2000s James Hoover Classical Guitar & Hammered Dulcimer

This folksy guitar was made by Mr. Hoover out of Ephrata, PA. He visited the shop today on the suggestion of a friend and I was able to take a peek at his home-built guitar and hammered dulcimer. 

The guitar is lovely in the same way older hand-made Mexican-built classicals can be. It has a distinct charm with a warm, sweet, and balanced tone to match. The top is straight-up pine while the back and sides are cypress. He'd originally made this with a "double back" but tore it out after finishing the instrument. Such is the life of experiments in luthiery!

While he was here I did a quick setup on it which brought the nut-slot depth and saddle height right into spec at 3/32" action overall at the 12th fret. The neck is wide as per a normal classical but his neck shape is a very soft, thin (front to back) V-shape. It's a lot more comfortable than the average classical for my hands.

The fretboard, bridge, and binding are all made of jatoba (or, as lumber folks call it, "Brazilian cherry"). It's the same stuff many double bass fingerboards are made of these days, too.

The nut and saddle are both bone.

Unlike many homespun builders, Mr. Hoover actually did the final step with his frets and gave them a level/dress after seating them -- I was happy to see the tops of those frets line-up precisely.

The body is decorated with a ton of pyrography.

The neck looks like mahogany to me.

The hammered dulcimer sounds jaw-droppingly gorgeous and is made with a cypress soundboard and cherry body and stand.

The amount of carving is intense.