Arthur D. Tyler Double-Bouted Plucked Dulcimer

Arthur D. Tyler Double-Bouted Plucked Dulcimer

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Description (Brief)

This double-bouted (hourglass shaped), plucked dulcimer was made by Arthur D. Tyler in Galloway, Prairie Township, Franklin County, Ohio in 1894. One of its three strings is fretted on sixteen frets. Six round soundholes are divided three and three on each side of the fretboard, at the top and bottom of the soundboard.

According to an article in the Sunday, March 27, 1955 Columbus Dispatch, in 1894, at the age of seventeen, Arthur Tyler made his first dulcimer, a copy of an instrument owned by his cousin, and called it a “dulcerine,” to distinguish it from the hammered dulcimer. Tyler stood to play it, setting it on a table and using a round stick as “noter” to fret his pitches with his left hand. He didn’t hear of another player or maker for nearly sixty years, but he continued to perform for his family and the community and to make “dulcerines,” varying the design each time. Collector Anne Grimes kept an audio-tape of Mr. Tyler in the reference materials of her dulcimer collection. For several years after Mrs. Grimes found him, Tyler was a featured participant in the Ohio Folklore Society Jamboree. Letters in Mrs. Grimes’ collection attest to the fact that after his death, his daughter wrote to her, asking for one of her father’s “dulcerines,” as he had broken the only one he had, shortly before his death. Mrs. Grimes obliged.

There is an index card taped to the back of the instrument with typed information that reads, "C 2 E double bouted, Smith E 46 105-106 [/] one of 3 string fretted on 16 frets, long shouldered pattern [/] abrupt humpt tuning head, white pine hickory and poplar with [/] tail-piece of cedar, made by Arthur D. Tyler, Galloway, [/] Franklin County, Ohio in 1894 when Tyler was 17 years old. [/] Tyler taped by Anne Grimes (see photos). He made 5 of the [/] instruments he called sulcerines in one year, modeled after [/] one belonging to an itinerant farm worker and peddler who [/] was originally from McArthur, Vinton County, Ohio. [/] For many years Tyler never yeard another dulcimer or any [/] other players, only saw a simila one in 1919 at the [/] Methodist Centenary Celebration held at the state fair [/] grounds as part of a mountain mission display. Although [/] no one could tell him anything about it or what it was [/] called. He continued to play it for enjoyment of family [/] and community. For several years after Anne Grimes found [/] him, Tyler was a featured participant in Ohio Folklore [/] Society Jamborees. This instrument was collected from [/] Warren Reed, Grove City, Ohio for whom Tyler made it [/] originally."

Currently not on view
Object Name
Tyler, Arthur D.
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
overall: 8 cm x 18 cm x 91.5 cm; 3 1/8 in x 7 1/16 in x 36 in
overall: 3 1/4 in x 7 7/16 in x 36 in; 8.255 cm x 18.89125 cm x 91.44 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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