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Note Worthy

WABASH, IND. (WPTA21)-There’s a new sound serenading traffic in downtown Wabash, Indiana.

The folk music of the ’60’s and ’70’s was life changing for a lot of people,’ says Wabash instrument maker Dan Daniels, “and that’s why I think folk music will always endure.”

Dan Daniels was a teenager when he discovered folk music and it changed his life. For years Dan toured the country as a professional folk musician and even when he retired from the road folk music still owned his heart.

It gives all of us that feeling that we’re not alone,” Daniels explains. “And that’s why I think folk music will always endure.”

Since leaving professional folk music making 36 years ago Dan Daniels has been a professional folk instrument maker crafting dulcimers, mandolins, guitars and ukulele’s from fine woods, marketed under the name ‘New Traditions Dulcimers’. Dan spent most of his instrument making career in California and Washington state but last year he moved business and family to Wabash after seeing a video about the town on YouTube.

And they came to Wabash and did a really wonderful portrait of this town I mean it was amazing,” he says. “And my wife came home one night after I was watching it I said ‘this is where we’re moving’.”

New Traditions Dulcimers opened in July on Canal Street downtown where Dan turns out his finely crafted gems. He says he still misses the life of a traveling musician but crafting instruments from rare reclaimed woods like port orford cedar and myrtle wood has helped fill the void.

‘It’s not so much the end result but when I look at a piece of wood and I think I can make that wood sing? The wood’s are my Holy Grail,” he says. ‘When you think about someone picking up a Dan Daniel’s dulcimer fifty years from now what would you like them to think about the guy who made it?’ we ask. “I just want them to know there’s a good spirit in the instrument that it was built with good intentions. Just that it was built with good intentions to make good music.”

Eric Olson

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