Doug Berch

Dulcimer Maker And Musician

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Month: March 2011 Page 1 of 2

Dulcimers Xylophones and Door harps Oh My

Hammered Dulcimers, Xylophones and Door-Harps, Oh My!


Hammered Dulcimers, Xylophones and Door-Harps, Oh My!

New York Daily Tribune - September 25, 1909


Manufacturer of


And Door-Harps.

Stage Novelties Made To Order

Instruments Bought and Exchanged

Artistic Repairing Done

Strings For All Instruments

Instruction given on English Concertina and Dulcimer

Instruments and Instruction Books for sale


From -The New York Daily Tribune – Saturday, September 25, 1909



Sorting Wood For The Next Batch of Dulcimers

And so it begins.

Well, it began a while ago with wood from the attic, clouds of sawdust at the bandsaw in the garage and now sorting tops, backs and sides for the next several dulcimers.

Sorting wood for dulcimers yet to be born

Not seen in the photo are several sets of walnut and maple scattered about the floor.

The long boards were part of a gift from a friend. He showed up one day with a bunch of boards he bought 30 years ago. What a gift! One of the boards pictured looks to be sapele, the identity of the other is still a mystery. It might be curly ash. The feel and weight of it are nice and I think it would make nice backs and sides, whatever it may be.


The Laughing Policeman (Charles Penrose – Recorded 1922)

This doesn’t have much to do with anything other than I like it and hey, its my blog!


[audio:|titles=Charles Penrose-The Laughing Policeman – 1922]

The Laughing Policeman, recorded by Charles Penrose in 1922. (Wikipedia)

As stated in the above article the song was presumably composed by Charles Penrose’s wife but the music and laughing chorus was clearly “borrowed” from an earlier composition by George. W. Johnson. I was able to track down a recording of Mr. Johnson’s original version but since it contains references to the blatant racism that infected so much of the period’s popular culture I won’t post it.

I love this song!  When I am in the mood for it, or when I need it for an attitude adjustment I can play it over and over.

I usually wait till my wife isn’t around. She thought it was funny the first time…..



Imagine My Surprise

This is a strange one.

Last night  for no particular reason I searched for ‘dulcimer” on Ebay. Imagine my surprise when I saw a photograph of myself as an illustration for a “product” I have nothing to do with.

Imagine My Surprise

There I was, visually associated with a CD that would hypnotize you and give you subliminal suggestions to make you a dulcimer player. Really. I am not making this up!

For the record, I have NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS!

I was amused that the advertisement began with a stern warning that these folks owned the copyright on their CDs and would prosecute anyone copying their product. They did not seem to extrapolate from this concern that perhaps they should not use my photograph without my permission.

I wrote to these folks telling them that I have nothing to do with their product and that I do not want them using my photograph. I also let them know that they were in violation of my copyright on the photograph.

They did reply and I was told they were sorry for the “accident.” Accident? Did someone trip and accidentally fall on a keyboard causing a search, cut and paste of a photograph on my website? Well, stranger things have happened.

They said they would remove my photograph and indeed they have. There is now a photograph of a dulcimer and hammered dulcimer no doubt taken from someone else’s page.

In over 30 years of playing the dulcimer and hammered dulcimer I have never felt the need for using hypnosis and subliminal messages to enable me to be a player. Devotion, immersion, dedication and perhaps obsession came in handy as did a lot of study and practice.

As for subliminal messages, my general opinion is that if I can not  hear the  words being spoken, then they are probably not telling me anything.

And if it does work I would be very leery of using such a product. For all I know the messages could really be saying, “Every time someone honks their car horn you will have a sudden urge to evacuate your bowels.”

Hazrat inayat Khan

The Intoxication Of Music – Hazrat Inayat Khan

Hazrat Inayat Khan

“According to the thinkers of the East, there are five different intoxications: of beauty, youth and strength; then the intoxication of wealth; the third is power, command, the power of ruling; and there is the fourth intoxication, which is the intoxication of learning, of knowledge.

But all these four intoxications fade away just like stars before the sun in the presence of the intoxication of music. The reason is that it touches that deepest part of man’s being.

Music reaches farther than any other impression from the external world can reach. And the beauty of music is that it is both the source of creation and the means of absorbing it.

In other words, by music was the world created, and by music it is withdrawn again into the source which has created it.”

– Hazrat Inayat Khan


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Doug Berch & Dulcimer Makers

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