Love the sound of the hammer dulcimer and it looks easy to play…where do I start?
Yes, it IS easy to play. Yes, it DOES sound wonderful! This is what so many folks in America are looking for – an instrument they can learn to play by themselves, or with minimal instruction, and will progress quickly on, no matter what type of music is played on it. You don’t have to, or need to, know music theory or how to read music! Just find a simple diatonic “do-re-me” scale and start picking out a tune by tapping the hammers on the strings just like playing a children’s xylophone.
So, to get started, obviously, you need an instrument. I just happen to know someone who builds beautiful reasonably priced instruments! “Which one?” might be your first question. There are several different sized dulcimers built and played across the country. We build 7 different sizes and are working constantly on prototypes of others. Soooooo, I would suggest the most expensive model….Ha! No, not really. You can’t buy yourself into being a successful musician. BUT, you can buy such a small or poor quality instrument that you may find yourself lacking the ability to make good enough music to be satisfied to practice over and over, which is absolutely necessary, which is all fun. I definitely suggest you not get started on anything less than a 15/14 sized instrument. The numbers represent the number of sets of strings (courses of two strings) on each of two bridges (treble bridge on the left and bass bridge on the right – there are additional bridges on other models). I feel strongly that the 16/15 model or the “Ultralight” is the most instrument for the money we craft here at Master Works. It sounds fabulous and gives the player the ability to move up in musical complexity by adding several common options after-the-fact. Be sure to take time to read the “Hammer Dulcimer Models Comparison” located in many places on this website. Read it several times – it will help immensely in making your instrument choice.
You will need a few accessories such as a stand (sit-down or stand-up version), a case (so you will be able and willing to go to lessons, workshops, festivals, jam sessions or club meetings), chromatic electronic tuner, GOOD tuning wrench, hammers and a book or two to start (read other FAQs).
This brings us to a very important piece of advice I hope you take seriously. Please, don’t be a closet player. Take your instrument and go out and meet and greet and have fun with thousands of other wonderful fun loving dulcimer folks all over this grand land who are learning just as you are. There are dozens of teacher/performers scattered all across the nation and most of them dedicate their lives traveling all over the U.S. to helping folks just like you learn, progress and play the most wonderful instrument in the world.
Oh, yes, there is one other thing you should remember. Call us…we are here specifically to help you. If you succeed, we will too. If you don’t, neither will we, so call or email if you have any question at all. We can walk you through the process of becoming a successful musician…………..…we’re waiting! Call Master Works today.
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