Robin Clark


Location: Tywyn, Gwynedd, Wales
Country: GB

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Ed Thomas Replica Mountain Dulcimer - 30 Mar 12.wmv

musician/member name:
Duration: 00:04:58
A short video of my new Ed Thomas (1850-1933) replica dulcimer made by John Knopf of Westmoreland, Michigan. This is an exact replica of a poplar wood Ed Tho...
Bonnie in Houston
04/08/12 03:02:07PM @bonnie-in-houston:

Robin wrote:

"In fact I was sitting on the bridge in this photo taken in 1885 (about the time Ed Thomas was making dulcimers). My house is the tall one on the left - not much has changed at all since then."

Well, you certainly haven't aged, Robin. Yours must be one of those enchanted villages we often hear about.Grin.gif

John Henry
04/08/12 01:13:26PM @john-henry:

Hmmmm! some of us don'nt have the same head of hair that we had then , lol


Robin Clark
04/08/12 12:37:47PM @robin-clark:

I took Blessed down to Aberdyfi Warfe today and sat on a rock under the harbour wall to play. I got quite a crowd of holiday makers gathered along the top of the harbour wall listening and ended up with a round of applause - and of course lots of questions about dulcimores 3.gif


Robin Clark
04/08/12 03:13:36AM @robin-clark:

Hi John,

The feet worked a treat - because there are 3 of them the instrument sits steady on an uneven table top! I have quite a few spare cases available and Blessed has is own McSpadden standard allocated. I actually usedmy Dulcimer Bag Lady double case for the trip to the pub on Friday with the Galax in one compartment and Blessed in another. I'm careful butnot precious about my instruments - they are workhorse tools of the trade after all. There were far more valuable instruments than mine being played at that session. Take that vintagehand made wooden flute in the photo for example - we are talking a solid 4 figure sum there! And therewere guitars, banjos, mandolins andfiddleswell into that value bracket at the session. None of my musician friends have any money - we just run wrecksfor cars and spend what most folk would put into a new car or big TV etc into our instruments instead. In fact, I don't know a musician who doesn't do that 3.gif

That's great news about Blessed having some siblings Grin.gif I was sitting on the little stone bridge in our village in front of my house yesterday afternoon and playing her and had a few folk come up and say how sweet she sounded. In fact I was sitting on the bridge in this photo taken in 1885 (about the time Ed Thomas was making dulcimers). My house is the tall one on the left - not much has changed at all since then.


Robin Clark
04/08/12 02:30:41AM @robin-clark:

The proximity of the instruments to the libations makes me nervous...

Don't worry Bonnie, the liquid offerings to the gods are generally for the purpose ofpouringdown the necks ofthe participants rather than for bathing the instruments - that does happen occasionally but I think it only serves to improve their tuning Grin.gif

John C. Knopf
04/07/12 09:54:18PM @john-c-knopf:


I'm glad to hear that you tried out "Blessed"s feet on a table, and that they worked as they were designed to do. I'm wondering what you carry it around in, since there was no case for it when I sent it to you. Did you make a case, or fit it into a standard one?

BTW, "Blessed" will soon havesome new siblings! I started on a few more replicas yesterday. I'm making them as a group this time.

Have a wonderful Easter!


Bonnie in Houston
04/07/12 03:07:27PM @bonnie-in-houston:

The proximity of the instruments to the libations makes me nervous...

Robin Clark
04/07/12 09:38:46AM @robin-clark:

I took 'Blessed' to the local pub last night for a session and had a chance to test out its little feet on a bar table Smile.gif It was great, lovely and loud with a quill and noter for playing along with banjo, guitar, mandolin, fiddles and bass. Ed Thomas certainly knew what he was doing when he put those three little wood feet on the bottom of his instruments!


Rick Kennedy
04/02/12 02:18:25AM @rick-kennedy:

Thanks for posting and comparing the two dulcimers for us. Now, I am going to go look up Ed Thomas (hope I can find some info). Wish I had know about John Knopf when I lived closer to Michigan. Looking forward to hearing some more!

Bonnie in Houston
04/01/12 05:18:42PM @bonnie-in-houston:

Super sound! Can't wait to hear this one with the banjo. Thanks muchly for posting this, Robin.

Robin Clark
04/01/12 04:49:12PM @robin-clark:

Hi Dave- I'm sure that I'll get around to playing it on a table and bowing it at some stage Smile.gif

Dusty Turtle
04/01/12 12:31:46PM @dusty-turtle:

The dulcimer sounds great! And the song made me hungry (what's that line about groundhog grease dripping from his chin?) Thanks for the comparison. You are right that the Thomas replica is remarkably loud, especially considering its size. And its overall sound is really impressive. It also has a much brighter tone than the McSpadden. I wonder of modern dulcimers have been influenced by all us guitar players who think we prefer a rounder, more mellow tone.

Robin Thompson
03/31/12 11:02:07AM @robin-thompson:

Oh, wow! Wow! John's made for you a treasure, Robin!

I have a small Kentucky hourglass dulcimer made by Jerry Rockwell; its body is based on an Amburgey. Though Jerry wasn't building a reproduction-- he used the Amburgey body as a model-- I'm guessing it has hints of something old in its sound.

I can hardly wait to hear what you and Nick put together! (Groundhog sounded fantastic!)

03/30/12 11:16:24PM @strumelia:

Just wonderful.....

Randy Adams
03/30/12 10:20:17PM @randy-adams:

What a cool little dulcimer Robin. I'm glad to see you got it! I like that black...& the round soundholes. I first saw Thomas replica dulcimers at Dulcimerville last year and have wanted one ever since.


Robin Clark
03/30/12 07:30:21PM @robin-clark:

And here are a couple more:



Robin Clark
03/30/12 07:27:35PM @robin-clark:

There is quite a difference in tone between the old Ed Thomas Kentucky hourglass and the more modern style of instrument. I'm looking forward to exploring that older, more silvery sound. The Ed Thomas is lightweight and very resonant, even in poplar which is quite a 'soft' hardwood. Also the fretboard is solid (although quite narrow) and the top, bottom and bracing quite substantial. I know that John took these details from an original Ed Thomas. I would have thought that these factors would have deadend the instrument - but this is not so at all as it feels very lively.

Here are a few photos:




Macy Jayne
03/30/12 06:07:14PM @macy-jayne:

Thanks for the comparison Robin. They both sound great with their own characteristics, and great playing as usual! I agree with Strumelia, how will you get back to painting?

03/30/12 04:24:20PM @strumelia:

Oh my, how beautiful!! you know I am going to have to get one of these pretty soon, don't you?

I love how you demonstrate the differences between this and typical modern dulcimers. How the tone has changed over the years with the all the changes made over time!

This black beauty has the old chunky-zingy-sleighbell tone that is so intimate and charming. I don't know how you'll be able to go back to painting the house now.

Thank you for the wonderful and informative demonstration Robin!