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With a deep body design, CapriTaurus Dulcimers have a rich full sound that can be heard when played with other instruments such as the guitar, mandolin, and banjo.

Listen to clips of musicians playing CapriTaurus dulcimers.





With almost half a century of woodworking experience and over 20 years as a luthier building dulcimers, you’ll be getting a high quality instrument.

Every dulcimer is handcrafted:

  • one at a time,
  • using jigs designed by Howard Rugg,
  • with care and high attention to detail.

For more information, see the models and details page.


Each dulcimer is made from a combination of hard and soft woods. The woods are hand selected for maximum beauty and sound.

The hardwoods include walnut, mahogany, and maple. The softwood soundboards are made from spruce, fir, and redwood.

Some of the woods I use (walnut and redwood) have been naturally aging for more than 30 years. The redwood is first growth redwood recycled from an 1800s water tank.

Naturally aged wood has a richer and more complex color. It creates more resonant instruments with a responsive and open tone. This aged wood is often preferred by professional musicians.

See available wood samples.


In 1969 Howard Rugg and his brother Michael became partners. They called their partnership CapriTaurus Handcrafts Fine and Applied Arts. They designed and began manufacturing the CapriTaurus mountain dulcimer and sold them at the Renaissance Faire and the Dickens Fair in California from 1969-1987.

In the early 1970s, Stephen Jackel became a partner, and they introduced the Folk Roots mountain dulcimer.

Michael, Steve, and Howard decided to split the business in two, Michael retained the CapriTaurus dulcimer and Steve and Howard formed Rugg & Jackel manufacturer and distributor of the Folk Roots dulcimer. Michael eventually left the dulcimer business and did other things. Steve and Howard sold the Folk Roots dulcimer business to Folkcraft Instruments in 1989.

From 1969 to 1989 Steve, Michael, and Howard produced approximately 20,000 dulcimers.

In 2011 Howard decided to begin building a small quantity of custom-made CapriTaurus Dulcimers again.

The story of CapriTaurus Dulcimers is featured in the full length documentary film Hearts of the Dulcimer.

To find out more about Howard, listen to the Hearts of the Dulcimer podcast episode: Howard Rugg: Master Luthier of CapriTaurus and Early Folk Roots Dulcimers.

More on CapriTaurus' history