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any such thread ...good or bad  I'd love to read peoples points on different brands and types

I've seen lots of black mountain and  one JMS  on e-bay I'm eyeing......peace,love and jujubes

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I think you'll just have to use the Search function, RM.  There's no Reviews section.  On ED, the handful of times someone has started a real Review section or discussion, it lead to some 'bad blood' when a builder or two didn't appreciate negative discussions of his poorly constructed, overly thick, poorly fretted dulcimers, even though the reviews were as gently truthful as could be.  I think it lead to pistols at dawn or some such...

You will find lots of people asking about Dulcimer X or 'should I get dulcimer A or B?'.  But you have to realize that all such discussions are highly subjective.  As 25 people for their favorite dulcimer and you'll get 30 answers.  I for example, as a hardcore traditionalist, will hardly ever be found saying anything positive about a chromatic fretboard or electric amplification; while others adore what to me are abominations. Some folks will tell you Dulcimer X is magnificent while others will tell you it's not worth using as kindling...

In the end, the choice of Dulcimer X or Dulcimer Y should boil down to the SOUND that a particular dulcimer makes, and whether or not you like that sound; especially if this is your second or third dulcimer.  I don't suggest buying by recommendation, but buying by sound and feel.  Even the Dulcimer Building Gods make a mistake periodically, and if you buy a mistake because you didn't hear the dulcimer or fondle it before buying, you could come away with the impression that Builder C was not very good. 

awesome my friend  thank you

Hi, RavenMadd!  Reviewers are so subjective it's hard to glean much that's objective from them.   When folks post here asking "Should I buy XYZ instrument," we try to give helpful advice. 

I bought my first mountain dulcimer based on raves from lots of folks.  That dulcimer was, in many ways, a nice instrument.  And I ended-up selling it.  I had to play mountain dulcimer awhile before I learned my own preferences.  Now, I own several instruments and each of them has a unique sound and feel to it.  And I love each of them for different reasons.   

I'd agree with what Ken and Robin have said, there is no substitute for holding the instrument in your hand and actually playing and listening to it.

That being said there are other aspects on which makers build a reputaion(in addition to the sound) that you might want to bring into consideration.

For example, one maker may make a feature of decoration or someone else the beauty of the wood, McSpadden are renowned for their long term servicability, etc.

john p


go to our 'Forums' section, and look in the forum called "Instruments"- dealing with specific features, luthiers, etc.

Either you will find a thread there about a specific brand or you can start one if you have particular questions.

There is no official brand review area here on fotmd, since such opinions are so subjective and personal.  One person's favorite dulcimer will be another's least favorite.  Thus, I don't want to create a defined 'reviews' area where folks will be debating the merits of various luthiers' creations.  The 'Instrument' forum is where you can look for info on certain luthiers and dulcimers, and also where you can ask specific questions about particular dulcimers or features.  Don't forget you can use the search box in that forum to type in keywords on dulcimers you may want to find info on.

Robin and John P are right. Until you hold it and pay it, you'll never know. My ""right sound" may not be what you like. I like a warmer sound, so when I pick one up and try it that is what I listen for. Others like a lighter sound. I have three and I think they all have the warmer sound that sounds pleasing to my ear.
But what ever sound you like it will blend with the others. That is one of the beauties of this instrument.

MAN that is why I love you guys.... Ken, John, Strumelia and all the rest here...  NO JUDGMENT !  

There are other sites out there, that I will not name or throw mud at where if you do not play this kind of musical instrument or play just like this or that person.. If you do not spend this kind of money for that instrument or have this brand name or that...  You are not a musician....

All I can add is go and lesson to the videos of the FotDM,  Talk to the people here in chat... and by all means go find some festivals or jams where they play the music you like on the instruments you like... sit in and lesson.  Ask if you can put some of your finger prints on there instrument...  If they give you sour look and say no..... Find a someone else to talk to...  

What sounds good to your ear may sound like finger nails on a chalk board to me...  

But.. here in the Dulci... friends... you will find love...

That is all in my honest opinion...   which means nothing at all...  

If you are looking to buy your first dulcimer, and don't play dulcimer, it can be hard for you to give the available choices a good objective inspection. If you have experience with other stringed instruments, that will help.It would still be good for you to have an experienced player go with you and play whatever is in your price range. Even then, that players style will make differences that may not be readily obvious. I have one dulcimer that sounds best when played in a more delicate manner-it likes to be strummed gently, or finger picked. My other dulci doesn't really begin to sing until I strike the strings fairly hard.This leads me to choose certain songs, styles of music, and playing styles for each of them. And sometimes my mood dictates which I want to play. There may be no way for you to determine these variables until you try a few different playing styles, and see what really speaks to you. In the absence of a dulcimer playing friend to shop with, you need a seller who is willing to really assist you in making your choice. A good luthier or seller can play the instruments for you, hopefully in more than one playing style, and let your ears decide where you want to begin. Don't be at all surprised if you start with one playing style, and you later find another style has caught your ear. It happens a lot, and is not a bad thing at all. I suspect many of us have gone through this. And have multiple dulcimers partly for this reason.  Our playing evolves over time, as we experience new ideas and try different styles.

As a new player, looking for that first dulcimer, you may be best served by finding a player or club near you to assist in your search. (I'm available, if you are somewhere within reasonable proximity to NE Ohio.You can message me through my homepage here at FOTMD.) I would suggest avoiding such online marketplaces as Ebay or Craigs List at this time, as you really can't evaluate a dulcimer by a photograph. I have heard enough stories of poorly made Dulcimer Shaped Objects sold online to scare me away, and I'm Fearless!. I have several Guitar-shaped objects given to me by co workers who found them on the curb and thought I could fix  and play them. I trashed several that were not worth the trouble, the others are waiting until I get to them, and will probably be given away after repair. The point is, a lot of sub standard junk is sold to unsuspecting parents and budding guitarists. Shop from a position of knowledge if at all possible, your knowledge or that of someone else. Not as much junk is in the dulcimer market, as it's a small market to begin with. But junk does exist, and is mostly traded as "A pig in a poke." Another good thing to do is go to a dulcimer festival if possible. There are usually makers there with instruments for sale, and you can try several and hear the differences. You can probably find a player to play some for you as well. If you can't locate a savvy player, or get to a festival, you may have to buy by mail, or phone. browse the forums here for makers whose work is trusted, their names are frequently suggested to new players. There are several well respected builders frequently spoken of highly on here and other dulcimer forums, and buying from them by mail is quite unlike the gamble of Ebay.


thank you all for sharing this place ...I quit a few  guitar forum cause of snobbery and myth believers  ....again  thanks.......when I sit on my steps with my hondo ...I get that what the heck is that

don't know anyone else  that plays it ..except you folks

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