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McSpadden Ginger

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Hello Everyone!

I was at a folk festival this Saturday and came across a McSpadden Ginger in its original case for sale in the consignment tent. It's old--made in March 2004, by Larry McSpadden, and its code is GCC. There is one small ding on its edge, but that's it. No cracks, scratches or other damage. The strings were black and the whole thing was covered with dust. It was like a sad faced puppy at the pound. I couldn't resist it. I paid $75 for it and went on my way. Can anyone tell me anything about this model? I suspect it's laminated back/sides, but Tim(?) at McSpadden said he thought they only used walnut for the laminate back and sides. So...?? With new strings and a bit of a cleanup, it looks and plays pretty darn well. And did I pay too much? Thanks!

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Hi Loleea, welcome!

$75 for a good condition McSpadden is an excellent price.  Used ones seem to go for a lot, so I think you got a great deal! 

I don't know too much about that specific model, I think GCC means it's a Ginger with a Cherry body and Cherry top.  One way you might be able to tell if it's laminate is to look at the edges of the sound holes.  If the wood grain is visible on the edge and goes all the way through then it's probably solid wood.

Even if it is laminate, that can sound pretty good.  I've seen a video where Jim Woods (the recent previous owner of McSpadden) talk about the switch from laminate to solid wood.  They liked the acoustic properties of the laminate the used, it just became unavailable and so they had to switch to something else and decided to go with solid wood instead of another type of laminate.  I have a McSpadden from the late 70s that's laminate and I think it sounds great. 

If you enjoy the sound and you find it comfortable to play, that's all that matters.  Either way, at $75 I think you got a great deal.

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The Ginger model is McSpadden's small body dulcimer. Originally they were set up to be played in the key of G, but modifications can be made to play in the key of D. This may just be a modification of the saddle and nut to account for the different gauge strings for the two tunings. I think that by 2004 all McSpadden dulcimers were made of solid wood. Considering that a new Ginger starts at $495 you received a great bargain.


"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

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Thank you both for taking the time to share valuable information with me. It's nice to know that laminate or solid, it's a quality instrument worth its keep. Thanks again. And I think I'm really going to enjoy playing my new- old "baby" dulcimer. I put the 4 strings equidistant on it so it's going to be a bit of a challenge for me. I like that!🙃

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