My first dulcimer is a David Lynch made "Sweet Sounding" dulcimer. I bought it slightly-used at a moderate price. I just received by mail this past Monday a dulcimer that I ordered from Jack Ferguson of Salem, VA. I would describe this dulcimer as "Rich" toned and much different from the Lynch dulcimer. It is made of black walnut and black cherry; the Lynch dulcimer is made of birch and could be a student model. I am a beginner too and struggled to decide what I wanted in a dulcimer. I like the Lynch dulcimer but I will confess that I will probably play Jack's dulcimer more because of the sound. The Ferguson dulcimer was 4X what I paid for the Lynch dulcimer but I think well worth it. I am very happy with Jack Ferguson's workmanship.