Marie Williams, Lagniappe Dulcimer Society member, has several mountain dulcimers including standard, small, little and tiny. She’s holding the smallest, playable dulcimer I’ve ever seen. Marie named the very little dulcimer “Itty Bitty” and it is her newest acquisition; purchased at Kentucky Music Week in June 2015 from dulcimer luthier, Don Newhauser of Indiana. Marie knew when she saw this dulcimer that she wanted one for her “dulcimer family.”
The little dulcimer’s back is made from a bamboo cutting board from Bed, Bath and Beyond. And the dulcimer has a very nice tone quality! The frets are carefully placed and the action is great This is a playable dulcimer!Marie’s dulcimers include a standard one and several smaller ones that are good for her shorter fingers and for traveling. Her dulcimer collection includes, from left to right, a Blue Lion standard dulcimer, the “Little Dulcimer”, a McSpadden mahogany “Ginger” dulcimer tuned to GDG, a soprano dulcimer made by Kerry Rapp and a Folkcraft tear drop dulcimer tuned to DAD.
The “Little Dulcimer” is pitched two octaves above a standard dulcimer and is tuned to DAD. It has a high pitched fairy-type quality sounds. Whether flatpicking (impossible to fngerpick), strumming or chording, the pure sounds ring through.
Stephen Seifert plays “Little Dulcimer”
Stephen Seifert, dulcimer player and musician from Nashville, Tennessee, also acquired one of the “Little Dulcimers” from Don Newhauser this June. Here’s what he has to say about the dulcimer on this You-Tube video (used with permission).
Of course, Stephen can play any dulcimer and make it sound great. This gives an idea of the dulcimer’s potential.
Marie and I sat down one afternoon and played several tunes as duets. Marie flatpicked the “Little Dulcimer” and I played a standard dulcimer build by David McKinney of Arkansas for chording and strumming. “Hard Times Come Again No More” by Stephen Foster is one of our favorites.
The “Itty Bitty” holds its own with the “big” standard dulcimer. What fun we have playing the dulcimers!