YOKO AND I HAVE AT THIS POINT BEEN TOGETHER SINCE THE END OF MAY  '04. FORGIVE ME A MOMENT OF MUSH. I HAVE COUNTED MY BLESSINGS AT HAVING THIS LADY IN MY LIFE, SHE IS A TRUE BLESSING. WE BONDED PRETTY QUICK AND SHE SPOILS ME ROTTEN ... ALL THE WHILE CLAIMING I AM THE ONE DOING THE SPOILING. SHE IS TRULY A WOMAN OF QUALITY AND MOVES ONLY IN THE BEST CIRCLES AS YOU CAN SEE FROM THE PICTURE TO THE RIGHT :)  SIMPLY PUT ... I LOVE HER.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                HER REAL NAME IS TAWN BUT SHE, WHILE WORKING AT THE DISNEY CALL CENTER SHE WAS GIVEN THE NOM DE VOYAGE OF "YOKO.' IT BECAME OUR LITTLE PERSONAL JOKE BETWEEN US ... THAT BEING "JOHN AND YOKO." I DON'T KNOW IF SHE KNEW ABOUT THE MT. DULCIMER BEFORE SHE MET ME OR IF I WAS THE ONE TO INTRODUCE HER TO THE INSTRUMENT. BUT EARLY ON IN OUR RELATIONSHIP I HAD ORDERED A SIMERMAN  DULCIMER AND HAD IT DELIVERED TO HER HOUSE. IT WASN'T TOO MUCH LONG LATER THAT SHE WAS BEING SERENADED. SOON SHE WAS EXPRESSING AN INTEREST IN LEARNING.

WITH CHRISTMAS COMING IT SEEMED THE PERFECT IDEA TO GET HER A DULCIMER. MY FIRST IMPULSE WAS TO GET HER THE BEST INSTRUMENT THAT MONEY COULD BUY. BUT FOR A CHANGE THE PRACTICAL SIDE OF ME KICKED IN. I THOUGHT ABOUT GETTING HER A STUDENT MODEL. BUT I DIDN'T WANT TO GET HER SOMETHING THAT WAS TOO CHEAP ... SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR A SPECIAL LADY. THERE HAD BEEN SOME DISCUSSION ON THE BOARDS OF EVERYTHING DULCIMER http://everythingdulcimer.com/  OF DAVID LYNCH'S STUDENT DULCIMER. HIS WORK HAD BEEN HIGHLY PRAISED AND A COUPLE OF PEOPLE HAD SAID THAT THEY USED THEM TO THOSE NEW TO THE GREENWOOD THAT CAME WITH AN UDO (UNIDENTIFIED DULCIMER OBJECT) TO SHOW THEM WHAT A REAL DULCIMER FELT LIKE. THAT DEFINITELY STRUCK A CHORD WITH ME. SO I WENT TO DAVE'S (A.K.A HARPMAKER) SITE : SWEET WOODS INSTRUMENTS http://www.strothers.com/sweet_woods.htm  .  THE PRICE AT A HUNDRED DOLLARS WAS CERTAINLY RIGHT. THE MORE I LOOKED AND CONSIDERED, THE MORE I LIKED IT. THE ONLY PROBLEM WAS THAT I STILL HAD DESIRE TO GIVE YOKO SOMETHING PRETTY. SO I GOT THE IDEA THAT PERHAPS I COULD PAINT SOMETHING TO DRESS IT UP A BIT. I REMEMBERED SEEING KERRY ANDERSON http://www.gilamountaindulcimers.com/ DOING JUST THAT ON HER DULCIMERS. SO I CONTACTED DAVE AND ASKED IF THIS WAS POSSIBLE. DAVE WAS MOST HELPFUL AND SUPPORTIVE. HE TOLD THAT YES, HE COULD SEND ME A DULCIMER SANDED AND READY TO BE FINISHED. ALL THE HOLES FOR THE TUNERS AND SUCH WOULD BE PREDRILLED AND EVEN SOMEONE AS MYSELF WOULD BE ABLE TO IN A RELATIVE COMPETENT MANOR COULD HANDLE THIS PROJECT (IF ONLY MY JR. HIGH SHOP TEACHER COULD SEE ME NOW : ) ) IT WAS NOT LONG THAT I PLACED MY ORDER AND ANXIOUSLY AWAITED TO BEGIN THIS PROJECT.

I HAD ORDERED THE DULCIMER WITH FRET MARKERS. I REMEMBER SOME DISCUSSION AS TO THE USEFULNESS OF THEM ON E.D. BUT REASONED THAT IF THEY WOULD HELP THEY WERE THERE AND IF NOT THE MARKERS WOULD BE NOTED AND IGNORED.

THE FIRST THING I DID WAS TO STAIN THE BACK AND SIDES, GIVING SOME COLOR AND VARIANCE TO THE BIRCH BODY. AS IT IS YOKO'S HABIT ... I ALMOST PAINTED THE WHOLE THING WHITE :) NEXT, I MADE TEMPLATES OF MY FLOWER DESIGN AND CARBONED THE BACK AND THEN TRACED THEM ON THE SOUNDBOARD. PAINT WAS APPLIED. I TREATED THE FRET BOARD WITH BORE OIL AND THEN MASKED IT OFF. YOKO'S DULCIMER WAS THEN SPRAYED WITH DEFT LACQUER AND SANDED ... SPRAYED WITH DEFT LACQUER AND SANDED ... SPRAYED WITH DEFT LACQUER AND SANDED ... AND SO ON ... AND SO ON. MY STEPMOTHER, SYLVIA WAS EVEN DRAFTED INTO DOING SOME OF THE SPRAYING.

 I PLACED IN THE FINALLY THE MOMENT CAME WHEN THE TUNERS AND STRING PEGS. REACHED FOR THE BRIDGE AND NUT ... AND ... THEY WEREN'T THERE. I WAS SURE  I HAD LEFT THEM ON THE BENCH. AFTER TWO HOURS OF TEARING UP THE HOUSE, LOOKING IN EVERY NOOK AND CRANNY; I ASKED SYLVIA. HER EYES TOLD ME BEFORE SHE DID. "I THOUGHT THEY WERE JUST TRASH!" SAID SYLVIA. I QUICKLY E-MAILED DAVE AND TOLD HIM OF MY PLIGHT. HE MAILED ME A NEW BRIDGE AND NUT. HE TOOK SUCH GOOD CARE OF ME, OFFERING ADVICE AND INSTRUCTION NOT ONLY DID HE SEND ME THE REPLACEMENT PARTS BUT WITH THE DULCIMER AND ALL THE HARDWARE AND STRINGS HE SENT ME SANDPAPER. IT TOOK A WEEK TO FINALLY BE ABLE TO FINISH THE DULCIMER. SO AS TO NOT HAVE A REPEAT OF THINGS BEING MISTAKENLY THROWN AWAY I PUT UP A SMALL SIGN IN MY WORK AREA. WHEN I GOT THE NUT/BRIDGE, I HAD TO SAND THEM DOWN TO FIT INTO THE SLOTS AND THEN STRUNG IT UP. FIRST COUPLE OF STRUMS I FOUND I HAD TO TIGHTEN THE SCREWS ON THE BACK OF THE TUNERS. I FLIPPED HER AROUND AND GAVE A TENTATIVE STRUM.

I WAS AMAZED. DAVE'S STUDENT MODEL HAS A NICE CLASSIC TONE WITH A SUSTAIN THAT SEEMS TO GO INTO  NEXT WEEK. THE ACTION IS QUICK AND RESPONSIVE. I WAS SURPRISED AT WHAT I GOT FOR THAT LOW PRICE. I PUT THE CREDIT TO DAVID LYNCH'S DESIGN AND CRAFTSMANSHIP. COMING THUS TO THIS POINT, I DUBBED THE INSTRUMENT "MONA"

I ALSO GOT A GIG BAG FROM DAVE AND ONCE AGAIN UNABLE TO LEAVE THINGS ALONE (DO I NEED TO SEEK THERAPY ON THIS ISSUE??? :) ) I PERSONALIZED THIS TOO. I USED COMPUTER IRON ON PAPER TO PRINT OUT SOME IMAGES OF "JOHN LENNON AND YOKO" TO ADD TO THE BAG. I HAD ORIGINALLY PLANNED ON HAVING YOKO'S NAME EMBROIDERED ON BAG BUT LIKED THE TRANSFERS SO MUCH I DECIDED TO USE IT FOR HER NAME. I DESIGNED THE LABEL AND HAD IT PRINTED OUT... BUT WAS UNSURE OF THE DESIGN. I WAS STUMPED AS I HAD ABOUT HIT BOTTOM AT THE SELECTION OF IMAGES I FOUND ON LINE. AS I WAS GOING THROUGH THE LOCAL BEST BUY STORE, I RAN INTO A POSTER OF THE COUPLE LABELED "TIMELESS ARTISTS." LUCKILY, I HAD MY CAMERA IN THE CAR. I SNUCK MY CAMERA IN THE STORE TOOK THE PHOTO AND LEFT THE STORE WITH THE PERFECT IMAGE. I MODIFIED THE IMAGE AND FLIPPED IT SO AS THE LETTERING WILL PRINT THE RIGHT WAY WHEN IRONED. NEXT I LIKE A LITTLE PADDING SO I HAVE ADDED SOME FOAM RUBBER. THERE IS STILL ROOM FOR A SONG BOOK AND A DITTY BAG.

I AM ALSO AM INCLUDING A TUNER, PICKS, A SONGBOOK, A PICK CASE WHICH I AM MAKING AND ARE AVAILABLE <SHAMELESS PLUG> AT BEAR BRANCH DULCIMERS http://www.bear-branch-dulcimers.com/  A STAND, AND FINALLY I HAVE REGISTERED HER WITH AN E.D. MEMBERSHIP. EVERYTHING DULCIMER, http://everythingdulcimer.com/ , IS A FINE RESOURCE AND EXTENSION OF THE DULCIMER COMMUNITY.

I AM PLEASED WITH DAVE'S WORK AND CAN LIVE WITH MINE. I KNOW NEXT TIME  (AND I ALREADY HAVE PLANS TO TRY THIS AGAIN SO THERE WILL BE A NEXT TIME ... ) I KNOW I CAN DO BETTER. THIS HAS DEFINITELY GIVEN ME AN APPRECIATION FOR WHAT BUILDERS GO THROUGH TO MAKE INSTRUMENTS. A VERY POSITIVE EXPERIENCE ALL THE WAY AROUND. I LOOK FORWARD TO HAVING A HARPMAKER DULCIMER FOR MY OWN AND THE PLEASURE OF DEALING WITH A GENTLEMAN SUCH AS DAVE. BUT MOST OF ALL I LOOK FORWARD TO THE SHARING OF ONE OF MY LIFE'S PASSIONS WITH THE WOMAN I LOVE.

I WILL UPDATE THIS AFTER CHRISTMAS.

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