The Galax dulcimer is a deep, wide-bodied instrument, with all 4 strings tuned to D. They were traditionally built with the head, fretboard and tail all cut from the same piece of wood. They have an extra bottom plate set off by small blocks to increase their sound. Traditionally, staple-style wire frets extended under just the first or first and second strings for noter/drone playing, but Galax dulcimers with full-width guitar frets have increased in popularity, and wide frets allow chords to be played.
These dulcimers were traditionally played with a stripped turkey quill and
The instrument was strummed vigorously in a egg-beating motion, creating
a sound that has been described as "an angry swarm of bees".
I make these of cherry or walnut as a primary wood, with either Sitka spruce or hard maple for a top*. Different soundhole designs are possible.
Will Singleton Dulcimer Replica$325standard
Uncle Will Singleton was a relative and neighbor of Jean Ritchie in Viper, Kentucky. Jean has written about Will in her books and the dulcimers he produced back in the 1930s. Will used tulip poplar to fashion his particular style of dulcimer, which had straight sides and diamond soundholes. Two cherry inlays were typically added to the middle of the poplar fretboard for decoration. They had 3 hand-carved tuning pegs, probably of walnut. They were played noter/drone style, so the frets were made of wire and bent into a staple which extended only under the first of 3 strings.
My replicas faithfully follow the originals built by Uncle Will Singleton.
Modern Antes-Style Hourglass$350 standard*
A modern style of dulcimer with wide top and deep body. These are made using the Scott Antes pattern. Great volume and tone.
I generally make them either of walnut with a spruce top, or cherry with a spruce top*. The standard model comes with geared enclosed machine tuners, a 6-1/2 fret and inlaid position dots. The special dulcimer at left is made of bird's-eye maple, with Perfection planetary tuning pegs.
The four strings are set in 3 courses-- a doubled melody string and separate middle and bass strings. Soundhole shapes can be customized.