Only $40.00 away from free shipping
Only $495.00 away from free shipping

Create a Folkcraft account for free rewards! Click HERE

New Dulcimer Hybrid Prototype Under Construction

February 9, 2024
Good Morning, Y'all!
We've been hard at work this week. Getting caught up on dulcimer orders - I may have said that once or twice before - and also making a few new instruments for our actual store inventory. The "Ready To Ship" section of the website has been pretty sparse since the middle of 2020 (I don't recall, exactly, what inspired y'all to buy so many instruments starting about then?) but I think in another few months our "Ready To Ship" selection will be looking pretty good. And we will also have dramatically reduced the lead time for a custom-made instrument, too.
We found a few hours last week to experiment with a new dulcimer-like instrument. The goal? A huge sound with lots of volume - big enough to be heard in an acoustic jam which also has banjos and guitars. Our LAP-JO competes, volume-wise, but it has a banjo tone. This time around, we're going for a dulcimer tone, but with a guitar's power. 

We'll probably end up with a hybrid dulcimer/guitar tone, but that's okay with me. (I like guitars, too!) This prototype has a walnut body with a butternut top, a 23" VSL, and a free-standing bridge. For a "first draft" acoustic instrument, it plays and sounds great. I played it in the Woodburn Dulcimer Club jam earlier this week, and passed it around for input from some of the other club members.
dulcimer hybrid prototype
There's no lacquer, no sanding, and no attempt at anything other than making a good prototype. The next version (Cheyenne's working on it now) will have a longer VSL, no sound hole at the end of the fretboard, two more of our "Classic F" sound holes, and a totally different bridge design (using bridge pins instead of having the strings go to the tail of the instrument). The second prototype will also have a revised internal bracing scheme and bridge plate. 
This is something I've wanted to make for a long time, now, and having another luthier in the shop (I'll do a new staff overview later this month, probably!) has allowed us to start moving forward with a few of our long-simmering ideas.
Here's a video of this instrument in action. I hope you that you enjoy hearing it, and also hope that you can help us name the new dulcimer!
Thanks for reading, Y'all - have a great weekend.

Richard Ash - luthier-with-more-things-in-his-brain-than-he-has-time-in-the-shop-to-build-them