News & Views Issue 81: Making Beautiful Music

Making beautiful music

Please thank Dave Boyt for sharing his Mountain Dulcimer (#80, Dec/Jan 2018). As you can see, I took some artistic licenses, but the project turned out great. Now I just have to learn how to play it.

—Mike Dunn, Columbus, Ohio

Author/builder Dave Boyt replies:
That is one nice looking instrument! Adding your own touches to my basic plans was exactly what I hoped builders would do.

Learning to play is part of the fun. To get started, I suggest that you pick a simple tune and try strumming the top pair of strings to follow the melody, and let the others strings drone. Once you’ve figured out the tune, try adding some background chords.

For more detailed instruction, I suggest treating yourself to Jean Ritchie’s Traditional Mountain Dulcimer book and CD set ( You’ll find great info online, such as Bing Futch’s “Dulcimerican” series on YouTube, and Homespun ( I also found an online forum for dulcimer enthusiasts ( I’m sure that they’d welcome your photos in their builder’s section.

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