The Memphis Dulcimer Gathering, Inc., is an authorized dealer for McSpadden Mountain Dulcimers in Mountain View, Arkansas.  The profits from the sale of these dulcimers support dulcimer and folk events in the Southeast.

 
As many already know, I recommend the McSpadden dulcimer to beginning players who are looking for an instrument.  There are many wonderful builders throughout the United States, but I recommend McSpadden for getting started for the following reasons:
 
-- McSpadden instruments are easy to acquire with little or no waiting, as the shop generally keeps many models in stock.
-- McSpadden instruments are of a consistent and high quality in terms of materials and workmanship.
-- McSpadden instruments have high-quality geared tuners which are helpful to new players.  They hold their tune better which means less time trying        to tune.
-- All models below include solid woods, book-matched top and back, geared tuners, well-padded soft-sided case, pick, noter, and instruction book.
-- All models include a limited lifetime warranty.
 
You are welcome to call me at 901-877-7763 to discuss the details of a purchase such as wood selection, fret scales, pegheads, overlays, etc.  Please visit www.mcspaddendulcimers.com to view a complete selection of their dulcimers.  The Memphis Dulcimer Gathering, Inc., offers a 10% discount off of the listed price on the McSpadden site, plus shipping.  We may have the instrument that you want in stock, but, if not, we can have anything at the shop delivered directly to you.  If you are in my area, I will deliver for no charge.
 

And, remember: how many dulcimers do you need?  Just one more!

These are the main items that you need to think about as you begin to choose dulcimer no matter which luthier you choose:

1. Fret scale -- The length of the fretboard is important.  It is sometimes referred to as Vibrating String Length or VSL.  The longer the VSL, the longer the stretch your
    fingers will need to shape chords.  But the shorter the scale, the less vibration and sound you will have.  It is a balance and a personal decision.  McSpadden offers
    three sizes.  The standard is 28-1/2".  They also offer a 26" that is installed on the same size soundbox so that it gets a similar sound to the longer length.  McSpadden
    also offers a Ginger which is smaller overall (both fretboard and soundbox) with a 23-3/16" fret scale and can be tuned to GCG or DAD.

2. Shape -- Hourglass shape is the most popular.  Some people like the teardrop shape.  You will sometimes find a dulcimer that is rectangle or box shape.

3. Type of wood -- There is a large variety of woods available.  Traditionally, dulcimers were made from native woods such as walnut, cherry and maple.  Exotic woods
    have become popular but are also expensive.  The type of wood you choose will affect the sound of the instrument.  Hardwoods (cherry, maple) usually produce a
    higher, tinnier sound and softer woods (walnut) usually produce a warmer, quieter sound.  I generally recommend that, whatever wood is chosen for the back and sides,
    a spruce or redwood be chosen for the top in order to get a more balanced sound.

4. Upgrades -- For an additional cost, you can choose to have an overlay on the fretboard (usually ebony or rosewood).  Inlay on the fretboard and position markers can
    be an extra charge.  As stated above, exotic woods for the soundbox will cost extra.  All of the charges vary among builders.

The video below provides sound comparisons for dulcimers from various builders and woods.  Listening to the different dulcimers may help you in choosing the instrument that you want.
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