Anyone familiar with Gallier Dulcimers?

Brian G.
Brian G.
@brian-g
8 years ago
93 posts

Since this thread has been resurrected, I will chime back in and mention that I now have my Starsong also. It is absolutely wonderful. It looks fantastic, but more importantly it sounds absolutely lovely. It's easily the most responsive dulcimer I've ever owned. I am extremely pleased with it. I'll also echo Ilene's comments above - Gary is a great guy and a fantastic musician. For anyone who decides to get on the build list - you won't regret it. It may take a while, but you will be thrilled.

One more thing to mention - after playing many dulcimers with different VSLs over the years, I've come to realize I'm most comfortable playing instruments with VSLs from 26 in. to 26 1/2 in. I asked Gary to build mine with a 26 1/4 in VSL (instead of his usual 27 in VSL), and he's now got that length templated. So for anyone out there who may want a Starsong but was thinking they wanted the smaller VSL of Gary's A-frame model (VSL= 26 in), you now have another choice. :)

Ilene
Ilene
@ilene-richardson
8 years ago
1 posts
Hi, I have Gary's large starsong dulcimer he created for me, mine is chromatic. Beautiful and the best sound of any dulcimer I've ever heard yet. Mine was certainly over $1000, I don't recall the exact price at the moment but it's on his website, a good investment for a fine instrument. You'll never part with it once you get one. Email him, yes he usually has a long waiting list, but it's worth the wait no matter how long. He's a wonderful guy and a great musician.

Ilene
Brian G.
Brian G.
@brian-g
8 years ago
93 posts

Thanks for your response, van. Your instrument sounds beautiful. Enjoy it!

Brian G.
Brian G.
@brian-g
8 years ago
93 posts

Hello Van. Congrats on your Starsong. I'd love to see/hear it if you'd like to post some photos/videos. If you don't mind me asking, what woods did you go with?

I am next up on Gary's build list (I was two people behind you on his list.) For anyone who's thinking of ordering, do it sooner rather than later - there were 15 people behind me on the list as of April 15, 2013, and I'm sure that number has grown significantly. I've only had a chance to play a couple Starsongs, but they were both gorgeous instruments to play, to listen to, and to look at. I am eagerly awaiting my own. :)

Vivian Hays
Vivian Hays
@vivian-hays
10 years ago
19 posts


Linda I. Vickers said:

Vivian, The Gallier dulcimers are designed primarily for playing fingerpicking style (Gary fingerpicks). Last May I decided to order an A-Frame which is the smaller version (26 VSL vs. 27 VSL for the Starsong) of Gary's dulcimer. Gary designed it(you can read the specifics on his website) and taught his brother, Les, to make it. At that time, he quoted me this price for the dulcimer. The A Frame is $625 which includes shipping and handling, hardwood fretboard overlay, position markers, edge binding on the top perimeter, and strap buttons. There is an optional gig bag case that is $40.There are two tuneson youtube and can be accessed under the A-Frame information that areplayed by Josh Noe (The Trip Home and Indigo Out). My only experience is playing the A-Frame fingerpicking style and with its thinner wood and other Gallier design characteristics (see the website), it has an exceptionally pretty sound. The wait isn't as long for Les to complete a dulcimer but he is a full-time musician so there is a waiting period depending on what might be going on. He had a few delays with my dulcimer; I received the dulcimer at the end of September. Would I buy it again? Yes I would! If anyone has any other questions on the A-Frame they would like an opinion on - I'll glady share mine. Hope ya'll are having a great new year. Linda

Hi Linda...Thanks for the reply! I did write to Gary and he did send me the links you spoke of, and told me about his brother making the smaller A-frame, so it is very good to hear from you about that instrument. I am glad to hear that you were really pleased with it. I was concerned, because it did seem to be a bit smaller, and I want to make sure I get something that has a true dulcimer sound...I really am a bit nervous about ordering something off the internet, and not being able to hear it in person, but You Tube really helps with that sometimes! I think I have decided to go with Nic Hambas for now...I have heard good things about his instruments, but I do intend to get on a list for the Gallier, I really want one, especially since I want to explore different styles of playing! I think I am going to be a victim of DAD, like so many others that I have met on this site...! Sounds like a nice disease to catch, anyway! Maybe by the time he is able to build me one I will be much more informed of my own style and so can get more specific on the details...

Thanks again for your input, Vivian

Linda I. Vickers
Linda I. Vickers
@linda-i-vickers
10 years ago
5 posts

Vivian, The Gallier dulcimers are designed primarily for playing fingerpicking style (Gary fingerpicks). Last May I decided to order an A-Frame which is the smaller version (26 VSL vs. 27 VSL for the Starsong) of Gary's dulcimer. Gary designed it(you can read the specifics on his website) and taught his brother, Les, to make it. At that time, he quoted me this price for the dulcimer. The A Frame is $625 which includes shipping and handling, hardwood fretboard overlay, position markers, edge binding on the top perimeter, and strap buttons. There is an optional gig bag case that is $40.There are two tuneson youtube and can be accessed under the A-Frame information that areplayed by Josh Noe (The Trip Home and Indigo Out). My only experience is playing the A-Frame fingerpicking style and with its thinner wood and other Gallier design characteristics (see the website), it has an exceptionally pretty sound. The wait isn't as long for Les to complete a dulcimer but he is a full-time musician so there is a waiting period depending on what might be going on. He had a few delays with my dulcimer; I received the dulcimer at the end of September. Would I buy it again? Yes I would! If anyone has any other questions on the A-Frame they would like an opinion on - I'll glady share mine. Hope ya'll are having a great new year. Linda

Outlander-Barb
Outlander-Barb
@outlander
10 years ago
23 posts

Thanks Vivian. I think we truly do have the same approach. Since I tend towards more contemporary instruments and love a deeper 'voice', I ended up ordering a dulcimer from Tom Yocky. His design and technology and workmanship are very, very good plus he's a great person to deal with. The sound is deep and lovely and I practice something on it every day. LadyHawk is her name :) and he carved an elegant hawk in flight on it for me. It is quite lovely and his design intrigued me. I didn't have the sense to stop there so I wrote to Janita Baker at Blue Lion Instruments. I had heard their workmanship was outstanding. I ended up ordering the IIR rosewood flatpeg hourglass dulcimer and had a smaller mother of pearl matching rose put on the peghead. It has a smaller scale length than my Yocky. It is incredibly beautiful with workmanship everyone is familiar with and has a higher 'voice' than the Yocky. They are both lovely and play well but in different ways. The Yocky is strength and deep toned whereas the Blue Lion is a smaller, more elegant instrument. I'm very pleased with my choices and my plan is to learn more about the fine points and music theory before venturing into another dulcimer. With so much to learn, I can't justify another expensive dulcimer at this point but I'm sure the day will come. If you want a delicate, higher voice (but no twang sound) and are interested in something at the price the custom models go for then I can say a Blue Lion is a work of art and is a very high quality instrument. I'm finding I'm tending towards the larger sound boxes that give me a deep tone but who knows what will come. I've also found that I prefer fingerpicking over strumming or using a noter and the music I'm trying to learn is also more contemporary but then that is just my style. I wish you well with your selection and just know you'll have a great time with whatever you buy.


Vivian Hays said:

Thanks so much for all your input! It all sounds very reasonable and true, and just the kind of guidance I need right now. I feel exactly the way Barbara Maas explained it, (thanks Barbara), lots of enthusiasm, bouncing all over the place, but with lots of questions attached! I do want to make a good informed decision, and not go nuts, but still get what I need to feel successful and happy in the end with my choice....I had actually written to Gary Gallier about his instruments and knew he had quite a waiting list going, (about 18 months) but I figured I would get on it if he was willing...I do intend to buy a less expensive (but still gorgeous!) instrument at this time, but was just really impressed with his dulcimer.

I also know that I can pass on any instrument I purchase now to one of my nieces and they would be thrilled! For now, I think I am leaning towards Nic Hambas. I spoke with him yesterday, and he is very helpful and informative. I also love the Blue Lion, but they are very spendy as well!

I wish I could actually see, touch, hear, before I choose, but that is just not possible. I really am glad I found this site, it has been very helpful and enjoyable to get such wonderful, friendly and well informed advice. Thanks! Vivian

Vivian Hays
Vivian Hays
@vivian-hays
10 years ago
19 posts

Thanks so much for all your input! It all sounds very reasonable and true, and just the kind of guidance I need right now. I feel exactly the way Barbara Maas explained it, (thanks Barbara), lots of enthusiasm, bouncing all over the place, but with lots of questions attached! I do want to make a good informed decision, and not go nuts, but still get what I need to feel successful and happy in the end with my choice....I had actually written to Gary Gallier about his instruments and knew he had quite a waiting list going, (about 18 months) but I figured I would get on it if he was willing...I do intend to buy a less expensive (but still gorgeous!) instrument at this time, but was just really impressed with his dulcimer.

I also know that I can pass on any instrument I purchase now to one of my nieces and they would be thrilled! For now, I think I am leaning towards Nic Hambas. I spoke with him yesterday, and he is very helpful and informative. I also love the Blue Lion, but they are very spendy as well!

I wish I could actually see, touch, hear, before I choose, but that is just not possible. I really am glad I found this site, it has been very helpful and enjoyable to get such wonderful, friendly and well informed advice. Thanks! Vivian

Outlander-Barb
Outlander-Barb
@outlander
11 years ago
23 posts

Ken,

As usual, you are the voice of reason. I think when we start out in the dulcimer world, we want the sound that is the best even though we don't actually know how to classify the 'best' because we don't have the experience listening and playing that you do. I don't know about others, but I really struggled with the question ... is cost equal to value? does it make sense for me to invest $1000 at this point? I know my enthusiasm was unbounded and I went overboard with books, equipment and even ended up with two dulcimers. I didn't want a poor sounding, beginner's dulcimer that I wouldn't enjoy hearing and playing but I'm far from equal to needing a Gallier at this stage. It's so hard to gear back to what you really need rather than what all is 'out there'. I heard the Gallier played on YouTube and the softness and depth of sound were simply beautiful. The instrument is equally as beautiful. Thanks for the reminder that we can be truly pleased and enjoy a lesser costly instrument although his would certainly be something to dream of having one day. Your advice in so many areas is welcome and I always look for your comments. Thanks for all the information you share.

Regards,

Barbara

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
11 years ago
1,888 posts

Gary, like Dwain Wilder of Bear Mountain, has a VERY long waiting list, if the list is even open. Beautiful and beautiful sounding. Worth the money? Worth the wait? Both those builders are making Master class concert grade instruments; and if you're just starting out I can think of a dozen builders who's $300-$500 class instruments are more than enough for 99% of the players out there...

Brian G.
Brian G.
@brian-g
11 years ago
93 posts

Hi Vivian,

I don't know whether the situation has changed at all, but I had spoken with Gary back in early July and at that time he told me that he was having to turn away orders and that if took a new order the wait would be at least 18 months due to people already on a waiting list.

Gary's dulcimers do look and sound fantastic. The hourglass Starsong was $1,400 back in July.

Kind regards,

Brian

Vivian Hays
Vivian Hays
@vivian-hays
11 years ago
19 posts

Hi, I have been looking at many different builders and have had many helpful replies from members on this site (Thanks!) I recently came across Gary Gallier's site and was so impressed by the beauty and very different design of his instruments. I believe the hourglass is called the Starsong. Does anyone have any input on them? I couldn't find any pricing on his site at all, so have no idea of the prices, but love the looks and sound (You Tube). I would appreciate any input! As a complete beginner I want all the input I can get on the instruments and builders before choosing one. Thanks! Vivian


updated by @vivian-hays: 05/26/21 11:57:59PM