Laurel Mountain Dulcimer (used) at Elderly Instruments, buy?

Help for new mountain dulcimer players of all ages!

Re: Laurel Mountain Dulcimer (used) at Elderly Instruments,

Postby rojieh » Tue May 11, 2010 11:38 am

Thanks! Waiting for the instrument is certainly exciting, like Christmas! I was wondering about maintenance and cleaning. I don't want to use any polishes to make the lovely matte finish more shiny. Elderly Instruments just recommended wiping with a soft flannel cloth. Is there anything else that is recommended with an instrument like this?
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Re: Laurel Mountain Dulcimer (used) at Elderly Instruments,

Postby tentmaker » Tue May 11, 2010 12:25 pm

I think you may have goten a better deal than you imagined. From the looks of the Elderly photos the back and sides either Koa or a type of walnut I have never seen before. :D :D
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Re: Laurel Mountain Dulcimer (used) at Elderly Instruments,

Postby rojieh » Tue May 11, 2010 12:49 pm

The walnut back is certainly beautiful! Also, I noticed that the tuners seem to be quite nice, of a type that I have seen typically on higher end instruments.

Although I am quite new to the area of theory of instrument construction, I have read that a combination of a hard wood back and sides and softer, more resonant wood sound board is good for the sound of an instrument because it allows sound to be reflected back, reinforcing vibrations of the sound board. I was reading up on violins and experiments with balsa wood violins that have amazing sound, although there are problems with durability of the wood. The sound board of this dulcimer is made of butternut, which is soft and will require some care, but I am looking forward to playing it and feeling the resonance of the instrument.

I have a guzheng, a Chinese stringed instrument that belongs to the same family as a psaltery. This has a pauwlina wood sound board (very soft, can easily be dented with a fingernail) that is unfinished for the best sound and sides and back made of black sandalwood that is quite hard. Most western instruments that I have seen seem to use sound boards that are protected with some kind of finish, perhaps for durability.

tentmaker wrote:I think you may have goten a better deal than you imagined. From the looks of the Elderly photos the back and sides either Koa or a type of walnut I have never seen before. :D :D
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Re: Laurel Mountain Dulcimer (used) at Elderly Instruments,

Postby Jeannie in Paradise » Tue May 11, 2010 3:48 pm

I think you're getting a GREAT deal! I have two Laurel Mountains plus a mini, and I love them all.

Cheers,
Jeannie
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Re: Laurel Mountain Dulcimer (used) at Elderly Instruments,

Postby rendesvous1840 » Tue May 11, 2010 3:57 pm

For cleaning & polishing, you might check with Laurel Mountain for recommendations. There are a variety of finishes used, and the choice of polish may vary. I mostly use a certain brand of guitar polish that was found in my stocking a couple of Christmases ago. Before that, I used furniture polish, and will again when the 'fancy' stuff runs out. My dulcimers are finished with furniture varnish. A lot of other builders use clear lacquer for their finish, so it's best to go with the maker's recommendation..
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Re: Laurel Mountain Dulcimer (used) at Elderly Instruments,

Postby rojieh » Sat May 15, 2010 7:41 pm

Hello, I just received my Laurel Mountain Dulcimer today and took some photos that I have posted:

http://www.everythingdulcimer.com/index ... Itemid=164

As you can see, the Oscar, my cat, is thrilled. I really like the colors of the different woods, which are much more vibrant than I expected. The tuning is spot on at nearly all notes, with only a slight sharpness at the highest (18th) fret. The tuners have amazingly smooth action, much better than I have experienced before. Just like butter!

The service at Elderly Instruments was excellent and the item was well packed and arrived quite rapidly.

I was reading about using a turkey feather as a pick. I don't have any turkey feathers lying around, but I do have some peacock feathers, so I cut off the top of one and bound and superglued it to the thicker part of the base quill (see photo sequence above). The binding that you see near the top of the quill is actually one of the side pieces of the feather that I saved. The feather is filled with a pith in hardness and texture like styrofoam. I tried initially cutting it at an angle, but this resulted in pith flying everywhere as soon as started strumming. Now it is simply a perpendicular cross section. One good aspect is that (from a single feather) I have several feet of base quill that I have saved and can just replace whenever the tip wears down. It is quite nice to use compared to a guitar pick. I like how light it is and also, when you need to put it down, how it nestles nicely inside one of the sound holes. The feather end keeps it from getting lost and is so light, it doesn't generate any wind resistance. (It is also quite soft and, I think, unlikely to scratch the inside of the instrument).

Thank you all for your help my purchase of this dulcimer. I really appreciate it!
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Re: Laurel Mountain Dulcimer (used) at Elderly Instruments,

Postby KenH » Sat May 15, 2010 10:29 pm

I agree with Tentmaker - there's no Walnut in that instrument - looks like Koa or maybe outrageously dark Mango to me. Send a note to the builder,and give her the number from the maker's label inside; she can undoubtedly tell you what the woods are. Or maybe the label will tell you...
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Re: Laurel Mountain Dulcimer (used) at Elderly Instruments,

Postby jakstall » Sat May 15, 2010 11:02 pm

I'm glad your dulcimer arrived and that you're happy with it. You should get many years of use from it and it will sound better the more you play it.

I agree with Ken that you might want to contact Mary at Laurel Mountain and ask about the woods in the dulcimer. However, I think it probably is walnut, as advertised. You do find walnut that is that highly figured from time to time. Whatever wood it is, it looks really nice and I'm sure looks even better in person!
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Mystery walnut

Postby rojieh » Sun May 16, 2010 11:29 am

Hello,

The walnut is "claro walnut" according to the label inside the dulcimer. I looked it up (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claro_walnut) and this belongs to the species Juglans hindsii or Northern California Walnut also known as Hind's Black Walnut. According to Wikipedia, "The wood of J. hindsii is commonly called claro walnut by the lumber industry and woodworkers.[5] It is highly figured and has a rich brown color with striking grain patterns, especially in the crotch areas where large limbs meet the trunk. It is used in small quantities to make fine furniture and gun stocks and sold as slabs to make large natural-top tables because of its good working properties and beautiful grain patterns."
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Re: Laurel Mountain Dulcimer (used) at Elderly Instruments,

Postby rendesvous1840 » Sun May 16, 2010 1:25 pm

That sure looks nice. When do we get to hear it?
Paul
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Re: Laurel Mountain Dulcimer (used) at Elderly Instruments,

Postby rojieh » Sun May 16, 2010 3:29 pm

rendesvous1840 wrote:That sure looks nice. When do we get to hear it?
Paul


I would love to post a sound clip, but as a complete beginner, I'm afraid that I would not be able to do this instrument justice for quite some time.
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Re: Laurel Mountain Dulcimer (used) at Elderly Instruments,

Postby rendesvous1840 » Mon May 17, 2010 1:38 am

No pressure, anytime in the next couple weeks is fine! :lol:
Paul
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