A new Aaron O'Rourke Fingerstyle Dulcimer is born!
The first production Aaron O’Rourke Fingerstyle Dulcimer has been in Aaron’s hands for over a month now and he has verified some thoughts that I had after my brief experience with it. It is a truly wonderful instrument and Aaron says it continues to improve as it “opens up”. I mentioned to Aaron that I was surprised at how much the back of the instrument affected the sound and expressed some concern that for those of us who play with the dulcimer flat in our laps, some of that sound would be lost due to the back being dampened by our legs. After spending some time with the instrument Aaron concurred and the search for a solution began. A quick layout drawing on my computer confirmed that the problem could be solved easier than we we had originally realized. By combining some of the design elements from my Standard Steel String design with elements from the Fingerstyle design, we now have a new creation that will overcome the loss of tone for lap players. This has led to two distinct models of the Aaron O’Rourke Fingerstyle Dulcimer.
The Signature Model is for the musician who plays with the dulcimer flat in their lap. The sound chamber and acoustic elements are identical to the Pro Model. In order to prevent the players lap from dampening the contribution the back adds to the voice, there is a double bottom on the dulcimer (similar to my Steel String Dulcimers). So what would be the back of the Pro Model is hidden inside the outer back and is therefore free to vibrate in a similar fashion to the Pro Model. The height of the body is 2.75”, which just happens to be the height of my steel string dulcimers (well to be truthful, there are some good production reasons to keep them the same). The fretboard will be flat and the frets will be standard nickel-silver dulcimer frets. To be able to offer the Signature Model at a more economical price point, the bindings have been left off, but the dulcimer still has the protection of the solid hardwood end blocks where much of the handling damage tends to occur.
The Pro Model is aimed at musicians who play with the instrument on edge, as Aaron does. It will incorporate all of the features of Aaron’s instrument including the bevel to reduce arm and shoulder strain, the radiused fretboard and the larger EVO gold frets that Aaron prefers. The body will have bindings on the top and bottom. All of these feature are offered at an up-charge that is less than most custom guitar builders charge for a bevel.
There is additional information under the “Purchase” tab on my website including pricing. Feature details can be found under the “Aaron O’Rourke Fingerstyle Dulcimers” tab. If you are interested in purchasing either model of the Fingerstyle Dulcimer, drop me a note so I can add you to the wait list. There are a few spots left on the first build, which is starting now.