Sam Carrell

Kelley
Kelley
@kelley
last year
2 posts

 

Ryan Carrell:

I'm sorry to bring this up....

Ryan,

I posted this about your grandfather in order to let those that loved his musical instruments, and him personally, know that he had passed. Those that have and play his instruments know the effort, heart, and soul he put into every piece of wood he cut, planed, sanded, and glued... which pegs he carved and how the tension was set on each string for a particular tuning. Have you heard the instruments he made being played? I'll bet you have, many times. You hear Him every time someone strums a note.

What I know about Marie is that she was and is loved by all here locally. What I know about her mother is that she is an extremely private person, but also known and loved locally. I think Sam chose to respect her wishes and privacy. I also think that Sam had also not broken ties with any family previous to his second marriage. Marie mentioned that he made several instruments here every year until his last year here.

I never met Sam. I wish I had, especially knowing a little history as I do now. He seemed like a wonderful individual human being with flaws who did the best he could. We all have issues and flaws, and we could all be as loved as Sam appeared to be.

We all grieve in our own ways. I'd like to ask that we do it with a bit of class and respect for Sam Carrell. I'd like to forward your family condolences and well wishes as family of Sam Carrell. Love and light to your family. He will be missed.

Ryan Carrell
Ryan Carrell
@ryan-carrell
last year
2 posts

[quote="Kelley"]

A few quotes from my friend, and Sam's daughter.

 

"Sam died today. He had been under the care of Hospice for the last few weeks. He went rather peacefully at home with my mom and me by his side. Mom and Sam were married for 20+ years. I can’t express what he meant to me and I can’t imagine my life without him having been a part of it. I have a huge hole in my life and in my heart.

 

Sam served in the United States Navy, he was a St. Petersburg fireman, he was the most talented luthier, making more than 1,300 dulcimers and other stringed instruments, he was a finish carpenter, he was a contractor, he was a patent illustrator and…everything I ever needed him to be.

 

 

I'm sorry to bring this up, especially since I'm new on here and all, but I can't sit here and not say something about this. Perhaps you would call it a rant, and I guess it is, but please, hear me out first. My Grandpa married my Grandmother Evelyn A. Carrell (born October 30, 1942) in 1961 (exact date, unknown) and had two children with her: my father, Samuel Scott Carrell (born September 30, 1962) and his younger brother Stephen (born December 17th, I can't remember the year, but I think it's 1964 or '65). My father had 9 children (yes 9, can you believe it?!?!) and Uncle Stephen had 2 children. Evelyn passed away on June 25, 1995 from kidney failure and other complications. Eventually Grandpa remarried, her name was Jeanne and she already had a daughter from a previous marriage, Marie. I just wanted that to be clear, she is Grandpa's stepdaughter. Now for the sad part. Grandpa came up to visit us last December, and while he was up here he started having what we thought at the time was pneumonia. When he went back home to Florida and went to his doctor, they found out that it was in fact fairly advanced stage cancer in one of his lungs. He quickly got worse, and then ended up having a very bad reaction to the chemotherapy that they put him on. His wife Jeanne would not allow us to come down and see him, wouldn't let us talk to him on the phone, wouldn't even give us any updates on what was happening. I managed to get a hold of him once while he was in the hospital by calling the hospital and talking to a very nice nurse there. I explained to her that we couldn't get ahold of Grandpa and we were worried sick about him. She then had to send me through three other people to finally get to him. That was the last time I ever talked to my Grandpa. I'll admit, I hold a serious grudge against Jeanne for that, and I'm sorry for ranting about that here on this awesome forum. She never liked my father, or my Uncle Stephen, or any of Sam's grandchildren, and that's fine; we are all entitled to our own opinion. But how she treated us during his illness and eventual death was utterly inexcusable. She also has yet to open and honor my Grandpa's will, if she would (she won't though, not unless we took legal action) my Uncle Stephen was to inherit all of his dulcimer tools and jigs, along with all his other dulcimer stuff. But all of that will be lost now, it's not worth fighting her in court over his stuff, I'd much rather just have my Grandpa back. That's all I have to say about it for now, once again I'm sorry about the rant, but I just had to get this off my chest.

 

Oh and P.S. The ship Grandpa was on in the navy was the USS Amphion, it was a repair ship commissioned in January 1946 and later transferred to the Imperial Iranian Navy in 1971. He was on the ship during the 60's, I don't have the exact dates yet but I'm working on it. 

 

Ryan Carrell
Ryan Carrell
@ryan-carrell
last year
2 posts

marg:

( I closed the business & my wife & I moved back to Florida in 1984 )

kelley,

Do you know when in '84 Sam moved back to Fla? The dulcimer I just picked up was made in August '84 & since reading about Sam I was wondering how soon after he made this dulcimer. I have tuned the dulcimer to DAaa, one peg I am having trouble with so working well with reg tuning. The tone is so beautiful, I know Sam had to have put part of himself in each one he made.

I wish I could help with a more specific date on when he moved back to Florida, but I guess it's now lost to history. I also asked my dad and he doesn't remember either. 

And yes, my Grandpa absolutely loved making his dulcimers, and it tore him up terribly having to move back to Florida. He always felt like he had given up his life's calling after he moved, and he longed to come back up here. Every time he would come up to visit us he would talk about doing it, but he never did.

Linda2
Linda2
@linda2
last year
27 posts

:)

marg
@marg
last year
564 posts

(A-e-a-a-a)

Oh wow, I wonder how different the sound will be this way. Yes, having fun.

What a treasure this dulcimer is

Linda2
Linda2
@linda2
last year
27 posts

Tuned to A-e-a-a-a. The double melody strings are played together, just like on most 4-string dulcimers. The middle string in this case is "e" and the bass is "A." So if you chord, you just play everything as you normally do but the third "a" string is left as a drone. But you can play yours however you want! Relax & have fun :)

marg
@marg
last year
564 posts

linda2,

(play it like a four string, except the a string next to the doubled melody strings is just open.)

Sorry but I don't understand this, is the double melody strings together or apart?

What are you tuned to - 

Linda2
Linda2
@linda2
last year
27 posts

Aeaaa.  I just play it like a four string, except the a string next to the doubled melody strings is just open. There are probably other ways to play it, but that's what I do. Sam didn't explain anything different, but I might not have asked in the right way. Hope this helps.

marg
@marg
last year
564 posts

( Mixolydian tuning best with A on the bottom)

What would the tuning be?

Is either of your head's stretched out, mine is making the dulcimer very long. Photo attached isn't mine but it's what mine looks like.

I got my dulcimer from a pawn shop last week, I didn't know anything about Sam Carrell a week ago but thought the fiddle-sided shape was different. The dulcimer was very filthy, the strings had to been on it since it was made, they were so black but the pegs were all there & outside of a small thin stretch, I couldn't see anything wrong with it. Sign inside & on the back & dated August 1984. That is why I was wondering when he moved to Fla, how many more did he make before he sold his shop & move.

I put on 12's strings, another reason I haven't tuned it to dd, I feel as long as the dulcimer was (28.5", maybe VSL), it should have maybe 9's or 10's on it to tune higher. But if you say don't go above c on the bottom, that would mean DAdd is out of the question.

So, what would be a good tuning? DAA does sound wonderful but without the extra bass.

One post back in '11 states Sam Carroll dulcimers are normally strung like Clemmer's, D A d dd 

Do you have yours set up in 4 equidstant, except the melody which is double.

How is that played?

Your iedas

450 sam.png
450 sam.png  •  51KB


updated by @marg: 06/30/17 11:23:46PM
Linda2
Linda2
@linda2
last year
27 posts

marg, the rosin makes resistance (friction)  on the string and on the peg! So, yes, it is like violin rosin, or in my case, bowed psaltery rosin. But you just turn the end of the peg in the rosin. I took a lot of notes when I talked to him, but I don't think Sam mentioned when he moved to Florida; I just know that's where he was when I talked to him. I have two of his dulcimers--the fiddle-sided one has f-holes on the bottom and the same ones you have on yours on top. The other one is a teardrop with the trailing hearts on the bottom and something like raindrops on top. The remarkable thing about that one is that it is in quite a state of disrepair (that's how it was when I bought it, but since I "knew" Sam's work by then, I just had to buy it!) but it still sounds WONDERFUL There is a loose brace inside which I wedged down so it doesn't rattle around, and a large crack in the front--maybe one on the back too. But you would never know when you're playing it. I don't know how it can look like such a mess and sound so good.  I do know Sam liked Mixolydian tuning best with A on the bottom, so that's how I've played the fiddle-sided one. At the time I got these dulcimers--3 or 4 years ago-- I was pretty much only playing Mixolydian. The teardrop is smaller but I still never put it above C on bottom

marg
@marg
last year
564 posts

linda2,

 

(rosin) like the hard cake you need to scratch for violin bows? 

   I would think that would make it slide like the bow, not stick.

A violin person told me to try the eraser from a #2 pencil, just rub it on. It worked, the peg for the bass string holds well now. Ha, after putting the extra bass on, I decided I liked the tone better without it.. Maybe if I tuned the dulcimer to what ever Sam Carrell recommended it would work but for now I have it tuned DAA & sounds beautiful.

Do you still have your fiddle-side dulcimer? What tunings have you liked on it? 

Do you know much about the different sound holes for his dulcimers. I have the 'bleeding/weeping/trailing heart sound holes & have been wondering why he choose that design, was it for himself or for a customer? I attached a photo of my dulcimer. I am sorry he has past away & love that I have just gotten one of his dulcimers, a part of him.

I have posted some of these questions also under 'show us your soundholes' post. I am interested in anything I can find out about Sam &/or his dulcimers. Do you know when in '84 he sold his business & moved to Fla?

Thanks for your post, I am glad you had a chance to speak with him.

Linda2
Linda2
@linda2
last year
27 posts

I talked at length on the phone with Sam Carrell. He recommended using rosin on the pegs to help them hold. Also, he said never to pitch the bass string higher than C; he preferred A. These were recommendations he gave to me about a fiddle-sided dulcimer I had purchased with no bridge. He sent me a bridge! :) Also some strings. And he liked to talk! :)


updated by @linda2: 06/30/17 07:40:45PM
marg
@marg
last year
564 posts

( I closed the business & my wife & I moved back to Florida in 1984 )

kelley,

Do you know when in '84 Sam moved back to Fla? The dulcimer I just picked up was made in August '84 & since reading about Sam I was wondering how soon after he made this dulcimer. I have tuned the dulcimer to DAaa, one peg I am having trouble with so working well with reg tuning. The tone is so beautiful, I know Sam had to have put part of himself in each one he made.

marg
@marg
last year
564 posts

kelley,
I am just seeing your post on Sam Carrell, many in the dulcimer world knew of him and I am learning about him now. I just picked up an old dulcimer made by Sam & I will think of him as I work on getting it back to playable. He put a lot of love into his dulcimers and his love lives on. 
Hugs & prayers to his family and friends.

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
last year
1,003 posts

Kelley, thank you for sharing the news of Mr Carrell's death and the wonderful remembrance.  I offer my sympathy to Mr Carrell's family and friends. 




--
Robin T
one of the Moderators here :)
Keep a song in your heart!
Kelley
Kelley
@kelley
last year
2 posts

A few quotes from my friend, and Sam's daughter.

"Sam died today. He had been under the care of Hospice for the last few weeks. He went rather peacefully at home with my mom and me by his side. Mom and Sam were married for 20+ years. I can’t express what he meant to me and I can’t imagine my life without him having been a part of it. I have a huge hole in my life and in my heart.

Sam served in the United States Navy, he was a St. Petersburg fireman, he was the most talented luthier, making more than 1,300 dulcimers and other stringed instruments, he was a finish carpenter, he was a contractor, he was a patent illustrator and…everything I ever needed him to be.

Sam chose to donate his body to medical science and research through the Science Care program. There will not be a memorial service. If you wish to honor Sam’s life, please consider making a donation to Hospice.

A quick bio related to the daughter and hen passed on to her friends - "“I met a dulcimer maker, Bill Davis—long since dead, in Gatlinberg, Tenn., after I moved there from my home in Florida , A VERY LONG STORY, & he asked me to work for him in his shop in East Gatlinberg. I started with him in March of 1974 & quit in Sept of the same year. Let’s just say we had irreversible differences! I opened my own business, across the mountains, 25 miles away [Townsend, gateway to the Great Smokey Mts], in 1975. I closed the business & my wife & I moved back to Florida in 1984 to be with our very ill parents. Here’s how I learned to make his dulcimers—He took me into his shop, pointed out a dulcimer & said you’ll be making that. The ONLY thing I ever saw him do was turn the tuning pegs on an old Shopsmith wood lathe, fit them to the “peg head” of a dulcimer, fit a nut & bridge & then put on the strings & tune it up. I had to figure everything out myself by studying & measuring a dulcimer. His dulcimers had the extra fret & I eventually figured out what it was for. It made perfect sense to me at the time —“open tuning for the Mixolydian Mode”, easy for learners to use & understand. I made approximately 1300 to 1500 mountain dulcimers & at least 200 other instruments including Hammered dulcimers, Swedish Humles, Psaltrys, acoustic Guitars & many other instruments. I actually make a few instruments every year, some guitars, Mountain Dulcimers & the odd instrument upon request.” – Sam Carrell

 

The Dulcimers I'm familiar with that Sam made were 5 string.

 

Love and Light, Sam!!!