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Help - Buying a Dulcimer

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GUEST,Garydon 06 Sep 01 - 04:52 PM
Sorcha 06 Sep 01 - 05:02 PM
GUEST,Walking Eagle 06 Sep 01 - 05:06 PM
SharonA 06 Sep 01 - 05:27 PM
GUEST,Garydon 06 Sep 01 - 05:29 PM
Sorcha 06 Sep 01 - 05:34 PM
catspaw49 06 Sep 01 - 05:51 PM
SharonA 06 Sep 01 - 06:34 PM
catspaw49 06 Sep 01 - 06:54 PM
katlaughing 07 Sep 01 - 12:05 AM
GUEST,garydon 07 Sep 01 - 10:02 AM
catspaw49 07 Sep 01 - 11:51 AM
Doe 1 14 Oct 06 - 08:05 AM
JohnInKansas 14 Oct 06 - 08:37 AM
catspaw49 14 Oct 06 - 08:52 AM
Uncle Phil 14 Oct 06 - 07:08 PM
NH Dave 15 Oct 06 - 04:32 PM
JohnInKansas 15 Oct 06 - 06:33 PM
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Subject: Help - Buying a Dulcimer
From: GUEST,Garydon
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 04:52 PM

I have wanted a mountain dulcimer for some time. I just saw one I liked in a second hand store, it is a Ward Mountain Dulcimer made in 1988 with a spruce top and a walnut back. A case and some books are included. Does anyone know what the market value is on it. There are no visable cracks and in fair to good condition.

I anticipate getting it anyway just cause I think it looks beautiful with the aged spruce and a split back, which may be rosewood I didn't look very close. I was impressed with the grover gears. Besides ti sounded real nice not very volumous however

Gary


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Subject: RE: Help - Buying a Dulcimer
From: Sorcha
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 05:02 PM

How much do they want for it? I am not familiar with that maker; I paid $60 for my first one at a second hand store (generic brand) and $250 10 yrs ago for my walnut McSpadden. McSpadden has more expensive ones with fancy wood, inlay, etc. but that fancy doesn't make them sound better.

Check the frets/scale before you buy it. The frets should be smooth on the ends, and fingers or noter should slide easily. The scale should be true. If the frets are in the wrong place it won't be. Does it have a 61/2 fret? Not all do. If you want to play minor tunes, you will need a 61/2.


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Subject: RE: Help - Buying a Dulcimer
From: GUEST,Walking Eagle
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 05:06 PM

I'm not sure what the value is, price wise. There are many good ( and bad ) makers of dulcimers out there. Just be sure there are no problems in the box. You can sometimes check by using a dental mirror and a small flexible flashlight through the sound holes. Make sure it has sound pegs in it and that they are not loose. Check to see that the strings are secured at the heel and that there is no pulling away in that area. Constant string tension is a killer for these small beauties.

Have fun playing!


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Subject: RE: Help - Buying a Dulcimer
From: SharonA
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 05:27 PM

Depending on price, it may be wise to consider a new one instead. See catspaw's recommendation to me in the "Play dulcimer with me?" thread. Also do a Forum search for kat's "Finally found my instrument!!!" thread.


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Subject: RE: Help - Buying a Dulcimer
From: GUEST,Garydon
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 05:29 PM

They are asking $120.00US. I offered 100.00 over the phone it was there on consignment. so they will get back to me. Thanks for the help on what to look for and the instruments habitual problems. I will have a better look when I return there. I hope it is well as I've grown rather fond of her after only glancing last night.

Gary


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Subject: RE: Help - Buying a Dulcimer
From: Sorcha
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 05:34 PM

If it's in good shape and playable, that is not too much.


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Subject: RE: Help - Buying a Dulcimer
From: catspaw49
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 05:51 PM

If it's not playable, buy it. No, it should be playable of course, but I'm betting that's a dulcimer built by one of the Ward family, as in Kendra Ward-Bence. They have made a lot of instruments over the years and they are all very fine instruments. From Bob and Kendra's website: Between touring, recording, and publishing, Kendra and Bob also find time to carry on another Ward family tradition – building mountain dulcimers. They learned this art from Kendra's father, who began building dulcimers in 1925. While their hectic schedule prevents them from making as many instruments as they would like, they do manage to build 12 to 15 a year.

But always go for the deal too, so offer the guy $80.00 and see what happens........If it's half way decent at all, buy it for $120.00, but you might as well try to get an even better deal.

And as others have said, this dulcimer is an excellent deal from Elderly.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help - Buying a Dulcimer
From: SharonA
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 06:34 PM

Yup, that's the one I was talking about earlier. It's only $10 more, new (with a cassette), than what they're asking for the used one (with case and books). Maybe you can use that info as leverage to bring down the price of the used one.


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Subject: RE: Help - Buying a Dulcimer
From: catspaw49
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 06:54 PM

Good point Sharon.....But if that is a Ward, and it's in any shape at all, snatch it up.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help - Buying a Dulcimer
From: katlaughing
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 12:05 AM

I still absolutely love my Black Mtn, which Spaw recommended to me and provided the link to in this link.

Good luck,

kat


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Subject: RE: Help - Buying a Dulcimer
From: GUEST,garydon
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 10:02 AM

Thanks for all the input. I called and offered 100.00 yesterday have not heard back yet. However I hope to pick it up on my to the luthiers tomorrow to have my guitar B string buzz fixed. I'll have him look at it as well but thats after I buy it. I'm looking forward to picking it up at the asking price if need be. I saw the Ward web site yesterday but did not see any mountain dulcimers on it. But if this is a Ward I certainly want badly.

I give more info when its in my little mitts

Gary


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Subject: RE: Help - Buying a Dulcimer
From: catspaw49
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 11:51 AM

Good move Gary......Let us know how it goes!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help - Buying a Dulcimer
From: Doe 1
Date: 14 Oct 06 - 08:05 AM

I am interested in learning to play the mountain dulcimer. Does anyone have any information on the Apple Creek Learn to Play Mountain Dulcimer Package. It retails for $119.95, and sounds like it would be a good place to start. Any information on this package would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Doe 1


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Subject: RE: Help - Buying a Dulcimer
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 14 Oct 06 - 08:37 AM

Doe 1

It's difficult to tell much about a particular dulcimer without actually seeing an example - either the specific instrument or samples of the maker's work; but something in the range of $100 to $150 is typical for entry level dulcies.

The Apple Creek appears to be from a maker large enough to be sold by a number of dealers, but I don't find a "factory website." I didn't see the "Learn to Play" package at a couple of shops I glanced at, but One Random Shop shows the dulcimer itself (no "kit" included?) at $99.95 list, "our price $64.98."

The places showing lowest prices give no description of the instrument other than "very nice." At least one slightly higher ($89.00) place indicates plywood top and sides - often a characteristic of "Chinese Factory" instruments, which can be very nice but also can vary in quality. One other place posts an ad for a "solid top" but gives no info at the site to substantiate that it's a different instrument.

I'd be "cautious" about this instrument, just because of the "mass marketing" appearance. This may be the same instrument sold at Walmart, which has NOT been favorably reviewed by experienced players; or it may be a pretty good starter instrument. It's just impossible to tell without more info than is available from the sellers I looked at.

John


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Subject: RE: Help - Buying a Dulcimer
From: catspaw49
Date: 14 Oct 06 - 08:52 AM

DOE1......Without going back over all the ground covered in all of the linked threads here which are an excellent background for you, let me cut to the chase. Lots of 'Catters have purchased THIS ONE and been extremely happy. It is a very nice instrument which works for beginners and will make you happy as an advanced player as well.   Solid woods and good construction at a great price...hard to beat. Matter of fact, the price difference wouldn't buy a tank of gas nowadays. Check the threads for some good books like Jean Ritchie's (a classic) and you'll be set.

Sorry if that seems bossy and blunt but you wanted good advice and that's it! (:<)) Good luck and welcome to Mudcat!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help - Buying a Dulcimer
From: Uncle Phil
Date: 14 Oct 06 - 07:08 PM

... and Black Mountain sells the same dulcimer as an assembly kit. My experience building one is that I didn't save much money buying a kit versus a completed instrument after buying finishing supplies. But it is a fun building project if you like that kind of stuff and playing an instrument you had a hand in building is pretty cool.
- Phil


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Subject: RE: Help - Buying a Dulcimer
From: NH Dave
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 04:32 PM

Doe 1

    Before you lay out $ 120, check out Folk Legacy.com, do a search for dulcimer, go to the second page, and you'll get a bunch of hits for Howie Mitchell's work on playing an Appalachian Dulcimer. There's enough on any of these cassettes, or CD's, especially if you order his book, Howie Mitchell - The Mountain Dulcimer (BK29)*, to keep you busy until you decide that you really need the more expensive training kit.

    BTW, if a dulcimer sounds too soft, lay in on a table or a hollow core door, with a little space between it and the table, and you will find it sounds a lot louder. Most dulcimers have small feet on their back side to provide the spacing.

    All the best,

    Dave

* At one time the Patons offered a special deal on the record/cassette/CD and the book together, but this may have gone the way of $ 1.50 gas. It won't hurt to check though.

   DCL


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Subject: RE: Help - Buying a Dulcimer
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 06:33 PM

Doe 1 -

You might look at the Everything Dulcimer Discussion on Applecreek Dulcimers.

As with any "discussion group" - including here at mudcat - you need to assess the commenters about as critically as the comments. There are a couple of "comments" in the discussion at the link that are noticeably "uninformed opinionating," but there also are some apparently informed comments from people who have some dulcimer experience and who actually have played the Applecreek Dulcimers.

One person in the linked thread asserts that the Applecreek factory is in Romania, and it is said that they make a range of dulcimers, some of which are good ones. The comments on variability in individual ones of their beginner dulcimers, and the need to replace strings, de-gunk the frets, and lower the string action on all of them would be my primary concerns about having you order one without the chance to "see it in person" before purchase.

These are not difficult adjustments to make, but you'd likely - as a beginner - need the assistance of a more experienced dulcimist to know what needs to be adjusted before worrying about how to do it.

My own somewhat-informed opinion would be that you can probably get something significantly better, at very near the price, from almost any one of the many US or UK dulcimer makers (or from a more local builder in the country of your choice).

That having been said, an Applecreek beginner dulcimer is probably better than no dulcimer at all, if that's the only option you're willing (or able) to pursue.

I would not hold much hope that a packaged instruction kit will make you an "instant player," and suggest that "anyone who actually plays a dulcimer" probably could show you everything you'll learn from most such "packages" in about an hour or so. If you don't have access to an experienced player, it might be helpful.

There are many good books, and web sites full of all the "instructions" you need. Nearly all areas have at least one or two "clubs" where you should be able to find friendly help, and I'd urge you to look for one.

The first requirement is to have your hands on an instrument that's fun to fool around with.

Please do come back and let us know if we've confused or helped.

John


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