CHAPTER 4: Dulcimers in the British Isles since 1800 > Dulcimers in the Midlands & the North

Leslie Evans - instrument

Mr. Evans had had his dulcimer for 50 years and considered it was probably about 100 years old.


Physically his instrument very much recalls those of Bill Fell, long (40") and thin, but with thick and deep front and bac.k pieces, the courses set close together and with protective covers over the pins. The main difference is that Leslie Evans' instrument has a little foot to prop it up at an angle to the horizontal.

To Mr. Evans, as well as to the Fells, a dulcimer of the type in fig. 142 was German:

" ... I've come across them wider, like yours, the German dulcimer. Now, the German dulcimer has got the half-notes in between; that's more difficult to play than this one, because you've got your half notes to jump if you didn't want them, you've got more jumping about to do ...

"I wired one up for a gentleman in Birmingham once; it was German or Dutch, it wasn't a patch on this for tone .. "


The mother-of-pearl inlay on Mr. Evans' own instrument seems to bear the stamp of professional work from the last century, while the hand-painting round the sound-holes and the silvery bird to the left of the treble bridge are in striking contrast.


The bridges are very similar to those of the Fell instruments, even to the extent of having something of an overhang at the ends, i.e. they are longer at the top than they are at the base, and the holes are similarly drilled at an angle.

The strings are from a piano-tuner friend, steel for the treble, brass for the bass (except for the highest bass course, which is of steel) arranged very like those of Bill Fell's, 12 IV; + 1 III, 1 I . Some are the original strings from when he had the instrument 50 years ago, though all are bright and shining as if new.