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About the infamous Blue Dulcimer

This custom dulcimer is from Blue Lion Instruments( 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 instrument well.

Since I play standing up, I opted for the fret dots to be placed on the side of the fretboard, like a guitar neck.

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.

Inside the instrument is a placard that has my personal life statement:

Ours is not to master
  all of the tides of the world.
But to do what is in us
for the succor of those years
  wherein we are set.
Uprooting the evil in the fields
  that we know,
So that those who come after
  may have clean earth to till.

                   Gandalf the White
                   -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 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.)