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CapriTaurus dulcimers are exquisite in material, craftsmanship, and sound. When I look at my CapriTaurus, I see decades of Howard Rugg’s fine woodworking and luthier skills.

The scroll head is beautifully carved with precision. The top is a deep red aged first growth redwood. The sides and back are dark brown with a hint of red California walnut, which echoes the hue of the redwood. I can go on about all the details of my dulcimer but let’s just say it’s truly a work of art.

But the biggest treat of all is the sound my CapriTaurus makes. It's balanced between the treble and bass. The tone is warm and clear. The volume is full but never overwhelming. I play my CapriTaurus when I'm alone, I play it with dulcimer friends, and I play it with my fiddle friends, guitar friends, banjo friends. What a wonderful dulcimer I have. And what a great luthier Howard is!  

Wayne Jiang, Portland, OR 

Video of Wayne playing his CapriTaurus

I purchased my first CapriTaurus dulcimer in 1973 at the Nepenthe store in Big Sur, California. I had played and owned a few dulcimers by that point and was immediately impressed by the tone and volume of this instrument. The Brazilian rosewood sides/back and spruce top, and the unusual deep body contributed to an amazingly rich, warm tone and I was immediately hooked as I had never experienced a finer dulcimer.

It turns out that this instrument was built by Howard back in 1969 as an early prototype of the now famous D series and I believe it actually pre-dates the instrument Howard’s brother Michael still plays to this day.

My CapriTaurus sailed with me as a constant companion for two western Pacific cruises on USS Enterprise and has given me countless hours of pleasure and joy. It has been my primary “gigging” dulcimer forever.  I have owned (and traded) many fine guitars, mandolins and other instruments over the years but I will never part with my first CapriTaurus…42 years of heaven, right there.
By 2012, the instrument was lovingly worn and in need of some serious repair. I figured it made sense for the dulcimer to meet its original maker and took it up to Howard’s shop in Felton, where I finally had the opportunity to meet Howard after all these years!  We had a fine meeting and Howard took on the work of restoring my dulcimer to excellent playing condition. It now plays every bit as well as it did when it was brand new, and sounds even better given the aging of the woods!

During my visits with Howard, he showed me the beautiful ukuleles he was building and also showed me a couple of the new dulcimers he was building after all these years, one of which was the CapriTaurus #2. Amazing playability, with an unbelievably clear and bright tone and made of old stock Hawaiian Koa sides and back, Italian spruce top, gorgeous rope binding and a carved horsehead headstock.  Head over heels in love, I had to have this one…

I am so blessed to own two beautiful CapriTaurus dulcimers. My only real problem is in deciding which to play! Both remarkable instruments, beautifully and lovingly constructed. In terms of tone and quality of construction I have never heard an instrument that can compare, and it my pleasure to highly recommend Howard’s craftsmanship. I wouldn’t say Howard is a master at dulcimer building; rather, he is “the master.”

Dan Eyde, Watsonville, CA 

Listen to Dan playing his CapriTaurus






The sound of my CapriTaurus dulcimer is so full and resonate. It's such a joy to play and sing with it. Working with Howard was a wonderful experience, I learned so much. I highly recommend CapriTaurus and Howard to any dulcimer lover who wants a beautiful instrument to play and enjoy.

Laura Devine Burnett, Santa Cruz, CA