The Dulcimer Building Class at the Northeastern Dulcimer Symposium is an opportunity to take the Bear Meadow Introductory Class while enjoying the company of a small convivial group of students of the dulcimer and other instruments, in the gorgeous deep woods and lakes of New York State's Adirondak region.

With Dwain's constant, quiet presence and ready support and guidance, I accomplished more that I ever thought possible.

Dwain is a highly gifted teacher who delights in the accomplishments of his students. His patience and support is endless, as is his depth of knowledge and level of skill – resources that he shares generously with his students. He is a truly inspiring teacher.

The class was challenging & fun! I came home with a beautiful instrument, having learned a tremendous amount about the art & craft of dulcimer building – and about what I am capable of achieving; invaluable lessons on many levels. — Eartha, 2011, Builder of # NDS-28-S NDS Standard Loon

Every year, late in June, the Norteast Dulcimer Symposium meets at Blue Mountain Lake for a week of good music, good food, unique music instruction and practice, fun jaunts into the surrounding wildeness, and lots of good company with convivial fellow musicians. A few years ago we added this Dulcimer Building Class to the curriculum, and it was an instant success. It is a unique opportunity to build a dulcimer. The class is held in the facilities of the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts, next to the Blue Mountain Lake Inn.

The NDS Dulcimer Building Class is a week-long, five meeting class which guides you through the building of a fine musical instrument. Although the class is a demanding one (we build a complete dulcimer in only five meetings!), musicians who are unfamiliar with hand tools often take the course as an opportunity to get acquainted with hand skills, as well as to provide themselves with a fine Appalachian dulcimer. With skillful guidance and their own determination, they invariably do beautifully.

The student is introduced to each skill necessary to complete the task of making an NDS Special Edition of the Student's Teardrop. The dulcimer built in the class is a fine instrument that sits in the collections of some of the foremost mountain dulcimer players.

Though the completion of this dulcimer is awaited by everyone, yet it is but the surface of the experience. During the students acquire a solid understanding of some of the fundamental arts of lutherie, and a confidence in dealing with hand tools, wood, and the occasional mishap -- successfully and rewardingly. In this course you will learn:

  • Judging and choosing tonewoods for their contribution to the voice of the finished instrument.
  • To use the primary tools of woodworking and lutherie to create a fine musical instrument.
  • How to apply a fine, attractive finish of high quality.
  • The secrets of creating an accurate fretboard which will allow an incredibly low action.
  • How to accurately set action, intonation and compensation.
  • How to install and dress wooden pegs to exacting standards.

Enrollment in the NDS Dulcimer Building Class is through the Northeastern Dulcimer Symposium. For more information, please go to the NDS website, or email the Director.

Bear Meadow
Dulcimer Building

Northeast Dulcimer Symposium