1.80 Recent (2015?) Red Kite 4 String 3 Course Hourglass £Sold
Printed label: “Bird Rock Dulcimers/ ‘The Red Kite’/ Handmade in the Ozark Mountains/ USA/ [sgnd] Chas Mark Janice”.
An example of the good quality, entry-level dulcimers imported by Robin Clark of Bird Rock Dulcimers from Arkansas. The Hagen Family have a workshop producing identical dulcimers under the brand names Cedar Creek and O’Brien in the USA. This has a solid wood walnut body, bookmatched on both sides and back, and possibly a butternut top. It has the standard – but attractive – red kite soundholes with vine tendrils, a walnut single piece fingerboard (not routed underneath), walnut pegbox and scroll. “Nut” and bridge are composite, with a zero fret, 6+ and 13+ frets. Closed gear tuners and strap buttons each end.
Overall length 35″, upper bout 6⅜”, lower bout 7⅝”, depth 2¼”, FBW 1¾”, VSL 27¾” (medium), weight 2lb 6oz (1092g), strings (original?) 11/11, 16, 26w. 6+ and 13+ frets.
This has some hardly noticeable pick wear, but is otherwise in excellent original condition. It has a good balanced sound, reasonable sustain and clarity, and decent volume. These are really good introductory instruments.
1.38 2010 O’Brien 4 String Hourglass –– £Sold
Solid walnut sides, back and top, and attractive vine and hummingbird soundhole design. Walnut headstock with elephant trunk scroll, covered nickel plated guitar tuners; broad fingerboard with straightforward action and 6+ fret; composite bridge and nut; small mushroom-headed pins for string anchors.
Overall length 35”, upper bout 6¼”, lower bout 7¾”, depth 2¼”, FBW 1⅝”, weight 2lb 8oz (1129g), VSL 27¾” (medium scale). Original 6½ fret.
“T K O’Brien’s/Handcrafted Folk Instruments/ 3/10” stamped inside back, with date handwritten. Brand new and unmarked except for one small ding on side of scroll. Original strings 10/10, 12, 25w nickel. As always, attractive design and wood grain with accessible and easy sound make this an ideal instrument for the beginner/improver.
1.58 Early 2000s? O’Brien 4 String Hourglass – £Sold
This is a decent quality instrument from the Ozark Mountains, Missouri, produced by the same family concern (the Hagens) that builds the Cedar Creek range in the US and the Red Kite, sold in the UK by Bird Rock Dulcimers.
Stamped “O’Brien’s/ Handcrafted Folk Instruments”, no date. Solid walnut sides and bookmatched back, lovely flecked quarter sawn sycamore/American plane top with neat bluebird and flower soundhole and pyrograph pattern on both sides LB and farside UB. Walnut fingerboard with 6+ and 13+ fret. Composite nut and bridge with zero fret. Hooked “scroll” and routed pegbox with standard sealed unit guitar type tuners. 3 pins for string anchors. Body is in excellent condition, but instrument has been stored somewhere damp and tuner buttons have some light tarnishing.
Overall length 34¾”, upper bout 6¼”, lower bout 7¾”, depth 2¼”, FBW 1⅝”, VSL 27⅝” (medium scale), weight approx. 2lb 8oz (1129g), strings now 10/10, 14, 23w. Original 6+ fret.
An attractive design and an all-solid wood body, together with a well balanced sound, make this an excellent and affordable instrument for the beginner/improver.