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Wow, 3D printed hybrids are now a real thing!

The latest hybrid designs were delivered to Aaron O'Rourke and Butch Ross. a few weeks and the initial feedback has been very positive. It seems that they have moved well beyond being an interesting curiosity and are viable for performance by the top artists. Aaron’s instrument is a steel string with a sitka spruce top, a bevel and a radiused fretboard. I am especially excited about Aaron’s interest in the hybrid since this is the first steel string I have built for him. He's even giving some thought to taking it along on his upcoming engagement in England. It seems the tone and the playability are just about perfect for him.

Butch’s new instrument is in response to a list of requests he generated for the “perfect“ instrument. He wanted a thin body, a bevel, radiused corners between the sides and the bottom and his signature two octaves plus one frets. I tried some tops that were more durable than Western Red Cedar, but ultimately decided that tone was more important than longevity. I got to hear him play it on a recent video he posted and it sounded pretty sweet. Aaron also had some nice things to say about it based on a brief trial. Butch wore the frets off the prototype in just two years so I expect to see much more of this new dulcimer that I am calling (at least until I find a better name) the Butch Ross Special. Initially, I had no plans to offer this design to the general public, but if it is well received in Black Mountain it may be added to the lineup.

Both these designs plus five additional steel and nylon string dulcimers will be available to sample at the Black Mountain Music Week in just over a month. Just over a month! I better get back to the shop!

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