the McSpadden having to send too much of the plywood back due to poor quality and it was slowing down production. I have had 2 McSpadden's with laminate bottoms with no trouble at all.

 

Richard Streib
Richard Streib
@richard-streib
5 months ago
228 posts

I am remembering that maybe the change over from laminate to solid wood was about 1996. It seems I remember the McSpadden having to send too much of the plywood back due to poor quality and it was slowing down production. I have had 2 McSpadden's with laminate bottoms with no trouble at all.

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
5 months ago
1,063 posts

If I recall correctly the M-8 is about the size of the kit John is building. If, as you say, it well cared for, you will have a fine dulcimer to play. I do hope you are able to get it. I look forward to seeing it.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Moon Dancer
Moon Dancer
@moon-dancer
5 months ago
15 posts

John C. Knopf:

I'm putting together a McSpadden kit right now, and the laminated sides are very substantial, high-quality plywood.  McSpaddens are well-designed instruments.  I'm not aware of any of theirs being solid wood.

I have made an offer on an M-8 that looks well cared for, circa 83-83 best guess based on the serial number provided. Fingers crossed!

Moon Dancer
Moon Dancer
@moon-dancer
5 months ago
15 posts

Ken Longfield:

The wood laminates that McSpadden are of excellent quality. I wouldn't hesitate to buy one. I've never heard of one separating. I think they were three ply with the outer layers being cherry or walnut and the inner ply either birch or poplar. I'm not sure when the changeover to all solid woods was made, but it was probably sometime in the1990s. BTW, the reason the Schnaufer model is no longer made is that the cherry laminate from which it was made is no longer available. David specified that only the cherry plywood could be used for the body of his signature instrument.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Thank you. In that case, I think I have finally found my dulcimer. It it works out~I’ll post a photo

John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
5 months ago
382 posts

I'm putting together a McSpadden kit right now, and the laminated sides are very substantial, high-quality plywood.  McSpaddens are well-designed instruments.  I'm not aware of any of theirs being solid wood.

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
5 months ago
1,063 posts

The wood laminates that McSpadden are of excellent quality. I wouldn't hesitate to buy one. I've never heard of one separating. I think they were three ply with the outer layers being cherry or walnut and the inner ply either birch or poplar. I'm not sure when the changeover to all solid woods was made, but it was probably sometime in the1990s. BTW, the reason the Schnaufer model is no longer made is that the cherry laminate from which it was made is no longer available. David specified that only the cherry plywood could be used for the body of his signature instrument.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Moon Dancer
Moon Dancer
@moon-dancer
5 months ago
15 posts

Does anyone know what year McSpadden switched from laminate to all solid wood builds?  I’ve found several early 80s dulcimers in my price range  that looked very well cared for, but worried that time and the elements might weaken a wood laminate build.