AARON O'ROURKE FINGERSTYLE DULCIMERS
Aaron O'Rourke has provided two sound files for his Fingerstyle Dulcimers. The first is of the prototype, which has a Sitka Spruce top and Sapele sides and back. You will note that the attack is greater and the instrument has what Aaron refers to (affectionately mind you) as a bit of a growl. The second file is of his current performance instrument which has a Port Orford Cedar top and Claro Walnut sides and back. Definitely no growl on this instrument. Just the sweetest blended chords you ever want to hear. Depending on the song he is playing, Aaron may have a favorite, but rest assured either sound is uniquely that of an Aaron O'Rourke Fingerstyle Dulcimer and is not likely to be confused with any other dulcimer on the market.
It's a wonder to see
If you are reading this, you probably already own at least one and quite possibly many steel string dulcimers. If you are seriously trying to branch out and improve your playing while adding to the sound profiles available to you, perhaps your next dulcimer should have nylon strings. This is not just my standard instrument with nylon strings stretched over it. This is a completely new and innovative approach designed from the ground up to incorporate the features and sound profile Aaron O’Rourke conceived in his head long before we met. My involvement was to take Aaron’s vision and make it a reality. Between us, we have come up with a dulcimer that can open many new doors for the creative musician. Conceived primarily as a fingerstyle instrument, it shows promise for flat picking as well. It's so new, that there just hasn't been time to explore all that it can enable the musician to accomplish. Aaron will be building an entire instructional curriculum to demonstrate the potential that nylon strings bring to the dulcimer.
If you want to be on the cutting edge of where the mountain dulcimer is headed, subscribe to my website (and Aaron's as well) and watch as more information becomes available. If you are seriously considering an instrument, I suggest you contact me so I can measure the demand and plan accordingly.
The instrument pictured below is Aaron's performance instrument. It is the result of hours of evaluation on a prototype that yielded much useful information.
Unlike my steel string dulcimers, the nylon string instruments use the top as the soundboard. In order to get past the limitations of a long neck/fretboard dampening the vibrations for most of the length of the soundboard, the neck/fretboard is elevated so that it does not contact the top at all. Now the entire soundboard is free to vibrate to produce the volume and tonal qualities we desired.
An asymmetrical bracing system, modified from advanced ukulele designs optimizes both the high and low frequencies.
Since the the nylon string dulcimer is constructed more like a member of the guitar family than a typical dulcimer, the materials used for the top, sides and back have a significant impact on the sound produced. Premium soundboard material from reclaimed old growth trees, boards and stumps are used for optimal sound quality. Sides and backs are made from superior tonewood that is used in fine guitars.
Check out the photos below for more of the unique features you will only find on a Stephens Lutherie, Aaron O'Rourke Fingerstyle Dulcimer and see the "Purchase" tab for the differences between the Signature and Pro Models.