Resources For New Dulcimer Players
There are TONS of books and videos, seemingly endless choices in strings, straps, and other accessories. This list of recommendations isn't at all comprehensive, but it has some strong recommendations (tried and true choices) in all of the various categories. We hope this helps!
BOOKS FOR BEGINNERS
|Start with either the Maureen Sellers book or the Joyce Ochs book, then follow it up with the Bing Futch book. An established musician (proficient in another fretted instrument) will go though the Sellers/Ochs books quickly, but they do provide good fundamentals that'll be helpful for even an established musician.
|Maureen Sellers - My Teaching Book, Volume 1
|Bing Futch - Method For Beginning Mountain Dulcimer
|Joyce Ochs - First Lessons for Dulcimer In DAD Tuning
|These are all popular technique books, and they're all good. Use any of them, or all of them. If your dulcimer doesn't have a 1 1/2 (aka 1.5) fret, skip the "1 1/2 Fret" book!
Aaron O'Rourke - 1 1/2 Fret: Using It And Getting The Most Out Of It
Aaron O'Rourke - Faster, Cleaner, Better!
Aaron O'Rourke - Secrets To Successful Flatpicking
TRADITIONAL REPERTOIRE BOOKS
The standard "jam book" for most dulcimer groups is the Dave Haas book. It has a slew of songs, and will give you most of the commonly played repertoire. The Walker and Anderson books are good supplemental songbooks, full of tunes that aren't generally performed at dulcimer jam sessions.
|Dave Haas - Let's Jam
Carol Walker - DNA Dulcimer Ditties, Vol. 1
|Mike Anderson - Songs For Kids
CONTEMPORARY REPERTOIRE BOOKS
|These are "fun" songs - songs you probably know already - that aren't commonly played in dulcimer jam groups! The Neal Hellman book is pretty challenging, the Jim Schustedt book and Steve Eulberg books are a bit easier. None of these books would be considered "beginner", though. If you're a new dulcimer player, you'll want to build some technique before these tunes are accessible to you.
|Neal Hellman - Hits of the Beatles
|Jim Schustedt - Dulcimer Songbook
|Steve Eulberg - 50 First Songs You Should Play on Mountain Dulcimer
Folkcraft has every gauge of wire, and every type of wire, in both ball end and loop end, but these sets are ready made for a good balance of tone and string tension for most any mountain dulcimer..
|Folkcraft Mountain Dulcimer String Set, Three Strings, Loop Ends
|Folkcraft Mountain Dulcimer String Set, Four Strings, Loop Ends
|There are all kinds of accessories that are nice to have. But we've found these three items to be essential. A tuner (you can use pretty much any tuner - they all work the same!), a strap to keep the instrument in the proper position on your lap, and the right picks (most guitar picks are too stiff to get a gentle dulcimer tone, unless you have great pick technique to begin with).
|Snark Dulcimer Tuner
Dulcimer Strap, 2" Black
(If your dulcimer doesn't have strap buttons, they're easy to install.)
|Herdim Picks, Sampler Pack
|There are a slew of online resources for getting started with the mountain dulcimer, and finding answers to your questions. The Facebook Discovering Dulcimers group is very friendly, and welcoming to new players. For YouTube, check out these three videos: Start 1, Start 2, Start 3; and then check out the YouTube channels of Mandy Tyner and Bing Futch - these are both amazing teachers with a wealth of video instruction available.
|Folkcraft Facebook Page
|Folkcraft YouTube Channel
|Facebook Group Discovering Dulcimers
FESTIVALS AND IN-PERSON INSTRUCTION
|Nothing beats playing (and learning) with another player. That's how most of us learned to play - hanging out with more experienced players, and taking classes from great instructors. I can't emphasize enough how important this is for your dulcimer playing development. (There are lots of online classes/lessons available, but in-person is definitely the best, if you can make it happen.) Here's a link that shows upcoming dulcimer events.
|Kentucky Music Week
|Black Mountain Music Festival
|Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat
PERIODICALS AND PUBLICATIONS
|The Dulcimer Players News is the only print magazine for the dulcimer. It comes out four times a year, and is full of ideas, songs, news, and things you need to know. And the Folkcraft newsletter comes out every Friday morning - sometimes news, sometimes, editorial commentary, and sometimes educational. (And it is free - sign up now!)
|Dulcimer Players News