first attempt at hand-building a musical instrument in his early
teens resulted in a near tragedy.
He had found a piece of maple that he thought would make
a nice guitar neck. His
father didn’t own many woodworking tools so Dale clamped a
piece of maple in a vise in the garage, borrowed a butcher knife
from his mom’s kitchen, and proceeded to “carve” a guitar
neck. Not very long
into this project the knife slipped and created a deep cut in
his index finger that left a permanent scar as a reminder of his
lack of skill in guitar building. It was not yet time for him to
made two Appalachian dulcimers from kits in the early 1970s. They are very basic instruments and did not require lots of
skill for assembly. In the 1980s Dale decided to try his hand
at guitar making
again. This time he
had access to many power tools and knew how to use them.
He started with a manufactured bass guitar neck.
After designing the shape of the bass he gathered cherry
and maple wood and constructed a presentable electric bass
Dale’s cousin, Rick, recently began building electric
violins. This was
the incentive Dale needed to build more instruments.
He began with electric violins.
He soon realized that he needed to make another bass.
This time he decided to make a five string fretless from
took months to build and has become his bass of choice whenever
he plays the bass in his family band.
Next came a unique electric mandolin made from seven
different woods. This
instrument was very challenging but the sound and looks are
out his recent accomplishments in instrument building is a beautiful
six string electric guitar made from tiger maple and exotic
near future he plans to build an “upright” electric bass and
custom dulcimers. From
the following photos you will see that his instruments bring out
the intrinsic beauty of wood and are fully functional as working
should be noted that Dale
has also been involved in stringed instrument repair for a
number of years. He
began by "putting together" old garage sale violins,
setting bridges, etc. During
the 1990s he repaired numerous violin family instruments
(including basses) for the music department in the Gouverneur
Central School system. He recently repaired a very old handmade banjo for a customer
that involved replacing hardware and the banjo head.
if you have an instrument needing repair.
He would be glad to check it over and give you a free
estimate on repair or restoration.
of these presentations, clicking on any of the thumbnails will
display a larger picture.