Welcome to the new face of Stephens Lutherie. So much has changed in the past two years that a new motto seemed appropriate. I have adopted " Instruments Of Change" because it fits what's happening on so many levels.
As always, the instruments I produce are innovative and offer an alternative to traditional design and production. I am fortunate to have the input of two of the most accomplished dulcimer players on the planet. Aaron O'Rourke consults on nylon string development while Butch Ross lends his expertise to steel string advancements. Their feedback and ideas drive the progress we have achieved. With their help I strive to put uniquely expressive instruments into the hands of artists who, in turn, become "Instruments Of Change" from a musical perspective.
I have spent most of the past three years exploring the potential of new technologies to produce superior instruments that have minimal impact on our struggling planet. That has been the impetus behind my development of 3D printed/wood hybrid dulcimers, where most of the materials are biodegradable plastic derived from corn. These are not plastic toy dulcimers, but high quality, fully capable instruments that are similar to my wood instruments in terms of both acoustics and playability. Because 3D printing technology can significantly reduce manufacturing time, the cost of these dulcimers can be substantially less so that more musicians can have access to the unique sound of a Stephens Lutherie dulcimer. I have committed many thousands of hours and dollars to the development of 3D printed dulcimers and the custom printers required to produce them, in the hope that it will encourage other luthiers to take up the challenge of lessening the impact our profession has on the earth. My wish is that my instruments will become "Instruments of Change" for the industry.
I am very fortunate to be able to spend time and resources in the building of instruments without the need to support myself from the endeavor. For that reason, I have decided that I will not be charging for my 3D printed dulcimers. Instead, I will ask those interested in owning one to make a charitable contribution in a specified amount. Details on approved charities a will be posted shortly. So again, my instruments have the opportunity to be "Instruments Of Change".