Thanks, Don and Ken! I'll be sure to pass the info along to my sister.
Second vote here for Harpmaker's Student model. I've been messing around with dulcimer for nearly 40 years; played hundreds of different instruments, and IMHO there's not a better dulcimer out there in that $100-$150 price range. I own one that he slightly customized for me a couple years back. It's my 'go to' general purpose dulcimer. Also, he has a trade-in policy if your sister eventually wants something even nicer.
Kim, Flat creek Dulcimer in Hardy, Ar. makes a student model box dulcimer for $110. I haven't had my hands on one myself but you are only a 2.5 hour drive from Hardy. That instrument has a 28 7/16 inch vsl very much like your Mcspadden. Just a thought.....
Hey, Kim! David Lynch's Sweet Woods student model is $125 and I've heard nothing but good things about it. Dave's a member here and so is his sister (folkfan). You can see a picture by scrolling down this page:
I know if I scrounged around enough on this site, I could probably find where people have made recommendations for dulcimers, but it's just easier to post the question again.
Anyhow, my sister emailed me today telling me she wants to learn how to play the dulcimer! I've rubbed off on her apparently. She asked me what dulcimer I would recommend for her. Of course I would recommend a McSpadden because that's what I have, but she wants to spend only around $150-$200 in case she ends up not sticking with the dulcimer. Could anybody recommend a dulcimer that sounds good and is reliable and easy to play? Thanks!
updated by @kimberly-c: 06/08/16 09:24:05PM