The big day is almost here! For several months I have been preparing three nylon string instruments for sound comparison tests with Aaron. There are three bodies and three soundboards that we will be mixing and matching to find the best combination(s) for future production and for Aaron's performance instrument. The bodies are myrtle, curly maple and claro walnut while the tops are Western Red Cedar, Port Orford Cedar and Sitka Spruce. In the photo you can see the fixtures (on the two left hand dulcimers) I use to clamp the soundboard to the body. These fixtures, along with the removable (bolt on) necks allow this type of testing to be done. On Wednesday, Aaron and I will make our best attempt at optimizing the matching of soundboard to body. Having been working on carving the braces of the soundboards for the past several days, I can tell you, we have our work cut out for us. Fortunately, they all sound fantastic, so in the end, we really can't make a bad decision. In the past three days, each soundboard has been my favorite- until I took a few more shavings off the other two.
Three nylon string dulcimers ready for testing