Doug Berch

Dulcimer Maker And Musician

cropped Dulcimer Builders and Makers 1 23

Month: March 2014

Music I’d Like To Hear #72

Hurdy Gurdy Player - Eastern Europe



What’s On The Bench – 03/20/2014

The first day of Spring has arrived here with light snow flurries, brown grass peaking through melting snow, and an overcast sky that shows promise of letting a little sunlight poke through.

My body continues to heal and I am spending more time in the happy little corner of the world I call my shop.

I’m currently working on some custom orders. I’m also sorting wood for a run of dulcimers to have on hand for sale. The downtime while recovering from back issues and surgery has left me with few dulcimers to have readily available and I am hoping to have more available soon. Custom and advance orders always receive priority in the queue so please let me know if you are interested.

On the bench are sides in figured and colorful walnut for one of the custom dulcimers I’m working on.

Dulcimer sides freshly bent in walnut

I took this photograph as I was preparing to saw the sides to proper length. Between the sides is a 2″ machinists square that I will use to layout the saw lines on the sides. The small bench hook will help me keep the sides in place while making the saw cuts.

Still on the bench is the spray bottle I use for misting the sides while bending. I use distilled water when bending sides to avoid staining the wood. Minerals found in water can stain the sides, especially when heat is applied, and using distilled water solves this problem. 

Also on the bench are some hold fasts and the ubiquitous mallet that keep many things clamped and held in place.

Some friends have suggested i hire some help or take on apprentices in order to increase production. It seemed like a good idea so when these two guys applied for the positions I thought I’d give it a whirl.

Apprentices out of control!

It did not turn out well.

Time to get back to work!


Music I’d Like To Hear #71

Music I'd Like To Hear #71




Shaping Up A Dulcimer Shape

Several years ago I spent weeks fiddling with the shape of my standard model dulcimer. After thinking I had finalized the shape I built several prototypes and again made some changes to the outline; some based on looks, some based on acoustics. I was very happy with the results.

During the months I was unable to work at the bench I spent a lot of time contemplating dulcimer designs and methods of construction. Passion is rarely static. 

Sometimes the process of bending the sides produced subtle variations in the outline of the dulcimer that seemed a little more natural than what I had originally drawn on paper.

I decided to incorporate the results of some of these subtle variations into the outline of my dulcimers, though I may be the only one who notices them! 

Shaping up a dulcimer shape

I have softened the curve leading from the waist to the upper bout and slightly increased the recurve near the tail. 

Let me out of here!

 Passion is rarely static.


Doug Berch & Dulcimer Makers

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