Duane, that is wonderful! Glad you made such a find. And with my own personal experience of purchasing my first and subsequent dulcimers, I would not have haggled over that price for a second. Good for you.
I don't believe (but could be wrong...been wrong maybe once or twice... )there are any hard and fast rules to fingering and chording. The advice that I have heard is to try and make the movements as efficient as possible, thus, sometimes the practice is in finding commonality with various chord changes so as to make the fewest movements and less cumbersome. Not always easy to do...I don't really chord too much, just depending on the song.
Duane, it sounds like you got yourself a really nice dulcimer for a very good price. Any chance of you posting a pic or two of it?
As to rules for chording. You're talking to the wrong guy. I'm a noter/drone type of player. Have been playing that way for a long time. What I can tell you is to go with what feels the smoothest to get from one chord to another. I know it's not much help, but it's all I can tell you. Look around and ask this question in the Modern/Chord style Players group. They should be able to answer your question. Sorry I can't help you out but , there are a lot who can here. Please ask your questions, and someone will get back to you. Enjoy the site. It's one big happy family.
The first rule is.....
There are no rules. Finger the chords as they feel comfortable to you and enable you to move to the next one smoothly.
What could be greater than a retired music teacher. We may have a few questions for you. There's a lot in these pages, a bit of fun and some great music.
Welcome to FOTMD Duane. It's good to have you aboard.
"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
Howdy and welcome to FOTMD!
Hi Duane, and welcome to the wonderful world of the Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer. It's a good place to come, spend some time, learn about the dulcimer, and to meet some good people.
Welcome, Duane, to this little corner of dulcimer heaven. Hope you enjoy it here.
Hey Duane, welcome aboard. Glad ya found us.