Carolyn...I highly recommend the lap dulcimer. I am a rather musically challenged person and was attracted to the dulcimer by a book by Jean Ritchie who says the way to tune a dulcimer is tune the bass string to where it sounds good, press on the 4th fret of the base string and tune the rest to that string and the "just play the darned thing!" Or as her Dad told her when she asked him to teach her the dulcimer "Here, you can either play it or you can't" You know she sure learnd to play.
I mean...how unpretentious and un-intimidating can you get. Well, I figured I could do that..got a dulcimer a year ago, ignored all of the "musical snobs" who said all kinds of complicated stuff when I asked a simple question, and you know I have discovered an instrument that has become my best friend.