Help arthritic fingers!

Melanie Cook
04/14/15 03:20:10PM

I just received my new dulcimer yesterday and I am so thrilled. I've experimented with one before and my intent was to learn chords. I fell in love with the dulcimer hearing some of the hymns on Youtube by Benjamin Esh and Stephen Seifert. I also love the traditional noter/drone playing too. I guess I want to do both. My dulcimer came tuned in DAA and came with a couple of song books with songs also written in Ionian and Aerolian mode. I've read here and other places until I'm cross-eyed about the benefits of DAd and DAA and because of wanting to play chords, I tuned to DAd.

The problem I've discovered is the same as why I stopped playing guitar. I could no longer reach around the neck of the guitar and reach chords due to arthritis and stiffness in my fingers and wrist. Now when I try to play chords with my dulcimer, I find the same problem. I thought with the keyboard being more accessible and on my lap, it would be better but it's not.

I'm so frustrated. Before I give up trying to play chords all together, I thought I'd see if any one else has this problem and if they have any suggestions. Are my songs limited if I choose to play noter/drone only? Sigh!