I have been interested in traditional English folk music since my teens (I am now retired and in my mid 60s).
I currently have eight mountain dulcimers:
- a 3-string hourglass which I bought from Cecil Sharp House in 1966 (for £18). It originally had diamond shaped sound-holes. I then made a 4 string version with 2 friends from school in Maidstone in the 1960s using the other as a template but sadly we sold it;
- a 4-string hourglass dulcimer made in Kentucky by the amazing Homer Ledford in 1987,
- a 3-string hourglass dulcimer made in 1978 by David Oddy, the Exeter based luthier who died in 2017. Possibly the first instrument he made.
- a 4-string hourglass dulcimer I made myself at Halsway Manor in 2016 under the supervision of Kai Töenjes,
- a 4-string teardrop dulcimer bought in a second hand shop in Bristol around 1980 for £10 made (probably in the 1960s) by “William B. Ellis Musical Instrument Maker Cardiff”. He made dulcimers and folk instruments in Cardiff under the name 'William B. Ellis', from the mid 1960s until 1971. He then moved to in Weobley/Wigmore, Herefordshire, where he became better known as 'Bernard Ellis', maker of early music instruments especially rebecs. He died in Nov 2000.
- a 4-string hourglass dulcimer made by Bernard Ellis probably in the late 1960s
- a 4-string hourglass dulcimer made by Bernard Ellis probably around 1972 after his move to Dilwyn, Herefordshire
- a 6-string hourglass dulcimer made by David Collins in Falmouth, Cornwall in 1988
I tend to play noter drone style with DAA as my preferred major tuning; most of my dulcimers do not have 6½ / 13½ frets so I am something of a dulcimer pedant!
I am also interested in other stringed folk instruments - guitar, 5 string banjo, autoharp, mandocello, and ukulele. I also sing in ‘Wild Harmony’ a small, aptly named, local community choir.