The Baby Grand is the young sibling of the Concert Grand, interpreted in the teardrop form, and built on a larger mold, similar in its leading dimensions to the Concert Grand. This larger form gives the Baby Grand a larger, more balanced voice in comparison with the standard Teardrop, with more volume and projection.
The Baby Grand is primarily designed as a baritone instrument, though it can be strung as a conventionally voiced instrument with excellent results. It is can also be used as a bowed instrument, as it is built with a slightly more elevated fretboard, and its bouts are narrow at the strum hollow, allowing the strings to be individually stopped with ease. The Baby Grand can be equipped with interchangeable straight saddle and bowing bridge.
The Baby Grand is available with an optional spruce top, as shown here, which gives a lot of "punch" to the instrument, or with the standard redwood top which results in a darker, richer, but somewhat less loud dulcimer.
Dwain Wilder, the successor to Walt Martin's Sunhearth dulcimers has designed and built another excellent instrument that brings a top-of-the-line shorter scale baritone dulcimer to the market place. The walnut and spruce combination makes a sound box that has excellent tonal qualities. The Bear Meadow "Baby Grand" looks gorgeous, sounds excellent and is a pleasure to play.
Here is a tour of the details of the Baby Grand construction:
Celtic endless knot rosette carved into the redwood top. This is a motif from the first page of "The Gospel of Matthew", Book of Kells, an ancient Irish Christian illustrated text. The Celts had a unique sense of the interpenetration of all life. This rosette is a six-fold endless knot, though it looks like linked circles. The red surround, interrupted with 3 miniature diamonds, is inlaid before carving begins. Each rosette is carved entirely by hand directly into the fully finished top, and takes six hours.
Hand-made purfling is inlaid into the top, accentuating the simple grace of the teardrop shape. This purfling is made in the Bear Meadow shop so it can be custom-designed to the proportions of the instrument, not governed by commercial purflings available.
Another view of the tail region, showing the small scroll at the tail heel, the jack plug for the acoustic pickup (a custom Fishman mounted under the saddle). At right, the pegs bring the strings down from the saddle in a nice angle, essential for clarity of tone and good volume.
Purfling knots are inlaid in the back tail region. This purfling material is also hand-made at Bear Meadow, of rare boxwood and veneering, using a unique process developed by Dwain Wilder. The purfling knot is also a design by Dwain, inspired by traditional Celtic patterns.
Purfling knots are repeated in the peghead heel, and carried around the periphery of the back. Note the exponential spacing of the miniature red diamonds interrupting the peripheral inlay pattern--a geometric representation of the exponential nature of musical pitch.
The Peghead area features a fully carved traditional scroll, as do all Bear Meadow instruments. The peghead in the Baby Grand incorporates the sensual central vein motif introduced with the Swan model. Also note the small gestural scroll at the base of the peghead heel.
A view from above of the peghead area, showing the string attachments, Peghed planetary pegs, and custom rosewood tuning machine handles. At right is shown where the vein begins to blend into the floor of the scroll as it revolves into the gestural scroll at the heel.
To listen to the Baby Grand go to the Music Selections Page.