"Wasp Waisted" Plucked Dulcimer

"Wasp Waisted" Plucked Dulcimer

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Description (Brief)
This “wasp-waisted” plucked dulcimer has an unknown maker, date, and place of origin. The tuning head resembles some found in Tennessee, and since collector Anne Grimes acquired several instruments from the antique dealer Mr. W. Breedlove, known as “Unaka Bill,” who collected instruments in the areas of eastern Tennessee and western Virginia to sell to antique dealers and collectors of musical instruments, it may have come from that area. Although it has no indication of age, Mrs. Grimes believed it was made before 1940, and was possibly raised to one’s shoulder and pointed down when played. Two of its three strings are fretted on sixteen frets, and the fingerboard is in three pieces. Made perhaps of walnut, with the fretboard painted black, it has a “bishop’s nose” carved at the tailpiece.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
overall: 8.5 cm x 20.5 cm x 79 cm; 3 3/8 in x 8 1/16 in x 31 1/8 in
overall: 3 5/8 in x 7 7/8 in x 30 3/4 in; 9.2075 cm x 20.0025 cm x 78.105 cm
ID Number
accession number
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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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