Our neighboring village recently concluded an "art/music" event in which local artists displayed their works and musicians conducted street performances throughout the downtown area.  Every third Thursday from June through September, I had the opportunity to help educate the visiting public on the topic of Psaltery building and playing.

In order to increase local interest in forming a core of psaltery players I decided to give away a tenor psaltery that I constructed during the event.  I conducted a free raffle to select the winner and to my pleasure, it was won by a lady from the local area.

The real story is that this woman's neighbor was a young lady who was an accomplished violinist that suffered a serious disability that prevented her from persuing her career in music.  She lost the ability to use her left hand to hold and finger the strings of the violin.  After 15 years of playing she had to give up playing stringed instruments, that was until she met the bowed psaltery!

Within minutes of our meeting, she found that her skill in bowing the violin worked just fine and that although she still had some lingering affects from her left hand challenges, she could play music again.  Ten minutes into a practice session with me and she was already playing songs which took me a day or two to learn.

I'm sure there are many violin players out there who can no longer comfortably play due to physical conditions. I'm confident that they would appreciate the simplicity of the bowed psaltery. 

Some day, I may have to give up playing my fretted instruments but I'm sure my psalteries will still be there for me.  


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I LOVE THIS STORY!!!!   Please keep us posted on her progess if possible.  Maybe you could get in touch with her and point her towards this web site!

Just because an instrument is simple doesn't mean it isn't a wonderful tool for musical expression. I was just discussing with some friends how angry I get when people hint (and sometimes come right out and state) that the psaltery isn't a "real" instrument.




I did provide the web site address for "psalterystrings" in hopes that she would join as a member.  I explained that your site has the most comprehensive collection of psaltery information on the Web.

It's only been a week since we met so I'll wait a little while longer to contact her to see how she's doing.

In the mean time, I'm busy building three more psalteries which I plan on sending to a small public school in Alaska.  My grandchildren will be attending the school (Tenakee Springs) in next few years and I thought the local community could benefit from some additional musical resources.  I understand, from my daughter, that some of the children have been exposed to violin training so a psaltery should be a good addition to their program.  Apparently the teacher actually has a psaltery or is at least familiar with them.  I gave one to my daughter last year but with two toddlers running around and a husband that is a commercial fisherman, she hasn't had much time to play.

I hope to sell one of my existing instruments to help pay for the materials used to build the three ones going to Alaska.  Perhaps I'll list it on eBay in a week or so. 


Thanks Charlie!  Good luck with the sale, the kids in Alaska will be pleased to get some psalteries!


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Amplified Psaltery with Cello Strings built by Rick Long

This video is a personal favorite because it shows a unique type of bowed psaltery with a gorgeous sound. When I heard it I broke out in goose bumps!

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Clergy's Lamentation




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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 honey@offthewalls.us
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. http://www.westmaninstruments.com/Bowed_Psaltery_List.html

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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