I just bought a dulcimer which was signed by Larry McSpadden. I did a bit of research and found out he had a brother named Lynn who also manufactured them along with him. My question is I guess, is one of them better or are they basically the same. Also I would like to know if you could recommend a good maker of custom pieces which will not make me take out a loan, or inter into indentured servitude. Thanks in advance and keep strumin/pickin/stroking/whatever. Peace
Well, Lynn, the founder of McSpadden, is no longer with us but a McSpadden is a McSpadden is a McSpadden - there is little difference between them but, that said, that means they all sound great, have great action and are properly fretted -- basically, I usually suggest them to people looking for a great starter dulcimer that they will keep and play for many years -- As to custom makers, in my personal experience, if you can get JOhn STockard to make one, do so - Michael Rugg is another, Ben Seymour turns out a great dulcimer, Tom Fellenbaum, Ken Bloom, Jerry Rockwell, but, of course, it ain't that simple. You can not, and should not, buy a dulcimer just on maker reputation alone, but rather, on how it resonates with you, and that requires hands-on experience. I suggest going to a dulcimer festival, trying out all the dulcimers of the makers at the festival, and wait until you fall in love. Trust me - it will happen. The last three dulcimers I've bought (including my Simerman (also passed on) which is, in my opinion, a terrific dulcimer, and my John STockard) came along that way. I am a serial monogamist when it comes to dulcimers - I find one that I'm nuts about, play it, often for years, and then one day, another comes along and largely takes its place. Nor is price a good determinant - I've seen dulcimers priced in the thousands which just didn't burn my jets, and dulcimers which were in the $500 range that I dearly loved.
Hope this helps.....