Shenandoah Valley Sheitholt
After examining and measuring a number of Shenandoah Valley instruments, I have produced several instruments that are a good, workable, recreation of this 18th century forerunner of the fretted dulcimer. They have a clear, sweet sound. Since they share many features with the Flemish hommel, I have set up a few with the hommel-style split fretboard which adds chromatics to the diatonic setup.
Watch a video of Paul Oorts playing one of my Scheitholts.
See Prices & Ordering if interested in purchasing.
Tambour de Béarn
Tambour de Béarn is a descendant of the earliest form of the hammered dulcimer, a string drum which could provide two notes.
After taking up playing the Provençal galoubet (tabor pipe) and tambourin (drum), I was intrigued by the neighboring tradition in Béarn, where the one-handed flute is accompanied by a simple form of the hammered dulcimer, an unusual string drum.
Played with a three-hole one-hand pipe, like a tabor pipe, it seemed like a cute little thing to add to the list.
I created one for myself, modeled after the traditional style and have been asked to produce them for a few other folks. The usual Béarnaise tambour is built heavy and hit hard, and often tuned C/g/C/g/C/g. I've lightened the box and made the tuning A/A/A/e/e/e/, so players can shift the drone. Set up with a pickup and amplified, you can almost stir stew with the bass notes. It works well with the Susato low-A tabor pipe, and is pleasant behind French cornemuse or Scottish small pipes.
The A strings are heat-shrink tubing wrapped Aquila overspun nylon strings. The E strings are army surplus field telephone wire. Yes, you read that correctly. Field telephone wire was made of several strands of copper and several strands of high-strength steel wire embedded in thick, durable plastic. It works.