McSpadden 6-string Teardrop Walnut Mountain Dulcimer for Raffle
For example, I don’t have a 6-string mountain dulcimer and, in fact, have never played one. So I tried out strumming this McSpadden 6-string teardrop walnut mountain dulcimer. Wow, it has a wonderful tone, great revert and a full-sound.
And better yet, I have a chance of winning this one; Jim and Betty Woods of McSpadden Dulcimers have donated this dulcimer for our Lagniappe Dulcimer Fete raffle March 12-14. Here is Peggy Broussard holding the dulcimer (bet she’d like to win it, too). We invite everyone to come to our fete in Port Allen across the river from Baton Rouge; even if you don’t play the dulcimer; some wonderful concerts are planned for Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. And take some chances on raffle tickets for this dulcimer.
I posted a PDF downloadable registration form and schedule under the “Lagniappe Dulcimer Fete” tab and listed the instructors and performers there, too.
Mountain dulcimers are largely hand-built musical instruments. Each one is unique in it’s tone and “playability”. McSpadden Dulcimers are located at The Dulcimer Shoppe, in Mountain View, Arkansas. They have probably been around longer than any dulcimer “company.” According the their WEB site, the first dulcimers were built in 1962 and they employ 5 full-time luthiers. I would venture a guess that there are more McSpadden dulcimers than any other “brand” out there. And this is for good reason. Their dulcimers always have a consistent, high quality workmanship and a good tone. They are easy to play.
Here are Jim and Betty Woods, owners of McSpadden, who donate this year’s dulcimer to our raffle. The Dulcimer Shoppe located in the Ozark Mountains of north central Arkansas, close to the Ozark Folk Center. This is just north of Mountain View’s famous courthouse square where you can hear bluegrass and old-time fiddle jamming on most weekend nights. This is a beautiful part of the country with lots of sightseeing to take in including the famous trout stream, the beautiful White River.
Dulcimer Keepsake Find
I ran across a McSpadden dulcimer built in the 70’s for sale at a used music instrument store in Hammond, Louisiana. It had been sitting on someone’s shelf for years. It still has the same hour glass body shape and build as current dulcimers; with a new set of strings it sounded like a new dulcimer! It was numbered and signed by the original owner, Lynn McSpadden. A keepsake for the new owner.
About 6-string mountain dulcimers
Since I had never seen or played a 6-string dulcimer, I asked Jim Woods about them. Jim states, “It’s not a new thing. When David Schnaufer wanted me to start making them, he brought a pre civil war one to show me. There are lots of builders making them but not all of those play well.”
I asked what’s the best use of this dulcimer and how is the best way to play it.
Jim’s response is, “They are not commonly used for finger picking as playing the double strings with your fingers is a bit different and takes some practice. There are a few folks who do it and do it well but generally they are strummed or flat picked. They have a ringing sound reminiscent of a 12-string guitar. They are a bit louder (than a 3-string dulcimer) but that is not as significant as the ringing sound. The two bass strings are an octave apart so the sound is fuller than with a single bass string.”
I plan to purchase plenty of raffle tickets for this dulcimer. I hope the winner of the raffle (if it isn’t me) appreciates what a beautiful musical instrument this is!