September 26, 2016 by archiesmith



My dear friends,

Unfortunately, the time has come for me to “throw in the towel” and retire.  Despite the fact that I am now 73, this is not a voluntary move, as my back (after 4 surgeries and 5 fused vertebra – with so much metal in my back that I am beginning to pick up alien transmissions) continues to deteriorate and become increasingly painful.  This is complicated by the fact that my wife of 50 years has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and cannot be left by herself.


One result of this is that I have given up outdoor shows with the difficulty of erecting the canopy and booth.  My last outdoor show was Long’s Park in Lancaster, PA over Labor Day, after which I sold my canopy and outdoor show equipment.  I have three more indoor shows where I will exhibit before the end of 2016.  Please see my Show Schedule Page.


My situation is this –

I still have a number of bowed psalteries and mountain or lap dulcimers in stock.  My plucked psaltery business is being taken over by a young, experienced plucked psaltery maker in Indiana who will be taking over this part of the business in Jan., 2017.  I will post his name and contact information on the Plucked Psaltery Page of my website in December.

My bowed psalteries and mountain dulcimers are all one-of-a-kind.  If you have read the information on my bowed psalteries and dulcimers you know about the purpose for which they are made.  Their function and the reason for which they are made is to go out (when they are “adopted”) and give pleasure and joy to those who play them and to those who hear them.  That is the reason for their existence. 

I do NOT want them to wind up in a box somewhere gathering dust or winding up at a flea market–that is not why they were made.  Because of the expense of the woods and the accoutrements that come with each one and the time and love which I have expended on each one, I cannot give them away, but I earnestly want to find them good homes.  For this reason, the posted price is “not writ in stone.”  I REALLY want to find them good homes before I am forced to “throw in the towel”.  (Also, they are still guaranteed and I am able to make any repair should that extremely rare situation rear its ugly head.)  If I have not “found homes for all of my children” by the time that I have stopped doing shows, I will, at that point, go to Plan B (when I figure out what that is) and post that on my website.


Please understand –

I am not complaining or “belly aching” at the situation in which I find myself.  I have had a “good run” and have been VERY fortunate and blessed to have been able to do what I have felt called to do, both teaching and making one-of-a-kind instruments.  When you are doing what you want, and feel called to do, it is not work – it is really “scratching a creative itch” and I have been so very blessed to have been able to do that.  I reiterate the ideas expressed in my Artist Statement when I say that we are able to experience pleasure and joy from those who are no longer with us, be it the music of Mozart, Beethoven or the Beatles, the drama of Shakespeare, the poetry of Keats, Tennyson, or Kipling, the paintings of Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Botticelli, etc.

I do NOT compare myself to the bards of old, but the idea that something that I have created can give pleasure and joy to persons long after I am gone gives me “goosebumps.”  What more can anyone ask, or indeed, hope, for?


Archie Smith

Archie Smith Instruments,  September 25, 2016

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