House of Musical Traditions began in 1972 when David Eisner purchased the remaining inventory of Hank Levin's "Musical Traditions" lap dulcimer shop in NYC, and Eisner slowly added more instrument and product lines to create the full-line HMT music store over the years. Hank built Musical Traditions company dulcimers in the 1960's, and we still sell them on a used basis from time to time. Hank built dulcimers for Jean Ritchie and authored the chapter on dulcimer building in her famous "Dulcimer Book."
To commemorate HMT's 45th year in business (2017), David commissioned Carl Gotzmer of June Apple Dulcimers to create a 45th Anniversary dulcimer based off the original Musical Traditions designs. Carl was one of the original builders that worked with Hank Levin, and he had the original Musical Traditions dulcimer plans on file. We are pleased to offer this limited edition run for sale, with Hank Levin's blessing (he is currently living in California).
They are available in either cherry, or walnut with a cedar top. Priced at $450 for either model dulcimer, which includes a soft padded case. As each dulcimer is handmade, wood patterns may vary from what is pictured.
All dulcimers are hourglass shape with heart soundholes. They have scalloped fretboards, so that a rope capo can be placed at key points along the instrument. They have planetary tuners, and a 0th fret to improve the action at the top of the instrument. To improve resonance, the bridge is not glued down, so it might move slightly when changing strings.
The original Musical Traditions dulcimers did not have scalloped fretboards or the 0th frets, and they had friction tuners instead of planetary geared tuners. Originally, Hank built 3-string dulcimers and then added the double 4th string later, but did not widen the fingerboard. These anniversary dulcimers are built with a wider fingerboard to improve playability as a 4-string instrument. The fretboard and tuner upgrades will also give an overall improved dulcimer while still paying homage to the original Musical Traditions design.
The cherry dulcimers are all solid cherry wood, including the fretboard. Top is bookfaced to be symmetrical; back is one piece. The walnut dulcimers have a solid cedar top, and solid bookfaced black walnut back & sides.
The dulcimers are individually labeled and signed.