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Lad Witcher Dulcimer Info?

Joe Offer 25 Jun 14 - 03:56 PM
Joe Offer 26 Jun 14 - 03:12 AM
Don Firth 26 Jun 14 - 01:33 PM
Joe Offer 27 Jun 14 - 02:29 AM
GUEST 27 Jun 14 - 08:37 PM
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Subject: Lad Witcher Dulcimer Info?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Jun 14 - 03:56 PM

I got this e-mail request today. Can anybody help? I think the request came from the Seattle area.
    I'm looking for info on a Lad Witcher dolcimer, signed and dated 1965. I have no idea where to go for a value. I also have 2 uks. Can u send me somewhere to get a value. Thank you, Lynn

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Subject: RE: Lad Witcher Dulcimer Info?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Jun 14 - 03:12 AM


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Subject: RE: Lad Witcher Dulcimer Info?
From: Don Firth
Date: 26 Jun 14 - 01:33 PM

I don't know about Ladd Witcher's dulcimers (didn't know that he had made any, but I lost track of his instrument making career many years ago), but I know he made a number of classical guitars back in the Sixties, and did some guitar repair work.

A small store called "The Guitar Workshop," run as a sort of hobby by two of Seattle's classic guitar enthusiasts, imported European-made guitars for a time that were very fine quality. Also, in addition to my essentially full time folk music activity, I was taking classic guitar lessons from one of the guys who ran the shop, Bob Flanary, who had studied with Aaron Shearer.

For a time, for some reason, Bob, and Bill James, the other partner in the shop, became enamored of Lad Witcher's first faltering guitar-making steps. I had a Jose Ramirez guitar at the time (the same kind of Ramirez that Segovia was using) and I wanted a second guitar as a "beater," a good usable guitar, but one that could be easily replaced if stolen or somebody tripped and spilled beer through the sound hole. They were very hot on selling me a Witcher, so I agreed to give one a try.

I must say it didn't look like that great a guitar. I don't know what kind of woods it was made from, but none of them looked like rosewood, mahogany, spruce, or red cedar. It sounded pretty good in the shop and in my bedroom, but when I used it for an evening at The Place Next Door, the coffee house in which I sang regularly, the sound seemed to go out about eight feet, hit a wall, and then drop to the floor. No real resonance or carrying power.

So I took it back to the Guitar Workshop and told them that it wouldn't do. They took it back without argument and sold me a Casa Fernandez, a student guitar made by one of Arcangel Fernandez' apprentices, Juan Alvarez, who went on to make some very good, high priced classics (Fernandez made flamenco guitars of Montoya, Sabicas……me……). The Casa Fernandez was my pack-around, workhorse guitar for many years. Still have it. (Suffering from GAS, I've been through a lot of guitars over the years—but I heard that Segovia owned seven Ramirez classics at one time, along with his old Hauser, and a Fleta!)

When Segovia gave a concert in Seattle, there was a reception for him at the home of one of the Seattle Classic Guitar Society members. Bill showed a Witcher guitar to Segovia, who played a few notes on it, then handed it back. He smiled and suggested that Witcher keep working at it, but by his expression you could tell that he wasn't impressed.

Also, Walt Robertson had some guitar repair work done by Lad Witcher, and he was most unhappy with it.

This doesn't give Ladd Witcher's instrument building very good marks, but this was back in the Sixties and he could have made great strides since them. So maybe I shouldn't be saying anything. And I know practically nothing about dulcimers.

Sorry. Not much help, I'm afraid. But I did know him briefly.

Don Firth

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Subject: RE: Lad Witcher Dulcimer Info?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Jun 14 - 02:29 AM

This thread was closed for a while, and I don't know why. I suspect it was due to my mistake. I got this personal message:

    Joe, the thread is marked "closed", but I did find a Jay Witcher instrument maker active in the 70s in California at the following address:

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Subject: RE: Lad Witcher Dulcimer Info?
Date: 27 Jun 14 - 08:37 PM

Go ask on

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