Active mountain dulcimer builders -- The List

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Active mountain dulcimer builders -- The List

Postby pristine2 » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:15 pm

This is a list of active mountain dulcimer luthiers. Many of them build hammered dulcimers and other instruments as well.

Inclusion in this list is not an endorsement of any kind. It does mean that the builder has a Web site, has been in business for a considerable time, and/or has been recommended by someone on ED. Prices are the minimum listed price for a full-sized mountain dulcimer. They aren't necessarily indicative of the average price a maker charges.

Foreign factory-made dulcimers (FFDs) are listed at the bottom, with appropriate caveats but no contact information. I generally view such instruments in a negative light, and I won't refrain from saying so.

The alphabetising works like this: by last name for individual builders; but for companies, by the first word in its name. (Hence, Black Mountain, Ken Bloom, Blue Lion, in that order.)

All listed sites active as of August 28, 2012 (except where noted). If we're missing anyone, speak up!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

AEOLUS (Dale Foye) http://www.aeolusmusic.com/aisubhtml/aidulc2.html
Orange County, CA
From $1,500

BACKYARD MUSIC http://www.backyardmusic.com/Welcome.html
Hamden, CT
Cardboard, from $60

BEAR MEADOW (Dwain Wilder) http://www.bearmeadow.com
Rochester, NY
From $800

RICHARD BEARD http://www.beard-instruments.com
Rutherfordton, NC
No pricing info

DAVID BEEDE http://www.davidbeede.com/
Melrose, FL
From $265

DOUG BERCH http://dougberch.com/
Okemos, MI
From $600

BILL BERG http://www.mountainmademusic.com/default.asp
Columbus, IN
From $135

BIRDSONG HARP CENTER (Danny Hart) http://www.birdsongharpcenter.com/tnmusicbox.html
Holladay, TN
No pricing info

BLACK MOUNTAIN http://www.blackmtninstruments.com
Calistoga, CA
From $153

KEN BLOOM http://www.boweddulcimer.com/
Pilot Mountain, NC
No pricing info

BLUE LION http://www.bluelioninstruments.com
Santa Margarita, CA
From $445

MICHAEL BOWMAN http://whatshebuildinginthere.com/?cat=10
Rossburg, OH
No pricing info

JC BRADSHAW (CALICO POSSUM)
Snow Hill, NC
Passed away Aug 26,2012

CARROT CREEK (Steve Miklos) http://carrotcreek.com/
Norwalk, CT
From $125

BONNIE CAROL http://www.bonniecarol.com/Inventory%209-06.htm
Nederland, CO
From $575

NILS CASPERSSON http://orleansdulcimers.com/
Victor, NY
From $235

CEDAR CREEK http://www.cedarcreekdulcimers.com
Branson, MO
From $179

RUSS CHILDERS (limited MD production) http://home.fuse.net/russchilders/activity.html
Batavia, OH
No pricing info

MIKE CLEMMER (Wood-N-Strings) http://www.clemmerdulcimer.com/
Townsend, TN
From $350

RON COOK (Coog Instruments) http://www.roncookstudios.com/
Santa Cruz, CA
From $1,500

CRIPPLE CREEK http://www.dulcimer.net/
Manitou Springs, CO
From $350

DARCYHORSE http://darcyhorsedulcimers.com/Dulcimers.aspx
Union City, PA
From $49 Website unresponsive Aug 26 2012

ALAN DARVEAUX http://mountaindulcimer.ning.com/profile/AlanDarveaux
Morganton, NC
From $500

DENNIS DENHARTOG (Denny's Dulcimer Den) http://dulcimerden.net/
Fort Wayne, IN
No pricing info

KATHY LEE DAVANZO (no Web site) Tel: 607-760-1754
Vestal, NY
No pricing info

DAN AND ETHEL DOTY http://www.dandotydulcimers.com/
Memphis, TN
From $325

ELLOREE GUITARS (Rick Felkel) http://www.angelfire.com/la2/elloree/
West Monroe, LA
From $400

STEVE ENDSLEY (Plank Road Dulcimers -- no Web site) sraendsley@sybertech.net * 17750 N. IL 78, Canton, IL 61520
Canton, IL
No pricing info

MARK EUBANK (No Website) Tel: 606-379-2747 * 7295 Hwy 328 E, Eubank, KY 42567
Eubank, KY
No pricing info

RON EWING http://www.ronewingdulcimers.com/
Columbus, OH
From $225

TOM FELLENBAUM http://www.acoustic-corner.com/fsi.php
Black Mountain, NC
From $425

MICHAEL FLUEGGE (Germany, no web site) michael-w.-fluegge@osnanet.de * TEL: 0049-541-803049
Osnabrueck, GERMANY
No pricing info

FOLKCRAFT http://www.folkcraft.com
Woodburn, IN
From $340

DONNIE FULWOOD http://bellsouthpwp2.net/f/u/fulwood2/Dulcimer/
Macon, GA
From $190

GARY GALLIER http://www.dulcimercentral.com/
Springfield, MO
From $1,250

GARDNER'S DULCIMER SHOP http://www.gardnersdulcimer.com/
Grafton, OH
Fixed price $199

JEFF GAYNOR (Noteworthy Woodworking) http://notewood.com/ Instruments available at Prussia Valley ( http://www.prussiavalley.com/ ) and Folk Notes ( http://www.folknotes.com/MD.html )
Ohio
From $280

BOB GERNANDT (Gernandt Stringed Instruments) http://www.gernandt.com
Bryson City, NC
From $350

RON GIBSON http://gibsondulcimers.com/
Marion, OH
From $269

GILA MOUNTAIN (Kerry Coates has stopped building, but she maintains her site) http://www.gilamountaindulcimers.com/

JIM & BRENDA GOOD (Mastertone) http://mastertonedulcimers.webs.com/
Walton, WV
No pricing info

GREENE MOUNTAIN DULCIMER http://greenemountaindulcimer.com/index.html
Peachtree City, GA
No pricing Info

NIC HAMBAS http://www.hambasdulcimers.com/
Rochester, NY
From $360

HENSLEY DULCIMERS http://www.hensleymountaindulcimers.com/index.html
McKee, KY
From $220

DAVID HONEA (No Web site) fyrfytr00@hotmail.com
White, GA
From $150.00

HUGH HUNTER (Midnight Special Instruments) http://www.midnightspecial.ca
Rockwood, Ontario, CANADA
From 275 Canadian dollars

JOHN HURON http://www.noteworthyjohn.com/
Bristol, TN
From $375

ANTHONY J. HUVARD http://www.cybozone.com/luthier/pricelist.html
Petersburg, VA
From $750

HX DULCIMERS (Vince Haley/Design Inspiration) http://idesigninspiration.com/dulcimer.html
Canton, OH
From $550

JAM COURT http://www.jamcourt.com/
Independence, KY
From $375

JAMES JONES http://jamesjonesinstruments.com/
Bedford, VA
From $550

JUNE APPLE (Carl Gotzmer) http://www.juneappledulcimers.com/
Accokeek, MD
From $195

GEORGE KELISCHEK susato@susato.com
A contemporary of Jean Ritchie, George is the country's senior mountain dulcimer luthier, still building. The Kelischek Workshop website (http://www.susato.com) does NOT list his dulcimers, but you can email him to arrange a custom build.
Brasstown, NC
From $1,600

KUDZUPATCH (Ben Seymour) http://www.kudzupatch.net/kpdulcimers.htm
Tryon, NC
From $530

JEFF LAMBERT (Jenny Wiley Dulcimers) http://www.jennywileydulcimers.com/
Henderson, KY
From $125

JACK LARWA http://www.dulcimercraft.com/
Eddyville, KY
From $350

LAUREL MOUNTAIN (Mary Matarainen) http://www.laurelmountaininstruments.com/
Winsted, CT
From $195

DAVID LYNCH (Sweet Woods/Harpmaker) http://www.sweetwoodsinstruments.com/
Warrensburg, MO
From $125

BOB MAGOWAN(no Web site) magowandulcimers@comcast.net tel: (901) 751-8306
Memphis, TN
From $400

WARREN MAY http://www.warrenamay.com
Berea, KY
From $325

ED MAZE (No Web site) pickawaymusic@cfl.rr.com.
Valkaria, FL
No pricing info

MAC McKINNEY http://www.highcountrydulcimers.com
Boone, NC
No pricing info

MCSPADDEN http://www.mcspaddendulcimers.com
Mountain View, AR
From $374

WALTER MESSICK (Cabin Creek Musical Instruments) http://www.cabincreekmusic.com/MountainDulcimers.html
Mouth of Wilson, VA
Fixed price: $325

FRED & SUE MOORE (Trinity Dulcimers) http://www.trinitydulcimers.com/
Chanute,KS
No pricing info

MODERN MOUNTAIN http://www.modernmountaindulcimer.com/ Site unresponsive Aug 28 2012
Batesville, AR
From $300

DON NEUHAUSER (no Web site) dot3518@insightbb.com 7914 Hidden River TR. Charlestown, IN. 47111

T.K. O’BRIEN http://craggymtnmusic.com/
Lake Junaluska, NC
From $151

OLYMPIA DULCIMER COMPANY (Walkabout dulcimers) http://www.walkaboutdulcimer.com/contact.htm
Wimberley, TX
From $445

Probst Stringed Instruments http://www.probststringedinstruments.com
Eagle Rock, CA
From $1250

WENDELL POWELL http://home.centurytel.net/Dulciaddict/dulciaddict.htm
Van Buren, AR
No pricing info

ARTHUR ROBB http://www.art-robb.co.uk/
Malmesbury, UNITED KINGDOM
No pricing info

JERRY ROCKWELL http://www.jcrmusic.com/cat_teardrop.html
Guysville, OH
From $250

JOHN ROWDEN (Dulcimers by JR) http://jrchristmastreefarm.tripod.com/
Newcomerstown, OH
From $89

BILL RICH http://www.papawsdulcimers.com/
Seymour, TN
From $225

GARY SAGER http://www.prussiavalley.com/
Waverly, OH
From $400

BOB SEARS http://www.annsartannex.com/Dulcimers.html
Florence, CO
From $325

JEFF SEBENS No Web site Tel: 276-755-3808
Cana,VA
From $90

JEREMEY SEEGER http://www.jeremyseeger.com/
Rochester, VT
From $552

DAVE SEWELL http://www.photobucket.com/davesewell
Baltimore, MD
From $450

SMOKY MOUNTAIN DULCIMERS (E. Dale Eckard; Mark Edelman) http://smokymountaindulcimers.com/Dulcimers.htm
Gatlinburg, TN
From $179

SMOKEY MOUNTAIN DULCIMER WORKS (Blaine Horlocker) http://www.smokeymountaindulcimer.com/
Fort Myers, FL
No pricing info

JOHN STOCKARD http://home.windstream.net/stockard/
Dahlonega, GA
From $385

SWEET STRINGS (Jon Harris/no Web site) jonwharris@knology.net "We have carefully avoided a Web Site. Festivals and word of mouth only."

BOB THOMASON http://geocities.com/dulcimerbob/
Sautee, GA
From $275

DOUG THOMSON (Banjomers) http://www.banjomer.com/
Upland, CA
From $400

FURMAN THORNTON http://www.thorntondulcimers.com/
Hartwell, GA
From $495

TIMBRE HILL(Paul Conrad) http://www.timbrehilldulcimers.com/
Millersburg, OH
From $300

JAMES TRANTHAM http://www.tranthamfamily.com/
Waynesville, NC
No pricing info

RICHARD TROUGHEAR http://www.dulcimers.com.au/
Brogo, New South Wales, AUSTRALIA
Fixed price: A$750

WILFRIED ULRICH (Ulricus -- site mostly in German) http://www.ulrich-instrumente.de/
Norden, Ostfriesland, GERMANY
No pricing info

BARNABY WALTERS http://www.waterpigs.co.uk/lutherie/
Devon, UK
No pricing info

JARED WEAVER (Echo Hollow Dulcimers) http://www.echohollowdulcimers.com/
Knoxville, TN
From $194

GREG & TISH WESTMAN (limited MD production) http://www.westmaninstruments.com
Mabscott, WV
No Pricing info

JIM VANDER WOUDE http://www.dulcimerstore.com
Grand Rapids, MI
From $250

LES & BETTY WOODSON (Dulcimers Spectacular) http://www.leswoodsondulcimers.com
Elizabethtown, KY
From $195

TOM YOCKY http://www.tomyocky.com/index1.html
Caldwell, TX
From $299

KEITH YOUNG http://appalachiandulcimers.com/
Annandale, VA
Passed away February 2012

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Dulcimers made in foreign factories with low-wage labour

APPLE CREEK A Trophy Music brand. These "hand-crafted, European-made, pro-model" dulcimers are churned out on an assembly line in Romania and distributed to scores of US wholesalers and retail operations. The higher-end models are of passable quality, and zero authenticity. The $79 student model is an atrocity. At least one hourglass design ripped off from Folkcraft, it is alleged. The same money will get you a fine new or second-hand instrument from an individual builder or small American factory.

Image
The Apple Creek, made in Romania.

FIRST ACT Chinese dulcimers, sold by the container load to Wal-Mart, instrument wholesalers and a few chain stores. Recently (and thankfully) discontinued. Very cheap -- $20 will buy you one in perfect shape. Durable, suitable for institutional settings. Best tuned as a soprano (G-d-gg); intonation in standard mixolydian (DAdd) is very poor. Aero-dynamic design also makes them ideal for long-distance dulcimer tosses.

http://sendables.jibjab.com/originals/big_box_mart (Highly recommended site)

JOHNSON PRODUCTS The Johnson Lap Dulcimer, according to one Johnson retailer, is "hand-made in China, where the costs of production are much lower, meaning the dulcimer can be sold at a true value price." Uh huh. On-line distributors for this assembly-line instrument are popping up everywhere, including eBay and Amazon. I've not had the misfortune of playing one yet, but I know it is made mostly of plywood and Indonesia Mahogany, undoubtedly plundered from the dwindling Borneo forest.

Image
Johnson Lap Dulcimer, the most recent Chinese-made entry to the market.

MID-EAST MFG These dulcimers are deceptively attractive. They are also horribly made in a Pakistani factory with cheap commodity materials. Inconsistent quality, but never better than mediocre. Also sold under the "Early Music Shop" (EMS) brand and through a zillion eBay sellers. MEM's well-deserved reputation for abysmal quality is finally catching up with it, although many new players (especially in the UK) still fall victim to this company's slick & ubiquitous "ethnic instruments" Internet marketing. To its credit, Lark in the Morning stopped selling these (although it still sells Apple Creek).

Image
A Mid-east MFG hourglass, made in Pakistan. Don't be fooled by the appealing cosmetics -- it's rubbish.

SAGA MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS Saga manufactures a variety of cheap stringed instruments (especially guitars) through a network of Chinese factories, at least one of which it owns outright. Using integrated PR-style marketing rather than relying solely on advertising, it orchestrates an endless stream of glowing "reviews" in trade magazines (the emphasis always placed on "value"), while placing its instruments in the hands of notable musicians wherever possible for photo ops. It's a very successful formula.

Saga found initial success building junk-quality mountain dulcimers in Japan in the 1980s, dropping the instrument from its growing line of imports when sales collapsed. Alas, the company has once again taken note of our instrument, and its product portfolio now includes a shockingly offensive Chinese-made parody of a mountain dulcimer. So far, no dulcimer player of note has appeared in a Saga promotional spot, but we should brace for the worst.

According to the company's marketing literature, the "Appalachian APD-1 Pickin' Pac® for Mountain Dulcimer is a true representation of the old-timey mountain life-style." It is, in fact, an entirely alien and soul-less object, mass-produced with sweatshop labour in some bleak concrete factory block half a planet away from the nearest Carolina hemlock. The sound is pitiably thin and metallic (due in part, perhaps, to the steel string-tensor rod in the headstock). The geared tuners are flimsy enough to bend under modest stress, and the stamped-in fretwork yields a robust array of pitch errors.

Image
Saga Pickin' Pac, made in China. Warning: Avoid.
Last edited by pristine2 on Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:01 pm, edited 171 times in total.
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Re: Mountain dulcimer builders -- the ED list

Postby AutumnStrings » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:47 am

What a great thing to do, and hard work! Thanks for this. May we copy this and post it elsewhere?
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Re: Mountain dulcimer builders -- the ED list

Postby pristine2 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:10 am

AutumnStrings wrote:What a great thing to do, and hard work! Thanks for this. May we copy this and post it elsewhere?



Hi and thanks.

The best thing to do is post the link, not copy & paste the text.

Regards,
Richard
Last edited by pristine2 on Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mountain dulcimer builders -- the ED list

Postby pristine2 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:32 pm

Added: Gernandt Stringed Instruments, Ulricus, Michael Fluegge, Johnson Products.

Editorial information added on FFDs*.

*Foreign Factory Dulcimers
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Re: Mountain dulcimer builders -- the ED list

Postby pristine2 » Wed Mar 03, 2010 7:45 am

This listing ...

CALICO POSSUM (JC Bradshaw -- no Web site) jc@esn.net

... has been removed because the email address is apparently dead.
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Re: Mountain dulcimer builders -- the ED list

Postby GWentland » Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:17 am

If anyone thinks the DARCYHORSE is a quality instrument, I will sell you one. Mine occupies a space on the floor in the corner. I might make it into a music stand. One good thing about them, if you want to send them through the mail, you don't need a box or packing material, all you have to do is slap a shipping label on the back and mail it. No worries about having it get broke.
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Re: Mountain dulcimer builders -- the ED list

Postby pristine2 » Wed Mar 03, 2010 9:33 am

GWentland wrote:If anyone thinks the DARCYHORSE is a quality instrument, I will sell you one. Mine occupies a space on the floor in the corner. I might make it into a music stand. One good thing about them, if you want to send them through the mail, you don't need a box or packing material, all you have to do is slap a shipping label on the back and mail it. No worries about having it get broke.


This list doesn't purport to assess quality. Terry is an independent dulcimer builder with a Web site, so he qualifies.

(Edith writes: Rest of comments deleted. Pristine2 should really learn to keep his mouth shut sometimes.)
Last edited by pristine2 on Sun Mar 14, 2010 5:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mountain dulcimer builders -- the ED list

Postby Dusty Turtle » Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:46 pm

Less than a year ago I bought my first and (until I save up a bit more money) only duclimer from Johnie Nicholson at Unicorn Woodworks, which you can find at http://unicornwoodworks.com/.

His prices are reasonable and he was a pleasure to deal with. I have not played enough dulcimers to be called an expert, but compared with the few dulcimers that I've played myself, my Unicorn Woodworks dulcimer has superior action, very nice volume and a bright tone. It is made with a Sitka spruce top and mahogany back and sides.

I first contacted Johnie because I thought, based on his phone number, that he was local to northern California. He no longer lives here but still comes through the area regularly because he gets most of his wood from somewhere in the Bay Area. Folks in Northern California might be interested in a "local" luthier.

D.T.
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Re: Mountain dulcimer builders -- the ED list

Postby pristine2 » Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:53 pm

Dusty Turtle wrote:Less than a year ago I bought my first and (until I save up a bit more money) only duclimer from Johnie Nicholson at Unicorn Woodworks, which you can find at http://unicornwoodworks.com/.


Added, thanks.
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Re: Mountain dulcimer builders -- the ED list

Postby Dan Landrum » Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:18 pm

Pristine,

I put a link on the front page with a blurb about your most excellent list.
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Re: Mountain dulcimer builders -- the ED list

Postby pristine2 » Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:27 pm

Danlandrum wrote:Pristine,

I put a link on the front page with a blurb about your most excellent list.


Thanks Dan. Could you consider awarding it a sticky, too? This would keep it from getting buried in betwen updates.

Best,
Richard
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Re: Mountain dulcimer builders -- the ED list

Postby Dan Landrum » Thu Mar 04, 2010 6:11 pm

People get annoyed at stickies over time. I'd rather make it be a menu item under the resource lists - but to tell you the truth, I'd really rather make you an author so you can update it anytime you'd like as an Article within the website. It's up to you though. I'm sure you don't want to maintain it in more than one place. One other option would be to make the article link off the Find a Builder menu item page. That way folks would see it for sure at the exact moment they're looking for a builder.

Anyway, there are some options. What do you think?
H
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