From a very early age, Terry has had a passion for “making stuff”. In early years, family members would save things that no longer worked so he could take them apart and “figure them out”. He is driven more by a curiosity of how to make something than the object being made. Often plagued with a drive to figure out how to make it better.
Terry grew up around woodworking with a carpenter father and worked as a cabinet maker in early years. He was later educated as an engineer and spent four decades involved in product development. He holds several patents related to large machinery he developed.
Terry heard his first dulcimer music from a recording he purchased from a gift shop in Eureka Springs, AR in the early 90’s. He was mesmerized by the soothing and haunting sounds and wanted to know more. He discovered the North Harris County Dulcimer Society in Houston that was made up of wonderful musicians with a warm and welcoming nature. Through this relationship, he met a local builder, Larry Barringer. Terry made his first dulcimers only as a curiosity of “how they are made” and to learn “how they are played”. Around this time, Terry and his wife Barbara attended their first dulcimer festival in Covington, LA. It was at this time that he was blown away by the music of David Schnaufer and Stephen Seifert and so many others. He can still hear the haunting voice of Thomasina Levy singing Norwegian Wood. He had to know more….
Terry began building mountain dulcimers and pick’n sticks commercially around 1996 as a result of the encouragement from the late Larry Barringer. As mentioned previously, Larry was a dulcimer builder from the Houston area. Larry was a gentle soul and never met a stranger. Larry’s work was derived from his relationship with the late Bob Mize. Terry’s hourglass and pick’n stick designs were derived from Larry’s work and continue to evolve.
Terry’s building methods are from two worlds. The traditional craft world allows for personal touches, adapting to the material at hand, and evolving the art. The modern world of CNC machines accommodates precision results where needed and repeatable processes for predictable results. Many fixtures and detailed processes go into the making of each instrument. “Is there a better way” is always running through Terry’s mind as he builds each instrument. Terry’s studio is well appointed to accommodate the most effective approach for each task at hand. You are welcome to visit if you are in the Pattison, TX area when he is available.
Terry only uses the finest materials in the construction of the instruments. He is always in search of beautiful woods suitable for instrument building. Terry believes dulcimers should be a balance of beauty. They should be beautiful to listen to but also beautiful to look at, to play, and to touch.
The most rewarding aspect for Terry in the building of mountain dulcimers has been in the meeting of so many wonderful people. It’s all about the journey….