Rather than choke this thread, I just started a new Forum Discussion about Prichard dulcimers: "Things To Do With Prichard And His Dulcimers". I'm going to take the photos, information and measurements that L Allen Smith included in his book/thesis and start with that. I next intend to add photos and measurements of the dulcimer I've been asking about here, and maybe Susan Ann and others can contribute more photos and documentation they know about too. Maybe if we work together on this we can sort things out better. See you on the other side! - Terry
Thanks, Richard! - Terry
That's a wonderful looking Prichard clockdr.
Thanks, everybody. One thing that no one else has commented on is the ingrained odor of tobacco that came with mine! LOL! A different kind of hallmark of age if not authenticity.
A couple more thoughts came to mind. First of all, like the Thomas dulcimers I've seen, there doesn't seem to be much variation in the pattern - but maybe we should take better measurements and make closer comparisons? I went by the average dimensions in RLS's book, but his came from the instruments measured by LA Smith. I haven't yet looked to see how much variation was found in those instruments, but it'll be fun to find out. I find the similarities within a maker's production fascinating, because if I was setting out to create a dulcimore de novo I'd either tinker with a few until I figured out how to put one together that sounded the way I wanted or work from someone else's pattern and seldom vary it. I know that Jethro Amburgey did the latter throughout most of his production. In spite of all of the times he told people that he followed Thomas' pattern, he strayed from that at times. For example, I have a 1955 Amburgey with a distinctly wider belly. I showed it to Michael Amburgey and asked him about that at the Amburgey Family Reunion a couple of years ago (he helped his grandfather in the shop when he was a young fella) and he told me that JA had at times tried to figure out how to make his instruments a bit louder. So - perhaps Thomas and Prichard did something similar.
Secondly, if there's so few Prichards around, I wonder how much influence he might have actually had on other dulcimer/dulcimor makers. Does influence derive from the sheer number of instruments produced (like Thomas) or does it come about due to geography and store-front presence at a crossroads (like the variation of the Stranger from the West story)? I'd love to know more about how and when Prichard sold his instruments!
Wonderful dulcimer Terry! It looks to be in very good shape for its age. I am also on the hunt for any additional information on Prichard dulcimers. I was curious as to how many originals were out there and it sounds like maybe 15. Thanks for the info. Good luck!
Terry, I think you are close on the number of known Prichard dulcimers. I am trying to develop a list of those instruments and your numbers match mine. I also think you are correct in assuming that there are more reproductions than actual Prichard dulcimers (at least currently known). Likewise, I don't think we have an amount for the total production of Prichard dulcimers. There is no evidence that Prichard kept such a record or of serial numbers in his instruments.
"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
It sure looks like a real Prichard to me, Terry! Even has age marks on it. The uniquely-shaped heart soundholes say "genuine C. N. Prichard dulcimore" to me. He should have used better glue on his labels!
It seems like "Prichard's" are coming out of the woodwork right now, so would anyone mind if I dropped another into this section for comment? This is a new acquisition, it came from an estate in New England and information is nonexistent. The dimensions match those given in Ralph Lee Smith's Story of the Dulcimer Vol.2, Appendix C, and to my untrained eye it looks ok. I am working on the assumption that this is a Prichard as well - please tell me if that's an error!
It appears to have a yellow-poplar back and sides with wood-grain like graining, the top might be walnut but I haven't really looked at that in intimate detail. I did a look-see with a 'scope but I didn't see a label, nor did I see a sound post or evidence of one that was there formerly (thanks, Ken!), but I readily admit I might not have seen some glue marks that were covered with dust and I likely missed something a more experienced eye might have seen. Thanks for any advice, comments, information, etc.!
By the way, how many of these have been found/identified? A quick search on line doesn't turn up much in that regard. LA Smith listed seven in his thesis/catalog (incl. the one in MOMA), Ralph Lee Smith showed two photos of other instruments in his Story of the Dulcimer book (one owned by Paul Robinson #59, one sold by J. Evans and Assoc. Auctioneers #59a), there's a YouTube video of RLS playing a different Prichard original that I think he owned (?), Susan-Ann's dulcimer shown here, there's another one (or two??) on FOTMD/photos I think showing photos of dulcimers in museum cases somewhere (I can't recall where). Steve Carney has posted elsewhere that he owns one that he bought from a music store, and as I recall he brought with him to the last Berea Gathering. That makes ... 14 or 15?? As Ken noted here earlier, the sample size if small. What others have I omitted from this short list, admittedly compiled from memory? Just curious. I don't recall ever reading anything about the number of dulcimers he is thought to have produced. (Makes me wonder if there are more repros out there than originals!)
Thank you Ken for the information. I am just about finished building my kit. I tried to make the holes as spades but it didnt work, so I just made 4 round holes. I'm looking forward to learning how to play. I will post a picture of it when I'm done. Thanks again!
Susan-Ann, the hearts are holes in the top of the dulcimer. I use a Forstner bit to make the rounded parts of the heart and a Xactol saw blade mounted in a #1 Xacto knife. I don't know if they make the saw blade any more. Back in the late 1970s I bought a dozen or so fo the blades. The reason the hearts look painted on is because the inside of the dulcimer is not painted and is a rather white poplar. The very light inside surrounded by the black outside give the hearts that painted on appearance.
Spades or clovers should not be that difficult if you use drill or Forstner bits of the proper size and a coping saw or knife to make the stems.
I am sorry for the delay in replying. I see you wrote to me over a month ago, but for some reason I didn't see it until today.
Hello Ken, I was looking at your Prichard replica you made. Very nice! Are the hearts actually holes or are they painted on? I am working on my kit right now and have not decided what type of holes to make. I thought about spades or clovers. May be to difficult though. Thanks for the picture!
Susan Ann, I am still willing to list this as a Prichard dulcimer. The pegs are very similar to those made by C. N. Prichard. The hearts are typical of Prichard's as well. The number of frets is indicative of a Prichard dulcimer. I have not seen a Prichard with the purfling lines, but the sample of original Prichards is small. The feet on the back are typical of Prichards.
One telltale feature of Prichards is a sound post just about in the middle of the fret board. It connects the top and back and is difficult to see from the sound holes. The often came loose and were discarded or lost, but evidence of their presence can be seen as glue spots.
My wife and I have been talking about camping in Michigan sometime after the pandemic is under control. Perhaps we could make a trip our you way as we'd like to get back to the UP. We are alumni of Northern Michigan University in Marquette.
If you are willing to let me place you on the list of Prichard owners, and some of the others are not certain either, email me your last name.
Here is another photo of Prichard reproduction I made.
"Tye dulcimer sings a sweet song."
Thank You so much Strumelia! I think I got it! Sorry for jumping too soon that this is "actually" a Pritchard. I revised my page so it doesn't state that. So this is still a big mystery. Maybe someday I can find a qualified professional to inspect it. Thanks again!
If it says the files are too large, then you need to downsize the .jpg files in size a little bit. Do you know how many kb or MB one of those 'too big' pictures is now? post the size here.Do you have animage editing program on your phone or computer? Most images can be edited in simple ways in the same program where they are viewing/managing thier images on their device.
How do you load pictures on your personal home page? I was able to load 2, but now it keeps telling me the file is too large? Help!!
Hello Strumelia! I am not totally sure if it is a Prichard. I can only go by comparing photos on the internet and the information I am getting here on FOTMD. I have sent a few pictures to a couple knowledgeable people on FOTMD and they believe it is a Pritchard too. I would love to have someone inspect it by hand to verify it, but living in Northern Michigan, I have limited resources. That's one of the reasons I have joined FOTMD.
There looks to be some kind of pencil marks on the inside lower holes, but I can't make out what it is. There is also some writing on the center back that looks to say "Dulcimer" with a design under it and either leaves or flowers around it. Also, on the back lower portion, it looks like 3 initials written on it. I don't know if they are original or added to it later by someone. The colored marks on the side of the fret board and instrument is a painted design in black. Some of the wood shows through and that is the light colored marks that you see.
I don't plan on altering it at all, like you said, it would devalue it. It needs to stay in its natural state. I can send pictures to anyone that might be able to help. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for your questions.
I can't believe the delicate wooden points of the hearts are all still perfectly intact!
This is definitely a dulcimer of historical value, in beautiful unaltered shape. Don't change anything on it or try to clean up the finish.. that would devalue it.
Has anyone here on FOTMD seen a Prichard with this style of pegs before? And with the triple purfling lines around the edges?
Susan Ann- what makes you sure it's a Prichard? Have you bb=een able to see any label or maker's mark at all on it, or inside through the soundholes with a flashlight?
I also wonder what all those funny little light colored marks are that we glimpse in the photo on the instrument sides and the sides of the fret board... do you know? Or perhaps just a glitch of the photo.
Thank you for your advice Dusty-Turtle. I think I will leave it as is and sew up a good case for it.
There are ways of working with old wooden tuners, but your dulcimer has legitimate historical value and should be handled by a professional. Good luck with the kit!
So glad I can share it with you! I believe my dulcimer kit will be delivered today. Can't wait to get busy on it and learn how to play. I wish I could play the old girl, her pegs wont keep the strings tight.