Hi to all.  My psaltery is being delivered on Friday!  Im very excited!  Any words of wisdom from those already practicing the fine art of bowing the beautiful psaltery?  Hope to hear some good tips.



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That's great news, Sue!

A couple of things I tell newcomers:

Don't let the 'Start Up Woes' get you down. A new psaltery needs a little time to break in. The strings will stretch, causing you to have to re-tune a few times. That's OK. Just check your tuning and correct as needed. It will settle in shortly.

Don't slather too much rosin on your bow. That's just a mess. It takes a few applications of rosin to get the bow working perfectly. Just give it time to work in and apply a little at a time. Never touch the hairs with oily fingers or they will slip.

The strings need to develop a thin coating of rosin right where you bow them. Until that happens, some notes may sound off. The squealing and squawking is normal at first and will stop in time.

Your instrument will come with instructions that are specific to the finish used by the particular builder. Follow them. Generally though, avoid the urge to over polish the instrument. A dry cloth is all that's usually needed. If you must polish it, never get polish into the area by the tuning pins. Polish can make the pins slippery in their holes and not hold tightly. Never, never ever, use a polish that contains silicone for any musical instrument. Silicone is the big killer.

After that, just keep at it and have fun. Ask all the questions you come up with. This is going to be a real blast!!!!

Oh, and check out the thread in the General Section on tips for improved playing. Lots of neat stuff there.
Hi Tim,
thanks for all the encouraging advice. The tips and pointers will be really helpful. Each one seemed to speak to me personally. I have never rosined a bow, but my usual theory is, if a little is good, the alot is great! I do tend to get discouraged when things do not go absolutely perfect right out of the gate. You dont have to sweat the polish, it only comes out on holidays. I am so excited, cant wait for it to get here.

Thanks for the advice - I should have mine by mid-week....great tips!

My best advice is to get an electronic tuner. It will make tuning your Bowed Psaltery so much easier.

I've put an article online on how to tune a Bowed Psaltery. This may be helpful.

How to Tune a Bowed Psaltery

Getting an electronic tuner is a must!  I like Korg and have the TM-30 but am getting the TM-40 soon I think.  That one has a metronome built in that you can use your own headphones with and get your rhythm right too.  You can get those on online.  Found I'm speeding up when playing in public, so need to work with a metronome for awhile.  Make sure the Korg is set to 440 though.  Accidentally had mine set to 444 and I was busting strings - Not good.
About rosin  - it took me a long time to figure out how much is too much or too little.  Found the best thing is to first make sure the psaltery strings are cleaned of excess rosin by wiping with a microfiber cloth (no cleaning agent) to get rid of any build up.  Then after applying rosin to  the bow or bows, lightly take the microfiber cloth and very lightly wipe across the top of the bow strings.  You don't want to remove all the rosin you just applied - just a little of the top layer.  That keeps the psaltery strings from gunking up so fast.

I like your idea of incorporating a metronome into something you're already carrying.


For a metronome, Steinway Pianos created a free app for the iPhone & iPad.

It's easy to use (can use earplugs). You can even tap a beat & it will tell you what the beat is and set to that. This was very helpful to me at the BP Symphony practices.



So if you already have an iPhone or iPad, check it out.


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