Hi Terry. I've been playing since 2006. I have several dulcimers made by well known builders. I belong to a couple of groups here in the Louisville Ky area. We have members that play banjo, fiddle, mountain and hammered dulcimer, guitar, harmonica and pennywhistle. (I play pennywhistle). I don't want to be the loudest in the room. I just want to be heard. Everyone says they love the sound of a mountain dulcimer but they can't hear it. Enter Walter Lay. Walter plays and builds guitars. He asked he same thing. Why are dulcimers so quiet? So he designed a dulcimer that can hold its own in a multi-instrument jam session. I've got Number 6. I'm here to tell you that Walter is on to something. I just got home from a weekend dulcimer retreat. I got to sit down and play with some really great "bluegrass" players. I sat a little behind so I could hear and jam. They do a lot of A tunes. So I put my capo on and just started playing. Guy in front of me kept looking over his shoulder at me. After a few tunes one of the "leaders" said "OK,...Dulcimer player...take a break" I didn't know the song, but I fuddled through. When was the last you saw a mountain dulcimer player in a bluegrass band, AND take a break? Walter has done a lot of research on this and, like I said. He's on to something. Several people came up to me this weekend and said they could really here Walters dulcimer. So check out his website. I think he will be at OVG this March. If you can make I, I'll be there and I'll give you my take. Good luck.