Inlay Patterns

Below are my most common fretboard inlay patterns.  They can be in mother-of-pearl, abalone, or a mix.  Limited custom inlay will be considered.

Note: Actual inlay resolution is much better than this image represents.  (See Instrument photos)

Inlay Patterns 20180105.jpg

What is the logic of your peghead design?

First off, I do not take credit for this basic design.  It was first shared with me by the late Larry Barringer.  I don't know if Larry came up with it but I suspect he did for the following reason.  Larry had a relationship with the late builder Robert Mize and Larry's design is a "derivative" of the Mize design.  However, Mize used the traditional box style scroll peghead and Larry's is a cross between a scroll and a flat peghead. The logic behind this design and the reasons I like it are as follows.  

Mine, Larry's, and Bob's dulcimer design came from the Kentucky style developed in the 1800's by JE "uncle ED" Thomas.  Those dulcimers and a very large portion of early traditional dulcimers had the scroll head and wooden pegs much like a fiddle.  I really feel this is an elegant look and a traditional look that I would like to preserve on this model of my dulcimers. 

Now the wooden pegs on the other hand may be traditional, but I wouldn't wish their finicky nature on anyone.  So, I use modern geared tuning machines.  A flat top peghead (like on a guitar) is much easier to get at the strings for service than the early traditional box design where the string posts are enclosed. 

So if you look at the design of my peghead, you see the beauty of the scroll like design, but also, you get the  ergonomic advantages of the flat top peghead with right angle high ratio tuners.  For me, this design gives the best of both worlds.

Besides ebony, what other fretboard overlay materials do you use?

It is common for fretted instruments to have an overlay on the fretboard.  It adds beauty, but more importantly, it should add a very smooth surface for playability and a hard surface for wear.  Traditionally, for fine instruments, ebony has been the “standard” and is on almost all dulcimers that I have made.  However, ebony continues to be very challenging to acquire and pure black heartwood is even more scarce.

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