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McSpadden Sweet Song or Sweetsong Kits

These kits were a popular way of buying a cheaper instrument from one of the best known and most reliable larger scale dulcimer makers.

1.44 – 1970s?  McSpadden Sweetsong Kit – 3 String Hourglass – £175 no case

Very early 70s or late 60s?  Printed label, “MOUNTAIN DULCIMER/ Made by Ralph L. Malozzi [h/w]”.  Walnut laminate body with McSpadden heart soundholes pointing to the tail.  Simple, solid walnut “elephant trunk” scroll and pegbox, with standard rosewood violin pegs, now replaced by open-geared guitar-style tuners with white plastic buttons.  Two-part walnut fingerboard with wideish frets including zero fret and original 6+ fret.  Originally a wooden nut and bridge, latter now replaced by buffalo horn, compensated bridge.  Three plain string anchor pins.  Rather close string placing, now adjusted to provide wider options.

Overall length 36”, upper bout 4¾”, lower bout 5⅞”, depth 1½”, FBW 1⅜”, VSL 28½” (long scale), weight 1lb 9oz (705g).  Original 6½ fret.  Strings now 0.011, 0.014, 0.022w.

In good condition with an attractive walnut appearance.  Not loud but quite a sweet sound.  Moderately high action.  Eminently suitable for dulcimer beginner and intermediate player alike.

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2.60 – 90s  McSpadden “Sweet Song” – 4 String Hourglass – £Sold

This is an hourglass M4 model, with a slightly smaller body than the standard M12 of the time, but larger than the Sweetsong kits of the 70s which were based on a narrow, traditional Kentucky instrument.  Top and back are made of good quality, attractive walnut laminate; sides seem to be solid walnut.  Flat modern-style headstock with good quality Gotoh mini-Schaller guitar tuners.  Two part hollow walnut fretboard with 6+ fret and micarta nut and bridge – as on factory McSpaddens of the time.  Typical McSpadden “squashed heart” soundholes.  Stainless mushroom-head pins for ball- and loop-end strings.

Overall length 36”, upper bout 5¼”, lower bout 6½” [vs normal McS 5⅝” and 7”], depth 1½” [vs normal McS 2”], FBW 1½”, VSL 28½” (long/medium scale).  6½ fret.

Bought from a shop in Eureka Springs, Arkansas and assembled by Scott Taylor.  Looks as though fingerboard was provided complete, fully fretted, with the rest comprising a good quality kit of part-finished components to be glued together.  As a result, this instrument has a few visible glue lines, but has been well assembled and is structurally very robust.  Matte, lightly oiled finish with a pleasant walnut grain.  It is in excellent, unmarked condition.  Sounds great, with perfect intonation, good volume and an attractive treble-led sound.  McSpadden design quality makes this worthwhile for beginners or more experienced players alike, especially at this price.

 

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