Dulcimer or dulcitar for a beginner?

Help for new mountain dulcimer players of all ages!

Dulcimer or dulcitar for a beginner?

Postby Lazarus81 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:21 pm

A beginner with zero musical background... I saw there is the mountain dulcimer and the merlin, which is a dulcitar... I am extremely clumsy so I want to go for the easiest of both. Seems like playing the mountain dulcimer with a noter can be the best choice but I am not sure... A point in favor of mountain dulcimer is that there are many online resources for it and not many for the merlin... What do you recommend me to do? Thanks in advance for your advice!
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Re: Dulcimer or dulcitar for a beginner?

Postby kwl » Thu Oct 19, 2017 2:32 pm

I recommend going with a mountain dulcimer and skipping the Merlin for now. While I play guitar and banjo, I'm not a big fan of strum stick type instruments. If you want to play noter style then the mountain dulcimer is the choice. You can place it on a table to play if you find it uncomfortable in your lap.

Ken
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Re: Dulcimer or dulcitar for a beginner?

Postby strumelia » Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:17 pm

I agree with Ken's advice. :)
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Re: Dulcimer or dulcitar for a beginner?

Postby KenH » Thu Oct 19, 2017 4:30 pm

Ditto with what Ken and Strumelia said. The dulcimer has many more resources, and lots more popularity, than stick-instruments like the merlin. We've seen almost no interest in stick-instruments here in the past few years.
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Re: Dulcimer or dulcitar for a beginner?

Postby Lazarus81 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:56 pm

I really appreciate your answers and advice. I will do as you suggested. I forgot to say two more things: I am left handed so I will need extra patience to work on a right handed dulcimer. I am from Spain and the dulcimer is not very popular here, but there are a few shops that sell right handed diatonic dulcimers.
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Re: Dulcimer or dulcitar for a beginner?

Postby KenH » Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:45 pm

Right or left handed makes very little difference. You just need to remind us that you strum with your left and fret with your right hand, not the other way around....

Robin Clark is a fine builder and player of dulcimers in Snowdonia Wales; that's as close as I know of anyone to you. Better to work with someone who really knows dulcimers, rather than a shop that just sells them. Robin runs Bird Rock Dulcimers: www.dulcimers.co.uk
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Re: Dulcimer or dulcitar for a beginner?

Postby Lazarus81 » Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:12 pm

Thanks for your advice Ken. I will check the website you recommend. I am sure with practice I will improve my strumming and fretting skills.
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Re: Dulcimer or dulcitar for a beginner?

Postby Frimp » Fri Oct 20, 2017 2:04 pm

I'm a leftie, and I play dulcimer the "normal" way with no problems.
I agree with the others-- start with a regular dulcimer.
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Re: Dulcimer or dulcitar for a beginner?

Postby strumelia » Sat Oct 21, 2017 1:51 pm

Frimp wrote:I'm a leftie, and I play dulcimer the "normal" way with no problems.
I agree with the others-- start with a regular dulcimer.

I too am lefthanded, but I play all musical instruments as righthanded. Most lefthanded people do play music 'righthanded'. Makes everything easier and you get used to it- BOTH your hands will have important jobs to do! :) Also... way easier to buy and sell 'normal' righthanded instruments. Also, following instructional materials and videos will be waaaay easier.
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Re: Dulcimer or dulcitar for a beginner?

Postby bret » Sat Oct 21, 2017 4:16 pm

I started with a Seagull Merlin a few months ago because I didn't know enough about dulcimer makers and hadn't found this community. The instrument itself is good quality, but the lack of a 6-fret and only have 7 frets was a bit limiting. It's tuned D-a-d, so you can play an dulcimer TAB on it directly as long as all the frets are there and it's in D-a-d tuning. I had a lot of fun with it and played every day, until my dulcimer arrived a couple weeks ago. Now I go straight for the dulcimer :)

If you see the dulcimer as where you want to go, that's probably the best place to start. One other advantage to the dulcimer that I hadn't considered early on is that not having to support the instrument with the left hand leaves it much more free to move about the fingerboard.
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Re: Dulcimer or dulcitar for a beginner?

Postby Lazarus81 » Sat Oct 21, 2017 6:03 pm

Many thanks to all for your useful advice! Good to know being a leftie won't be a problem. Having support from a group like this is wonderful. I can't wait to start practicing. I am sure it will be my ideal instrument.
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