These are some of the instruments I have built, both as custom orders and as pre-mades. (The images with an asterik in the lower right corner are dulcimers I have on hand for purchase at this time. See these and others in greater detail in the "FOR SALE" page.)
These are photos of instruments I have built. Many were custom instruments but some are currently available for purchase.
Please see "For Sale" tab in the bar above for more information on available instruments.
Ellipse shape with descending dove soundholes. Poplar soundboard with natural dark streaks in bookmatched top.
My first attempt, (and most likely my last) at a custom build of something a little different. This instrument is called a "Bowed Dulcimer." It combines various features of a mountain dulcimer, a cello, a violin and a guitar. As the name implies, it is played with a bow, much like a cello.
My second custom "non-dulcimer." A woman from Colorado contacted me about building a "Langeleik" for her. These instruments are believed to be one of the older Norwegian influences that contributed to the design of the Mountain Dulcimer. It is basically a rectangular box strung with eight strings. Only one string is fretted while the other seven are played as "drone" strings. There are also included some small "movable" frets that can change the tuning of the drone strings like a capo.
Teardrop shape, Sitka Spruce soundboard and Purpleheart fingerboard. Tapered scroll peghead. "f" soundholes.
Our least expensive model. Also reminiscent of what the early builders did with materials they had on hand such as cigar boxes glued together for the body.
Hourglass shape, hard maple fingerboard, aromatic cedar soundboard with "f" soundholes. Scroll peghead
Aromatic cedar soundboard. Hard maple fingerboard. Scroll peghead. Orthodox cross soundholes.
Hard maple back. Laminated peghead.
Aromatic cedar soundboard with Penguin soundholes. Laminated peghead. Gold tuning machines with black knobs. Special order Ebony fingerboard.
Aromatic cedar soundboard. Hickory fingerboard. Four different soundholes as selected by buyer. Custom carved peghead (whale tail fluke).
Small, hourglass shape well suited for small players or children. Laminated peghead, Black walnut fingerboard.
Aromatic cedar soundboard, hickory fingerboard. Horsehead and geometric dot soundholes. Tapered scroll and upswept arch peghead.
Good example of how I "Bookmatch" the soundboards and backs of my instruments. A board is ripped in half lengthwise, then opened like the cover of a book and glued together creating a mirror image on each side of the now wider board. (this is the back of the Hourglass with the horsehead and dot soundholes)
Another view of the hourglass instrument with the horsehead and dot soundholes. Notice how the aromatic cedar looks different with the light coming from a different angle.
Western Red Cedar soundboard. Geometric dot soundholes. Black walnut fingerboard. Tapered scroll peghead.
Western Red Cedar soundboard on hourglass shaped body. Scroll peghead with down swept arch. Evergreen tree soundholes. Black walnut fingerboard with maple inlay dots.
The Spring Bazaar at the Evergreen fairgrounds in Monroe, our first event in 2015.
Hourglass with wider "f" soundholes. Note the different treatment of the peghead by thining down the scroll part to make it look a little more streamlined.
Ellipse shape. Guitar type peghead and Fern Frond soundholes. Western Red Cedar soundboard.
This hourglass instrument gives us a good opportunity to learn some dulcimer definitions. The narrow part of the body is called the "waist". (kind of obvious...) The wider portions of the body are called the "bouts". In this case the upper "bout" is not as wide as the lower one. This design gives a nice look to the instrument but does limit the choices of soundholes. To put soundholes in the narrow bout they need to be of a slender design.
A couple of things to point out here. First notice the "Cannarywood" side on the body. This imported exotic hardwood has some beautiful grain patterns with colors ranging from browns to reds and oranges. Also the peghead has a different design. I was just experimenting while building it and ended up with something that reminded me of a turret on a castle.
Classic "hourglass" shape with leaf soundholes. Western Red Cedar soundboard and scroll type peghead.
Hourglass shape with rare old growth coastal redwood soundboard. Daisy soundholes and modified scroll type peghead.
Dove soundholes in sitka spruce soundboard on hourglass shape body. Guitar type peghead.
One of the first images on this page was of this instrument with a diffeerent soundboard. At one of the recent festivals we had an unfortunate accident with a display rack falling over and the original soundboard was slightly split and a small divot was made in the top edge of the body. I could have sold it "as is" but instead I rebuilt it with this new soundboard. The larger soundholes actually increased the volume of the instrument a little.
Rectangular body with rectangular soundholes produces a nice, clear sound. Built with contrasting colors to produce a light/dark theme. Soundboard is light colored Poplar. Sides are a dark Walnut and back is a bright Eastern Maple.
Teardrop shape, stylish heart soundholes with dots above and below. Aromatic Cedar soundboard,
Sides are one of my favorite exotic woods called Canarywood. Usually has multiple colored grain streaks ranging from very light to deep reds and even purples. Standard hourglass shape with Aromatic Cedar soundboard. "Bubble" soundholes.
Diamond body with matching soundholes. A tribute to some of the very early designs primarily from the Melton's of Virginia. Western Red Cedar soundboard, nicely grained Cherry back and sides.
Western Red Cedar on Hourglass shaped body. Padauk sides and back. Eight notes on upper "bout" and hearts on lower.
Hourglass shape with a Catalpa sound board. A very nicely grained wood. Back is black walnut and sides are another exotic... canary-wood, also colorfully grained
Fleur de Lis and Butterfly soundholes. Western Red Cedar sound board, Cherry back and Red Oak Sides.
Ellipse shaped, "f hole" soundholes. Soundboard is Red Alder, Backm is Black Walnut and sides are Cherry.
Rectangle, Western Red Cedar top, Black Walnut with White Ash stripe, Black Walnut sides.
TearDrop with four fern frond soundholes. Sitka spruce soundboard, Purpleheart back and Canarywood sides.
Four different soundholes on an hourglass shaped body.