All Blog Posts (105)

A Rose by any other name.....

Up until now, if I was asked what my all-time favorite song was I would have said “Ode to Joy”.  Now I’m not sure that’s the right answer!

This past weekend at the East TN BP Gathering the comment was made that a piece of sheet music titled “Ode to Joy” was really called "Joyful, Joyful".  This raised my curiosity and I did a little research.  

Beethoven wrote his 9th and final complete symphony over a 7 year period, 1818-1824. By that time he was considered totally deaf (some…


Added by Donna Malus on November 7, 2013 at 5:32pm — 2 Comments

Bowed Psaltery Origens Continued: The Scheitholt Connection

    In Germany and most of Europe the rich town people,the powerful in their castles, cathedrals,and universities had their own diverse entertainments only sparingly experienced by the sometimes prosperous farmers living far from all that on the side of a mountain. These folks played their own music on their home made instruments for their own enjoyment. The Scheitholt (which means long log),Hummel (Bumble Bee!) and other musical instruments  are brought to America by the Pennsylvania Dutch…


Added by Gregg E. Schneeman & Jean Gaffey on October 9, 2013 at 9:30am — 2 Comments

What's So Great About The Bowed Psaltery?!!

  I was at our dulcimer fest here in L.A. last weekend. Besides playing and visiting old friends I had 4 people give me a chance to play a little game I like to play- I ask them to look at their watches before I start showing them how to play. I have a way of turning the psaltery around and holding their right hand with my left hand guiding them up and down,pull push pull push,slide,sharps and flats Twinkle Twinkle, Doe a Deer,Ode to Joy,Yankee Doodle and we're done.OK how long did that…


Added by Gregg E. Schneeman & Jean Gaffey on October 7, 2013 at 9:02am — No Comments

A Fun Summer Project

If I was still in school and the teacher asked me what I did on my summer vacation, I'd have to tell her about Violet.

Violet is a doll I made. She is all crochet and has her own bowed psaltery. As time allows I'm planning on making her some friends. Some of her friends will play bowed psaltery and some will play other folk instruments.

I hope you like her. She was very fun to create.…


Added by Donna Malus on October 6, 2013 at 3:53pm — 9 Comments

Double Bowing Techniques



I'm currently working on being able to play with two bows at once.  It fairly obvious that my left hand should be playing the "sharps" but I was wondering how other players handle the cross-overs between the bows so they don't get in the way of eachother when moving up and down the instrument. 


Any comments or recommendations???

Added by Charlie Marshall on September 21, 2013 at 3:48pm — 3 Comments

Bowed Psaltery Origens Continued

  Lithuanians call their version of the Kantele a Kankle and claim an ancient history of playing them with one bowed lyre type. Gusle are the bowed group Jeremy mentions with Byzantine connections. However another group of plucked psalteries called Gusli are wide spread. Please Wikipedia and You Tube all these instruments.

Added by Gregg E. Schneeman & Jean Gaffey on September 7, 2013 at 2:30pm — No Comments

Off to the Fair

Howdy Folks,

    I have been enjoying the summer months in the cool of AZ's high country. I have been playing music  at various shows and events in Heber, Show low, Pinetop/lakeside and Snowflake. This next week takes me to the Navajo County Fair in Holbrook. Hope everyone has had a great summer!


Added by David Forsman on September 5, 2013 at 2:08pm — No Comments

Off to the Fair

Howdy Folks,

    I have been enjoying the summer months in the cool of AZ's high country. I have been playing music  at various shows and events in Heber, Show low, Pinetop/lakeside and Snowflake. This next week takes me to the Navajo County Fair in Holbrook. Hope everyone has had a great summer!


Added by David Forsman on September 5, 2013 at 2:08pm — No Comments

D tenor

I am as happy as a hog in swill -- guess that doesn't sound too inviting but my pleasure is really high! I got a new D tenor from Rick to use with local dulcimer group. Have worked with some familiar tunes using the D as a drone and found that was fun. But put on some cds this morning and used both baritone and D to play along in a very newbie fashion. Used root chords and IV and V.

It probably isn't moral for a great grandmother to have this degree of enjoyment …


Added by K.Keller on August 24, 2013 at 5:32pm — No Comments

Problems with bow skipping

 If you look down your horse hair like an arrow the strands should be perfectly straight with no twisting,one hair might be doing this-clip it.Find the bad spot on the horse hair and over rosin just there.Some bows you can loosen up and carefully turn the horse hair around.A brand new string has an anti rust coating that can be causing this problem.Try rubbing the string  with 000 steel wool lightly and or a piece of expendable rosin.Check the notch on the zither pin where the string goes…


Added by Gregg E. Schneeman & Jean Gaffey on August 23, 2013 at 10:53am — No Comments

Problem with bow sticking

Does anyone else have problems with the bow sticking on certain strings even tho the bow is rosined and the string is clean? Both bow and strings are new.

Added by Jane Darien on August 23, 2013 at 7:13am — No Comments

Still excited

I started using Rick's numbered song books. Now working on playing from  notes,  I am working on  Wayfaring Stranger and  Londonderry Aire. Hope I am playing them right but any way learning how to hit the notes. Donna thanks for doing the book.

Added by Sue Gillum on July 28, 2013 at 3:17pm — 1 Comment

new dulcimer

Rick Long sent a lovely baritone here the other day. Redwood and walnut. It is difficult to leave the house since I want (and need) to practice all the time.

I thought the mountain dulcimer group was helpful and am delighted to find the same generous spirit here.

Added by K.Keller on July 20, 2013 at 9:44pm — No Comments

Anybody Jazz Out on Psalt?

I see and hear a ton of old country music and church hymns... even some ancient Early Music... but does anybody ever just get crazy with their psalt and play "back up" with the radio on jazz or R&B?

I get a little bored with the same old songs or tempo or something. Maybe I'm just getting too old and have heard everything a thousand times...

Added by Honey Smith Walls on July 19, 2013 at 2:21pm — 2 Comments

Edgar Stahmer, On German TV in 1963

We know that Edgar Stahmer first developed these in the !930s for education but He carried on his work after the war too it seems.   If you view this in the Chrome browser it will automatically ask to translate

Added by Michael J King on July 12, 2013 at 5:49am — No Comments

Dulcimer Days - Coshocton, OH

Attended this festival from June 14-16. It ws the 39th year for Dulcimer Days. I attended workshops for the bowed psaltery, penny whistle and native American flute. This was a fun event at Roscoe Village. Good jam sessions. Camped at nearby Lake Park and rode my bike back and forth to the workshops. Good music, good workshops, well-organized. 

Added by Sandra Spadaro on July 2, 2013 at 2:22pm — No Comments

Thanks for the welcome

Thanks Bonnie, I will check it out. I got my psaltery two weeks ago but didn't get to try my hand until we got home from vacation. So just started trying to learn Mon. Never played an instrument so I've very much to learn. Excited to learn. Thanks again

Added by Sue Gillum on June 19, 2013 at 7:40pm — No Comments

Stringing plan for Unicorn

I scored a primo Unicorn last week. It is maple and sitka spruce and was made in 1996. It is similar to the Unicorn "diamond" sound hole pattern at the Unicorn site. Yehhhh! Even got the padded bag... All for $30!! (The lad at the music store had no clue as to what it was. He also had a "Piano-Lin" and didn't know about that either.)

There are three broken strings on my new baby, however. I' cleaned her up an I'm ready to replace the strings. UP uses an unusual stringing pattern… Continue

Added by James on June 8, 2013 at 3:51pm — 1 Comment

Psaltery Bib ??


As a builder of bowed psalteries, I needed a way to protect the top of instruments under construction from accidental damage during the installation of strings. 


If you change your own strings, you know how easy it is to scratch or ding the finish when removing or installing strings.  My solution may be an inexpensive way to protect your prized psaltery and you can make one yourself for just a dollar or two.


Take a look at the photos…


Added by Charlie Marshall on June 5, 2013 at 9:31pm — 1 Comment

Getting ready to Roll!

Howdy everyone, I'm just testing the wireless setup on my laptop as I continue to get ready to leave Phoenix before it gets hot here again. Since my retirement this last year my mantra is "NO more PHX summers!" I am heading for the Az HIGH COUNTRY and perhaps beyond that. I am hoping to play my psaltery at a variety of venues in the small towns across northern AZ. If I can get into a couple of the renaissance festivals that occur late in the season I may find my way to Charlotte NC or down…


Added by David Forsman on April 10, 2013 at 1:38am — 1 Comment

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
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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