Hey, Spaw, I'll try ANY fine dulcimer! But up here north of the US border, there's really not much to see in the way of dulcimers at instrument shops or at festivals. A few months ago I went dulcimer shopping with a friend, and couldn't find even one dulcimer in Toronto that was either ready or willing to play even the simplest tune. I think that people buy these inexpensive instruments, thinking it's an easy thing to learn, but not wanting to put much investment into it, then they get frustrated, and then hang the dulcimer up over the fireplace as a pretty wall decoration.
I love to look at nice dulcimers on the web. But I love to play my Bear Meadow. I asked my friend Grit Laskin, the world-famous luthier, to examine my dulcimer for any major or minor flaws, and he declared, "There's absolutely nothing wrong with this instrument!". I know there are other great dulcimer makers out there, and I envy you guys who've tried them all, the good and the bad. I'm just glad that I got hooked up with Dwain Wilder, through Lorraine Hammond, and got an instrument I could grow into. It's a beauty.