A Dulcimer I Made A Long Time Ago

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.

Me in my early 20's. Fashion was as important to me then as it is now!

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:

Doug Berch dulcimer #50 circa 1981

Doug Berch dulcimer #50 circa 1981 - back

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!

6 thoughts on “A Dulcimer I Made A Long Time Ago

  1. Hi Bruce,
    Got your email today and just found your comment here. sent you an email this morning. Wish i was going to Glen Rose again but the listing you saw was for last year. it is a wonderful festival put on by wonderful folks!

  2. Doug,
    I now own #50 and will bring it with me to Glen Rose, TX next month. I hope I can meet you.

    Thanks again for your response to my inquiry regarding this instrument several months ago.

    Bruce Lockwood

  3. Yes, the one in late 75 was a kit. I guess it wouldn’t be right to count them in the numbering.

    I know I had one of the early ones built from scratch in 77′. Later on in 80′ you built me another one.

  4. Hi Lisanne,

    Your memory may be better than mine! I started with kits for a year or so but didn’t count those in the numbering. The first one I made from scratch was #1 (I think) and if I remember it was walnut and spruce. I can’t remember much of the sequence or dates. I remember I sold the first several I made to “We Buy Guitars” for $15 – $30 to buy wood and parts for the next one!

  5. Now if my memory is correct, you made one instrument in late 1975 for your own use. The sound wasn’t all that bad but one of the frets buzzed terribly. For a first effort it was rather impressive.

    I don’t remember that you numbered it though. I think you did number the 2nd one made in the spring of 76′. (that date is based on trying to remember other things that were going on at the same time.

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