Just a Question

Help for new mountain dulcimer players of all ages!

Just a Question

Postby Ladyehawk » Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:06 pm

I haven't started with the mountain dulcimer yet. I've started with the guitar and was wondering if it was plausible to play both.

How different is it from the guitar if at all

Junior Mbr (0-50 posts)
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:21 am

Re: Just a Question

Postby kwl » Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:49 pm

Answering your question is not as simple as it may seem. Do you plan to play the mountain dulcimer on your lap or standing up? If you sit down to play your hand will be over the fret board pressing down on the strings. If you stand, your hand will either come down over the dulcimer or up from under. Since the dulcimer does not have a neck like a guitar you hand placement will seem awkward. Then there is the question of style of playing. If you strum, that will not be very different. Finger picking will a little different in that the dulcimer has less strings. If you play the dulcimer with four equidistant stringing, you have a little more versatility in fingerpicking. Now that being said, I play both mountain dulcimer and guitar and have no problem in going from one to the other. On both instruments I am primarily a strummer. I am sure others will give you their opinions. There is no reason why you can not play both instruments.

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
User avatar
Dulcified! (>2000 posts)
Posts: 17430
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2002 5:25 pm
Location: Reedsville, PA

Re: Just a Question

Postby dholeton » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:01 pm

For sitting down playing, I think it is easier to learn to play the dulcimer than the guitar for certain melody arrangements. If you're just playing chords, it might be easier on the fingers to play chords on the dulcimer. The guitar has more chord capabilities (seventh chords, suspended chords, other chords that require more than three strings). If you're playing melody, I think the dulcimer has the advantage as long as the notes fit the dulcimer fretboard.
I first learned to play guitar in 1975. I obtained a dulcimer in 1978. I have had periods where one instrument was in more demand than the other (playing at church or other volunteer activities). Sometimes we become limited in that we need a certain fret on the dulcimer, but otherwise I think the dulcimer is a great instrument to add if you're already playing guitar. I play both instruments and it is plausible to learn to play both (I didn't learn to play both at the same time).

User avatar
Super Mbr (501-2000 posts)
Posts: 821
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2009 8:27 pm
Location: Clinton, TN

Re: Just a Question

Postby bret » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:06 pm

I'm someone fairly new to dulcimer/dulcimer style instruments. Specifically I've been playing a guitar-like dulcimer. My experience with guitar is limited to trying to teach myself a couple times over the years and eventually learning a bit of Ukulele. The dulcimer has been much easier and faster to learn for a couple reasons. It's an open tuning, so playing all the strings open (no fingers on the fret board) plays a pleasing sound. Also because of the tuning and the diatonic frets (some frets from an instrument like the guitar aren't present on the dulcimer) it's hard to play something that sounds bad. If you only finger the melody string, the other two strings act as drones and always sound pretty good. Of course you can play chords as well.

It's definitely given me a confidence boost by quickly being able to learn to play some simple things. That wasn't my experience at all with the guitar. The chords are more complex due to the tuning and extra strings and will take a bit more to learn. The guitar can definitely play a wider range of music, but there's also a steeper learning curve.

That said I don't see any reason why someone couldn't learn to play both.
Member (51-100 posts)
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2017 6:00 pm

Re: Just a Question

Postby Ladyehawk » Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:47 pm

I would playing sitting down and strumming. I'm NOT into fingerpicking on the guitar or dulcimer.
Thanks for the responses.

I think I'll be investing in a dulcimer in the near future
Junior Mbr (0-50 posts)
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:21 am

Return to Mountain Dulcimer Beginner's Area

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests