Tim Smith
  • Male
  • Ogdensburg, NJ
  • United States
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Tim Smith's Friends

  • James Boutilier
  • Cindi Zechman
  • Martha
  • Gene Griner
  • James
  • nancy pownell
  • Donna Malus

Tim Smith's Discussions

Octaves: To Fold or Not to Fold?

Started this discussion. Last reply by Philippa Anne Reed Jan 31, 2012. 9 Replies

What are the community's thoughts on folded octaves?   For those unfamiliar with the term, it basically means jumping up or down an octave when you run out of notes.  A lot of instruments fold the…Continue

An Aid for Tuning

Started this discussion. Last reply by Donna Malus Nov 10, 2010. 1 Reply

One of the hardest things about tuning a BP is to be able to pluck the one string you're trying to tune without sounding the ones next to it by mistake, especially if you use a guitar pick like I…Continue

Unicorn players chime in please!!

Started this discussion. Last reply by Dave Holeton Oct 4, 2013. 18 Replies

Hey gang! Having had the privilege to play a lot of psalteries by almost all the biggest manufactures, I've realized that I have absolutely NO experience with Unicorn Strings.  Soooo...I'm saving up…Continue

Could someone post a pic please...

Started this discussion. Last reply by Donna Malus Jan 5, 2011. 5 Replies

...of the Song of the Wood psaltery hanger being used?  I can't for the life of me figure out how that works.  Here's the widget I mean: …Continue


Tim Smith's Page

Latest Activity

Tim Smith replied to Donna Malus's discussion Good news about Archie Smith
"That's wonderful news, God bless him and his doctors!   Also good to see your name again Donna.  I've been away too long."
Jul 6, 2014
K.Keller replied to Tim Smith's discussion Unicorn players chime in please!!
"I have a couple of Unicorn Strings (which friends like to borrow). They are consistent, sound good and are simple design. Service is excellent. Three models with exactly the same sound but different rosettes or color. Only one size and no choices of…"
Oct 1, 2013
Debra Burrell replied to Tim Smith's discussion Unicorn players chime in please!!
"Mine is the 30 string, 2 &1/2 octave Celtic model.  I've had it nearly 3 years and I love it.  I play with a dulcimer jam group, so I'm usually in the key of D.  That low F# on my Unicorn Strings psaltery sometimes…"
Sep 27, 2013
Tim Smith replied to Carol Ratliff's discussion BP Amp problems
"Hi Carol!  Did you get a new amp yet or otherwise solve the problem?"
Sep 21, 2013
Tim Smith replied to Gail Mills's discussion baritone bowed psaltery
"I feel your pain.  There are a lot of beautiful looking instruments out there that play like a brick with strings.  My advice is to work with one of the well-known builders you'll find on this site.  Some offer to let you try…"
Aug 23, 2013
Tim Smith replied to Celine Read's discussion A damper for a psaltery
"I have tried a couple of different materials as a damper including some cotton batting that worked fairly well. Just using my hand was my first attempt, of course, but I was concerned about oils from my skin tarnishing the…"
Mar 23, 2013
Tim Smith replied to Celine Read's discussion A damper for a psaltery
"I have also experimented with dampers.  My design was a bit simpler.  Just a length of wood as wide as the base of the psaltery with thick felt (the sort used for autoharp dampers) along the bottom.  Held in the non-playing hand ,you…"
Mar 23, 2013
Tim Smith replied to Madelyn's discussion $18.00 Cases for psaltery
"Thanks for that!  Finding cases is a pretty big problem.  I wish someone could post a list of the cases for sale, who sells them, and their real dimensions."
Feb 7, 2013
Tim Smith replied to Cindi Zechman's discussion Does humidity (or lack thereof) affect musical instruments ?
"What he was talking about was the acclimation of instruments the was mentioned earlier.  If you have dramatic swings, there's no way to achieve acclimation."
Feb 7, 2013
Tim Smith replied to Cindi Zechman's discussion Does humidity (or lack thereof) affect musical instruments ?
"They're just small perforated containers that have a sponge of water inside.  The water evaporates inside the case and keeps the humidity up.  You can buy a dozen different brands (Google case humidifier) or make your own.  A lot…"
Jan 10, 2013
Tim Smith replied to James Boutilier's discussion New BP Lover- Looking for First Purchase (and first build) -- Help ?
"My one limited experience with a scooped out psaltery wasn't very good.  I found the volume to be surprisingly low and the tone to be rather tinny.  They seem to work more by reflecting the sound (the scoop sort of acts like a…"
Jan 8, 2013
Tim Smith replied to Cindi Zechman's discussion Does humidity (or lack thereof) affect musical instruments ?
"Sadly enough, that's a very true downside. As to ideal conditions, a generally accepted guideline is to keep things at an average of 60 +/- 10% RH and 70 +/- 5 degrees (F).  But that's often much easier sad than done.  As Bob…"
Jan 8, 2013
Tim Smith replied to Cindi Zechman's discussion Does humidity (or lack thereof) affect musical instruments ?
"I'm sure that's a very big part of why he does it. We always need to remember that the needs of instruments vary significantly from place to place.  When asking about this topic one should always include information about where they…"
Jan 7, 2013
Tim Smith replied to Cindi Zechman's discussion Does humidity (or lack thereof) affect musical instruments ?
"Humidity can have extraordinary effects on instruments.  A severe lack of moisture over extended periods can cause irreparable damage.  Sudden, dramatic changes can harm finishes.  Tuning can be thrown off noticeably and…"
Jan 5, 2013
Evelyn L Abston replied to Tim Smith's discussion Unicorn players chime in please!!
"I too have a zither heaven 20 and 22 string psaltery. they do have a brighter tone with a not of over tones which is why I feel these instruments would be good in chakra work; The Unicorn Strings Psaltery is easier to play and I can do vibrato and…"
Jan 4, 2013
julie stiles replied to Tim Smith's discussion Unicorn players chime in please!!
"haha, my new unicorn psaltery is also a $100 ebay score.  seems people discard these quite frequently - i don't know why, this one sounds amazing!  of course, i'm comparing it to my only other experience, the Zither Heaven $100…"
Jan 4, 2013

Profile Information

Do you own a bowed psaltery?
Yes, I've owned nearly a dozen, but currently have only three. I've played many more by most of the major shops.
How did you discover the bowed psaltery?
Ya know, I honestly don't remember. I'm just glad to have found it.
Who built your bowed psaltery?
Eric Meier (Phantasy Psalteries), Rick Long (Ringing Strings), Jerry Reed Smith (Song of the Wood), Russell Cook (MasterWorks), Richard Spencer (Omega Strings), The Early Music Shop (built in Pakistan), and a couple of no-name junk instruments from gift shops. I've played many others, and have tried most of the major labels.
Do you perform with the bowed psaltery?
No, not yet at least. I'm a full-time professional musician performing Irish folk music, but I haven't incorporated the BP into the act yet.
Do you build bowed psalteries for sale?
No, but it would be fun to try!
Do you teach the bowed psaltery?
Not intentionally, but I get a lot of questions and people bring their psalteries to our shows for free advise. :)

Comment Wall (5 comments)

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Join Psaltery Strings

At 8:16pm on February 7, 2011, Kathy Kennebrook said…
They have the 37 string up on their website, I can't wait to get to WV, I'd really like to have one of theirs whether a 32 string or a 37
At 1:31pm on May 6, 2010, Michele Edington said…
Hi Tim, We had a wonderful time. It was sure fun to play together and what a learning experience. They will be doing it again next year. Go to http://westmaninstruments.com/index.html for more info.
At 1:15pm on May 6, 2010, Kathy Kennebrook said…
Hi Tim- my Lucas Psaltery is a double back 24 string Psaltery. It sounds really awesome. It was that first one that I had purchased and played. I like it because the posts are a little higher and spaced well so it makes it really easy to play. I actually have this instrument for sale because I want to buy one of the baritone Psalteries that are out there or a Westman 37 string.
At 8:31pm on February 15, 2010, Tim Smith said…
Hi Donna, and thanks for the warm welcome. Thanks too for setting up a very nice BP site!

Hi Strumelia. No, I'm not that Tim Smith, but I do play banjo.
At 8:27am on February 15, 2010, Donna Malus said…
Hi Tim, Welcome to Psaltery Strings. We hope you find the site to be useful and fun.

Featured Video

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!

Featured Song

Click on the title for the current
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 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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