Anne Grimes Book

Share tidbits of dulcimer history, or history of the songs we play on them

Re: Anne Grimes Book

Postby Banjimer » Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:38 pm

I don't know much about Ron Chacey, but I once owned a dulcimer made by him. I bought it on E-Bay 10 years or so ago for about $75.00. It had the Prichard-style hourglass shape. A decent dulcimer and in-tune, but I sold it later for about the same amount I had purchased it for.

If I remember correctly, he lived in the southeast Ohio area. I think the label listed his address as Athens, Ohio if I'm not mistaken. For you non-Ohioans, Athens is the home of Ohio University, which was the center of folk, folk-rock culture in Ohio during the 1960's and 1970's.

I taught school for two years in Perry County, Ohio back in the early-1980's. However, I didn't take up the dulcimer until I had moved to Michigan to teach in 1984. If I had only known then what I know now.

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Re: Anne Grimes Book

Postby jewood51 » Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:50 am

Just received my copy last Saturday and I'm enjoying it very much. I've known for quite a while that there is a considerable dulcimer presence in Ohio now but I didn't know about how important it was in the past. I know I'm going to be glad I got this book. :)
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Re: Anne Grimes Book

Postby Robin T » Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:27 am

Banjimer,
I live in southern Perry County OH, not far from the Athens County line!

The name Ron Chacey was new to me and it's neat to learn he was (maybe still is?) in Athens County. I'd be curious to know his output and would love to see a dulcimer made by him. (Well-known builder Jerry Rockwell lives and works in Athens Co now. 8) )
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Re: Anne Grimes Book

Postby Banjimer » Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:00 pm

I think Ron Chacey is still alive. He is best known for his inlay work and his wood carving, but did manage to build a number of instruments. I'm not sure if he is making musical instruments anymore, but he has done quite a bit of wood-carving and inlay work on the instruments of other builders, including banjo maker Bart Reiter. There was a Ron Chacey banjo for sale on Banjo Hangout, and it appears he did make a few other banjos.

He also made at least two dulcimers (the one I owned at one time and the one used by Anne Grimes). He probably made some more that are waiting to be discovered.

If I'm not mistaken, he's living in Colorado these days.

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Re: Ron Chacey

Postby Banjimer » Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:25 pm

I'm not sure if the Ron Chacey living in Colorado is the same Ron Chacey that made Anne Grimes' dulcimer, but I've contacted him by e-mail and invited him to participate in this discussion. Hopefully, he will take me up on the invitation and we can gain some insights into the 1960's world of dulcimer making/playing from someone who was actively building dulcimers at that time. If I've mistakenly contacted the wrong Ron Chacey, nothing is lost. But I've got my fingers crossed that he is one and the same, and that he will want to shed some light on the instrument we love so well.

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Re: Anne Grimes Book

Postby Banjimer » Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:40 am

I contacted Ron Chacey in Colorado. He replied that he was indeed the one who had made Anne Grimes' performance dulcimer. He also said he'd try to participate in the discussion about Anne's book and his dulcimer making. I'm looking forward to what he has to say.

He concluded that it was always nice to get "a blast from the past."

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Re: Anne Grimes Book

Postby kwl » Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:27 am

Greg, this is a good find. I look forward to hearing from Ron here in this thread.
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Re: Anne Grimes Book

Postby Robin T » Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:25 pm

Wow, Greg, this is great news-- I, too, look forward to learning more!

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Re: Anne Grimes Book

Postby Dennis Dorogi » Fri Aug 27, 2010 10:05 am

I knew Ron Chacy as he was a student at Ohio University in the late 50's early 60's. I was a graduate student there and taught in the art department for a few years. Ron was around then, along with Kix Stewart (Stewart-MacDonald). I built my first dulcimer with Kix at that time using Mitchell's mimeographed instructions. Kix, being very creative, used a yard stick for the sides of the instrument! We all hung out around Dave Hostetler's sculpture studio and had bonfires out in the woods, drank, and sang folk songs. Great times.

Ron was around when Kix started his first banjo factory in a chicken coup in Athens, Ohio after working for awhile at Ode Banjo in I believe Boulder, Co. We were all involved with sculpture, wood carving, music, etc. Ron carved and ingraved banjo necks and hardware for Kix, and others. He is very good at it - I don't know how he developed such incredible skill.

About this time (1961) I met Ann Grimes, visited with her and restored some instruments for her. I studied her dulcimers, photographed them, and she bought a Scheitholt from me. Her instruments gave me a real insight into early dulcimers.


I moved to Carlinville, Illinois in 1962 (Blackburn College) and it seemed it was a good stopping over point for people going to Colorado, and West. Kix blew up the engine in his Jeepster there. I believe Ron stopped in and was learning harmonica then. I built some dulcimers there, a harpsichord, clavichord, (from kits)and other early instruments. My wife played rebec in an early music group. Interesting times. I got a job at State University College at Fredonia N.Y.in 1965. Kix met up with Bill MacDonald and started their company (Stewart-MacDonald)and never looked back. I started to build dulcimers full-time in 1969. Kix would fly up in his plane and visit for a day until about 10 years ago and call regularly, but I haven't heard from him since he left Stew-Mac. He was always a polite and pleasant person and very creative. I hope he is well. I haven't seen Ron since about 1962. He is another extremely creative person. Lots of fun with some very interesting and talented people. I am old and I hope I remembered things accurately.

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Re: Anne Grimes Book

Postby kwl » Fri Aug 27, 2010 7:21 pm

Dennis, thanks for adding some very interesting information to this discussion.
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Re: Anne Grimes Book

Postby Robin T » Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:17 pm

Many thanks for the posting, Dennis! I live not far from Athens so reading of happenings there as they relate to the mountain dulcimer holds special interest. Did you, by any chance, happen to meet L. Allen Smith during your time at OU?

Robin T
PS-I enjoying hearing the play of your instruments by Michael Vickey!
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Re: Anne Grimes Book

Postby Dennis Dorogi » Fri Aug 27, 2010 10:34 pm

Yes, I did meet L. Allen Smith while at Ohio University. I didn't remember him at first, but we did have correspondence when he was doing his dissertation and when the book was published. I don't think he had alot of interest in the dulcimer when I met him, but it was after I built my first instrument. I believe he saw or heard that instrument. Obviously, he developed a great interest. I will look for the correspondence I had with him. I know I was surprised when I saw the book as it is an excellent survey of the instrument. Ironically Ralph Lee Smith's book came out about the same time. I also knew him by corresponence, and I think I made a few instruments for him - maybe a scheitholt and the G model (based on Ann Grimes instrument). I think he played both instruments on one of his records. That was long ago and details are fuzzy.
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