Joining a local dulcimer club
I finally was able to attend my first meeting at a local dulcimer club -- what a wonderful experience! It was a small group (only 4 including me) due to the holiday season and the snow/ice, however they were very friendly and welcoming. I was not sure I would feel comfortable enough to play with them however they would not take no for an answer and chose "easy" tunes and slowed them down so I could try to keep up. I had to retune my dulcimer from CGG to DAd, and discovered that my poor eBay rescue actually sounds pretty good in DAd tuning!Theydo not play with noters and at first I felt like had to use mine, but after a while I started to put it down and use my fingers --mostly my index (like a noter,) but for the tunes with chording I tried a few others -- not very successfully but it is a start.Before the meeting I had no intention of learning any other type of playing other than drone and noter, but now I see the value in learning chording, it does open up a wider selection of music and adds richness and depth. I will still prefer noterbutbeing flexible in playing style will enable me to play with others.Maybe one day I will even attempt finger picking!I learned some valuable tips,like I had my melody strings tuned to thewrong octave (no wonder my dulcimer sounded strange!) They mentioned that having a double melody string may make playing without a noter a little more difficult soI told them I would think about removing one string. Later that day as I was tuning, my 2nd melody string snapped and I did not have a replacement so I tried to play without it. It was easier on my fingers and the difference in sound was not as drastic as I though it would be, so I guess my dulcimer settled that issue for me!
Not only is a club great for meeting fellow dulcimer lovers, it is also like having free music lessons. So for newbies like me, I highly recommend joining a local dulcimer club if you can find one in your area.