MUSICIAN, Teacher, author and luthier
Richard is the owner of Folkcraft Instruments, which is one of the oldest and most respected musical instrument manufacturers in the country. Folkcraft makes a variety of stringed and fretted instruments, including Appalachian dulcimer,hammered dulcimer, bowed psaltery, kantele, dulcilele, and ukulele.
Richard is a teacher, and holds a music education degree from The Ohio State University. Formerly a school band director, now he's an active dulcimer instructor.
Richard is also the organizer of three music festivals: The Dulcimer Gathering (for hammered dulcimer players); Indiana Dulcimer Festival (for Appalachian dulcimer players); and Midwest Uke Fest (for ukulele players).
And finally, Richard is a performer. You can hear him playing the dulcimer at events all over the country. From NAMM shows to dulcimer festivals, old-time music events to demonstration concerts in the Folkcraft concert hall, he's performed pretty much everywhere.
October 23rd - 25th, 2016 | Tuesday through Friday
Black Mountain Music Festival
Richard will be both teaching and vending at the inaugural Black Mountain Music Festival.
Blue Ridge Assembly
Black Mountain, North Carolina
February 23 - 26th, 2017 | Thursday through Sunday
Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat
Homosassa Riverside Resort
You'll have a ton of fun at this festival. Why? The guests, the instructors, and the venue. The guests are mostly repeat attendees - because they had fun the first time they came, and never stopped returning. The instructors? Bing Futch, Richard Ash, Sharrie George, and Guy George. Can you imagine a more friendly, collegial artist roster? The venue - located on the Homosassa River, with tons of wildlife - birds, manatees, and the occasional shark. (Just kidding about the sharks!)
June 9, 2017 | Friday
Congo Road Baptist Church
Richard will be teaching, Folkcraft will be vending, and we'll all be having a ton of fun at the 2017 Arkladulcifest. Other instructors? John Keane, Karen Keane, Linda Brockinton, Duane Porterfield, Cory Craig, and Bing Futch. See you there!
Richard performs exclusively on Folkcraft and FolkRoots brand dulcimers.
This instrument is a Folkcraft standard dulcimer. The body is made of northern cherry, and the soundboard is made of Sitka spruce. The dulcimer is "stock Folkcraft" (nothing special "just for Richard"). Even the string gauges are "stock" - .011 for the melody, .013 for the middle, and a roller wound brass .024 for the bass. Richard uses this dulcimer for all the fast tunes, and most of the songs that require retuning (typically from DAD to DGD, or DAC).
Richard's second instrument is also a Folkcraft. It has the high-volume FolkRoots body, and is set up as a baritone dulcimer. Tuned AEA, it has a mellow, lyrical quality that suits some of Richard's ballads and show tunes nicely.
The body of this instrument is made of East Indian rosewood, and the soundboard is made of western red cedar.
The instrument doesn't have the volume of the Folkcraft standard dulcimer, but it has a warmth that is unparalleled. Once again, this is a stock instrument, down to the string gauges (.014 for the melody, .022 bronze wound for the middle, and .034 bronze wound for the bass). Taken straight from the wall of the Folkcraft showroom, this instrument was NOT customized for Richard's use.
Want to learn to play the Appalachian dulcimer?
Richard can teach you. Private lessons and group instruction are both popular choices.
Richard's formal training and work experience (pre-dulcimer) is as a music teacher, so he has plenty of know-how in teaching people how to play musical instruments. In one of Richard's classes, you'll learn about the dulcimer, play lots of songs, and have fun. Lots and lots of fun.
He can even teach non-musical people how to play the dulcimer, so don't let your lack of experience hold you back. Give it a try - playing the dulcimer is FUN!