Bob Gerard Dulcimers

Welcome to my Website !

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I create beautiful, one-of-a-kind Mountain Dulcimers, German/Pennsylvania~Dutch Hummels/Scheitholts, and Instrument Cases which I now offer for sale. Each of my instruments is a work of art; very carefully hand crafted, without using any mass-produced techniques, at my home workbench in Southern New Jersey.

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Bob Gerard Dulcimers

Displayed here are examples of Mountain Dulcimers (also known as “Appalachian Dulcimers”) that I create. Ranging from simple to the more elegant, each instrument is created with careful attention to detail and quality. Below are the popular styles of Mountain Dulcimers that have been designed and created for customers and for my own collection.

Note that the VSL (Vibrating String Length) of my instruments are between 25″ up to 27.5″, though my most common and popular length is 26″.

Please see Price Guide below

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1.  The Minstrel-Modern model pictured below features a characteristic narrow waist and elegant guitar-style tuning heads. Both examples shown are made of Black Walnut, with one having a Cherry top (sound board). Other woods are also available, including some exotic woods (contact me for info). These dulcimers are playable as three-stringers or four stringers, with a string length of 27″. These beautiful sounding instruments can be custom ordered as  well. These can also be seen, played and purchased at the Pinelands Folk Music and Basketry Shop in Mount Holly, New Jersey, or email me for more info.

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Custom designed models are welcomed and can include various elements, including specialty woods, inlays, sound holes and even the finger board scale (as seen below). Note that this beautiful model has a Chromatic fingerboard, like on a guitar or banjo, rather than the more traditional Diatonic fingerboards usually found on Mountain Dulcimers. The model below features all Black Walnut construction with a gorgeous Lacewood tuning head with inlay strip. The Bubinga topped fingerboard is inlaid with Poplar wood position dots marking the location of the diatonic notes and a parquetry inlay strip marks the second octave.  A stunning and unique instrument!      (Prices will reflect the amount of building time and costs.) Chromatic Done 1

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Curly Maple with a Lacewood Top is a spectacular visual and musical combination:

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Below: A unique half Hourglass & half Elm Leaf design, the “Carty Model”, is amazing looking and sounding   ~ Custom Made Northern Cherry Mountain Dulcimer ~

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And here is the same design, also in Cherry, with a double-bottom for enhanced sound:

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Here is the “Carty Model” Baritone Dulcimer in Black Walnut and Butternut:

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2. The Minstrel-Basic (below) is a more simple and less expensive version of the Minstrel-Modern dulcimer. This dulcimer features a flowing hour-glass shaped body of Black Walnut and a Butternut top, with a gracefully shaped flat tuning head. It has geared tuners for three strings only. The Minstrel-Basic mountain dulcimer boasts of no ‘extras’ (such as the 1.5 fret, inlays or dots) but presents as a basic, yet beautiful and affordable Mountain Dulcimer, (see Price Guide below).

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3. The Jammer Model , pictured below can also be made with no extra frets or frills, it can be built on order, from $320 up to $360, plus shipping costs from New Jersey to your home. It is the traditional Teardrop shape, made with solid woods (no plywood) – and can include Sound-hole rosettes, Inlaid Parquetry and Position Dots.

A really lovely and affordable Mountain Dulcimer!

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4. The Troubadour Traditional model (below) and Carry Case (extra). This dulcimer model boasts of a carved Scroll head reminiscent of notable late-20th century builders such as Dave Field, Ed Smith and Sunhearth. The elegant scroll is fitted with planetary tuners for quick re-tunes. The body, of select hardwoods and violin style edges compliments the striking scroll head. Choice of standard fretting or with extra frets.  Available for $550 and up.

Below is an example of the Troubadour Traditional dulcimer and case. This is a truly beautiful sounding all Black Walnut with three strings (double-melody strung). fb 1d

Below is a view of my hand-carved tuning scroll. I make these slightly elongated, thin and graceful, which adds a striking quality to each instrument. This is of exotic Makore wood.

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Below is a view of the ‘book-matched’ bottom board, with a lovely spine inlay.

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Here (below) is a Butternut-topped Mahogany Troubadour Traditional Mountain Dulcimer, completed mid June 2018.    This wood combination is musical magic.new-dulcimer-of-butternut-and-mahogany

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Below is a Troubadour Traditional Mountain Dulcimer I created in early June ’18. It is all Black Walnut with a Bubinga topped Finger Board. This instrument has a uniquely narrow waist, and produces the most bright and resonant sound. BW 12 big

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Seen on my workbench below are two  Mountain Dulcimers from May ’18. The lighter-topped one (Butternut)  and a Black Walnut top/Mahogany sides/Bloodwood Bottom. pair 1

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And also create these in my own unique and lovely Folk-art style:

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I can create for you a beautiful looking and sounding Mountain Dulcimer or Scheitholt, made to your own specifications or I can work together with you to design your very own. Woods may include (but not limited to) Black Walnut, Northern Cherry, African Mahogany, Maple, Poplar, Butternut,  Sitka Spruce…  Sound-holes may be cutout shapes (‘Hearts’ are the most traditional), simple holes or inset Rosettes of solid wood & even custom painted if desired.

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Each instrument can take from 25 hours to 40 hours of work, and I will not take short-cuts. Attention is paid to the smallest detail on each instrument. I am confident you will love your new Mountain Dulcimer.  Please email me directly with any inquiries or comments to Bobgerard1@gmail.com or use the Contact feature (below)

♥ German & Pennsylvania~Dutch Scheitholts / Hummels ♥

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A cousin to the Mountain Dulcimer is the German & Pennsylvania~Dutch Scheitholt (also called a “Hummel”).

I make these beautiful looking & sounding traditional instruments with the same attention to detail as my Mountain Dulcimer.  Similar in several ways to the Mountain Dulcimer, this instrument is easy and enjoyable to play. The Scheitholt (“Hummel”) has a diatonic scale fingerboard with three strings (though sometimes more, and sometimes less) which can be tuned and played exactly the same as a Mountain Dulcimer. What adds an amazing quality of fullness is the addition of a parallel course of ‘sympathetic strings‘ next to the fingerboard which all vibrate in harmony as the instrument is strummed or plucked, producing  a wonderful, full chorus and resonance. These sympathetic strings can also be strummed as well, producing an amazing, full choir of sound. (see my video demonstration is below).

Below are some photos of  Bob Gerard Scheitholts. The first handsome model is made with exotic Bubinga- wood sides, bottom and fingerboard over-lay. The sound board is Butternut and the tuning head is Cherry with a lovely Bloodwood overlay.

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The price for a simple model Hummel starts at $425.00 (Black Walnut & Butternut without inlays, overlays or position dots) .

The Scheitholts  (below) are models made of Curly Maple, Butternut and Black Walnut and other woods.

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Below showing the Curly Maple top with Bloodwood sides and Tuning Head overlay. The fingerboard is Black Walnut with a lovely Bubinga overlay with position dots and inlay strip.

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Pictured below shows the lovely Bloodwood back with a Maple & Ebony Parquetry strip down the center.

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The Scheitholt below is Black Walnut with Butternut top with hand-painted Cherry “Bird-of-Paradise” sound holes.

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And a more simple but beautiful Black Walnut (with Cherry fingerboard) Scheitholt:

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Here is a video clip of me sound-testing a Scheitholt after final adjustments at the bench:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below is a short video of this Scheitholt build. The tune is something I made-up and played on this wonderful instrument.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sound Holes

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Above: Hand-painted “Bird of Paradise” Birchwood sound hole Rosettes and Bolivian Rosewood topped fret-board.

Below: Carved out “Weeping Heart” sound holes

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Above: The Mountain Dulcimer I built in August ’17. The wood is Black Walnut with custom made Cherry wood Heart-and-Lace sound hole rosettes.

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Above: “August’s Dulcimer”  Black Walnut body with Makore wood hand-carved tuning scroll with Gotoh tuners, Walnut position dots and simple parquetry inlays. The fingerboard is lovely Chakte Viga mounted on Black Walnut.

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Above:  From early 2018: Four-string Mountain Dulcimer with Butternut top,  Bubinga sides & back, Rosewood-topped-Cherry fretboard and a Lacewood tuning head. The sound-hole rosettes are laser-cut from solid Cherry.

Below: Another 4-string dulcimer with Butternut top and Black Walnut body, with combination sound-holes and an elegant tuning scroll.

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 ~ Parquetry  Inlays ~

I also add decorative wood inlays on my dulcimers that add a bit of distinction and character.aug 7a

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~ Hand Carved Tuning Heads ~

My dulcimer tuning heads can be either Violin-type scrolls or Guitar-type styles ~ both kinds are fitted with high quality geared tuners for excellent tuning.

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Various wood selections can add distinction and different tonal character to a Dulcimer. The models (below) feature Butternut sound-board with an all Black Walnut body and,  Western Cedar Soundboard with Northern Cherry sides and Bloodwood bottom, Black Walnut soundboard with Cherry sides & bottom…   

Note that soft-wood soundboards like Butternut and Cedar produce warmer, more mellow tones, where a harder soundboard (like Cherry or Maple) produce a much “brighter” and crisper sound.

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Above: Western Cedar top with Cherry sides and Bloodwood bottom

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Above: Brilliant & shimmering Bubinga sides & bottom with a Butternut wood top.

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Most Mountain Dulcimers are fit with either three or four strings (but sometimes more). Strings can be arranged in different ways, sometimes doubling the melody strings (like on a mandolin). Bridges can be made to accommodate any string arrangement.

Below: A four-string model can also be converted to a three-string model by doubling the melody string on the notches cut into the bridge (below).

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Below is a three-string Mountain Dulcimer I built for a customer in October/November 2017. It is made of Black Walnut (top) and Northern Cherry bottom.       Notice the bridge is not inlet but “floats” (can be moved) to enable adjustments of intonation.

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Careful and painstaking attention is given to all aspects of my dulcimers…

Because the beauty of a Bob Gerard Dulcimer is seeing it, playing it, & hearing it.

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Here is a short video of one of my three string Mountain Dulcimers, played by a wonderful friend.

(The dulcimer is of Black Walnut and Northern Cherry)

 

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And my simple playing on a lovely Black Walnut & Butternut Mountain Dulcimer:

 

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Custom Made Dulcimer Cases 

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If interested, I can build for you a custom-made Instrument Carry Case of solid Pine and Birch Ply, fully lined inside, double latched and colorfully decorated with my unique and fanciful hand-painted Pennsylvania Dutch style motifs.

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These cases are a truly charming way to safely transport and store your prized musical instrument. Weight is about nine pounds. Priced individually at $300, or $250 with any Mountain Dulcimer or Scheitholt order.

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Matching Sets

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Be assured that if you honor me with a request to custom build your own Mountain Dulcimer, that it will be a prized possession and unique instrument for you to enjoy and play.

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Price Menu 2019 Updated

If you are interested in discussing a custom built dulcimer for yourself or as a gift, please feel free to email me or use the contact link provided.

Thank you for Visiting!

~Bob Gerard Sicoransa~

email: Bobgerard1@gmail.com

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Building a Teardrop Shaped Mountain Dulcimer

Here are a series of photographs on the building of a Mountain Dulcimer. This particular instrument was a special project for a Singer/Songwriter and Mountain Dulcimer player.

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The tuning scroll is cut out at the band saw. This wood is Makore, a lovely African wood, similar to Mahogany in texture.

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Below: I drew out a full-sized pattern of the teardrop shaped dulcimer.

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… and steamed the Black Walnut wood for bending the sides to the pattern’s shape. This process takes about 20 to 30 minutes.

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Above: The wood is carefully bent and dried in a simple jig. I use a Hair Dryer to speed up the drying and it produces much less spring-back this way.

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The first parts ready for assembly.

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Next, I cut out the bottom board. It is 1/8″ thick African Mahogany. I think it will produce a warm tone with the Black Walnut sides and top.

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Here I am trimming the bottom. The edges will not be flush with the sides, but slightly protruded, like on a violin. I had also added bracing, ribs and some glue blocks to provide more gluing surface for the top and bottom planks.

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I next laid put the Finger board. It is a 25.5 ” VSL length from nut to bridge.

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I next laid out and cut the top plank to fit. It also is 1/8″ thick.

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I next carefully laid out the Sound Holes for balance and proportion. The large Heart-and-Lace rosettes are of Cherry wood, and the upper holes are simple elements  I designed.  After the Sound Holes were completed, I glued the Finger Board onto the top plank.

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Next I glued and clamped the top onto the body and let it dry for over 12 hours.

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Above and below: Trimming the Tail piece and the Tuning scroll…

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… and hours of sanding and detailing work.

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I next installed the mechanical tuners, made and fit the Nut and Bridge and began applying the wood finish, a satin Poly…

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At this point I step back and look at the instrument’s overall design and balance. it needed ‘something’.  I added a bit more Inlays on the top and behind the bridge to balance it visually.

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That looks good to me!

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Small details make a big difference…

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And now, it will rest overnight and get a set of strings tomorrow.

And here is the completed Mountain Dulcimer

 

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Thank you for visiting!

For more information please contact me via email to: Bobgerard1@gmail.com

 Music keeps you young at heart ♥