General mountain dulcimer or music discussions
@Tull66, Different strokes for different folks.
My first experience in my dulcimer world was to build a kit. No musical or wood working background or mentoring at all. It turned out good, I still have it. I went on to build some from scratch and to buy some, although none were [are] foreign made. Be aware there are poorly made MD's floating around in the US that are wallhangers also, but they are mostly homemade I think. I have a friend who bought a foreign made MD, It sounded ok to me, but he is very experienced and has made some stringed instruments. Actually, I've really never heard a bad sounding MD in 20+ years, cardboard or home built, lucky I suppose. If you decide to get an inexpensive or questionable sourced MD, be sure of the return policy and get an electronic tuner. Use the tuner to verify that the frets are properly placed. Folks here will help with that. A used name brand is an option also.
Bottom line, you started at the right place, here. You're getting getting input from several different viewpoints, from folks with different backgrounds and experience, all of which have merit.