One that makes or repairs stringed instruments, such as
music career started with piano lessons as a small child but
his obsession for music started later. At age eleven Tom was
introduced to and fell in love with the bagpipes. Over the
next few years, he was driven to do almost nothing else; he
won many trophies, medals and certificates at local and international
competitions. Tom became the leader of several pipe-bands,
taught many students, and played his bagpipes almost incessantly
to the delight of thousands of listeners.
One day Carl Nelson (who plays on the CD Precipice
with Tom) pulled out, from under his bed, a box with the pieces
of an old Chinese dulcimer that came to Canada at the turn
of the century with the coal miners. Neither Tom nor Carl
knew what it was but Tom offered to try to reassemble it for
him. The challenge of recreating a musical instrument out
of a box of broken pieces was all Tom could think about for
several weeks and, while repairing the Chinese dulcimer, he
made two copies. One copy he gave to a friend, one he kept,
and he returned the Butterfly to Carl. Toms
head was full of tunes that he could play on other instruments
but he was amazed at how easily they poured out through the
little dulcimer: jigs, reels, hornpipes, airs, and songs spewed
forth in abundance. New tunes from sheet music and books started
As Toms proficiency increased, he became aware that
the instrument he was playing had serious limitations, so
he set out to redesign and recreate. Over the next few years,
Tom built many dulcimers and each one was a little different
from the last. He increased the size to give him more notes,
added bass notes to help him fill in his accompaniment, added
transducers for amplification, added fine tuners to speed
up the tuning process, developed a curve style to enhance
the beauty, and implemented a stressed soundboard principle
that increased the voice of his instruments by tenfold.
Toms new dulcimers allowed him to join in with many
musicians in performances and jams and emit a strong and beautiful
sound; as a result, listeners commissioned him to build dulcimers
for sale. All of Toms other instruments remain an integral
part of his life as do repairing pianos and building
log houses but each creation has to come out a little
better than the last.
Mr. Richardson is engaged in very interesting work
redesigning and refining the hammer dulcimer. I have
known him over a period of time to be highly innovative
and a skilled craftsmen. I have seen his plans for the
future and I believe his ideas are worthy. We are ourselves
assisting him with our knowledge as manufacturers of
high quality instruments.
Owner, Larrivée Guitars
North Vancouver, BC
I recently built some nearly floor-to-ceiling bookshelves,
and my wife and I were looking for a way to make them
more distinctive. Rosettes in the top corners of bookshelves
are a traditional way to embellish them, but we were
interested in something with a Celtic theme. An Internet
search led us to Celtic Crafts, where we saw Tom Richardson's
beautiful carvings for dulcimers and other musical instruments.
He honoured our request for custom-made rosettes in
an extremely professional manner, communicating with
us often through the process of choosing and drafting
a design. He was able to take a drawing we submitted
a very complex image of a tree with entwined
branches, symmetrical designs and even roots
and adapt it into beautiful rosettes. Such individual
attention and quality could not be found anywhere else.
Tom's skilled craftsmanship has given our bookshelves
character, presence, and a rare beauty. We are grateful
to know him and privileged to own some of his fine work.
Todd Dawson & family
As a studio owner and sound engineer, I believe the
characteristics of the instrument can make or break
a session. These instruments are outstanding in tone,
clarity, harmonics, intonation and stability in tuning.
These qualities shine through in a recording session.
In live application, the instruments project with large
volume and sit well with other instruments such as Martin
and Gibson. I am basing my assessment of Tom Richardson's
beautifully handcrafted hammered dulcimers on the 100-plus
hours spent in the studio engineering his CD PRECIPICE.
Studio Owner/Engineer, Red House Productions
Having played trumpet and violin for the last 50 years
with many and varied musicians on many stages and venues,
I am highly impressed with the hammered dulcimers that
Tom has perfected. Not only are they top visual quality,
but they can fit into any style of music and when Tom
plays, a full rich sound rings out over the other instruments
(electric or acoustic), and at the end of every set
there is a line up of people curious to see where the
beautiful music was coming from. Tom's dulcimers are
unique in their construction, superior to anything else
I have seen, and versatile: when Tom goes from Celtic
to 40s swing to rock and ethnic, everyone is impressed.