An Unsatisfactory Build

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An Unsatisfactory Build

Postby Bob Gerard » Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:04 pm

OK mountain dulcimer builders/players/enthusiasts- what would/have you done when a dulcimer you are building isn't up to your personal standards?
I have been building for a customer a mountain dulcimer that I felt was not coming out as well as I hoped. The instrument, quite pretty and which will probably sound great (Black Walnut and Butternut top) is not quite symmetrical- the right side bouts are larger than the left. I sent a photo to my customer who agreed with me. It isn't that ugly, it is just not symmetrical (ok, that can be ugly), but anyway I am going to complete it. (I am building another for the customer)
Question- what to do with the one i am not quite happy with?
Some options I have are:
1. Just keep it for myself, (but I have about 5 already and no where to keep it
2. Try selling it cheep (maybe just a bit over materials cost to break even after selling & shipping fees)
3. Gifting it

Any thoughts and suggestions would be appreciated!
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Re: An Unsatisfactory Build

Postby KenH » Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:17 pm

Sell it for a reasonable price -- but not full price. Put your label inside with a note to the effect that the instrument was not up to your usual standard.
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Re: An Unsatisfactory Build

Postby Frimp » Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:11 pm

Sell it off if you can for whatever you can get for it. Maybe it'll become so rare that it becomes valuable? Stranger things have happened...
When this happened to me with a walnut Thomas dulcimer, I just hacked off the offending left side, and put a walnut plate over the resulting hole.
Tried to sell it, but no takers yet. It IS kind of an oddball critter (like me).
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Re: An Unsatisfactory Build

Postby rtroughear » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:41 am

Bob

This has happened to me with a free form teardrop - one side was stiffer than the other and formed a different curve. I must have been asleep at the time and missed it.

But I took it along to a festival and was surprised nobody cared that it was quite asymmetrical, or even noticed until I pointed it out. And someone bought it for full price - and a second person came back and was annoyed that he didn't buy it earlier.

There are asymmetries everywhere (Ewing?). It won't affect the sound, and chances are someone will like it - just make sure you point out the special "feature" to them.

Richard T
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Re: An Unsatisfactory Build

Postby KenH » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:49 am

The translation from the Japanese art world is something like "asymmetrical symmetry". Perfect symmetry isn't as interesting as something slightly "off".
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Re: An Unsatisfactory Build

Postby Frimp » Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:20 am

Ah.... the secret to my success! Slightly-off symmetry! :?
It also proves that this particular dulcimer wasn't made in a big factory, that churns lots of them out from molds.
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Re: An Unsatisfactory Build

Postby Bob Gerard » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:42 am

Thanks friends! I took your suggestions to heart and went ahead and completed building it. (For a while I actually thought about trashing it) I named this dulcimer "Cockeye Joe". But you know what? It is just the nicest sounding dulcimer! The wood combinations of Black Walnut and Butternut seem magical.
https://fotmd.com/bob/gallery/9872/cockeyejoe-20-s#gallery_img
I posted some photos and this youtube video

on my Facebook page and already got an inquiry about it being for sale.
So, as much as symmetry is a goal, being 'off' can be OK (though I do wish it was more visually balanced)
I may want to keep "Cockeye Joe" after all :D
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Re: An Unsatisfactory Build

Postby Bob Gerard » Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:35 pm

Frimp wrote:Sell it off if you can for whatever you can get for it. Maybe it'll become so rare that it becomes valuable? Stranger things have happened...
When this happened to me with a walnut Thomas dulcimer, I just hacked off the offending left side, and put a walnut plate over the resulting hole.
Tried to sell it, but no takers yet. It IS kind of an oddball critter (like me).

I had actually thought about radical surgery as well knew that I would make things even worse! As they say, it will just be pointed out as it's "unique character"!
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Re: An Unsatisfactory Build

Postby Bob Gerard » Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:37 pm

rtroughear wrote:Bob

This has happened to me with a free form teardrop - one side was stiffer than the other and formed a different curve. I must have been asleep at the time and missed it.

But I took it along to a festival and was surprised nobody cared that it was quite asymmetrical, or even noticed until I pointed it out. And someone bought it for full price - and a second person came back and was annoyed that he didn't buy it earlier.

There are asymmetries everywhere (Ewing?). It won't affect the sound, and chances are someone will like it - just make sure you point out the special "feature" to them.

Richard T


I was also wondering how I missed the differences when I was gluing the top on :shock: But you are right- pointing out this 'feature' is important, hence the 'unique' name it has of "Cockeye Joe" :lol:
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Re: An Unsatisfactory Build

Postby Bob Gerard » Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:39 pm

KenH wrote:The translation from the Japanese art world is something like "asymmetrical symmetry". Perfect symmetry isn't as interesting as something slightly "off".

Ahh! I like that :) (But it is an acquired appreciation, no doubt ;) )
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Re: An Unsatisfactory Build

Postby Frimp » Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:16 pm

"Where did you come from, where did you go?
Where did you come from, Cock-Eyed Joe?" :D
Sounds like a fiddle tune, don't it?
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Re: An Unsatisfactory Build

Postby Bob Gerard » Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:27 pm

Frimp wrote:"Where did you come from, where did you go?
Where did you come from, Cock-Eyed Joe?" :D
Sounds like a fiddle tune, don't it?


Hmmmm... it DOES have a ring to it!
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