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1.49 – 1980s? Folkcraft 4 String Hourglass – £190 No case

Budget model with no label, hence probably a kit. Nicely proportioned body has solid walnut sides and (single-piece) back, with western red cedar top. Old style heart soundsholes, pointing to tail. Walnut single piece fingerboard continuous with shallow pegbox, added simple scroll. Hardwood (maple?) nut and bridge, copper pin strings anchors for loop or ball end strings. Small Kluson deluxe tuners with single string hole on capstan. Small soundports under tail and pegbox at each end of the good-sized body. New 6+ fret.  Overall length 36”, upper bout 5¾”, lower bout 6⅜”, depth 1¾“, FBW 1⅜“, VSL 26⅞” (medium scale). Complete with new 6½ fret. Currently fitted with light gauge 10/10, 14, 22w strings.

Sides have not been perfectly aligned with back in construction, but body is perfectly solid. Fingerboard also needed re-gluing each end. Action has been improved. Now sounding good and playing well.

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1.36 – 2000s? Folkcraft Solid Cherry Kit – 4 String Hourglass – £Sold

No label inside, but clearly a Folkcraft kit from all the design features. This particular dulcimer has been very well put together but was literally unfinished – i.e. it had no finish on the bare wood. It has now been fine-sanded and hand-rubbed with 2 coats of finishing oil which has brought out the beautiful rich colours of this largely cherry instrument.

Solid cherry sides and solid single piece cherry back with cherry elephant scroll headstock and fingerboard. Pearl marker on fret 3 only, but has 6+ and 13+ frets. A nice, evenly grained, probably redwood or possibly cedar top, with standard Folkcraft hearts pointing to the tail. Open-geared tuners, standard Folkcraft plastic nut and bridge; copper pins as anchors for both ball- and loop-ended strings (NB fitted a little closer to the bridge than ideal).  Very similar in shape to the Folkcraft FSH models, slightly narrower in the bouts and waist, but with deeper sides.

Overall length 37”, upper bout 5”, lower bout 6⅜”, depth 1¾”, FBW 1½”, VSL 26⅝” (short/medium scale), weight 2lb 0oz (919g). Complete with 6½ fret. Currently fitted with 10/10, 14, 23w strings.

Very neat gluing and construction, and now finished in a way which does the wood justice. Factory fretwork results in excellent intonation and playability. Use of solid wood in the classic combination of cherry and redwood means that it sounds very much like the factory-constructed FSH dulcimer, which retails for considerably more. A very good value entry or intermediate level instrument.

 

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