I made my first Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer in 1969 in Vietnam, as a soldier, and although I have made a few other stringed instruments, dulcimers are what I like to make. My workshop is located at my home overlooking the Wadbilliga wilderness in Brogo, near Bega, NSW Australia where I aim to create fine hand-made musical instruments from high quality woods, which produce a sweet, loud and sustained tone. I only make a few dulcimers every year and my hope is that they will give their owners a lifetime of musical enjoyment.
I like to use Australian woods in the construction, and Australia has many timber species suitable for musical instruments. Eucalypts such as Jarrah and Mountain Ash can provide natural colours from deep red to creamy satin, and many acacias (wattles) have striking fiddleback figure and even pastel colours. I also like to use the PNG Rosewood that I have selected myself when I worked in Papua New Guinea some time ago. PNG Rosewood is resonant, looks beautiful, and smells like … rosewood. All of my dulcimers are made from solid timbers, with tops quarter-sawn and selected for grain straightness, uniformity and minimal grain runout. Woods for backs and sides are selected for colour and figure. Tops and backs are bookmatched pairs, with linings of solid wood. Top and back internal bracing is designed to increase strength and enhance tonal qualities.
There is a zero fret and a 6 ½ fret – fret ends are semi-hemispherical. The bridge saddle is bone. High quality machine tuners are fitted and either loop-end or ball-end strings can be used. A transparent scratch plate is fitted and fretboards have five mother-of-pearl position dots as standard.
My dulcimers are generally unadorned and feature a fiddle edge in the traditional style. Three small wooden feet hold the instruments off flat surfaces to increase loudness when played on a table. Sound-holes can be traditional hearts, fleurs-de-Lys or rosette inserts.
Each dulcimer is supplied with a soft cover, a wooden capo and a simple learning CD.
If you would like to discuss any of the instruments currently available, or talk about the construction of a new one, please contact me via the link below or just look at the images and listen to the sound samples by clicking the sound clips buttons on the sound clips page.