Today In Mountain Dulcimer History: 7 November 1997

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Today In Mountain Dulcimer History: 7 November 1997

Postby dbennett » Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:29 am

Nettie Hicks Presnell (1918-1997) died on this date. She was the daughter of John Benjamin Hicks (1870-1945) and Julia Ellen Presnell Hicks (1878-1947). Nettie married Edd Presnell (1916-1994). It was Nettie that exposed Edd to the dulcimer before they were married and her father taught him how to make them. Both Nettie and Edd were master wood carvers and some of the carvings on Edd’s dulcimers were made by Nettie.

In a web article titled, The Mountain Dulcimer Renaissance: 1950s-1980s," by Lois Hornbostel in 2004, is a list of "developers of the mountain dulcimer who were especially active during what is called the "Mountain Dulcimer Renaissance" (defined here as roughly beginning in the 1950s thru the early 1980s)." In this list in the 1950s category is an entry that indicates that Nettie also built dulcimers: 1950s: "Nettie Presnell (dec.), NC (player, builder, teacher)."

Edd and Nettie received the Brown-Hudson Folklore Award in 1974 for dulcimer making and woodcarving. Besides making dulcimers, the Presnell’s hand-carved animals from wood, and they traveled around the region to fairs and festivals to sell their work, including at the North Carolina State Fair. At the various fairs where they sold their crafts Nettie played the dulcimer that Edd made.

The headstone for Ed and Nettie has an etching of a mountain dulcimer with the caption, ‘THOSE CARVED HEARTS ARE PLACED AND POINTED TO TALK TO GOD’”
Presnell Hicks Nettie (1).JPG
Presnell Hicks Nettie (1).JPG (31.3 KiB) Viewed 124 times

Presnell Hicks Nettie (2).JPG
Presnell Hicks Nettie (2).JPG (17.44 KiB) Viewed 124 times
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dbennett
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Re: Today In Mountain Dulcimer History: 7 November 1997

Postby dbennett » Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:29 am

PRESNELL Nettie.jpg
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Re: Today In Mountain Dulcimer History: 7 November 1997

Postby dbennett » Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:30 am

hear Nettie playing at the 5:50 mark
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Re: Today In Mountain Dulcimer History: 7 November 1997

Postby dbennett » Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:36 am

Recordings of Nettie Hicks Presnell
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Re: Today In Mountain Dulcimer History: 7 November 1997

Postby dbennett » Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:37 am

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Re: Today In Mountain Dulcimer History: 7 November 1997

Postby dbennett » Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:37 am

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Re: Today In Mountain Dulcimer History: 7 November 1997

Postby KenH » Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:32 am

THAT's where the urban legend about the direction of the hearts came from -- their tombstone!

Notice that Nettie does NOT play with a pick or a feather quill. She strummers with a thin wood plectrum or "strummer" held high above the strings. Robin Clark has replicated this technique somewhat. The plectra were made from maple or hickory or other flexible hardwood, about a finger wide and 4-5" long, like a large, thin, popsicle stick.
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