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 REVELS MUSIC MOUNTAIN DULCIMER CATALOGUE 2012: ITEMS FOR SALE OR LOAN (ISSUE 2) Section 1 ² Dulcimers for Beginner/Intermediate players
Section 2 ² Dulcimers for Intermediate/Professional players
Section 3 ² Historic or Unusual mountain dulcimers
Section 4 ² Currently in the Workshop
Section 1 ² Dulcimers for Beginner/Intermediate players
Early 1970s
McSpadden Hourglass 3 String
McSpadden kit dulcimer from the early 70s. Overall length 35¾´XSSHUERXWò´ORZHUERXWô´
VSL 28½" (long scale). 6½ fret.
The kits were a popular way of buying a cheaper instrument from one of the best known and most
reliable larger scale dulcimer makers. This is an hourglass model based on the traditional small
body Thomas design, with heart-shaped soundholes on a narrow, shallow body. Top, back and
sides made of high quality, attractive walnut laminate. Simple, scroll headstock with replacement
chrome friction tuners and genuine Koa wood buttons; narrow fingerboard made from solid walnut
with a walnut overlay (like the more expensive McSpaddens of the time); brass frets; original
walnut nut; zero fret for good intonation; replacement buffalo bone bridge. This one has a high
gloss finish.
Has had extensive work to improve sound quality, action and intonation. The small body dulcimer
is usually bright sounding but this has a somewhat more muted tone, probably resulting from the
heavy gloss finish. An attractive and very playable instrument for the dulcimer beginner and
intermediate player alike. NB Currently on loan.
Note: VSL = Vibrating String Length, i.e. the scale length of the dulcimer. Longer scale lengths
often give better tone, but playing is a little more difficult because the fingers have to stretch
----- {} -----
Tennessee Music Box 4 String
Now reduced £160 ono
Handmade by Scott M Cowan (?), USA.
This looks odd to modern eyes, but as the name suggests, it was a style of dulcimer quite common
in parts of SW Tennessee. This modern interpretation of the old design has the front and back
made out of book matched Alder. The sides, ends and peg box are quarter sawn White Oak. The
fret board itself is made from Hard Maple.
2YHUDOOOHQJWK´lower (and upper!) bout 9", VSL 25¾" (short/medium scale). Open-geared
guitar tuners. 6½ fret.
/LNHPRVW70%VLWGRHVQ¶WKDYHJUHDWILQHVVH but is very playable, having accurate intonation and
a pleasant tone. It is surprisingly light sounding, but with a slight edge to the bass. All the
advantages of a modern dulcimer, but in an unusual package.
----- {} ----1.3 Late 60s/early 70s
'DYLV´&KXUFKµ-Style 4 String
An attractive maple-bodied instrument handcrafted by Bill Davis from Tennessee.
The shape is one made popular by Davis in the late 60s and early 70s, and continued by modern
makers such as Mike Clemmer. This one has maple back, sides and top with an DWWUDFWLYH³ILGGleEDFN´JUDLQ. Many of these dulcimers were sold, a fair proportion as kits. The ones built by Davis
are usually signed on the lower bout (as this is) and have either better quality woods or more
elaborate decoration on the headstock. Most were five string instruments, but from the original nut
and bridge (now replaced), this may only have had four (despite the spare tuning peg hole!).
Tuning pegs are agricultural (but actually very effective). The fingerboard may be walnut. Has
been damp at some stage and hence lost areas of its finish. Needs re-finishing or just oiling to
preserve the fine wood grain.
No 6½ fret.
The combination of large but shallow body with maple sides makes for a loud, but actually quite
mellow instrument, with tones perhaps most suited to noter playing.
----- {} -----
Late 70s
Made by a Coventry man who had a shop, gave lessons and made instruments such as banjos
etc. Mahogany single piece back and sides; basic mahogany (?) scroll shaped headstock with
friction tuners (one slightly askew); spruce/pine top with heart soundholes. Fingerboard is
probably softwood with a beech (?) top face. Replacement bridge with string compensation to
improve tone, tuning and action. The workmanship is not always elegant but it functions really
well. Overall length 34´XSSHUERXW4½´lower bout 6", VSL 26" (short/medium scale), medium
body depth (1Ǭ´1Rw with added 6½ fret.
For a smallish instrument this sounds really nice - brash and cheerful. Very playable.
Loan only
I bought this in the 70s from someone who had a VWDOOLQWKH%DUQVWDSOH3DQQLHU0DUNHW,W¶VPDGH
of walnut with a cedar top. The fingerboard is very shallow and appears to be oak.
I used to be rude about it, because it had a laughably low action and poorly fitting tuning pegs.
seated, it turns out to have a lovely sound ± both loud and mellow.
Overall length 33´XSSHUERXW5¼´lower bout 8", VSL 29" (long VFDOHVKDOORZERG\ò´1R
6½ fret. Still has a low action, so easy to play. A really good introduction to the instrument.
----- {} ----1.6
Handmade by Andrea Gilbert in Barlow (? Kentucky or California). Imported into East Anglia by
US service personnel in the 1980s. Owned by Ken Okines, 1980s professional folk singer.
Unusual ± possibly unique? ± compensating saddle/sliding bridge. Quality Grover tuning pegs.
Rosewood fingerboard, walnut (?) soundboard, walnut back and sides, mother of pearl markers.
No 6½ fret. Homemade wooden case decorated with some interesting 70s folk ephemera.
Good, resonant tone ± a loud instrument, sounding rather like a 12 string guitar.
1.7 Aug 1997
Made in Somerset from a kit sold by US luthier suppliers Stewart-Macdonald.
The instrument is solid cherry wood, including all major components (back, sides, top, fingerboard,
headstock). The kit apparently permitted a wide range of design choices. The builder designed
the scroll, soundholes and stained the cherry a slightly purple colour, darker on the top. Top and
back overlap the sides. Fretboard and headstock are cut from a single piece of cherry, with no
overlay. Frets are broad and accurately placed, and include a 6½ fret but not a 13½. The
headstock and hitchpin ends of the body.
A well-built instrument made from good materials, with good intonation and action. All hardwood
construction gives a pleasingly loud, clean and bright sound. Opinions may divide on its
----- {} ----1.8
Angell Hourglass 4 string
£140 (with cloth slip cover)
Made by Joyce Angell of Angell Mountain 'XOFLPHUV³(VWDEOLVKHG)HE´7H[DUNDQD
Arkansas. Label gives date/model number as 6±AWCH-99.
A solid dulcimer, with walnut sides and lighter hardwood top and bookmatched back (possibly
cherry?). Unusual double back (for volume?) with internal back plate made from maple (or
similar). Elaborate (and very large) hearts and flowers soundhole on lower bout, with no
soundhole at all on upper bout. Headstock is walnut with a stylised 3 dimensional scroll and
decent quality enclosed guitar machines. Fingerboard also looks like walnut, with no overlay.
Boxwood (?) dots on 3rd, 7th and 9th frets; has 6½ and 13½ frets. Zero fret and formica-type
guide nut ± originally had formica-type thin bridge also.
2YHUDOOOHQJWK´lower bout 6¾", upper bout 5ò´ERG\GHSWK´96/ôPHGLXPVFDOH
Finish is a little glossy and bookmatching of back clumsy, although the soundhole design is pretty
and well executed. With new bridge and some work on the lower frets, now sounds soft and sweet
with an easy action suited particularly to finger-style playing.
Bowen Hourglass 4 String
£140 + case
Handcrafted by Joel H Bowen of Franklin, SW Georgia.
This is a solid and rather old-fashioned dulcimer in many respects, with 70s-style Grover ³sta-tite´
tuners and no 6½ fret. Bowen seems to have been making dulcimers on a low volume basis since
the late 70s ± KH¶Vlisted as a seller at two Alabama dulcimer festivals between 1977 and 1981
when he would have been in his 40s. This is # 429, suggesting no more than 15-20 a year.
Sides and back are made from walnut (?), stained a slightly reddish colour. Top is solid, nicely
figured cherry (?), with heart soundholes facing the tail on the upper bout and a kind of bleeding
heart motif for the lower bout. Top and back overlap the sides in traditional fashion. Fretboard is
probably mahogany and scalloped or arched, with mother of pearl markers at 3 rd, 7th and 13th frets.
Headstock is probably walnut with a stylised, hand carved scroll and friction peg tuners with real
wood buttons.
wooden friction tuners. No 6½ fret (could be fitted for £15). Soft slip case included, hardshell
case extra.
Light, soft tone with low action. Not perfect construction, but a nice-looking Georgia classic.
Section 2 ² Dulcimers for Intermediate/Advanced players
2.1 Dec 1977
McSpadden T34 Teardrop 4 String
£225 SOLD
T34 Model, No. 4647, handcrafted by the McSpadden workshop in Mountain View, Arkansas and
signed by one of their three craftsmen, Richard Stoltze.
2.2 October 1995 Folkcraft CFS Hourglass 4 String
£220 SOLD
Model CFSHCeW No. 770 made by Folkcraft Instruments, Winsted, Connecticut.
Mid-range model from one of the biggest makers in the US, still in as-new condition ± in fact it
needs playing in! Bookmatched walnut back with purpleheart inlay. Walnut sides and headstock.
Maple cantilevered fingerboard with contrasting purpleheart overlay. Western red cedar top with
----- {} -----
2.3 February 2007
Sweet Wood Custom Teardrop 6 String
company. Made for a customer in Australia who designed the soundholes, it comprises a standard
cherry teardrop body, bookmatched on the back; cherry headstock with ebony veneer and high
quality Gotoh tuners; cherry fingerboard with highly figured ebony facing and mother of pearl
markers; spruce top with heron soundhole on one side and bullrushes on the other. It has three
paired strings with drop pins so you can temporarily remove one string from each outer pair.
Overall length 34½´lower bout 8", VSL 25¾" (short/medium scale), deepish body (2¼´As a
modern instrument has the complete set of extra frets: 1½, 6½, 8½ and 13½.
Must have been subject to extremes of humidity somewhere, because the fingerboard has
humped, requiring considerable fret levelling. With new bridge and new action sounds a different
instrument ± rich, jangly, the kind of dulcimer equivalent of a 12 string guitar. Unique, exciting to
look at and play.
----- {} -----
2.4 August 2009
McSpadden Walnut Hourglass 4 String
£275 SOLD
Model 4FHWW (4 string Flat peghead, Hourglass, Walnut sides/back and Walnut top) McSpadden
signed by the craftsman, Brant Richardson, who built it - and all in absolutely mint condition. Still
has original label attached, McSpadden starter kit (including care instructions, music book, noter,
pick and guarantee), protective case and sales invoice. Sold in September 2009 by a well-known
specialist dulcimer shop in Black Mountain, N Carolina and clearly never touched.
Has an easy action, but with a longish scale and all-hardwood construction it also plays with a
lively and well balanced sound.
----- {} -----
2.5 Mid 1970s?
Loan Only
Unknown maker, but purchased in North Carolina by Don Keister of Washington DC.
Unusual large, hand-carved, open scroll headstock with elegant, tapering shallow peg box and
replacement gold banjo geared tuners. Heart-shaped soundholes (pointing to tail), inlay down
middle of non-bookmatched back. Walnut peghead, back and sides with spruce (?) top. Softwood
fingerboard with nicely figured walnut overlay and brass frets. Right hand end of fingerboard, from
strum hollow to end pins, is undercut ± i.e. cantilevered over the soundboard/top. Woodworking is
generally good but the fretting is not perfect and the original finish poorly applied and uneven.
6½ fret.
Light construction, deepish body and cantilevered bridge/saddle result in a warm, attractive, loud
tone, emphasising the bass, but with a short decay. Guitar-like.
----- {} -----
March 1982
Fellenbaum Hourglass 4 String
Loan Only
No. 314. handcrafted by Tom Fellenbaum, Black Mountain, North Carolina.
with handcarved, matching walnut paddle-shaped pegs (now replaced with geared banjo tuners).
Walnut sides and back (single piece, not bookmatched). Walnut fingerboard and nickel frets.
Spruce top with elegant f-holes (diamond centres). Light, compact, unshowy instrument. Badly
damaged on the far side when purchased but neatly repaired by Tom himself in 2011.
Light, responsive construction gives a bright, loud tone with an attractive depth of sustain and
colour. A classic dulcimer sound.
----- {} -----
Aug 1996
Folkcraft Hourglass 4 string
£200 inc case
Model FSHW No. 2688 made by Folkcraft Instruments, Winsted, Connecticut.
Popular model from one of the biggest and best makers in the US, still in as-new condition. One
piece solid walnut back, walnut sides and headstock, latter with good quality open-geared tuners.
Walnut cantilevered fingerboard with no overlay. Walnut top with cute cat-shaped soundholes on
lower bout and cat footprints on upper bout. Comes complete with (slightly untidy) hardshell case.
fret. Spotless finish with attractive walnut grain on top and sides. Well-made instrument with easy
----- {} -----
Section 3 ² Historic or Unusual mountain dulcimers
´)airportµ)rank Bond Hourglass 4 String
Created by the once fashionable English maker Frank Bond ± a favourite of Roger Nicholson ±
Chosen (and presumably used by) Richard Thompson (her then boyfrLHQGDQGRU³7\JHU´
Elegant headstock like the prow of a boat, with a heart cutout on the underside. Slim, elegant
outline with softwood (spruce) top AND back, (brazilian?) rosewood sides. Heart-shaped
soundholes (pointing to tail). Mahogany neck with rosewood (?) overlay and nickel frets.
Light construction and softwood back give this a light, transparent and sweet sound. An attractive
and historic instrument.
----- {} ----3.2 1974
Handmade by Gene Wiggins, N Georgia.
Dr Wiggins was an ethno-musicologist who built mountain and hammered dulcimers in small
quantities. The whole instrument (apart from the tuning pegs) appears to be of walnut and has an
elegant shape with some unusually advanced construction features. The narrow fingerboard is
scalloped and the tailpiece cantilevered to allow maximum movement of the soundboard. Strutting
is light and two soundposts run diagonally from the treble side to the bass in the lower bout. The
sides and top are thin to maximise sound pressure.
tuners. No 6½ fret.
Very loud with short attack, a clear treble and a rumbling bass. A historic and unusual, but
extremely playable, mountain dulcimer.
3.3 1980s (?)
Galax-style Hourglass, 3 String
Unknown maker. Looks like a replica of early Virginian dulcimers made around the Galax area.
Has three hand-carved wooden tuning pegs for three unwound, unison strings.
Sides, back and top are walnut, stained a reddish colour. The body is large and shaped with the
equal sized bouts and reversed curve at the headstock end which are typical of some earlier
Virginian dulcimers. The fingerboard is one piece of walnut without overlay. Simple scroll head,
like Fellenbaum. Unusual brass tailpiece and distinctive D-shaped end block made from laminated
strips of wood. Both nut and bridge are chunky plastic.
High action and unison strings give a distinctive whining, trebly sound typical of the Galax and
ideal for fast, noter playing in a string band/dance music context. An interesting but useable rarity.
----- {} -----
3.4 Early 70s A W Jeffreys
Hourglass 3 String
£180 (inc soft case)
Classic model from A W Jeffreys, Jr, Staunton, Virginia with Serial No. 2883. The Jeffreys formed
the Appalachian Dulcimer Corporation as a genuine family business from the early 60s onwards.
A W and his son Jay made most of the bodies; daughter Jan pasted the labels and sanded the
soundholes; mother Johnnie (Virginia) ran the business side of things VHH-DQ¶VSRVWVRQ for more details). This dulcimer appears to be
signed JCJ, presumably therefore put together by Jay.
The dulcimer is plain, almost austere in design, with a high quality laminated walnut back and
sides and solid spruce top; rounded heart soundholes pointing towards the tail end. The peghead
is also walnut, with a stylised scroll and standard rosewood violin pegs. The fingerboard is walnut
without an overlay. Walnut nut and bridge with zero fret (indicating a later model). Broad frets with
no 6½ fret. Simple wooden dowel as string anchor. Overall length 32¼´XSSHU bout ´, lower bout
6½´GHSWKò´, VSL 27¼" (medium scale).
Relatively low action and medium scale length make for a dulcimer that is easy to play ± and
started many people off with the instrument. A soft, trebly voice that is archetypical old-style
dulcimer. Only let-down is the imperfect intonation, especially on fret 1 ± as with all Jeffreys
apparently. Better suited therefore for noter playing rather than finger chording. This one is in
perfect condition, having been little played ± a very collectable classic.
Clifford Glenn Hourglass 4 String
Dated January 10th 1983 and made by Clifford Glenn, Sugar Grove, N Carolina for the husband of
Louisa M Douglass from Chapel Hill, NC. Clifford Glenn and his father Leonard kept the flame
alive in the Appalachians between the traditional makers and the coming of the folk revival in the
60s and 70s. They represent a very important part of the dulcimer¶V heritage. These are truly
This instrument is made entirely of wormy chestnut, except for the nut, bridge and large,
handcrafted tuning pegs which are made of walnut. A letter from Clifford to Mrs Douglass, which
accompanies the instrument, runs in part as follows:
it was a three stringer, and it was one of the best singing ones I ever made. I have made but very
few like this (all chestnut wood) and it has probably been 20 years since I made the last one. One
thought your husband might appreciate the fact that this wood is becoming increasingly rare, as it
Overall length 36ò´XSSHU bout 5¾", lower bout 6¾´GHSWKǫ´, VSL 28" (medium/long scale).
Unexpectedly, has a 6½ fret.
This is a delightful dulcimer. Long, light and elegant, with an inscribed purfling mark round the
top, it has a beautiful, natural golden finish. Intonation is not perfect, but it has a gorgeous, big and
Various Epinettes Des Vosges
,WLVD9DOG¶$MRO-style instrument but its length, number of strings (3 melody, 4 drone), the 6½ fret
and its decal or transfer flower decoration suggest an instrument from Flanders or Brabant in the
North. A very similar dulcimer (top instrument above) appears in the catalogue of a large scale
epinette maker from the turn of the century called Coupleux, based in Turcoing/Lille ± right on the
Belgian border in the North East of France.
The headstock appears to be have been machine-shaped from a hard, white wood such as beech
or maple. The sides are softwood, probably spruce or pine. The top and back are likely to be
hardwood, perhaps fruit wood (cherry/apple/pear)? Soundholes are simple shapes formed from
holes ± a quatrefoil towards the bass and a duofoil in the treble. The brass staple frets (running
under the melody strings only) are arranged diatonically (but with a 6½ fret) and attached directly
to the soundboard. The nut is brass and the bridge hardwood. Overall length 25¼ (64mm), width
pin style tuning pegs.
Unfortunately, the body is significantly distorted and hence unlikely ever to be strung, but given the
small volume of the body and very light construction, it is likely to have been typically light and
LH epinette was handcrafted by Michael W Fluegge, Osnabruck, Germany (10/2009).
Small 9DOG¶$MROmodel of epinette with 2 melody strings (chanterelles) and 3 drones (bourdons).
Has a shallow rectangular box structure superimposed on a larger, more curvaceous body. Body
(sides, back, peghead) is made from German cherry. Fretboard and peghead overlay are
Soundboard is an unknown African softwood. 16 fret fingerboard has modern guitar-type frets
or 47mm (very short scale!). 6½ fret.
Very light construction gives a large and balanced sound which belies its small size - especially if
played on a table top for added resonance.
RH epinette is a student model from the eminent luthier/player Christophe Toussaint. Simple,
maple box body with 3 melody and 3 drone strings; staple-type frets. No 6½ fret. Endpins ±
placed on a printed stave ± show the notes to which the strings should be tuned!
Section 4 ² Currently in the Workshop
4.1 November 1980
Handcrafted by Marnie Barberi MacLean, Westminster Dulcimers, Westminster West, Vermont.
An unusual instrument from a small, craft maker. Slim maple headstock with rosewood violin
pegs; a cantilevered maple fingerboard with rosewood overlay, hollowed out beneath; maple sides
and bookmatched maple back; cherry (?) endstock with single button (violin?) string anchor; good
quality cedar top with an unusual soundhole design, each being formed from slices of walnut.
Unusually for this age of instrument, has both 6½ and 13½ fret.
When purchased, had damaged top edge, cracked top and loosened back/headstock. Very little
strutting or lining meant, together with inadequate gluing surfaces, that it was basically falling
apart. The integrity of the body has now been secured but it remains a little untidy in detail. The
action and intonation have also been improved, including provision of a compensating bridge.
Overall length 3´lower bout ô´, upper bout 6¼´96/ǩ" (very long scale). 6½ and 13½ fret.
This is a long, elegant instrument with attractive, contrasting woods. Following the extensive work,
it has emerged as a stunning instrument, refined, clean/bright and transparent sounding, with a
very loud voice, emphasising the mid-range.
----- {} -----
4.2 Mid 70s
Magic Mountain Model 5400 ´.LWµ6WULQJ
An exciting project ± which has not progressed too far at the moment because of the pressure of
set-up work etc in the workshop.
built high-end Magic Mountain dulcimers in the 1970s. This was the last set of parts from the
original workshop, still unassembled after nearly 40 years and left over when the business was
sold and he turned to antique restoration.
Made of beautiful curly maple and sitka spruce, this is a work-in-progress instrument, unfinished, in
three parts - a completely assembled body, a completely assembled neck, and a completely
assembled "elephant trunk" scroll headstock. It comes straight out of the Magic Mountain dulcimer
production of the mid-1970's. 32" long x 7 ¾" wide x 2" deep, 4 "C" shaped sound holes, top
edges routed for 1/16" violin purfling and 1/16" edge binding, back edges routed for 1/16" edge
binding, highly figured curly Broadleaf maple back and sides (book matched), extremely tightgrained book matched Sitka spruce top. The figure in the maple runs the entire length of the sides
and back (not just a few curls on one end); it is exceptional. This instrument body was designed
and built for high-tension strings. It has full interior bracing for the Magic Mountain "box beam"
Neck - American Cherry with black fiber fretboard, fretted, sanded and ready to use. Mother-ofpearl position dots (6 total), 32"L x 1 ½"W x ǫ"D, 30" scale length, diatonic with "extra" fret.
The first picture is of a contemporary 5400 from Jim¶VSHUVRQDOFROOHFWLRQWKHVHFRQGWKHIXOO\
Geoff Black
Tel: 01989 720242 or 07817 310083
Email: reeve-black_revells[at]

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