Joe and Carol began building hammered dulcimers in 1999 and added bowed psalteries several years later. They both work at a local dairy, and after their workdays are finished they come home to their workshop and relax with some woodworking and music making. While instrument building is their hobby it has also become their shared passion.
Carol has been playing various instruments for over 30 years, the last 9 of which have focused mainly on the hammered dulcimer and bowed psaltery. Carol is part of "Pleasant Company," a group of friends who got together to play music and never stopped. Also included in the group are Carol's daughter Clarice (Bodhran, bowed psaltery, penny whistle and vocals), Carrie (flute) and Elizabeth (keyboard and vocals). Their favorite music to play is Irish, Celtic and Scottish tunes, while their repertoire also includes folk, classical, religious and a little jazz.
Joe has been working with wood since grade school days, when he learned from his father. Joe began with knickknacks, went on to furniture and now continues with instruments.
Joe and Carol usually have a number of bowed psalteries and several hammered dulcimers on hand, but are also more than happy to take custom orders. Every piece of lumber is hand selected by Joe to assure that only the highest quality lumber available is used. A variety of woods (mahogany, Spanish cedar, paduak, yellowheart, purpleheart, cherry, poplar, walnut, lacewood, bloodwood, etc.) are used for the soundboards of the psalteries; and mahogany is used for the hammered dulcimer soundboards. The pin blocks and sides of the psalteries are all constructed of hard maple (as are the pin blocks and struts in the hammered dulcimers) to assure an instrument that will last for a lifetime of playing and enjoyment. The backs are all made of poplar (an excellent instrument making wood), which gives all their instruments a similar sound; but you may notice slight differences in tone due to the soundboard wood. All their instruments are signed, dated and numbered; and their bowed psalteries all have a keyhole in the back for proudly displaying on your wall.
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