Folkcraft Player - Nori Gill
After my friend and I returned from Mountain View, we started practicing together weekly and eventually joined a group in our local area. That group led me to another group I played with in Civil War Era costumes. Eventually I got brave enough to perform in public with one or two other players in a few settings.
During the early years of my playing after 2009, I learned of the Folkcraft factory not far from me. So a few of us started driving from Toledo, OH to Woodburn, IN for the Second Saturday jams and workshops. Then in 2014 I felt I had gotten good enough as a player that I wanted to replace my older E-Bay dulcimer with a better and newer one. I decided to have Richard Ash make me a Folkcraft custom dulcimer. After he asked me several questions, we decided on African Purple Heart Wood for the back, sides, and fretboard and a lighter wood for the top. I do not remember what that lighter wood was. I had the dulcimer made with a 27.5" VSL, four strings that had the option of 4 equidistant or a double melody on a 3 string, and 1+, 6+, 8+, and 13+ frets. Then I waited. I finally picked up my new baby in September that year at the end of the Indiana Dulcimer Festival. It took a little while for me to get used to playing with the 1+ fret but now I can't imagine being without it.
I retired in 2015 and moved to the Orlando, Florida area. Since then I have acquired two additional instruments from other builders: a chromatic baritone and a 15/16 hammered dulcimer. I also have a one-handed Native American Flute I got some years ago. So today it is becoming a challenge deciding which of my 4 instruments to practice when or how to stay skillful and growing on all 4. But my Folkcraft Custom remains the instrument I play the most easily and the one where I have my greatest skill. I will never forget the joy of its acquisition as my first custom instrument.