this is an interesting discussion. James, find a teacher for you with your old dulcimer. You'll find it's fun to play music with others. and those stump fiddles are a kick. have fun with those too. Welcome to this site. aloha, irene
updated by @jamesgpobog: 08/21/19 01:44:12PM
My husband started banjo at 60 & now plays it in my Civil War programs. He doesn't care for tenor banjo, so for my new program about Prohibition I've been learning & using my late (very musical) aunt's uke. I agree about their size as it just doesn't compare with a guitar, although baritones (or is it the bass?) are indeed bigger & can even be tuned like part of a guitar. <sigh!> Doesn't fit Prohibition era's typical uke plunking unfortunately.
The dulcimer is incredibly accepting (dunno about strumsticks, keep 'em away from me as my "petting zoo" of instruments is already HUGE & then there's all those banjos!) All this to say you can't get away with the age excuse, but instruments do tend to choose us or reject us (banjo & mandolin aren't for me & I don't expect to become a true lover of ukes).
The man whose grandmother I portray about the Underground Railroad & her brothers in the Civil War has OCD & he intentionally does 1 "wrong" thing daily.
You can do this.
Now what the heck is a stumpf fiddle? (I know, I know, Strumelia will say put it in a new discussion & she's right.)
Personally, ukes are too small, very limited fretboard.
A big part of this for me is seeing if I can actually do it. I'm 68 and it's only in the last 3 years ore so that I have discovered I have some ability to do this kind of thing (you should see the stumpf fiddles I'm making)
A Tenor or Baritone Uke might be a good choice if you're going to play conversion games. Already set up for 4 strings, not such a huge body. An ordinary strumstick probably has not much more than a cubic foot of interior volume. Bass/baritone response is a factor of interior volume, it's true. An ordinary guitar would be the equivalent of turning a cello into a strumstick -- more of a contra-bass.
I joined to, well, learn. Music does not come easy to me, and that's why ever since I got my dulcimer almost 40 years ago I have just loved it. Diatonic forever!
IIRC, I think I paid $25 for it in the late 70's. Label says it's a "Cahuenga", probably made in china or Taiwan. Good enough for me.
Couple years ago, I tried to make cigar box strumsticks. No joy, so I just pulled the trigger on a Smokey Mountains Dulcimer Works Tenor strumstick. I ordered a modification, and Blaine told me that I now have a one-of-a-kind. Had him build it as a diatonic 4 string strumstick rather than chromatic. Just beginning to noodle around on it. First song 'learned', Pearl Jam's 'Wishlist'.
I'm beginning to be interested in bass dulcimer/strumstick and recently saw an 'Instructables' about modifying a small/childs guitar to a diatonic 3 or 4 string instrument that I'd like to string to baritone or bass.
A mind is a terrible thing. Obsessive-compulsive paired with attention deficit can be interesting (but expensive) sometimes.