I started making dulcimers on my parents’ kitchen table when I was 17 . When I left home I worked out of a few different shops, houses and apartments. Sometimes where I lived and worked were the same place and occasionally the same room. I was young and the world was mine.
I stopped making dulcimers when I was in my mid-twenties. I was traveling a lot and moving fairly often so I focused on performing rather than dulcimer making. I missed dulcimer making but it just wasn’t practical to have a shop during those years.
I had stopped at dulcimer #78 in the Winter of 1983. 78 dulcimers with my name in them made between 1975 and 1983 are out there somewhere. The only one in my possession is the dulcimer currently in the photo at the top of my web page. It came home a few years ago and it was built in 1981.
Some internet sleuthing brought up another dulcimer I had made in 1981 that was up for sale. No, I didn’t buy it but I downloaded the pictures. During that time I used variations on a lute rose pattern as soundholes on several dulcimers. I also used teardrop or flame style f-holes on quite a few instruments back then.
Here are two pictures of dulcimer #50 from the listing I found:
I remember making this one for a woman in Vermont. I made several dulcimers with sympathetic strings. On this dulcimer the sympathetic strings ran over the soundboard on the bass side of the fretboard. From the picture I can see that the sympathetic strings as well as their tuners and bridges are no longer present. It also looks like the peghead had been broken off and repaired with wood screws.
Speaking of the peghead; I must have thought the shape of this peghead was a good idea at the time. What was I thinking! I was young and didn’t know any better!