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Appalachian Lap Dulcimer

These pictures are of an Appalachian lap dulcimer that my son Jim built for me from a kit. I obtained this kit from Elderly Instruments. It came with the fret board already fretted, but the rest of the dulcimer had to be cut out, assembled and glued. Once it was completed, it was stained with 4 coats of Tung oil. He did a really great job on it and it sounds really good. I wish I had more time to play it, but alas, the banjo is my first love....

You play this instrument, by laying it in your lap with the tuners pointing to your left. Some people use yarn or a cord around your body and encircling the hour-glass shaped frame of the dulcimer to keep it from sliding off of your lap. It also has a noting stick, (wooden dowel 3 or 4 inches long) which is used to play the instrument. It frets the notes for you as well as providing a slide sound, (vibrato) which I really like. You can also just use your fingers to barre notes or form chord shapes. To strum the dulcimer, you can either use a rather large plectrum, (pick) or the back of your nails, or even use finger and thumb picks.

You can almost here the strains of "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" wafting out of this beautiful instrument. Is that a Del McCoury hat I see that boy wearing???

Have you ever seen this fellow with his eyes open? I really love the sound that this "Ol' Timey" instrument makes. If you get a chance to try one, don't pass it up. You will be hooked.....

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