Well I suppose someone ought to kick off a discussion here. Why not me?
So here's a question: How, why, when did you start playing the hammered dulcimer?
For me, it goes back to mother, who died a few years ago. In the 1990s, she went to Dollywood and bought a mountain dulcimer. Eventually, she bought a hammered dulcimer. Whenever I visited her house in Michigan, I would see it, though usually under a blanket. (I never understood why, it was just that way.)
I never got the chance to play it and I seldom saw her play. On one trip to visit her, however, I went with her to church and she played "Whiskey before breakfast" during the service. But it was a baptist church and the pastor asked her to change the name to "Morning coffee" or something. Obviously, she did not sing the words!
At some point, I noticed that she had a Strumstick. I goofed around with it, and she let me take it home. I also tried out her mountain dulcimer a bit, and for my birthday a year or two later, she sent me a mountain dulcimer via UPS.
Fast forward a couple years later and she suddenly dies. My sister-in-law and I divide up the musical collection: two mountain dulcimers, two hammered dulcimers. That was in late 2016.
Since then, I've done some learning in how to play both instruments. I prefer the hammered dulcimer, as it's easier on my hands to use hammers than to try to find frets on the small space of the fretboard on the mountain dulcimer.
I am in Minnesota now, where, unlike Michigan, dulcimer players are scarce.