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Kentucky Dulcimer Body Versus California Body Dulcimer

At Folkcraft Instruments, we offer our dulcimers in two distinct body styles.

Our Kentucky style dulcimers are very similar to instruments made in the early 1900s in large parts of the Ohio River Valley. We're calling them our "Kentucky" style since the earliest builders from that part of the country had such a large influence on this design. Our Kentucky style dulcimers have a smaller, more delicate sound, and have 1 3/4" high sides, and measure approximately 7" wide.

Our California style dulcimers are based on Howard Rugg's (founder of FolkRoots Dulcimers, which has been part of Folkcraft Instruments since 1989) dulcimer designs. Howard wanted a larger, more mellow (more guitar-like) sound, and he achieved that with what's now known as a California-body dulcimer. Our California style dulcimers have 2 1/4" high sides, and measure approximately 8" wide.

Availability Of Kentucky And California Dulcimer Bodies

 Kentucky Body California Body
Folkcraft FSH Series Yes No
FolkRoots D Series No Yes
FolkRoots H Series No Yes
Folkcraft Custom Series* Yes Yes
Folkcraft Custom Six String* Yes Yes
Folkcraft Resonator n/a n/a
Folkcraft LAP-JO n/a n/a
Folkcraft Custom Double Neck No Yes
Folkcraft Custom Courting* Yes Yes

*Some of our dulcimers are available in both Kentucky and California versions - you can choose the sound and look that you like the most.

If you want a more delicate, sweet, and subdued sound, we suggest the Kentucky body. If you want something with more power, punch, and a more mellow tone, then choose the California body.