Sweet Caroline -- on a sweet, new dulcimer

Sam Edelston
01/12/19 10:03:38AM

I think this is one of the few popular songs I actually knew in the '60s. Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" (which supposedly was inspired by a photo of Caroline Kennedy).

The more interesting story is the dulcimer. In 2007, Robert Force was working on an electric dulcimer design with luthier Rod Matheson, and he brought a prototype to the Nutmeg Dulcimer Festival for me to try. I had a couple of suggestions to tweak the design. Rod calls it the Black Wolf dulcimer, though I like calling it the Electric Force dulcimer. sun Though I was exclusively an acoustic player at the time, I couldn't resist buying one. That one had my "standard" semi-chromatic fretboard arrangement, including 0+, 1+, 6+, 8+, 13+ frets.

That dulcimer is indecently much fun to play, and I've done many videos with it, but there are certain songs that require more frets -- and that required another electric dulcimer. So I called up Rod and asked him for a fully chromatic one, and he sent it to me some months later. But, unfortunately, it needed some adjustments, so I had to send it back. As we all know, life is a bumpy road, and Rod encountered some major bumps that took him away from his dulcimer work. It was a full three years before he was able to finish the adjustments.

But, like a faithful lover in a broken token song, I'm beyond thrilled to have this dulcimer in my hands at last. There will be many more songs on it.

By the way, it's tuned DAD, played as if in G, but capoed up a full step, so I'm actually playing in real A.