Dulcimer building book for class

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Dulcimer building book for class

Postby tazelaarq » Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:32 am

Hello, I'm a teaching assistant for a college class on traditional Appalachian Instruments and how they are constructed. In this class the students will learn the history and methods behind the construction of the mountain dulcimer. The professor asked me to find a book that could aid the students in the construction of a mountain dulcimer. I have searched all over and haven't found a detailed book that is available in the quantity we would need for the class. If anyone knows of a book that would be good for this class please post a link to it or the title. Also if no such book exists that is widely available any book that has detailed dulcimer instructions would very helpful. Thank you.
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Re: Dulcimer building book for class

Postby clare dulcimers » Mon Nov 30, 2009 11:20 am

This book is available from Amazon, includes not just instructions (and pictures) for how Homer Ledford makes his dulcimers, but also tells his biography.

Homer Ledford Dulcimer Maker: The Craft of Homer Ledford
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Re: Dulcimer building book for class

Postby KenH » Mon Nov 30, 2009 2:47 pm

There have only ever been a couple of "Step 1; Step 2, Step 3" kind of building books, and if memory serves they are all out of print. If you search here in Making Dulcimers you'll find at least one step-by-step list that I made and posted.

There are a number of "plans" out there; many of which are not very good. Perhaps the best one is the single sheet available from DIYNetwork.com in their archives, with an article about building.

I hate to say this... but it seems a little late to be looking for a book on "how to". Have you or the professor ever made your own dulcimers from scratch? If not, why is this class being offered? I spent years in academia as an instructor, and the point is, of course, you are supposed to be passing on knowledge you have, not just making it up as you go along.

As much as I love dulcimers, having been involved with them for over 30 years. And as much as I love the idea of them beign promoted in an academic environment. I really have a bad feeling about people trying to teach something that they do not know. If neither you nor the professor has beuilt at least one dulcimer, I would strongly suggest delaying the class until you have done so. Building a musical instrument is more than just words on a page.
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Re: Dulcimer building book for class

Postby tazelaarq » Tue Dec 01, 2009 11:49 am

The instructor knows how and has built many dulcimers, I have not. The book is a guide for the students when they are working without the professor's direct supervision. He is very experienced in this craft.
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Re: Dulcimer building book for class

Postby jeanmulder » Tue Dec 01, 2009 1:41 pm

We found exceptionally clear building instructions for both Mountain and Hammered Dulcimers from MusicMakers.com
The 17/16 Hammered which my husband built, turned out to be a very good sounding instrument. In the catalog, it is listed as "4 hammers" out of 5 for difficulty but if you have patience, the instructions are very clear, the pictures/drawings very clear and if needed, the team are very approachable and helpful.
This company has instruments which are complete, or in kit form, or full size plans with detailed instructions. We chose this option and the plans/instructions were $25 plus shipping. They also have plans for adjustable and sissor stands as well as plans and kits for harps, mandolins, bouzouki, mountain, hammered, finger drums, etc. Check it out, it may be what your looking for.
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Re: Dulcimer building book for class

Postby WaterPig Master » Tue Dec 01, 2009 2:37 pm

Hi there

I started with Dennis Warings Book 'Making Wood Folk Instruments'. It has instructions for many simple instruments, as well as some more advanced ones, namely: Hammered Dulcimer, Mountain Dulcimers, Fretless Banjo, Teardrop Fiddle and Celtic Harp. The instructions are very clear, as are the descriptions of what types of wood to use where. The book can be ordered from amazon for virtually nothing:

http://www.amazon.com/Making-Wood-Instr ... 0806974826

Thanks, Good luck to the students!
Barnaby
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Re: Dulcimer building book for class

Postby mrchips » Tue Dec 01, 2009 4:20 pm

If this course included actually making some insterments I highly recommend including some sort of book on woodworking safty because not all that many people have any actual experence with things that can easily remove fingers or throw stuff in youre face. At the very least a case of kickback on a table saw can leave you with a real sore belly for a few days. :lol: :lol:
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Re: Dulcimer building book for class

Postby Jon » Tue Dec 01, 2009 6:30 pm

Not a book and perhaps too expensive ($49), but Keith Young (www.apalachiandulcimers.com) has a DVD on construction. Very comprehensive, but requires power tools. Tool safety not astrong pint in my opinion, perhaps because of the need to show details and perhaps experience. Howie Mitchell's book (The Mountain Dulcimer-Folk Legacy records) and Jean Ritchie's Dulcimer People are good introductions, but may be out of print. If the instructor has built several dulcimers, I would suggest he put together a guide, since there are so many different possibilities in design and construction. None of the three sources I mentioned are in complete agreement.
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Re: Dulcimer building book for class

Postby Jon » Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:53 pm

Chet Hines book-Making and PLaying the Dulcimore is another source, although probably out of print.
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Re: Dulcimer building book for class

Postby Frimp » Wed Dec 02, 2009 12:20 am

Chet Hines' book doesn't seem like it's written for beginners, to me. His dulcimer design is more complex than most others I've seen. Over the years I've collected many articles, books and videos on dulcimer making, and seldom do they agree on the correct methods or design to use. Dennis Waring's book is a good, simple introduction to making instruments that work but that aren't very complicated.
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Re: Dulcimer building book for class

Postby kwl » Wed Dec 02, 2009 2:33 pm

I suggest using Dean Kimball's book: Constructing the Mountain Dulcimer. Here is a link to a place where the book can be purchased.
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Re: Dulcimer building book for class

Postby tazelaarq » Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:43 pm

Thanks for all the replies they were very helpful.
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