@Nathina, nowadays there are several really high-end dulcimer luthiers to choose from. Such was not the case in the late 70s when Blue Lion started using fancier woods and guitar designs to build dulcimers that were louder and much more mellow-sounding than traditional dulcimers. They simply sound really big and warm and are especially nice for fingerpicking. Janita (half of the couple that makes them) also does phenomenal inlay work, so the dulcimers look as good as they sound. And they are especially know for their baritone and bass models, as well as a model for jam players that uses the body of the baritone but is strung as a standard, so it has extra volume.
I have one of the basic models that I bought years ago, and although it is no longer my main dulcimer (no 1+ fret, no ebony overlay, no pickup, etc.) I still use, especially for fingerpicking. Other people who specialize in fingerpicking (like Nina Zanetti) also play Blue Lion dulcimers. Janita is also a very innovative player. She plays with four equidistant strings but tunes one of the middle strings a half note off the other (I can't remember if it's sharp or flat). That way she can play all the chromatic notes, and does some great fingerpicking, even doing jazzy-sounding pieces that other dulcimer players could never pull off.
Dusty T., Northern California
As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
updated by @dusty-turtle: 11/18/20 07:18:20PM