By Eric Turkel
This publication offers you an realizing of acoustic tools and voices that would dramatically increase your wisdom of sound creation and arranging.
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No doubt the guitar, mandolin, banjo, and fiddle had slowly supplanted the dulcimer among most Appalachian families. Then too, radio and recording artists of that time rarely performed on the dulcimer. As a result, in Homer's youth the dulcimer usually was to be found only in folk schools, museums, and the like, or occasionally in the possession of a family-such as the Ritchies-who tenaciously cherished the little instrument. Maud Karpele's statement typifies the situation: "The dulcimer ... // 24 There seems to be some support for the claim that the dulcimer was principally of Kentucky provenance; if true, this would help to explain its near-disappearance outside Kentucky, certainly by the time Homer came along.
After his three-month stay at the John C. Campbell Folk School, Homer returned home, where he made and shipped the eight dulcimers ordered at the school. Naturally, he related his school experiences to his family and was delighted to hear, in turn, his grandmother relate her youthful memories of dulcimers: "She told me stories about people who used to have them and play them; she knew a lot about them; several of her stories dealt with two troubadors who had dulcimers and who used to travel through our area playing for their keep, but none of my family ever owned any instruments other than guitars ....
Only rarely can or will he accept an order for another kind of instrument, so in demand are his dulcimers. To date Homer has constructed approximately 4,792 dulcimers; 18 ukuleles (he no longer makes these), 375 banjos-both the fretless "mountain" banjo and a "professional" model (fig. 5); 15 guitars (which he no longer makes, fig. 6); 9 mandolins (fig. 4); and 3 fiddles (he has never constructed a fiddle for sale) . He has also made a few teardrop-shaped dulcimers and double sweetheart dulcimers (fig.