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

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

Postby rojieh » Mon May 10, 2010 1:33 pm

Hello,

Well, after promising to wait to buy a dulcimer in person, I found one online at Elderly Instruments. Even though my last purchase (which is being returned today), didn't work out, just hearing the instrument and playing definitely increased my interest.

The one I found is a used Laurel Mountain Dulcimer for $275 (with case and free shipping).

http://elderly.com/vintage/items/150U-268.htm

I called them up over the phone and had them play the instrument for me. I also had them go down a string and play each fret so that I could check and make sure it was in tune. The condition looks excellent. I have it on a 24 hour hold, but was wondering.

1) Would you recommend buying from Elderly Instruments? Are they reputable? Has anyone bought from this store before?
2) Would you recommend Laurel Mountain? Is this a good dulcimer maker. Does anyone have one of their dulcimers and could you comment on it?

Thanks!
Last edited by rojieh on Mon May 10, 2010 11:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Laurel Mountain Dulcimer (used) at Elderly Instruments,

Postby jakstall » Mon May 10, 2010 2:41 pm

Laurel Mountain is owned by Mary Matarainen who built dulcimers for Folkcraft until they were sold and moved from Connecticut to Indiana. I have never owned or played a Laurel Mountain, but I have had a Folkcraft and it was a very good instrument. You might do a search here on "Mary Matareinen" and/or "Laurel Mountain" for comments from folks here who have one of her dulcimers. If what you're looking at at Elderly is this one, it looks like a very nice instrument which I think would run a little over $400 new from Mary (judging from the price list on her web site). The Padauk fingerboard overlay will hold up well. I used to have a Folkcraft that had a Padauk fretboard overlay and it was great to play and didn't show pick damage even after several years of being played a lot. The butternut/walnut combination will sound good and the walnut on this particular instrument looks really nice. Elderly didn't mention it, but the instrument also has a Padauk strip joining the book-matched walnut on the back. Butternut is pretty soft and can be susceptible to dings and/or wear. I have a dulcimer with a butternut top (made by someone else) and this has not been a problem for me, though. I know that Folkcraft dulcimers have a good low action and it is my understanding that Mary's do, too.

Elderly Instruments has been in business since the early 70s and is a very reputable business. They are a brick and mortar store, not just an Internet business. I have dealt with them in the past and they are good to work with. They do stand behind what they sell and offer a satisfaction guarantee on everything and a 30-day warranty on used instruments (unless they are sold "as-is", which this one is not). I believe that their repair shop checks out any used instrument they sell.

While I always encourage folks to try to buy after trying a number of instruments, this does look like a pretty good price on a nice instrument. It also looks like your risk would be shipping costs both ways if you didn't like it.
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Re: Laurel Mountain Dulcimer (used) at Elderly Instruments,

Postby rojieh » Mon May 10, 2010 2:55 pm

Thanks for the information and advice! I am a beginner and am not very picky about the instrument, especially given my experience with my last internet purchase.

My main goals are that it 1) be playable, 2) stay in tune (and be in tune at all the frets), 3) be fairly sturdy so that it will not fall apart with normal use, and 4) not require any adjustments such as carving back the bridge to adjust the intonation, cutting down the nut to adjust the action, or changing the positions of the frets. I have read that different instruments may need intonation adjustments when the strings are changed to different gauges, but I am going to stick with the string gauges on the used instrument. From what I heard over the phone, it did not seem to require any adjustments.

I don't plan to travel with the instrument, so I am not planning to subject it much potential abuse and the weather and humidity in San Diego is quite good for most instruments. Most musicians in my area that I have talked to do not bother with using humidifiers for their instruments and I am not right on the beach or in the desert.
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Re: Laurel Mountain Dulcimer (used) at Elderly Instruments,

Postby tentmaker » Mon May 10, 2010 4:14 pm

I have a similar Laurel Mountain Dulcimer and it's quality of construction is excellent with a nicely balanced tone. I consider Elderly's price to be fair market value for a used instrument and I have received excellent service in my dealings with them.
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Re: Laurel Mountain Dulcimer (used) at Elderly Instruments,

Postby kwl » Mon May 10, 2010 5:24 pm

I have purchased a couple of used instruments from Elderly and would recommend them without reservation. I don't think you can go wrong with a Laurel Mountain Dulcimer either.
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Re: Laurel Mountain Dulcimer (used) at Elderly Instruments,

Postby starter » Mon May 10, 2010 10:13 pm

I too, have purchased many items from Elderly including the mcspaddden bass recently offered. They are great to do do business with and very up front about their used instruments. If they say its good it is good. You might not like it for personal choice reasons but it is at least as high a quality item as they have advertised and likely even better. If they are offereing 30 day return you can't hardly go wrong. It would seem likely that you could resell yoursefl if you are disappointed.
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Re: Laurel Mountain Dulcimer (used) at Elderly Instruments,

Postby KenH » Mon May 10, 2010 10:52 pm

Rojieh - see, I told you we'd help!

I trust these folk's opinions - especially that other Ken - KWL!! :lol: 8)
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Re: Laurel Mountain Dulcimer (used) at Elderly Instruments,

Postby rojieh » Mon May 10, 2010 11:21 pm

Thanks, I'm almost ready to buy. I found out that shipping is not included so that total will be around $305. This is still much less than a new instrument from Laurel Mountain with the same features, but it is a bit more than I was originally thinking of spending. However, it does look like a beautiful instrument, the seller is reputable, and the maker is good.

Elderly Instruments also sells a Black Mountain 58 Deluxe for $205 (no case, but with free shipping because it is a new instrument). The Laurel Mountain looks like a higher end instrument, however. What do people think?
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Re: Laurel Mountain Dulcimer (used) at Elderly Instruments,

Postby Judy K » Tue May 11, 2010 2:35 am

Rojieh, welcome to the dulcimer world.

If I were making the choice between that particular Laurel Mountain with the case for $305, as opposed to a Black Mountain without a case for $205, the Laurel Mountain would win hands down. What a great looking back -- WOW! (I have and enjoy a Laurel Mountain mini -- great size for traveling.)

BTW, the bag that comes with the Laurel Mountain looks just like a very good bag I purchased a few months ago for $42.50.

The folks at Elderly Instruments are great. I've ordered from them several times and only had a problem once. That order was supposed to have overnight shipping. The shipping company (totally their error, not Elderly's) didn't deliver the item "overnight", but 4 days later. My shipping cost was refunded promptly with an apology.
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Re: Laurel Mountain Dulcimer (used) at Elderly Instruments,

Postby rojieh » Tue May 11, 2010 9:38 am

Hello, I wanted to thank everyone for their help with the purchase of my first dulcimer. I did go ahead this morning and buy the Laurel Mountain. I will post some detailed photos when I receive it. Thanks!
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Re: Laurel Mountain Dulcimer (used) at Elderly Instruments,

Postby jakstall » Tue May 11, 2010 11:30 am

Thanks for letting us be part of the process. Now comes the hard part...waiting for your new dulcimer to arrive! ;) :D Good luck. I'm sure you'll be happy.
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Re: Laurel Mountain Dulcimer (used) at Elderly Instruments,

Postby kwl » Tue May 11, 2010 11:32 am

I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of your dulcimer and the pictures. I'm sure you will enjoy it.
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