How to Play the Dulcimer

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The dulcimer is a stringed instrument that is relatively easy to learn to play and produces a beautiful sound. Begin with a basic understanding of how the instrument works, and be ready to practice every day. Follow the tips below and learn how to play the dulcimer.

  • Begin by holding the dulcimer across the knees while sitting on a stool or chair with no arms.

  • Strum the strings with your right hand using a pick or thumb. When strumming, use all the strings. This must be done over the strum hollow, which is near the end of the instrument.

  • Play different notes with the left hand. Do this with the hand or with the help of a noter, which is a wooden stick that presses down the strings. The notes should be clear. If they are not, then the string is not being pressed evenly.

  • Practice notes and scales of notes before trying a simple song. Try the simple song and repeat it slowly until the notes are loud and clear. Once the transition between notes is smooth, speed up the tempo.

  • Get a good book that shows which strings are which, and has simple tunes and chords to try. It is best if it includes a video or audio CD. A good one is "You Can Teach Yourself Dulcimer." It is a book and video combination.

  • Find a good teacher. Learning a musical instrument is easiest when you are observed and accept feedback. Although dulcimer players may be hard to come by, teachers of other string instruments may be able to help.

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