Gum/Walnut Dulcimer and Cherry Dulcimer

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Project by MattMize posted 02-28-2013 02:28 PM 2422 views 3 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My grand-dad, Robert Mize, made dulcimers until the day he died nearly a decade ago. I decided I wanted to try a few last year so I went to his old shop with my dad and made a few of them. This is the first two we did. The top is made of Gum, and the back, sides, tail, and head are all walnut on the first one. The head has a hound carved into it by a man in TN, close to where my grand-dad’s shop was. The second is made of Cherry with a sassafras stripe on the head/tail. The tops and backs are all bookmatched.

13 comments so far

View ghost5's profile


302 posts in 2131 days

#1 posted 02-28-2013 02:58 PM

Absolutely beautiful you did Grampa proud. I would be happy to play one of these anywhere anytime.

-- Tommy,

View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3066 days

#2 posted 02-28-2013 03:12 PM

Beautiful work and I love the wood.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View blackcherry's profile


3338 posts in 4023 days

#3 posted 02-28-2013 05:43 PM

Jaw dropping beautiful, thanks for showing…BC

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3777 days

#4 posted 02-28-2013 10:07 PM

This is fantastic ,beautiful pieces.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View solardave's profile


75 posts in 2244 days

#5 posted 02-28-2013 11:41 PM

Awesome, I love the beagle headstock.

View MattMize's profile


32 posts in 2272 days

#6 posted 03-01-2013 03:07 AM

Thank you for the positive feedback, gentlemen! I plan on building several more of them!

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30054 posts in 2538 days

#7 posted 03-01-2013 07:36 AM

Beautiful work. Also awesome that you would carry on a tradition. I would believe your grandfather looks down with even more pride now.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2375 days

#8 posted 03-01-2013 05:18 PM

Fantastic pieces! With such great quality, I’m sure they will be treasures and heirlooms worth having.

View Smertie's profile


7 posts in 2113 days

#9 posted 03-01-2013 06:09 PM

Very nice! Where did you get the tuners? I never saw anything like them. Are they special for dulcimers? And I couldn’t tell if the frets are metal (nickel usually, I think) or something else. Does it even matter on a dulcimer? Keep up the beautiful work and play that thing!

-- Michael, Erie PA

View MattMize's profile


32 posts in 2272 days

#10 posted 03-02-2013 04:05 AM

Hey Smertie, I’ll check the size when I get off work tomorrow night and get home. I’ll let you know. I got the tuners out of a coffee can my grand-dad had that was full of them. I’ll figure it out, though!

View MattMize's profile


32 posts in 2272 days

#11 posted 03-02-2013 05:01 AM

Smertie, the tuners are Grover tuners, but they’re not listed on the Grover website. The closest thing to them I can find are Grover Geared Banjo Pegs, but they have a metal button. I did find the tuners that I put on my burled walnut dulcimer on Grover’s website. They are called “Sta-Tite Dulcimer Pegs” and come in sets of four. They require a 5/16” hole, and the headstock must be 7/16”-5/8” thick where you’re going to drill the holes. The ones on the Cherry dulcimer are just Grover locking guitar tuners, out of another coffee can I found in his old shop. As far as the fret wire, I’m not sure what material it is, there was a ton left in my grand-dad’s shop. I do know that the narrow wire frets seem to work and play the best, though.

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 3123 days

#12 posted 03-02-2013 12:36 PM

Great work.
Facinating instrument when played correctly.
Any plans for building a hammer dulcimer? If you do please send pics.

-- Life is good.

View MattMize's profile


32 posts in 2272 days

#13 posted 03-03-2013 04:27 AM

I’ll probably build a hammer dulcimer eventually. My wife wants me to make one, so you know how that one goes!

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