About the infamous Blue Dulcimer
custom dulcimer is from Blue Lion Instruments(www.BlueLionInstruments.com) and is a heavily modified Force/d'Ossche' model. The top, back and sides are
of Flame (Fiddleback) Maple that has been dyed blue. The back of the
headstock is of the same material and color. The face of the headstock and
the fretboard overlay are of extra-dark rosewood. The insides of the
headstock and tailpiece are curved to enhance the sonic resonation
qualities. The dulcimer is also 1/8 " thinner (top to back) to allow me to
reach that long A and long C easier.
The headstock features
my custom dragon logo and a descending ray of light that is reminiscent of a
similar feature on one of Albert d'Ossche's own instruments. The back of the headstock has the laser-engraved Blue Lion logo. The head
stock shape is a personal design that I adapted from the shape of Line 6 Variax
headstocks. The tuners are speed tuners that require no winding around the
post, just set the length, tighten the knob in the back and the excess string is
snipped off immediately -- makes for superfast string changing. The
fretboard features a Tree of Life inlay from the third fret to the tenth
fret. The inlay material is a blue-shaded mother-of-pearl that matches the
Since I play standing up, I opted for the
fret dots to be placed on the side of the fretboard, like a guitar
The soundholes are a personal creation based upon the F-hole heart,
invented by Robert Force, used in the common Force/d'Ossche model.
I had an L.R. Baggs pickup installed, also.
the instrument is a placard that has my personal life statement:
not to master
all of the tides of the world.
But to do what is in us
for the succor of
wherein we are set.
Uprooting the evil in the
that we know,
So that those who come after
have clean earth to
-Return of the King
If you are interested to know more, drop me a line at
The rest of my gear...
I tend to use a wide variety of gear in my playing as I am fairly exploratory. But, when it comes to dulcimers I use a Force/d'Ossche' model dulcimer, from Blue Lion instruments, almost exclusively.
Before my Blue Dulcimer, my main instrument used to be a fairly plain FdO model built in 1991 (Ser#: 1412) and is a very special instrument to me. This particular dulcimer was built for Albert d'Ossche' just before he passed away and I was able to purchase it from Janita Baker at the Great Black Swamp Festival in April of 1992.
My dulcimer is a 6-string with doubled melody, mid, and bass strings. But, my bass strings are strung as an octave (d-D) like a 12-string guitar. I use gauges: .10 .10 / .12 .12 / .12 .24
I also have a second FdO dulcimer that was given to me by my sister, Minann, who found her Bonnie Carol fit her style much better.
For a few years before that, I played a custom Bonnie Carol hourglass made of Bird's Eye Maple that was my father's #1 dulcimer for years. After his passing, I took it over and used it exclusively until 1991.
Previous to that dulcimer, I played a wide variety of instruments, but primarily used a teardrop made by Peter Cooney or an hourglass made by Bill Berg.
Over the years I think I have used and been through about 10 different dulcimers until my style solidified and I settled on one particular dulcimer.
At home, I am an electronics junkie. I have an L.R. Baggs pickup installed in my FdO dulcimers and I usually come out of the pickup into my Lyon Crybaby Wah, then, into either a Zoom 606 acoustic stomp pedal or into a Roland GP-8 Effects rack, and then on into either an amp or directly into my computer and then out my stereo. For my live sound, I usually bypass the Wah and go into the Zoom 606, then to the TubeScreamer, then the Compressor/Sustainer, then the Tremolo, then mono into and stereo out of the Chorus/Ensemble. If the sound system is only a mono, I skip the Chorus and got right into the Paracoustic. On my computer, I use ProTools from www.digidesign.com as a complete home studio in my bedroom.
By the way, I also have two very big dogs, a home security system, and other various home protection devices. (For those less-than-honest people out there looking at this system and wondering where I live.)