Rick makes fine psalteries. I have a Unicorn Strings 2.5 octave chromatic psaltery. They are fun to play, sound beautiful and accompany the dulcimer nicely. They are great portable instruments. Good luck in selling your dulcimer.
just saw my first bowed psaltry this past week while visiting friends in S.C. and now I have a hot raging case of the "I wants" I did check out Rick's website (the one my friend had was made by him) and saw that other builders, at least the ones I looked at, didn't have D models.....I also noticed that he D had strings and pegs on only one side while the others had pegs/strings on both sides. I am especially attracted to the "easy to play" concept .
Rick is the only maker that I know of that makes the D psalteries. All the makers usually make chromatic versions...which have pegs/strings on both sides. The one side are your natural notes, like the white keys of a piano and the other side are your sharps/flats, like the black keys of a piano. The D psaltery would be very easy to learn, but limited to playing in the key of D. My chromatic, from Unicorn Strings is nice in that it comes with clear plastic note guides that show the note of each string. It really helps learning, put you have to know how to read music. They can be removed later on as you get better or you can leave them on, as they are not obtrusive. I love the idea of its being chromatic, so I can play in any key.
I have both the tenor and tenor D psalteries from Rick Long. Although I must admit to playing the chromatic tenor more often, the D tenor is very useful for playing with dulcimer, Actually, it's not all that hard to tune the two C#'s down to C so you can play in the key of G as well. Also, remember even on the diatonic D tenor you can play in all the modes associated with the major keys of D and G with only the retuning of the two C strings as appropriate.
My problem is that NOONE I know has/plays a BP and none of the music stores seem to carry them in this area (Central Pa.) and, knowing nothing, I'm really hesitant to buy any instrument I haven't seen or heard play. Everyone has good things to say about Rick Long but short of going to a festival where he might be selling some, I'm not sure where to go from here. Any advice would be greatly appreciated
I'd suggest you go to Psaltery Strings and check out some of the videos and/or audios linked there. As for Rick Long's Psalteries, his page Ringing Strings has all sorts of information as well as lots of videos of his instruments alone and in groups with other instruments. He also puts up a short sound file for each instrument he has listed for sale. I realize recordings don't always give an accurate feel for the true sound of an instrument but that's about the best I can suggest right now.
Thanks, Ivan, I have both gone to Psaltry Strings( and joined) and am happily going through all the helpful info. they offer. Same thing for Rick Long's website as well as several others listed in Psaltery Strings. Guess, I'll keep on looking...
Hi Randy, I did get a "clearance" psaltery from Walter Messick at Cabin Creek Music at a reduced price...he has a whole section of imperfects and being no stranger to buying "seconds" I finally jumped in. It's a lovely little instrument but I still plan on getting a D psaltery from Rick Long. I found that I can play along with dulcimers tuned C G C but to be able to play along with DAD (which is how most dulcimer players are tuned) the D psaltery would fit that situation......and, after all, if one psaltery is good, wouldn't two be better These two instruments sound so good played together that if you have others to play with, you can really get some neat harmonies going
Well, I did it.....got a Rick Long D tenor psaltery....wow do I ever love it. The sound is amazing and I also got the tripod mount and extra bow so I can mess around with double bowing.(not easy but well worth it for the sound.) The mellow voice of the tenor with it's wound strings is really amazing and his workmanship it spectacular...I would recommend a Rick Long psaltery to anyone
Pat Boardman said:
I am playing my Rick Long psaltery more and more with dulcimers and loving every minute of it. The harmonies,as you said, Cindi, are spectacular and quite an addition to a dulcimer group. You said two psalteries would be better and that is true as I now have one of Rick's tenors in D and the sound quality is mellow, but rich. How lucky we are to have found Rick.