Yep I was actually asked this in a MUSIC STORE the other day.I don't know who in shock the most,him the owner's son for asking,or me being asked by him.This is a family owned music store quite nice I might add.With a large area for teaching many instruments to many people.They asked me to plz bring it in when i come back in so they may see and hear it played.I go back tomorrow,but I have other errands that would mean leaving it in the car about 3 hrs.That's not gna happen.Anyway has anyone else experienced this.

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I love telling folks about the bowed psaltery. Lots of people are unfamiliar with it. I had a great time introducing mine in a hammered dulcimer jam last weekend!

I brought my psaltery home on the plane. When I was at the security checkpoint, one TSA agent asked me what it was. I opened up the case and showed him and told him that the instrument is mentioned in the Bible when Nebuchadnezzar gave the decree for everyone to bow down to the statue when they heard the psaltery, the flute, the harp, and all kinds of music! I find this instrument brings up wonderful opportunities to talk about the Bible. Same happened on the airplane. I was uncomfortable with the idea of storing it in the overhead bin. So I asked the stewardess if I could have it placed in the pilot's seat. She asked what it was. I told her and I put it in the little closet. As I got off she asked me for the name again. I showed her the psaltery and told her a bit about the Bible.

How cool!

My experience unfortunately has been that most people do not like it at all!

Janet, I'm so confused. You mean they don't like the bowed psaltery?


Yes, a lot of people don't care for it at all.  I recently brought my new baritone psaltery to autoharp camp, and they did like that because of its lower tone. 

It must be a matter of taste. I've had encouraging reactions most of the time. My cousin asked me to play tune after tune when we were at the cottage together. Church folks received me very nicely, too. I love it so much myself, that I audaciously took  my Cabin Creek alto to a Parkinsons' support group and a hospice house at Christmas time. No one threw me out! I do like the baritone sound, but my "all purpose" is now a tenor Rick Long.

I think that bowed psaltery is an instrument you love or "dislike intensely"  . At least that's been my experience.

That opinion can be changed though. Exposure and variety in music played can go a long way to changing opinions. As with any instrument, the song choice, the skill of the musician, the circumstances in which it's heard all factor in to how it is received. I have a musical friend who refers to the BP as "the dreaded bowed psaltery". She thinks it's funny but it makes me feel sad every time she says that.

I used to dislike the banjo and the bagpipes, now I love them.  Just keep playing, keep working at improving, don't force feed it, people will come around or they won't. Some folks prefer the lower tones and the wound strings, some prefer the clarity of the plain strings. Even amoung the folks who love the bowed psaltery there are a variety of opinions. In the end, who cares....if you love it you have a community of like minded folks here at Psaltery Strings and out there yet to be discovered!

What a nice reply, Donna!  I agree with everything you said,  I myself did not care for the soprano, but when I discovered the tenor I fell in love.  Now I also have a baritone.  And since I have heard some very skilled soprano playing I love those, too.  


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Dona Benkert -

Lessons at Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago, IL
Phone: 773.728.6000
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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

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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

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