Contemporary Dulcimer Makers

dulcimer making

The dulcimer, a stringed musical instrument that originated in the Appalachian region of the United States, has a long and rich history. Traditionally made from wood, with a triangular body and three or four strings, the dulcimer has been used for centuries to play folk music, hymns, and ballads. Today, a new generation of contemporary dulcimer makers is emerging, dedicated to preserving and expanding the instrument’s legacy.

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Contemporary Dulcimer Makers: Keeping the Tradition Alive

Contemporary dulcimer makers are passionate about the instrument’s history and traditions, but they also bring their own unique styles and innovations to the craft. Some use non-traditional materials like carbon fiber, while others experiment with different shapes and designs. What unites them is a commitment to quality craftsmanship and a deep respect for the dulcimer’s roots.

One such maker is Lynn McSpadden, founder of the McSpadden Dulcimers company in Arkansas. McSpadden began making dulcimers in the 1960s, and her instruments have since become known for their exceptional sound and beauty. McSpadden Dulcimers are made from solid wood and hand-crafted with meticulous attention to detail.

Another contemporary dulcimer maker is Kevin Messenger, based in Vermont. Messenger’s dulcimers are distinctive for their innovative design, which combines traditional materials like wood with modern techniques like laser cutting. His instruments have won numerous awards and are sought after by musicians around the world.

In addition to individual makers, there are also organizations dedicated to promoting the dulcimer and its makers. The Dulcimer Builders’ Workshop, for example, is an annual gathering of dulcimer makers and enthusiasts that provides workshops and other resources for those interested in the craft.

Contemporary dulcimer makers face many challenges, including competition from mass-produced instruments and a dwindling pool of skilled craftsmen. However, they remain dedicated to their art, and their instruments are sought after by musicians and collectors alike. Whether you’re a seasoned player or just discovering the dulcimer for the first time, exploring the work of contemporary makers is a rewarding experience.

In conclusion, contemporary dulcimer makers are an important part of the instrument’s legacy, keeping the tradition alive while also pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. By supporting these makers and their work, we can ensure that the dulcimer continues to be a vibrant and thriving part of our musical heritage.

Top 5 Contemporary Dulcimer Makers

Here are the top 5 selling Contemporary Dulcimer Makers:

  1. Appalachian Dulcimers

Appalachian Dulcimers is a family-owned and operated business located in Galax, Virginia, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. They have been building high-quality dulcimers for over 40 years and are known for their commitment to tradition and quality. Their dulcimers are made with the finest tonewoods and feature a variety of finishes and appointments.

  1. Dusty Strings

Dusty Strings is a leading manufacturer of hammered dulcimers, autoharps, and other folk instruments. They offer a wide variety of dulcimers to suit all skill levels and budgets, from beginner models to professional-quality instruments. Their dulcimers are known for their excellent sound quality and durability.

  1. McSpadden Dulcimers

McSpadden Dulcimers is a small shop located in Boone, North Carolina. They specialize in building high-quality hammered dulcimers that are known for their beautiful sound and craftsmanship. Each McSpadden dulcimer is made by hand using traditional methods, and they offer a variety of custom options to suit individual player preferences.

  1. Traditions Shop

Traditions Shop is a folk music store located in Wheeling, West Virginia. They sell a variety of dulcimers from different makers, as well as other folk instruments and accessories. They are a great resource for finding a dulcimer that is right for you.

  1. Folkcraft Instruments

Folkcraft Instruments is a manufacturer of a variety of folk instruments, including dulcimers, autoharps, and mountain dulcimers. They offer a variety of dulcimers to suit all skill levels and budgets, and their instruments are known for their quality and affordability.

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