Latest Activity

Ruth Lawrence replied to Serenity's discussion Dullness
"I like your thinking Robert! I too have found that I will play something more if it's accessible. I took my BP to a rehearsal last night to do a "show and tell". The leader who usually plays guitar was smitten with it. I don't…"
58 minutes ago
robert schuler replied to Serenity's discussion Dullness
"Never leave your BP in a case. Keep it in the way. Like on the kitchen table or at bed side. Be prepared when the muse comes to visit. I keep a low D whistle near the stove so while I wait for something to come to a boil I play a whistle tune... Bob."
18 hours ago
Celeste Howard Ray posted a status
"Our new CD "Four Celtic Voices" has been released!"
Celeste Howard Ray posted an event

Four Celtic Voices with Celeste Ray at Payson High School, 301 South McLane Road , Payson, AZ 85541 United States + Google Map

September 16, 2014 at 7pm to September 18, 2014 at 7:30pm
Four Celtic Voices in AZ!See More
Celeste Howard Ray posted songs
Celeste Howard Ray posted a video

Live On Stage presents Four Celtic Voices

Four Celtic Voices are featured performers on the 2014-2015 Live On Stage roster. For more information go to
Celeste Howard Ray posted photos
charles taylor is now a member of Psaltery Strings
Gregg E. Schneeman & Jean Gaffey commented on Gregg E. Schneeman & Jean Gaffey's event Harvest Festival of Dulcimers
" Since Harvest of Dulcimers is just Saturday with Dulcimer workshops on Sunday held else where, Jeanie and I are inviting any Friends of the Bowed Psaltery who come for Harvest of Dulcimers to come to our house in Arcadia CA any time Sunday. We…"
Patti Auber is now a member of Psaltery Strings
Rick Long commented on Donna Malus's event East Tennessee Bowed Psaltery Gathering 2014
"Thirty-four folks have now registered and paid for the Gathering.  That just over halfway to my limit of sixty-five.  The pavilion building just won't hold more than that comfortably.  Still plenty of time, but don't miss…"
Aug 21
Gregg E. Schneeman & Jean Gaffey replied to Gregg E. Schneeman & Jean Gaffey's discussion Beginner Bowing
" The main reason has to do with conservation of momentum. Circling around at certain points like the beginning of a phrase helps me remember what comes next in the tune. The bow and your memory will tell you once you've been playing this…"
Aug 20
Serenity posted a status
"What song are you currently working on?"
Aug 20
Simon Peel replied to Gregg E. Schneeman & Jean Gaffey's discussion Beginner Bowing
"Why is it better? What's the reasoning?"
Aug 20
Simon Peel replied to Serenity's discussion Dullness
"I find when mine has gone a bit out of tune I can't summon up much enthusiasm because tuning it is such a difficult process! I end up not playing it as a result."
Aug 20
Simon Peel commented on Simon Peel's photo

Ye Merrie Noysemaker

"Nalo, there is a video of me playing it up on here somewhere where you can hear it! It doesn't matter that there's not much space between the wood and the fibres because there's no real reason for there to be any more space than the…"
Aug 20
Ron Marr replied to Ron Marr's discussion How to determine hitch pin spacing on a 3 octave psaltery
"Thanks Bob . . . I'll give that a shot. What I'm planning is a very large version (will also build a stand to hold it). But, am going to do a few more simple instruments first to get the mechanics down."
Aug 20
Denis Jackson posted a discussion

Unicorn Strings

I have a Unicorn Strings 30 string psaltery built in 1992 that I would like to sell. It signed inside by Gene and Jessica Jaeger founders of Unicorn Strings. Has bow, book, cassette tape, wrench. $160.00 includes shipping. Excellent condition. If you are interested contact me at denisjackson@gmail.comPictures can be seen here: More
Aug 19
Denis Jackson is now a member of Psaltery Strings
Aug 19
robert schuler replied to Ron Marr's discussion How to determine hitch pin spacing on a 3 octave psaltery
"Ron, Pin spacing is not that critical. I like to use fingerboard spacing anyway... Try 20" Scale. Longer scales make the instrument too big.. Where you want to take care is the pin spacing on the tailpiece. Two rows are OK but going to three…"
Aug 19



Started by Serenity in General BP Forum. Last reply by Ruth Lawrence 58 minutes ago. 6 Replies

Ugh! I have reached a point of what I would call "dullness"...I have not played any of my psalteries in over a month Between gardening/canning, work, weddings, work, funerals and family reunions I cannot seem to ever find the time. I NEED to play…Continue

Beginner Bowing

Started by Gregg E. Schneeman & Jean Gaffey in General BP Forum. Last reply by Gregg E. Schneeman & Jean Gaffey Aug 20. 2 Replies

 When starting a tune or a new phrase in a tune its better to start with a PULL. "Twinkle Twinkle little star" works out as:  PULL PUSH, PULL PUSH, PULL PUSH, PULL. Right here you have to take your last pull's momentum around in a small a circle…Continue

How to determine hitch pin spacing on a 3 octave psaltery

Started by Ron Marr in How can I ..... ?. Last reply by Ron Marr Aug 20. 2 Replies

While I build a bunch of different types of instruments ( I've got the urge to build a psaltery or two. Love the sound, especially in the baritone range. Plus, I'm a bit burned out after…Continue

Unicorn Strings

Started by Denis Jackson in For Sale Aug 19. 0 Replies

I have a Unicorn Strings 30 string psaltery built in 1992 that I would like to sell. It signed inside by Gene and Jessica Jaeger founders of Unicorn Strings. Has bow, book, cassette tape, wrench. $160.00 includes shipping. Excellent condition. If…Continue

Psaltery Strings Music Book Volume 2

Started by Donna Malus in Bowed Psaltery Books and Articles. Last reply by Dave Fournier Aug 2. 6 Replies

I've started work on PS Music Book Vol. 2 and was wondering what songs you might like to see in Volume 2.Please post your suggestions here, I'd love to hear from you. Remember, songs must be in the Public Domain. If you're not sure, I'll double…Continue

List of bowed psaltery luthiers updated July 2013

Started by Donna Malus in Psaltery Builders and Merchants. Last reply by Russell Cook/Master Works Jul 31. 4 Replies

Spring Creek Psalteries - Sharon and Terry Kirby From the Wood - Wayne Gaydos…Continue

Tags: merchants, builders, luthiers

Note Position Markers

Started by Rick Long in Wood, Strings, Pins and Bows. Last reply by Darby Hartman Jul 28. 31 Replies

I'm in a discussion with a customer that is ordering two custom psalteries.  One of his requests is for me to change the notes that I mark with dots. I have always marked the C's on the chromatic psalteries with a single dot.  I recently started…Continue

Sheet Music for June 2011 - Suo Gan

Started by Donna Malus in Sheet Music of the Month. Last reply by Ruth Lawrence Jul 25. 5 Replies

The music for June is an old Welsh lullaby called Suo Gan.I first heard Suo Gan when I saw the movie Empire in the Sun. It was a theme song for the movie and hauntingly beautiful sung by a boy's choir. The song was played during the most emotional…Continue

Tags: psalteries, zither, streichpsaltery, salterio, psaltry

Note strips for psaltery

Started by Nellie in General BP Forum. Last reply by Darby Hartman Jul 22. 3 Replies

Ordered a 30 string unicorn from The Folk Shop for grands, but as was used did not have note strips  Where can i get these? Dont see them seperately on shop sites.ThxNellieContinue


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Blog Posts

Rosining Your Bow

Posted by Gregg E. Schneeman & Jean Gaffey on July 24, 2014 at 10:30pm 3 Comments

 If you try to play with a brand new bow with brand new horse hair on a brand new string nothing will happen. No sound whatsoever. Often a luthier will when the hair has been properly a fixed to the bow use prepowdered rosin and work it in thoroughly coating every hair, as besides supplying traction where it meets the string it also acts as weather proofing and preservative, it was part of the mummification process used by the Egyptians. For a normal getting ready to play rosining hold the…


It's here! Gamble paid off

Posted by Ruth Lawrence on July 24, 2014 at 8:40am 2 Comments

The new (to me) psaltery arrived yesterday so I had the pleasure of opening up the box and finally seeing it in the flesh (err... wood?)  I was immediately struck by how beautiful it is, finely made. The low resolution photos on the Goodwill auction site do not do it justice. The soundhole design is more delicate than I expected. I could see a label inside but it was difficult to read through the soundhole's fretwork. The label appeared to be printed in a cursive font - I could make out…


First Post. Waiting for the Post.

Posted by Ruth Lawrence on July 21, 2014 at 9:10pm 3 Comments

I have a psaltery on its way. It should arrive this Wednesday. I've bought it online, second-hand via Goodwill auction. A gamble, but I think it will be fine. Fingers crossed!

I've never played a bowed instrument so I know the bowing technique will not be easy but I'm patient.  I do read music and understand how you're meant to play the psaltery - what the strings mean. This is a 2-octave, and I think it's right handed.  Now I'm a left handed person -  but play other…


Bowed Psaltery Origins Continued: W.F.Flood

Posted by Gregg E. Schneeman & Jean Gaffey on July 21, 2014 at 10:30am 0 Comments

  According to Victorian age musicologist W.F.Flood in his book "History of Irish Music" "The Timpan was, in reality, a small stringed instrument, having from three to eight strings and was played with a bow or plectrum, being also called a Benn Crot,or peaked harp, by an ancient Irish writer. Recent research has almost conclusively proven thay the Nabla or Psalterium-a favorite Celtic instrument from the seventh to eleventh century was generally of eight strings, and hence called the…


Bowed Psaltery Origins Continued: Flavius Josephus

Posted by Gregg E. Schneeman & Jean Gaffey on July 15, 2014 at 11:30am 8 Comments

  Flavius Josephus was one of the most amazingly successful personalities of his time period, (at least he thought so), His incredible life story, A.D. 37 to 100, is available on wikipedia etc. Among the many volumes of books he wrote to explain Jewish traditions, theology,and history to the Roman world, he states in Book #7 Chapter 12 paragraph 3 of  "Antiquities of the Jews": "And now David being free from wars and dangers and enjoying for the future a profound peace, composed of songs and…


It never leaves you

Posted by bob pryor on June 13, 2014 at 2:19am 0 Comments

it s strange, ive not played my B s for some time, the other day I herd a track by my favourite west country group, the yetties, Lawn sunset. Played on the Bs. I just had to have a go and have a go at it. I sat on the end of the bed and lost myself in music for half hour. I'd forgotten how relaxing the B s could be. 

Bowed Psaltery Origins Continued: Aeolian Harps

Posted by Gregg E. Schneeman & Jean Gaffey on April 2, 2014 at 10:27am 0 Comments

 I like to put my Bowed Psaltery on top of my shoulder point straight up with my ear against the back, rotate my body position so that I expose the strings to any breeze or wind blowing by, pick a location on the side of a hill with a nice view and let the wind play my psaltery! Different winds produce resonances that can build in intensity and then fade into soft wispy swirling. If the breeze allows bring your psaltery down to were you can bow along. A word of caution, prolonged exposure to…


care of psaltery

Posted by Irene Gendron on March 21, 2014 at 5:37pm 3 Comments

I am interested to know how to clean the strings and peg of my psaltery. I know to use a soft brush (either paint or makeup) for the instrument.

Nancy Barker's sister died

Posted by K.Keller on March 15, 2014 at 8:50pm 0 Comments

Some of us have attended Kentucky Music Week and enjoyed bowed psaltery lessons. So you might wish to know Nancy Barker's sister Gloria J. Lewis died a few days ago. "Miss Gloria" was a well known pianist in Louisville, KY and beyond.If you know Nancy you surely respect her including instruments beyond the dulcimer so that many of us have a gathering place to learn and jam and make new musical buddies.Those Johnson girls have helped a lot us grow.

Return to the psaltery

Posted by Sue K on February 7, 2014 at 9:46am 0 Comments

I'm so excited to return to my psaltery after a long absence. I have a beautiful Rick Long tenor that I am reacquainting myself with. I finally figured out how to start the DVD player and have reviewed the instructional DVD. Can't seem to get a clear sound out of my low G or A. I will keep working on it.


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featured sheet music!

Clergy's Lamentation




What is Psaltery Strings worth to you?
A dollar a month?
Your help to offset the cost of keeping our Community alive is appreciated.

Thank you.





Members who build bowed psalteries for sale

Spring Creek Psalteries - Sharon & Terry Kirby


From the Wood - Wayne Gaydos


to see his work visit

Waynie Psaltery - Wayne Simms


Prairie Psaltery - Richard Celata


Loon Song Psalteries-Charlie Marshall


New Tradition Dulcimers- Dan Daniels


Psalteries by Dave- Dave Lucas


Jon Williams Psalteries
(386) 853-0944

Westman Instruments - Tish & Greg Westman

Ringing Strings - Rick Long

Michael J King Instrumetns - Diatonic Psalteries

Inspired Instruments – Carol and Joe Esch

James Jones Instruments

Omega Strings – Richard Spencer

Master Works Bowed Psalteries - Russell Cook

Members that teach Bowed Psaltery

Paul G.Sykes - MS  

Located in Hattiesburg
Contact Paul at

or call him at



Gregg Schneeman - California
Contact Gregg here on Psaltery Strings


Peter Tommerup - California
San Francisco Bay Area
Bowed Psaltery and other Instruments


Celeste Howard Ray
Bowed Psaltery lessons via Skype
Skype name celesteray88


Maureen Barnes - Illinois
Bowed Psaltery lessons in Bloomington, IL


Dona Benkert -

Lessons at Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago, IL
Phone: 773.728.6000
& Folk-Lore Center, Warrenville, IL
Phone: 630.393.1247

Tish Westman - West Virginia
Lessons at Tamarack, Beckley, WV. Wednesday workshops also available for individual classes and to teach at festivals.
Sunday "Jam" 3:30 to 6:00. All instruments welcome, play mostly Old Time, Celtic & Gospel Music, not opposed to trying any tune called, once did a rap on Bowed Psalteries.

Rick Long - Tennessee
Lessons at Rick's home/workshop in Clinton, 30 mins N of Knoxville
(865) 660-4026

Karla Armstrong - Pennsylvania
Karla plays a variety of instruments and does workshops as well. Please visit her web site for additional information or contact her via the web site or the information below.
(717) 632-8099

Carol Esch - Kentucky
Lessons in Carol's home/workshop south of Lexington.

Honey Smith Walls - Florida
e-mail Honey for more info
Melbourne, FL

Visit Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer

Please sign up on the bowed psaltery players list

Tish's list is a valuable resource when searching for other players.

If you are already on Tish's list, why don't you stop in and update your info? While your there take a look to see if there are new players in your area. Who knows, you might get together and make a recording.

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