The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #8351   Message #51689
Posted By: KickyC
01-Jan-99 - 07:36 PM
Thread Name: Lap Dulcimer players
Subject: RE: Lap Dulcimer players
Carolyn, I have been playing the Appalachain dulcimer since my husband bought me one three and a half years ago for our 25th anniversary and it is absolutely my favorite instrument of all to play. You might find someone in your area that builds dulcimers, but unless you know for sure that that person is an accomplished builder I wouldn't reccomend it. Many people build dulcimers, but many of those dulcimers are unplayable. If the builder doesn't know what they are doing, the instrument can look beautiful, but not ever be able to hold a tune. I have two McSpaddens which are from Mountain View, Arkansas that are just wonderful and resonably priced for a beginner I think. They run around $250 with a case, but they are good quality and you know what you are getting. When I bought the first one, I knew absolutely nothing and later found out that I had really lucked out. There are many other excellent builders, but some tend to be more expensive. I have the Sweetheart model. One was made by McSpadden and the other my husband made from one of their kits. Last summer we went to Boone, North Carolina for the Dulcimer Worshop where I spent a week in classes and my husband spent a week building a dulcimer with Bob Mize. That is one sweet little dulcimer! I just love to play the dulcimer. Mine all have four strings. When I went to Boone, a fellow student said, "How do you play all four of those strings?" I answered, "I never had a teacher, so I didn't know any better when I learned how to play." I started then using just three strings and I really think the sound quality is much clearer and better. I would use four for backups with singing, but I prefer three for playing melodies. Some dulcimers come without that 6 1/2 fret, but I would highly recommend getting one with it. You won't be sorry. For learning to play I would also recommend Larkin Bryant's bood and tape. Any music store should be able to order it for you. I think it is the easiest I have seen to start with. I can't give you the exact name because I loaned it to someone. I could go on forever, but I think one of the best things that ever happened to me was learning to play the dulcimer. The sound is so sweet and it is so relaxing. It really is a stress reliever for me. My husband will also sit and listen to me play for as long as I want. I often put him to sleep. That doesn't happen with my banjo. Give it a try. You really won't be sorry. If you have any other questions, you can e-mail me anytime at