2.65 1977 Westminster – 4 String Hourglass – £Sold
Handcrafted by Marnie Barberi MacLean, Westminster Dulcimers, Westminster West, Vermont. Rare high end instrument from a small, craft maker.
On hand-designed, pasted-in label, “Westminster Dulcimer/ Made in Westminster West, Vt/ R.F.D.3, Putney, Vt [?]/ July 1977 [?]”.
Attractive solid birdseye maple single piece back and sides with spruce top. The narrow scroll (with central hole) and pegbox is curly maple and the hollow fingerboard looks like beech – but could also be maple. The four soundholes are made up of a simple four-hole pattern – rather like a Blue Lion. The strum hollow has a large slot in it, acting as another soundhole for the body. Original bone bridge and nut. The original plastic friction pegs (shown in two of the photos below) were no longer holding and have been replaced with gold open-geared tuners with black buttons.
Overall length 39”, upper bout 6¼”, lower bout 6¾”, depth 2⅛”, FBW 1¼”, VSL 30” (very long scale), weight 1lb 15oz (887g). New 6½ fret. Fitted with a set of light (10/10, 14, 20w) strings , but action could take much heavier strings if you wanted more volume.
I have a later Westminster dulcimer for my personal use, which is very similar in shape and sound. I can confirm that this is a good quality dulcimer which has obviously served its owner well because it has been intensively used. The original blond wood has aged to a honey colour and the spruce top shows signs of pick wear on the nearside (now re-finished and sealed but still clearly visible). It has a full, rounded sound, an easy, low action and good responsiveness, but should really be considered only by those with medium or large hands because of its scale length.
Click on the thumbnails below to enlarge each photo: