Joe Baird escaped the rat race of the city in the early 70s and moved to the Ozark Mountains, where he soon fell in love with the dulcimer. He was captivated by the McSpadden stall at a local craft fair and purchased one of their kits, assembled it and learnt to play. By 1982 he was building dulcimers full time, at first around 300 per year sold through local shops, later directly as the Baird Mt Dulcimer Co., but also through the craft fair circuit which he toured for 7 months of the year. He later sold Baird and began to build under the name Elk River. By the late 90s he had made over 3000 dulcimers, all of good quality and most from local Ozark hardwoods.
This instrument has a one piece walnut back and sides with bookmatched walnut (?) top. The soundholes are a star and an eagle, set only on the far side of the instrument. The hollow walnut fingerboard has no markers and the pegbox tapers into a short open-curled scroll; open Grover machine heads; bone nut and wooden floating bridge – now replaced with an ebony compensated one for DAD playing; angular strum hollow and string anchor pins. The dulcimer has struts on back and top, some angled, for strength and tone – more like a guitar. Overall length 36”, upper bout 5¾”, lower bout 6¾”, depth 2¼”, FBW 1½”, VSL 26⅞” (medium scale), weight 2lb 4oz (1012g).
This is a neat and attractive dulcimer in the modern style, suitable for players of all abilities. Intonation is satisfactory with the replacement bridge. It has fair projection and a nice sound, yet is straightforward to play.