If you first need some explanations of the instrument and its variants we suggest skipping to the “Basics and other questions” section in this article.
Best Apalachian Dulcimers
For a beginner
Since the dulcimer is rare and hard to find, we suggest a regular (not bass, not baritone nor soprano) with 3 or 4 strings since it is the most common variant.
A Soprano or piccolo dulcimer because of its smaller size makes it easier to be played with smaller hands.
Famous players like Bing Futch had an Appalachian mountain dulcimer (regular) which won an award at the 2016 International Blues Challenge so if you’re going professional, you don’t have any excuse with one of those.
If you’re worried about specific models and series check this article.
You can also check on eBay here.
Getting it another way
So far we have talked only about the physical instruments, but there are more options than that.
You can get an app for android called “Hammered Dulcimer Free” and for IOS called “Trapezoid – Hammered Dulcimer” that will let you play with a dulcimer, but not with the specific apalachian version.
Basics and other questions
It is a North America instrument in the Appalachian Mountains designed in the early 19th century by Scotch-Irish Immigrant Communities.
You may hear about it with other names like “dulcimore”, “dulcymore”, “delcimer”, “delcimore”, “dulcimer”, “mountain dulcimer”, “lap dulcimer” and “fretted dulcimer”.2 Pronounced /ˌapəˈlāCH(ē)ən /ˈdəlsəmər/, Appalachian is a region in easter North America, and Dulcimeris are an old French doulceme. Called dulcimer apalache in spanish, Dulcimer des Appalaches in french and dulcimer apalaches in portuguese. A person that plays it it’s called a Appalachian Dulcimer Musician.3
The String family meaning it makes sound vibrating strings and the subcategory plucked meaning it makes sound by plucking(moving, flicking) the strings.
The types are determined by Sizes and range4:
- Baritone dulcimer: Bigger, tuned in a lower pitch (around a fourth). A3-E3-A2 or A3 A3-E3-A2
- Bass dulcimer: Very rare, biggest, one octave lower than the dulcimer: A2-E2-A1 or A2 A2-E2-A1.
- Soprano or piccolo dulcimer: Smaller dulcimers around a fourth higher: G4-D4-G3 or G4 G4-D4-G3.
There’s also the Guitar Dulcimer with the body of a guitar and the strings of a dulcimer. Similarly the Banjo-dulcimer and the Dulcitar.