I designed the Concert Grand to be magnificent, visually as well as musically. This instrument expresses everything I have learned about lutherie, the dulcimer's acoustic dynamics, and about the art of miniature precision woodworking.
The Concert Grand is the largest of the Bear Meadow line, and is capable of great volume and projection. It performs excellently as a baritone dulcimer, and as a conventional range instrument as well. It's low, accurate action, responsiveness, and carefully controlled sustain account, in part, for this dual capability.
Visually, the Concert Grand's most immediate feature is the Celtic endless knot motif in its four soundholes. This endless knot is a small detail from the ancient Book of Kells (the first page of the book of St. Matthew). On the left is shown a rosette in redwood. On the right is a rosette carved into the minor bout of a spruce top, with an overall diameter of about 1-3/4". And here is an article on creating the soundhole carving.
As in all Bear Meadow dulcimers, there are carved scrolls at the peghead and tail. It is one of your assurances that you are holding an instrument made at Bear Meadow. Click on the picture at right for an article on carving the peghead.
The top is finished with purfling, twin inlaid strips of black wood, which trim the top and adds a little flexibility to the tonewood right at its perimeter. We make the purfling here at Bear Meadow, so we can use the same woods as the top is made of in the center of the sandwich. That way, the purfling ages the same way as the top.
On the back is another showpiece, a purfling inlay of black veneer and boxwood which runs the edges, interrupted in an exponential pattern by tiny red diamonds, and then breaks into complex open knotwork at the tail and heel of the back. Notice the back is equipped with small "pumpkin seed" feet (a feature of a Bear Meadow instruments), which greatly aid in acoustic transfer from the back, when playing on a table top. Since the back has a very small amount of arch, these feet also help stabilize the instrument as it sits on a surface.
Finally, the Concert Grand is finished off with ebony string pins, and an ebony string bridle, which opens the voice up considerably by increasing the strings' break angle behind the saddle. These pins allow you to use either ball-end or loop-end strings.
Please understand that if you have a preference in figure or other matters regarding the materials, it will be taken into account. But the voice and the luthier's aesthetics will govern the final choice of all materials.
To listen to the Concert Grand go to the Music Selections Page.