Sam Edelston


Location: Cos Cob, CT
Country: US

My Latest Followers:

Cheryl W Mary Barnsdale Elvensong DianeL Sean Douglas Charles Thomas Heather Clark Monica Anne Bowman Stephanie Muschlitz Lexie R Oakley Stephen Addison Julie Hopkins Robert Worth Carla Maxwell Norm Williams Martha E


youtube videos: 1

As a teenager, I fell in love with the sound of the hammered dulcimer, and been going to dulcimer festivals since I was 21, but I assumed that mountain dulcimer couldn't be interesting because, after all, how much could you do with only 3 (or 4) strings? Then, in 2004, I became the founding chair of the Nutmeg Dulcimer Festival , and decided I should get to know the other side of the family.

Just as "The Folk" played the songs that were familiar to them, I played the songs that were familiar to me.

I've discovered that 3 strings actually are an advantage, rather than a handicap. I can do things on a 3-string dulcimer that I can't do on a 6-string guitar. I believe that dulcimers ought to be familiar to the general public, and widely used in popular forms of music, and I've posted several dozen videos on YouTube show the diverse things you can do with this instrument -- everything from folk to rock, country, bluegrass, opera, even tango. Two of those videos -- covers of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" and the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated" on electric dulcimer, had the cosmic good fortune to go viral, and are among the most viewed mountain dulcimer videos on YouTube.

(By the way, for venues that can't allow ASCAP or BMI songs, I have plenty of public domain and original repertoire, too.)

Dulcimers are easier to learn than guitars, easier to tune, lighter weight, and less expensive. While guitars also are wonderful, I see dulcimers as a more logical entry-level instrument. I believe there should be millions of dulcimer players in this country.

My personal philosophy is this:

A. I like the ratio of 3 strings for my 5 fingers. 

B. I chose to focus on one tuning, and learn it inside-out, rather than playing in multiple tunings.

C#. If a song requires a note I don't have, I'd rather add frets than adding strings or changing the tuning.

D. Any song is fair game.

I've performed and/or taught for many years at dulcimer festivals and a variety of folk venues around the Northeast, been on the faculty at Kentucky Music Week twice, and been featured at festivals as far away as Minnesota, Louisiana, and (though it wound up being held online due to Covid) California. 

PS - My profile pic here is me playing a school gig here in Connecticut. Five lunch periods of elementary school kids. I can tell from the blindfold that I was playing "Pinball Wizard."

Latest Activity

Sam Edelston
@sam-edelston • 3 days ago • comments: 0
Created a new Group discussion "Motorhead cover: Ace of Spades":
"Maybe this is a slightly extreme arrangement, but hey, it's 2020. Motorhead's heavy metal hit, "Ace of Spades," fingerpicked Scruggs-style on an electric..."
Rockin' in the Free World
Sam Edelston
@sam-edelston • one month ago • comments: 5
Posted a new Comment on Dulcimer: On Broadway:
"Thanks, Robin, Dusty, and Hobbyhorse! As you might imagine, I had a ton of fun putting this one together. Sam"
Sam Edelston
@sam-edelston • 2 months ago • comments: 5
Created a new Group discussion "Dulcimer: On Broadway":
"I started playing On Broadway a couple of months ago. This is one of those cases where if you play a song a hundred times, interesting variations happen,..."
Rockin' in the Free World
Sam Edelston
@sam-edelston • last year • comments: 0
Happy New Year to my friends and followers on FOTMD. Let there be peace on earth - outer space isn't a good alternative yet.

If everyone played dulcimers, we could all live in harmony.

Sam Edelston
Sam Edelston
@sam-edelston • 2 years ago • comments: 4

Latest Group Discussions

Sam Edelston

Motorhead cover: Ace of Spades

Maybe this is a slightly extreme arrangement, but hey, it's 2020....
@Sam Edelston 3 days ago - Comments: 0
Sam Edelston

Dulcimer: On Broadway

I started playing On Broadway a couple of months ago. This is one of...
@Sam Edelston 2 months ago - Comments: 5
Sam Edelston

Safety Dance

People really seem to be enjoying this one. Safety Dance, 1983 hit by...
@Sam Edelston 3 months ago - Comments: 7
Sam Edelston

The Cars on dulcimer - "Just What I Needed"

When I demonstrate dulcimers to people, I like to ask them, "What kind...
@Sam Edelston 4 months ago - Comments: 4
Sam Edelston

Concert set from QuaranTUNE, 6/5/20

Here's the link to my set from last Friday's opening set at the...
@Sam Edelston 4 months ago - Comments: 0
Sam Edelston

Hey, hey, it's "I'm a Believer"

I was a Monkees fan growing up, yet it somehow never occurred to me to...
@Sam Edelston 5 months ago - Comments: 5
Sam Edelston

Wild Horses on a Dulcimer

Okay, it's not about horses riding on a dulcimer, or even doing...
@Sam Edelston 7 months ago - Comments: 4
Sam Edelston

Born to Run with power tools

From my recent show at The Bitter End, in New York City. I closed my...
@Sam Edelston 8 months ago - Comments: 2
Sam Edelston

Come Together in concert

Last week, I had the honor of playing a show at The Bitter End in...
@Sam Edelston 8 months ago - Comments: 0
Sam Edelston

Rockin' Auld Lang Syne

It's a rare treat when I can post a "rock" song that's actually public...
@Sam Edelston 10 months ago - Comments: 0
Sam Edelston

Cheap Trick on Dulcimer

I first heard this song in college, and I've always found it catchy....
@Sam Edelston 10 months ago - Comments: 3
Sam Edelston

Punk dulcimer - I Wanna Be Sedated

In a Facebook group, somebody's phone said "Sedated," instead of the...
@Sam Edelston 11 months ago - Comments: 6
Sam Edelston

"The Toy Song" (musical mashup)

A friend and I created this musical collision of Chuck Berry and Tom...
@Sam Edelston last year - Comments: 0
Sam Edelston

Billy Joel cover -- "You May Be Right"

Yesterday, this song wasn't in my repertoire. But I quoted a couple of...
@Sam Edelston last year - Comments: 3
Sam Edelston

Katy Perry cover: "Never Really Over"

I heard this song on the radio recently and knew I had to learn it....
@Sam Edelston last year - Comments: 3
Sam Edelston


I was at a festival where Gary Sager was vending, and saw this baby...
@Sam Edelston last year - Comments: 3
Sam Edelston

Born to Run - chromatic bari - in concert

I grew up musically in an organization called the Folk Project, an...
@Sam Edelston last year - Comments: 7
Sam Edelston

Shake, Rattle, and Roll (and Strum!)

For the past month, I had temporary use of a solidbody electric...
@Sam Edelston last year - Comments: 2
Sam Edelston

Wild Thing - on 5 electric dulcimers

I'll admit it. I took the world's simplest song, and made it so...
@Sam Edelston last year - Comments: 4
Sam Edelston

Love the One You're With

This one's so easy, anyone can play it. Stephen Stills classic, "Love...
@Sam Edelston last year - Comments: 0

Latest Audio


Latest Videos



08/16/16 10:42:45AM @vlillik:

That would be great Sam, in D.  Unsure how to send a private message with snail mail in it?

I have being trying my best as a beginner and intro could be:

D 000   Em 113    

D 000   D 230   

D 000   Em 113

D 000   ? 230

Verse 1: D 000   D 234

Em 113   D 000   A 404

D 000   A 404   ? 424

A 101   Em 113   112  E 111   D 000

Verse 2 the same

Bridge is difficult, something like:

D 002   C 646

E 111  Em 113   E 111

446   D 224


D 000   A 404   D 234

A 101   Em 113   112   111   000

Repeat V 1 & 2

The outro same as last line in the Verses but final 2 notes don't sound right Em 113  then D 000

Maybe comments as a tutor, it helps learning chords?

08/15/16 10:18:02AM @vlillik:

Hi Sam

Thanks :)

Please could you give me the tablature chords in C for: Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree?  C  Gdim   Dm   G7   D7   Bb

 I've tried doing it but can't find all the equivalent ones (my music is for ukelele) and my music theory is basic. Eg: are you using C as 666 or 646; Gdim 335? Can't find others. 

I'd be very grateful if you could provide me with the tablature in C  :)

08/09/16 06:36:01AM @vlillik:

Wow, your: Don't sit Under The Apple Tree is amazing!  I play in a ukulele group and this is one of ours.  Last month I purchased a MD and this has to be one of the songs I learn.  I'm a beginner so this is truly inspirational, thank you.

Mike Volker
06/05/14 10:01:40PM @mike-volker:

Hi Sam

My email address is



Mark Filler
08/25/13 05:12:08PM @mark-filler:

Thanks... I talked with Robert Force about a year ago and he said there was a project in the works to make it but I never heard more... Do you know if this differs a lot from the blue Lion Force/D'Ossche model with a pick up?

Mark Filler
08/25/13 02:45:05PM @mark-filler:

Hi Sam:

I live near Rod Matheson and I have a dulcimer he made in about 1976...How do I reach him about getting a dulcimer like yours...6 string electric?

04/09/12 10:43:05AM @pine:

Thanks for the response Sam. I thought for sure there was some editing involved to move from one effect to another. I also initially thought you were playing bass (multitracking) but was amazed that you got that sound from EQ on the 'buckers. I find the whole thing really creative and downright inspiring. Music hath no boundaries!!


04/09/12 07:08:55AM @pine:

Loved his tune!...great playing with really creative flourishes and nice dynamics. Cool how you worked in the effects. What are you using for a preamp? How did you add in the effects? Software editing? Great rocker here..nice one!


Bill Lewis
08/28/10 05:00:07PM @bill-lewis:
Welcome to FOTMD Sam. Grin.gif
Sue Simms
08/21/10 06:47:14PM @sue-simms:
Wecome Sam, good to see another FOTMD ! Smile.gif
Rod Westerfield
08/21/10 12:48:41PM @rod-westerfield:
welcome Sam .. glad ya joined the FOTMD family.. 103.gif
08/21/10 07:32:50AM @strumelia:
Hello Sam, so glad you could join us!
John Henry
08/21/10 06:41:06AM @john-henry:
Hi Sam, glad to have you here with us!JohnH