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An Incredible Week For Folkcraft & Dulcimer Books

April 26, 2024
Good Morning, Y'all!
I hope your Friday is going well, so far. This is the last newsletter of April, which means that 2024 is about 1/3 over with. We're gearing up for festivals in June, July, and October (KMW, Evart, BMMF, respectively) while trying to keep our heads above water with existing instrument orders.
April has been an incredible month for us! Instrument sales (thanks to a big boost from DulciVox orders) are at an all-time high, and even small goods (strings, straps, picks, etc.) are moving fast. But the (surprise) standout sales category for April?
Books! With close to 300 different books for dulcimer, Folkcraft has become the recommended source for dulcimer books. So many of you know that if a dulcimer tab book is to be found, Folkcraft will have it (along with free shipping, a 5% rewards program, and all the other perks that come with shopping) in stock. Thank you very much for your support, recommendations, and referrals!

Some of the dulcimer books on display in our Woodburn, Indiana, showroom. The instruments on the wall, closer to the ceiling? Part of our "museum" display. Folkcraft, FolkRoots, and CapriTaurus dulcimers made over the years, from 1968 to current models.
We have had a website for years (since before I became owner of the company nearly 20 years ago), but over the past 10 years we've been adding our inventory to "secondary" (for us) websites. These days you can find our books and small goods (but not our dulcimers) at all kinds of websites that are NOT -,, Google shopping,, and most recently, We've listed all of our non-dulcimer products at all of these retailers' websites, and if you order (for example) at, the order will still ship from our Woodburn, Indiana warehouse. (And Walmart will keep a percentage of the purchase price.) Same goes for Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and the others.
Here's something kind of interesting, though: none of these companies will list our full catalog. They've all removed a bunch of our products for all kinds of (dumb!) reasons. Some dulcimer books have "prohibited content," some items are flagged as "drug paraphernalia," other products have "offensive/hateful" speech in the descriptions. It is likely a computer algorithm that flagged and removed the various items, and it would be a full-time job trying to keep all of our horrible/offensive/evil/drug-consumption-inducing products listed at the various websites, so I just focus on, and let the iniquitous merchandise drop from the non-Folkcraft retailers' catalogs. 
Another bit of good news this week. I'm sure you're all familiar with Dana Gruber. She's an Ohio-based dulcimer teacher/performer that's well known for her amazing arrangements. Most recently, she's become one of the handful of players most known for her chromatic dulcimer (classes and arrangements) skills. At the end of last week, she was at the Folkcraft shop, picking up her newest chromatic dulcimer, and we got to talking about dulcimer books. I ended up buying her entire catalog of dulcimer books - eight books for diatonic dulcimer, and also her newest book, full of chromatic dulcimer arrangements.

Left to right: Dana Gruber and Richard Ash
So, now, Folkcraft is the sole publisher of yet another great series of books. Here's a link to Dana's books at, and for instant gratification, you can download the books at
Dana's catalog is now part of our Fingers Of Steel® catalog, which currently includes over fifty titles. Fingers Of Steel  represents many of the very best dulcimer artist/instructors: Stephen Seifert, Bing Futch, Neal Hellman, Mike Anderson, Shelley Stevens, Aaron O'Rourke, and Dana Gruber. Plus a few of my own books, too. To see the full selection of books published by Fingers Of Steel, here's a link, and here's a link.

Fingers Of Steel Logo
When we designed this logo back in 2012, we'd only published a couple of Bing Futch's books, and maybe one of Steve Seifert's books. The "fretboard with strings made of barbed wire" image fit with the name - Fingers Of Steel - so it was a fun graphic to design. Since we started using the name commercially, we did end up filing for (and receiving) a Federal trademark, so the "®" is now part of the official usage of the "Fingers Of Steel" text.

Fretboard blanks. Lots of fretboard blanks.
In the shop this week? Our "side project" (while making dulcimers, but waiting on glue to dry between steps) we've been working on fretboards. The cart on the left has African mahogany fretboard blanks sized for our new DulciVox dulcimers. DulciVox fretboards are thicker and shorter than standard dulcimer fretboards.
The cart on the right has African mahogany fretboard blanks for standard-size dulcimers. These will be finished out at 32" x 1 3/8" x 3/4", but at this point they're still over-sized. Each step of fretboard blank-making has a lot of wait time involved. We did the rough cutting on these blanks on Friday of last week, and then stacked (like you see here) the blanks so they could move freely to the natural shape of the wood. We went through earlier this week, and trimmed a bit closer to size, then let them sit for another couple of days. By the time you get this newsletter on Friday (the day after tomorrow), these fretboard blanks will be sitting on our parts shelf, ready to use for instrument making.
In last week's newsletter, I promised to show you a (more) completed DulciVox bridge. Here you go!

Still not quite finished - needs a bunch of hand sanding, still! You can see the gentle arch on the two "wings," the taper to the back where the bridge pins go, and the slot where we'll install the Micarta saddle (a.k.a. "bridge" on a standard dulcimer). The bridge pin holes are drilled out, but not yet tapered. We'll use a five-degree reamer for that step. Not finished, but getting closer by the day!
Thanks for reading, Y'all - I hope you have a fantastic dulcimer-playing weekend, and get to spend some time with some nice people.
Richard Ash - luthier-who-spends-a-lot-of-time-thinking-about-little-details-like-DulciVox-bridges