Stay away from the Grassroots instruments. I've seen them many times at
craft festivals. My experience with them is that the builders don't know
how to play the instruments, and I've never been able to get one to tune
properly. There are good, reputable builders out there who make affordable
beginner instruments that will not disappoint you. Some are: Rick Thumb,
Masterworks, Lee Spears, Dusty Strings, Rick Fogel at Whamdiddle, Chris
Foss at Songbird Dulcimers, Sam Rizzetta, and R.L. Tack. My first HD was a
Dusty Strings, and my current & forever dulcimer is a Masterworks. Start
with a solid beginner dulcimer, and start saving for your ideal instrument.
Go to builders' websites & educate yourself on the variety of instruments.
You'll learn a lot about what you want just by learning to play. Go to
festivals, if you can, and listen, listen, listen! Try different dulcimers
& ask questions! Players and builders are mostly very happy to answer
questions. My husband found a dulcimer he fell in love with in the sales
room at Evart by a builder we had never heard of, named Mike Huddleston.
Many in-the-know players have been very impressed by his instrument. Also,
you may find people trying to sell their dulcimers at festivals. Mostly
they want to trade up, so they'll be honest with you about the instrument
they're selling. Grab a HD workshop leader/player at the festival & ask
them to try the instrument (s) you're interested in. Best of luck, and
welcome to the community!
On Wed, Apr 11, 2012 at 4:26 PM, Chris Baker <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> My wife knew that I have wanted to play the hammered dulcimer for many
> years and bought me an instrument and lessons a couple of years ago. Not
> wanting to hurt her feelings, I took two lessons (over an hour away from
> home) before I finally told her that a hammered dulcimer and a mountain
> dulcimer were very different instruments! Fortunately, the shop was very
> understanding and let us return it.
> Now I have been looking again for a good instrument to start with. I found
> one locally on Craigslist that is branded "Grassroots" but I haven't been
> able to find much information about this instrument. Does anyone have any
> suggestions for what I should be looking for, or reputable places that I
> should look? I would like to get a decent instrument that I would not grow
> out of too quickly. I ones that I have been looking at have been 17/16
> models. Any advice would be appreciated.
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