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Dulcimer Antecedents

Ben Seymour, Luthier
2142 Coxe Rd., Tryon, NC 28782-7773
(828) 863-4384  kudzupatch@gmail.com
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Updated April 11, 2016

See Prices & Terms page for ordering information.

Scheitholt Epinette des Vosges Hummel Langeleik Monochord

The Scheitholt
The scheitholt was a German predecessor of the dulcimer.  Ben builds these instruments based on museum specimens and historical illustrations.  His Standard model is a plainer instrument; he also builds custom instruments such as the Mercer Museum ReproductionScheitholt (see second row, on the right).

Click on thumbnails for bigger image.
NOTE: These instruments all have been ordered by and sold to individuals unless otherwise indicated.

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Ben's first scheitholt. 
"It's too pretty for a real scheitholt!" said Ken Bloom.
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Custom scheitholt built for Greg Gunner (MI) in May 2004.  He said, "It's a beautiful instrument, and it sounds just great.  I couldn't be any happier with it than I already am.  Thanks again."



Ben built this standard model scheitholt for Walter Nelson.  It has walnut back and sides and a sycamore top.  Walter wrote about his new scheitholt: "Ben, got my instrument today--it is a work of art and sounds great too!!!!"

Mercer Museum Reproduction Scheitholt Ben built for Greg Gunner (MI) in June 2006, after an instrument in the Mercer Museum in Pennsylvania. Of this instrument, Greg said, "The replica of Mercer Museum scheitholt #13423 has arrived safe and sound.  It looks and sounds fantastic.  No longer is the scheitholt of the early Mennonites limited to a few museum specimens. The Mennonite craftsmen of the 18th and 19th centuries would be amazed that someone in the 21st century is producing such fine replicas of their work.  I can now sit and play the handful of Pennsylvania German hymns and secular tunes that I tabbed out while awaiting its construction. The scheitholt is alive and well.  Hopefully, others will see this scheitholt pictured on your website and order their own.  They won't be disappointed."
Hear Ben playing one of these scheitholts:

Walnut scheitholt

Walnut scheitholt side

Detail   Detail

Walnut scheitholt with hand-carved rosette, made for Francis Biggi, Dean of the Early Music Department, Haute Ecole de Musique, Geneva, Switzerland, who remarked, "It's a great instrument! and thank you very much!"

Listen to Ben play this instrument. (Click on it again after it gets started to get a larger screen.)

sycamore scheitholt

sycamore scheitholt

sycamore scheitholt

sycamore scheitholt   sycamore scheitholt

sycamore scheitholt
Alf Bashore's (PA) sycamore scheitholt. Alf said, "Scheitholt arrived Wed early afternoon. Beautiful, beautiful and sounds so full and lovely. It's looks so anciently new." Listen to Ben play it below.

Walnut scheitholt

Alf Bashore's (PA) walnut scheitholt.  

Stuckert scheitholt
Stuckert scheitholt
Stuckert scheitholt  Stuckert scheitholt  Stuckert scheitholt
A scroll-head scheitholt built from a photo. All cherry; set up for bowing.

Listen to Polska efter Verde Crik* played on a Kudzu Patch scheitholt
(* Ben Seymour, 2007)

The Epinette des Vosges
This precursor of the mountain dulcimer had its origins in the Vosges mountains of France.



This cherry epinette is enhanced with ebony overlays, and was built longer than a  historically accurate epinette to accommodate lower tuning preferred by the customer.

Figured olivewood epinette made for Lance Frodsham, made with a split fretboard, and has feet on the back for setting on a table to increase volume, and an access panel to the electronic plug-in.

Figured olivewood epinette Ben made for himself while he was making Lance's, also made with a split fretboard, and has feet on the back for setting on a table to increase volume.

The Hummel
The Hummel comes from Sweden and northern Germany and is also descended from the scheitholt.

Hummel top  Hummel back Hummel straight side  Hummel curved side
Hummel headstock   Hummel staple frets    Hummel bridge
Jameson Overton ordered this exquisite hummel. When he received it, he emailed Ben: "Looks like it came right out of the 1700s. Awesome job!"

The Langeleik
A dulcimer antecedent from Norway, the langeleik features several drone strings and vertical ebony frets on the first string.

Langeleik   Langeleik
Langeleik   Langeleik   Langeleik
Made entirely from sycamore except for the frets,
this langeleik has a VSL of 28 1/4".
Langeleik    Langeleik
Langeleik    Langeleik
With a VSL of 28 1/4", this langeleik is made completely ofmaple.
Frets, nut and saddle are ebony, with black Grover tuners.
Made for a customer in Pennsylvania. Here's a video of Ben playing it:

The Monochord
This instrument is a further step backward in the history of development of the dulcimer.  As the name implies, it has only one string, and is fretless.

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This monochord was a custom commission from a music instructor, John Michael Greer.  He wrote: "The monochord arrived yesterday afternoon.  What can I say? It's wonderful--a first-rate research tool and a fine musical instrument all in one. Beautiful tone, beautiful workmanship, and an exact fit to the details I needed. Many, many thanks for crafting this instrument of another age." 



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