Johnson brand dulcimers?

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Johnson brand dulcimers?

Postby recap » Fri Oct 19, 2007 5:06 pm

I was recently listening to Banjo Talk #17 at banjotalk.com, and heard the kudos the banjo community was giving the Recording King model banjos. RK is part of The Music Link company, which also manufactures Johnson dulcimers. They are inexpensive and I would guess that they are assembled offshore, like the RK banjos are.

Normally, I'd figure that a cheap, offshore instrument is probably worth avoiding, but the banjo folks seemed so happy with the RK instruments, I have to ask: has anyone tried a Johnson dulcimer? What did you think of it?

[Excuse me if this is discussed elsewhere, but I tried searching the forum for a reference to the Johnson brand. All I could find were dozens of references to people named Johnson. Too bad they didn't name the brand something more unique.]

Thanks.

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Postby folkfan » Fri Oct 19, 2007 6:05 pm

Sorry, I've never heard of them.
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Postby Judy K » Fri Oct 19, 2007 10:05 pm

I played one at a local guitar shop a few months ago. It was the only dulcimer they had in stock. We tuned it so I could test it and it didn't stay in tune at all and the overall sound wasn't very impressive, kind of bland. It may have been just that particular dulcimer .... maybe not. Image

For less money than the asking price of the Johnson (that I saw anyway) you could buy a student model from harpmaker and have a much better instrument. My 2 cents ... :)
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Postby recap » Fri Oct 19, 2007 11:23 pm

>For less money than the asking price of the Johnson (that I saw anyway) you
>could buy a student model from harpmaker and have a much better
>instrument.

I have no doubt that harpmaker's student dulcimer is superior, but I have seen the Johnson with case and shipping price out as low as $80. That's just a little more than half the price of harpmaker's instrument plus case plus shipping.

Again, I do not doubt that the Johnson is the lesser of the two. I just wonder if it is a viable student instrument at such a low price.

Thank you for your observations from your brief encounter with the instrument. First-hand assessments of this dulcimer appear to be in short supply.

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Postby kwl » Fri Oct 19, 2007 11:28 pm

I didn't know that Johnson had added MDs to their line. I'll have to keep my eyes open when I visit some music stores around here.
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Postby Judy K » Sat Oct 20, 2007 12:16 am

Recap, the price one the Johnson I played was $150 in the shop -- but I knew I wasn't interested and didn't talk "discounts", which this store always give it's customers.

Looks like the best way to find out about the Johnson dulcimer is to try one. :)
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Re: Johnson brand dulcimers?

Postby cheryncp » Wed Feb 03, 2016 4:16 pm

I bought a Johnson Dulcimer which came with a nice case. I am a beginner and I have been pleasantly surprised with this instrument. The sound is pretty good and it stays tuned better than my much more expensive handcrafted dulcimer. It is made in China and the wood is very thin but for a beginner who does not want to pay a lot I think you would be pleased and if not ,you can always return it and get a refund.
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Re: Johnson brand dulcimers?

Postby pjbuck » Thu Feb 04, 2016 9:31 am

Go with Harpmakers Sweet Woods Student model and you wont be disappointed.I love mine. Besides the playability and quality. he is available and answers questions promptly, good luck getting that from a Chinese factory. I have also noticed that dulcimers made offshore in factories are hit or miss. You might get a good one or a bad one, its kind of a lottery. Harpmaker doesn't ship anything that isnt done right. He will also let you trade it in if you want to step up later to one of his standard models.One last thing , when you buy from a luthier you are preserving not only a job but a craft. every time a luthier quits and hangs up his tools we are one step closer to losing a tradition that no factory in China or Romania can replace .As far as a case goes my dulcimer is in more danger in my home from my grandchildren( who love it) than when I tote it around in a old duffel bag.
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Re: Johnson brand dulcimers?

Postby joe sanguinette » Fri Feb 05, 2016 6:24 am

what pjbuck says. go with a harpmaker. the imports are risky to say the least
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Re: Johnson brand dulcimers?

Postby KenH » Fri Feb 05, 2016 8:53 am

Putting an "American" name on a dulcimer does not make it American. As has been said, dulcimer made "off shore" are often hit or miss in quality. A few years back is was First Act and others. Now we've got the Johnson.
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Re: Johnson brand dulcimers?

Postby frets alot » Fri Feb 05, 2016 9:53 am

Just a heads up, this is a 8+ year old thread. A zombie thread. It's been 2 1/2 years since the OP was active on the site.
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Re: Johnson brand dulcimers?

Postby KenH » Fri Feb 05, 2016 6:30 pm

Doh!
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