Wade Martin Appalachian Dulcimer

Wade Martin Appalachian Dulcimer

<< >>
Usage conditions apply

This Appalachian dulcimer was made by Wade Martin in Swannanoa, North Carolina, undetermined date. It is a single-bout dulcimer made of sumac wood, with a wood nut and bridge, 15 metal frets, 2 stylized diamond-shaped sound holes, carved out pegbox with 4 wooden friction tuning pegs, and a violin-like head.

Marcus Martin was one of the Smokey Mountains’ best-known fiddlers and a traditional fiddle maker. His son, Wade, a professional baseball player, apprenticed with his father, also became a noted instrument maker. Collector Anne Grimes considered their instruments among the best. This was Grimes’ first dulcimer and her performance instrument for many years.

Anne Grimes (1912-2004) was an American journalist, musician, and historian of American (particularly Midwestern) folklore. Grimes studied voice and piano at Ohio Wesleyan and initiated graduate studies at Ohio State University. Following her education, Grimes was a music teacher, music and dance critic, and radio host. After WWII, Grimes began collecting and documenting folk songs throughout Ohio, as well as collecting Appalachian dulcimers and zithers. She would continue this work, performing, recording, and lecturing on instruments from her collection throughout the rest of her career.

Currently not on view
Object Name
Martin, Wade
place made
United States: North Carolina, Swannanoa
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
overall: 2 5/8 in x 6 in x 31 1/2 in; 6.6675 cm x 15.24 cm x 80.01 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object