If I Had a Hammer (dulcimer) but no left-hand
Adventures with 'other' instruments...
Have you looked at Ken Kolodner's HD Theory & Mapping book? It is a great reference for learning the hammered dulcimer.
I usually just read but don't comment but now seems an appropriate time to thank Rob, Dusty and Strumelia (and others) for the encouragement with "suggestions on how to improve" especially being an encouragement. I got my first dulcimer about 2 and a half years ago being motivated by what I heard and saw some friends doing playing chord melody style. I still haven't gotten where I want to be in terms of playing skill but I can vouch that practice makes a world of difference even if I can only find 5 or 10 minutes on a particular day. Some days are really good, some days I have to set my instrument down and try again later. (I use that time to try and learn some music theory because I want to learn the why's of chords instead of just playing by ear.)
In the short time I've been playing I've come to appreciate the different playing styles. I want to learn noter/drone because certain songs seem to lend themselves to that particular style of playing and I enjoy chord/melody playing on certain songs. About 6 months ago I was asked to start playing in church. It took about 4 months for me to start because I was scared of making mistakes while playing. I got over that one real quick thanks to the encouragement from the other musicians. If you had told me 4 weeks ago that I could transpose a chord on the fly (the group frequently capo's to the second or fourth fret on their guitars) I probably would have responded "yeah - right and pigs can fly". I have by no means arrived but this week at practice I was able to transpose simple chords. I have been stretched to learn new chords and new fingering techniques including relying on the "pinky" finger. It is getting stronger with practice. So, practice - practice - practice and don't give up because it seems too hard right now.
Music is a wonderful gift. Sometimes I just sit and wonder how those individual notes can come together to make such a beautiful sound. I love listening to the different players here. I hope you would agree how fortunate we are to have this site and the multitude of contributors playing and posting their songs for us.
Thank you at times seems inadequate but sometimes it's the only words I can find to express my appreciation for all you do. Thank you Rob, thank you Dusty, thank you to all who post their songs here, and especially thank you Strumelia (Lisa) for your insights and for maintaining this site. I hope all, of you have a blessed day.
Sorry for the delay in sending out a sincere thank you for the responses. I'm sending the info to my wife's friend so she can pursue further if she wants. Thanks again.
My wife's friend bought a dulcimer at an estate sale. The label inside says Thomas F Johnson Classical Guitar Construction Rte 5 Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin Jan 1976. Has anyone heard of this builder or is any one familiar with his dulcimers. The picture I have would seem to indicate the dulcimer is probably walnut and has heart sound holes.