Single-Bouted Plucked Walnut Dulcimer

Single-Bouted Plucked Walnut Dulcimer

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Description (Brief)

This single-bouted, plucked dulcimer made of walnut has an unknown maker and date, but it was collected and possibly made in Ohio. This four-stringed instrument has a wide, hollow fret-board and a three-tiered, rounded tail-piece. Four soundholes are divided, two larger ones on the lower soundboard and two smaller ones nearer the top; and two others are carved into each end of the hollow fret-board. Modern cello pegs replace the original, horizontal hand-forged iron tuning pins. There are unexplained tiny nailholes in the fingerboard.

There is a typed index card taped to the back of the instrument that reads, "C 11, single bout, Smith D36 p. 64, 4 of 4 strings, 12 frets, [/] made of walnut, very old and of unusually large size, and [/] rare construction, the scroll, neck and the fretted finger [/] board are of one piece of walnut, when found in Middletown, [/] Butler County, Ohio the original tuning pegs were of hammered [/] iron and frets of fence wire. Both have been replaced for [/] better tuning and playing. 3 major keys and 3 minor keys [/] are made possible by means of cross fretting. with wooden [/] "hoter"-or finger-fretted."

Currently not on view
Object Name
place made
United States
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
overall: 9 cm x 21 cm x 100.5 cm; 3 9/16 in x 8 1/4 in x 39 9/16 in
overall: 3 5/8 in x 8 1/4 in x 39 7/8 in; 9.2075 cm x 20.955 cm x 101.2825 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
collector/donor number
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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