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Anyone Know this Dulcimer Maker?

jeffp 22 Jul 03 - 03:37 PM
Pinetop Slim 22 Jul 03 - 05:58 PM
artbrooks 22 Jul 03 - 07:41 PM
jeffp 23 Jul 03 - 03:04 PM
GUEST 04 May 15 - 07:53 PM
GUEST 04 May 15 - 07:55 PM
maeve 05 May 15 - 12:05 PM
GUEST,RC 03 Jan 17 - 12:15 PM
GUEST 03 Jan 17 - 02:01 PM
GUEST,Maeve 03 Jan 17 - 02:04 PM
GUEST,keberoxu 03 Jan 17 - 02:27 PM
GUEST 03 Jan 17 - 03:57 PM
GUEST,Maeve 03 Jan 17 - 04:44 PM
GUEST,David Maxwell 29 May 17 - 02:19 PM
GUEST,GABBY 29 May 17 - 10:54 PM
leeneia 29 May 17 - 10:56 PM
GUEST,Ann Ragan 01 Sep 19 - 11:37 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Sep 19 - 11:42 AM
GUEST,Chris Lonergan 27 Nov 19 - 07:47 AM
GUEST 28 Nov 19 - 01:08 AM
GUEST,Julian Corish 01 Feb 20 - 01:33 PM
leeneia 01 Feb 20 - 02:35 PM
GUEST 18 Apr 20 - 02:30 PM
GUEST 19 Apr 20 - 04:33 AM
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Subject: Anyone Know this Dulcimer Maker?
From: jeffp
Date: 22 Jul 03 - 03:37 PM

I have a lap dulcimer which, according to the label inside was handmade by John Maxwell of Cookeville, Tennessee at the Upper Cumberland Craft Center. It is a pretty thing, 4 strings, figure-8 shaped. It has f-holes on the lower bouts, diamond-shaped holes on the upper bouts and a circular hole surrounded by very small circular holes partway down the fretboard. It has friction pegs of what appears to be maple (the body is a darker wood, I'm not sure what).

Does anyone know of this dulcimer maker? Is he still alive and building? A Google search has turned up nothing of use so far, but I found the website for a band one member of which has a Maxwell dulcimer that his parents traded a few cans of paint for. I've emailed him to see if he has any more info and to let him know that there are at least one other Maxwell dulcimer at large.

Any information would be greatly appreciated.

jeffp


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Subject: RE: Anyone Know this Dulcimer Maker?
From: Pinetop Slim
Date: 22 Jul 03 - 05:58 PM

Google search turned up some sites related to the craft center, which is apparently a project of Tennessee Tech. Univ. (To get to the Craft Center from Cookeville, take Interstate 40 to Exit 273, turn south toward Smithville on Highway 56 and take a left immediately after crossing Hurricane Bridge. For more information, call the Craft Center at 372-3051.) If you poke around there, you might find an e-dress that could lead to info. on Maxwell. Good luck!


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Subject: RE: Anyone Know this Dulcimer Maker?
From: artbrooks
Date: 22 Jul 03 - 07:41 PM

Not unlikely that the maker was a student who made it as a project.


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Subject: RE: Anyone Know this Dulcimer Maker?
From: jeffp
Date: 23 Jul 03 - 03:04 PM

Thanks, guys. I had suspected that the Tenn. Tech center was the current incarnation. When I get a chance I might contact them to see if they have any information.


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Subject: RE: Anyone Know this Dulcimer Maker?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 May 15 - 07:53 PM

Yes John Maxwell is his name and was my uncle. He loved in cookville Tennessee. He is deceased now. (Pat Maxwell)


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Subject: RE: Anyone Know this Dulcimer Maker?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 May 15 - 07:55 PM

sorry for the typo, lived not loved, sorry. His brother, my dad, is still living and lives in Michigan. He has one of those beautiful dulcimers. (Pat Maxwell)


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Subject: RE: Anyone Know this Dulcimer Maker?
From: maeve
Date: 05 May 15 - 12:05 PM

Dear Guest, Pat Maxwell,
Thanks for stopping in to leave some information bout your uncle John Maxwell. I'll leave a message for jeffp in case he's still looking.


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Subject: RE: Anyone Know this Dulcimer Maker?
From: GUEST,RC
Date: 03 Jan 17 - 12:15 PM

I too want to thank Guest, Pat Maxwell.
I recently bought a dulcimer with his Uncle's name on it too. #1662
the year 1976.
So I was very happy to run across these postings of history :)


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Subject: RE: Anyone Know this Dulcimer Maker?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Jan 17 - 02:01 PM

Here's a link to information found since the initial posts of this thread:
http://revelsmusic.co.uk/dulcimers-for-sale/historicunusual-dulcimers/maxwell-teardrop/
Maxwell "Teardrop" (listing dulcimer for sale, 2 photos.)

"John L Maxwell (1922 – 1981) built around 2300 dulcimers from the mid-60s until the late 70s, many sold from his Upper Cumberland Craft Center in Cookeville, Tennessee. Maxwell was a cabinetmaker who apparently became fascinated by the dulcimer when he saw one at a craft fair in N Carolina in 1964. His dulcimers were popular during this period, being displayed at Gracelands and the Grand Ol' Opry, as well as being presented to then-president Richard Nixon. Maxwell encouraged apprenticeships in his workshop, but it is not clear whether they were involved in dulcimer making proper or just finishing.

"The distinctive shape derives from dulcimers he studied or collected in the Southern Appalachians – a twin-faceted version of the N Carolina teardrop. It is made entirely of cherry, with the exception of the paddle-shaped beech tuning pegs. The back is a single sheet of cherry (i.e. not bookmatched). The unusually wide (1¾") fingerboard is a single piece of wood, hollowed out underneath, with the (non-bookmatched) top panels tacked on each side. The neat scroll open-box headstock is deliberately left with its carving marks to further its rustic appeal. It has short f-shaped soundholes on the "lower bout" and diamonds on the "upper bout". Top and back are fiddle-edged. Hard plastic nut and bridge, the latter being only a very short distance from the high tailpiece which acts also as the string anchor for ball end strings (cp Ledford).   The woodworking is good but not outstanding. Overall length 32¾", "upper bout" 4⅝", "lower bout" 7″, FBW 1¾", body depth 1¾", VSL 26½" (medium scale), weight 1lb 16oz (898g). No 6½ fret.

"This is a historic and attractive instrument, but its handcut pegs and rustic intonation are not for beginners. For those interested in the development and history of the dulcimer, however, this is an important instrument with a strong and transparent sound, particularly when played noter-style."


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Subject: RE: Anyone Know this Dulcimer Maker?
From: GUEST,Maeve
Date: 03 Jan 17 - 02:04 PM

Posting again with sign-in:
Here's a link to information found since the initial posts of this thread:
http://revelsmusic.co.uk/dulcimers-for-sale/historicunusual-dulcimers/maxwell-teardrop/
Maxwell "Teardrop" (listing dulcimer for sale, 2 photos.)

"John L Maxwell (1922 – 1981) built around 2300 dulcimers from the mid-60s until the late 70s, many sold from his Upper Cumberland Craft Center in Cookeville, Tennessee. Maxwell was a cabinetmaker who apparently became fascinated by the dulcimer when he saw one at a craft fair in N Carolina in 1964. His dulcimers were popular during this period, being displayed at Gracelands and the Grand Ol' Opry, as well as being presented to then-president Richard Nixon. Maxwell encouraged apprenticeships in his workshop, but it is not clear whether they were involved in dulcimer making proper or just finishing.

"The distinctive shape derives from dulcimers he studied or collected in the Southern Appalachians – a twin-faceted version of the N Carolina teardrop. It is made entirely of cherry, with the exception of the paddle-shaped beech tuning pegs. The back is a single sheet of cherry (i.e. not bookmatched). The unusually wide (1¾") fingerboard is a single piece of wood, hollowed out underneath, with the (non-bookmatched) top panels tacked on each side. The neat scroll open-box headstock is deliberately left with its carving marks to further its rustic appeal. It has short f-shaped soundholes on the "lower bout" and diamonds on the "upper bout". Top and back are fiddle-edged. Hard plastic nut and bridge, the latter being only a very short distance from the high tailpiece which acts also as the string anchor for ball end strings (cp Ledford).   The woodworking is good but not outstanding. Overall length 32¾", "upper bout" 4⅝", "lower bout" 7″, FBW 1¾", body depth 1¾", VSL 26½" (medium scale), weight 1lb 16oz (898g). No 6½ fret.

"This is a historic and attractive instrument, but its handcut pegs and rustic intonation are not for beginners. For those interested in the development and history of the dulcimer, however, this is an important instrument with a strong and transparent sound, particularly when played noter-style."


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Subject: RE: Anyone Know this Dulcimer Maker?
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 03 Jan 17 - 02:27 PM

One important four-letter word was omitted from the information in the two previous posts:

SOLD.


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Subject: RE: Anyone Know John L Maxwell Dulcimer Maker?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Jan 17 - 03:57 PM

Sigh... The point is the information about the maker, keberoxu. The quoted description was added by me because there are interested people who want to know more about the maker. No one here is asking to buy, just "Who was John L Maxwell?"

Why do I bother.


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Subject: RE: Anyone Know John L Maxwell Dulcimer Maker?
From: GUEST,Maeve
Date: 03 Jan 17 - 04:44 PM

I come here so seldom I'm never signed in anymore. Sorry for my impatience.


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Subject: RE: Anyone Know this Dulcimer Maker?
From: GUEST,David Maxwell
Date: 29 May 17 - 02:19 PM

The maker was my father, John Lois Maxwell. He was born in 1922 in Overton County, Tennessee near the current Standing Stone State Park. He was the oldest of 5 children. His father, great grandfather, and other relatives were also craftsman who produced interesting handmade wooden items. After high school, he moved to Nashville and had a short career as a foreman in a wing factory during World War II. He was drafted into the Navy in 1944, but never made it to battle areas before the war ended. He moved to Cookeville, TN in the late 1940's and settled there. After working a couple of sales jobs, he began to build houses as a general contractor. He built several houses in Cookeville along with his parent's home and "general" store building in Hilham, TN. He soon partnered with Bill Robinson and formed the M&R Cabinet Shop. They made custom kitchen cabinets for homes and fixtures for various businesses. John liked to make furniture from solid woods and bought out his partner. He evolved the cabinet business to Upper Cumberland Craft Center over several years, eventually no longer making kitchen cabinets. He first saw a dulcimer at the Southern Highland Guild show in Asheville NC in the mid-60's. He decided he could learn to play it and bought a kit from Homer Ledford - another famous dulcimer maker. He wanted to make his own version and created a design/shape that he believed to be unique. He made dulcimers and about 200 other craft items in his shop until his death in 1981. He had up to 10 craftspeople working in this shop during those years. He received a lot of recognition as an innovator and marketer of Tennessee crafts.


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Subject: RE: Anyone Know this Dulcimer Maker?
From: GUEST,GABBY
Date: 29 May 17 - 10:54 PM

I'm so glad I came across this information. About a month ago an old friend stopped by for a visit and gave me a dulcimer that her neighbor was just giving away. I love stringed instruments and she thought I might like it. I noticed that there was a typed label inside that said that the dulcimer was made by John Maxwell #2138/ Cumberland Craft Center, Tennessee. I'm assuming it is by your dad. He sounds like he had a really interesting life. Glad to have a little piece of Appalachian history.


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Subject: RE: Anyone Know this Dulcimer Maker?
From: leeneia
Date: 29 May 17 - 10:56 PM

Thanks for the information, Maeve and David.


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Subject: RE: Anyone Know this Dulcimer Maker?
From: GUEST,Ann Ragan
Date: 01 Sep 19 - 11:37 AM

My grandparents bought 2 dulcimers from him when I was little. One was cherry and the other was walnut. I still have the one made of walnut. I wish I still had the cherry one.


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Subject: RE: Anyone Know this Dulcimer Maker?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Sep 19 - 11:42 AM

I have a Peter Abnett dulcimer, given to me a lifetime agoo by a friend whose son (the former owner) had his hand damaged in an accident
It hangs on our wall along with all the other instruments I have tried and failed to play
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Anyone Know this Dulcimer Maker?
From: GUEST,Chris Lonergan
Date: 27 Nov 19 - 07:47 AM

Hi all, I thought you might like to know that one of John Maxwell's dulcimers,#1015 built in 1974, has made its way to my home in Weymouth, Dorset, UK where it being played regularly and cared for. I've also spread interest in this beautiful istrument locally, so Maxwell Senior's work goes on.

With thanks,

Chris Lonergan


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Subject: RE: Anyone Know this Dulcimer Maker?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Nov 19 - 01:08 AM

Good for you. The fretted dulcimer is such an enjoyable instrument.


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Subject: RE: Anyone Know this Dulcimer Maker?
From: GUEST,Julian Corish
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 01:33 PM

I have read through this thread with interest as number 2688 resides here with me in Jesup, Georgia. I was fortunate to have a friend call me after seeing a "strange almost guitar looking thing" in the trash can at a thrift shop. Its in excellent condition and, but for a small crack in the cherry on the bass bout, almost new. I wonder if anyone knows when it might have been built..


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Subject: RE: Anyone Know this Dulcimer Maker?
From: leeneia
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 02:35 PM

"John L Maxwell (1922 – 1981) built around 2300 dulcimers from the mid-60s until the late 70s,"

That should give you a rough idea of the probable time - late 70's to 1981.


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Subject: RE: Anyone Know this Dulcimer Maker?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Apr 20 - 02:30 PM

My family has had one of Mr. Maxwell's dulcimers since around 1970. My father was a music professor at Fisk University in Nashville. I recall visiting the Upper Cumberland Craft Center with my father several times.

My dulcimer has only three strings and is probably walnut rather than cherry. I had not played it for years until yesterday. My 7 year old daughter asked about it. I tuned it up and managed to play a few tunes buried deep in my memory - "Wildwood Flower," "No Place Like Home."

Don Thieme
Valdosta, GA


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Subject: RE: Anyone Know this Dulcimer Maker?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Apr 20 - 04:33 AM

I remember buying a dulcimer at a dulcimer shop in Cookeville in the summer 1981, I think. I do not recall Cookeville as a big town and believe the shop was on the main street, but I'm not sure. The dulcimer was a 'church' dulcimer, because it was made with three pairs of strings and was supposed to be loud enough for a church full of people to sing along with. That was definitely true for some definition of 'church', and it did have a very nice sound. Was that dulcimer likely made by Mr. Maxwell?


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