What accessories should I consider?

Instruments typically come with basic hammers and tuning wrench.  To start, that is actually all you have to have.  But there are a few definite need-to-have items for beginners.

  1.  ELECTRONIC TUNER.   Gotta have one.  They are cheap and wonderful.  Automatically gives you the tone and pitch of the string you pluck one at a time on a meter, then you tune the string to the middle of the meter (0)and “Wa La”, that string is tuned!   Now move on to the other 61.
  2. TUNER CLIP…plugs right into the tuner and clips onto the instrument anywhere that won’t get scratched… like a tuning pin…any pin… and it will pick up the tone of any string from anywhere on the instrument, you don’t have to relocate the clip.  Also, it automatically turns off the acoustic microphone built into the tuner and picks up the vibration of the instrument ONLY!  How cool is that!?!
  3. CASE…gotta have one to carry your instrument around in.  Helps protect your valuable investment from dents and scratches, from temperature changes in transport and from getting your bridges knocked out of place and changing the 5th interval…yuk!  Also keeps your instrument from getting eggs thrown onto it when someone next to you performs really poorly!  Ha!  (I could of used one once!)
  4. STAND…gotta put it on something!  Stand-up, sit-down, angled, flat, adjustable, you decide.  Sit-down x-brace design fits into the case and makes a nice portable package.  The stand-up or sit-down x-brace stand is the most  sturdy design, most portable and least expensive choice.
  5. HAMMERS…you can upgrade the basic single-sided hammers to a nice pair of double-sided hammers that allow you to play on either side of the hammers which have different material on each side of the hammers which gives you a different voice on each side of the hammers.  So which side of the hammers you gonna be on…Republican or Democrat?!  Oops, wrong subject…  The hammers you start playing with is the style you will likely play with for a long time, if not forever.  Give it some serious thought.  There are different weights also.  Heavier hammers may be easier to use when playing in the wind but also gives you a bigger voice, great for those who play with a lighter touch, because of the mass, but tends to produce more “hammer percussion” or “thump” when you play with a heavier hand, especially on a lighter instrument.  DO NOT EVER USE DIFFERENT LENGTH HAMMERS!  Different weights are OK but not lengths.  WE happen to only offer hammers that are all the same length …isn’t that convienent?  Oh yes, NEVER USE CLAW HAMMERS ON YOUR INSTURMENT UNLESS YOU ARE VERY MAD.  But if you do, come see us immediately for a brand new instrument.
  6. MUSIC HOLDER…that would be someone odd enough to stand in front of you and hold your music for you for endless hours!  Don’t know of anyone?  Well….guess what we make…music holders!  They don’t block the view near as bad as your spouse, aren’t near as heavy to carry around, don’t turn while you’re playing to watch that pretty …. well, don’t get distracted, don’t argue and are much less expensive to keep around!  Pure genius!!
  7. DUSTERS….oh, but you won’t need that.  I know you never have to dust your home, and if you did, your spouse would do it for you anyway………..don’t worry, they’re cheap.
  8. STRING BRIGHTENER…brightens your rusty strings…..looks like an eraser….I’ve got nothing else.
  9. REPLACEMENT STRINGS…should have a few of the smaller gauges on hand in case one breaks.  No, you can’t get them at War-Mart….yet….wait, maybe in the cheese slicer section of kitchen items….mmm…never thought of that before.
  10. MONOPOD…mono…that would be only one, right….pod, not as in peas but a wooden leg….like Captain Hook….no, that was his arm.  Anyway, a monopod screws into the back of your 15/14 hammer dulcimer, or larger model, and props your instrument up on a table.  Or, use a long table height monopod and lay the instrument on your knees and the monopod becomes your third leg out in front of you forming a tripod-like situation without having to carry a separate stand.  Again, pure genius!!!  Don’t worry, folks will quit laughing at you when you start making all that beautiful music….usually….good grief, that’s just rude, Russell.

BRIDGE BANGER….I’m sure this brings up some bad memories of when you were learning to drive…hope you healed up OK.  Anyway, it is used to adjust the treble bridge to produce a perfect 5th interval when you tune.  Won’t need it very often but sure is handy when you finally do get brave enough to set that “*%@$e*&^@#%$*&%$^!” bridge that won’t tune correctly.  Don’t worry, it can only go one of two ways…have a 50/50 chance of getting it right the first time…… OK, better watch the instructional video first!

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