Seagull Merlin Mahogany vs Spruce

Which type of Merlin sounds better? I wanted to see if there was a notable sound difference between the two different types of wood tops -- spruce or mahogany -- used in constructing the Seagull Merlin dulcimer. So I did a quick run through on each version to see if I could tell, and sure enough, there is!!

Admittedly I was using the EQ model of the mahogany, but I replicated the test later with a non-EQ version and the results held up.

Seagull Merlin Comparison Video Transcription

I wanted to bring out two of the Merlin stick dulcimers these are from Seagull up in Canada this one's the mahogany top, this one is the spruce top. Do a quick sound check between the two of them. For this I have unplugged the microphone from the camera so that hopefully we can get a pretty equal sound between them.

No difference in proximity to the mic or anything like that, just straight off with the camera, so we'll see how this goes.

I'm going to use a really lightweight pick this time.

First I'll do a couple different things here so let's do...

Do that on this one as well just all the way up the neck.

I'm curious if you can hear the difference there, cause I definitely hear a difference.

Let's do the, uh...

Okay let's try that again real quick

Yeah, so this one's definitely shaping up to be a lot warmer in tone, I feel.

It's possibly splitting hairs to a lot of people.

If you've never played an instrument before and this is your first time out, I really suggest you just go with the thing you think looks the coolest to you. Honestly, if you like the way that it looks you're more likely to play, and that's the most important thing right now. But if you are accustomed to playing guitar or have other stick dulcimers and you're looking for the difference between the two, my take on it is that this one is a slightly warmer sound.

Which means that this one, the spruce top one, projects just a little bit more kind of cuts out there just a little bit more. I'm gonna play with just my fingers now.

So, the side of my thumb is a lot of times what I'll play with.

Let's try that over here see how this sounds.

That's a quick run-through. Let us know if you have questions! Thanks!             


Learn more about stick dulcimer instruments.