Psaltery Pstudents

Members: 108
Latest Activity: Feb 3

Links to Psaltery Pstudents Lessons and Beginner Resources

Discussion Forum

practicing tips?

Started by SUE C WHEELER. Last reply by SUE C WHEELER Jun 30, 2017. 5 Replies

Online Instruction

Started by S. Oravec. Last reply by Bonnie Blue Crouse Jan 25, 2016. 7 Replies

Question on chords or notes

Started by Bubba Jordan. Last reply by Tish Westman Aug 23, 2015. 10 Replies

Bowing technique question

Started by Ruth Lawrence. Last reply by Bonnie Blue Crouse Jul 30, 2014. 2 Replies

How do you know what key your psaltry is tuned to???

Started by nancy Carlzen. Last reply by nancy Carlzen Aug 16, 2011. 8 Replies

Comment Wall


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Comment by LESLIE LAND on February 6, 2012 at 1:50pm

THAT'S IT!!!!  The reason I was trying to find it so badly, besides sounding like it was a really neat little book, is that I THINK I ordered it, but for some strange reason I can find no record of it.  Thank you so much!!!  Will see if I ordered it and, if not, will do so today!! I play recorders, ocarinas, etc and this will be great for all of them!

Comment by Dona Benkert on February 6, 2012 at 10:15am

Hi Leslie,

Here's a link to Elderly instruments and a great one octave tune book.


Happy bowing!!


Comment by LESLIE LAND on February 5, 2012 at 8:22pm

Hi. I need to ask everyone a question. Someone on one of the forums I'm on, or in a group somewhere, mentioned a little book that was titled One Octave Songs or something like that. They even gave a link. "Songs" might not have been exactly right, but I know it was One Octave.....  Anyway, if any of you know of the manufacture or distributor of this, please let me know because it's driving me crazy!! 

Comment by LESLIE LAND on December 5, 2011 at 12:56pm

Thanks, Dona. I am enjoying it immensely!! I've already picked out a few songs on it just fooling around.  I took the chart that showed me what notes were where, then copied and taped them onto the instrument for now. I will start peeling them off one or two at a time until I don't need them. It's the easiest instrument I've ever played. I plan on playing lots of different types of music on it and, yes, classical! Need to improve my bowing, of course, but having a great time.  When I need a break from my other more challenging instruments, I can pick it up and just "fiddle" around with it.  Thanks for the welcome!

Comment by Dona Benkert on December 5, 2011 at 8:37am

Hi Leslie,

Welcome!  It is so exciting to get a new instrument - I'm sure you'll spend many hours enjoying it.  Are you going to play some of the symphonic music on it, or the more common psaltery tunes?  Any type of music is possible with a little adaptation now and then. With your flute background, once you have the basic techniques down you'll be able to play anything.  Please let us know any questions you have.  In the meantime- Happy Bowing!

Comment by LESLIE LAND on November 29, 2011 at 10:33pm

Hi. Just got my psaltery last night.  Got it tuned today by the local music tech. He's done everything except a psaltery, but now he's done that. I wish I had gotten a better one, but I had no idea that I would fall in love!!  I play flute with our city's Symphonic Band and I've been learning new instruments for the past year or so.  I'm very excited about this one and plan to follow through and develop my skill on it (didn't get too far with the concertina....). Glad to have found this group.  I'm sure I'll have lots of questions!

Comment by Dona Benkert on November 27, 2011 at 10:15am

Hi Michael, Welcome to the Psaltery Pstudents! 

If you are a true beginner to the psaltery - your first step (after tuning and rosin-ing up, of course) is to practice holding the bow and experimenting with the pressure required to produce a clear note.  If you start close to one end of the bow, simply let the bow glide accross a string (the full length of the bow hairs) without applying much pressure.  If the note is not clear, press just a tiny bit more until the desired sound is achieved.  You'll soon find the "lightness" of touch that works best with your psaltery and bow.  The lighest touch that produces a clear tone will be the most pleasing to others, and allow for greater dynamic range later.

Once you discover your clear note, simply practice going from lowest note to highest and back down again.  Then you're ready for an actual melody!

Donna is right- we do plan to make this an exciting page about the basics of the psaltery. 


Comment by Donna Malus on November 27, 2011 at 7:18am

Hi Michael, Dona Benkert and I have talked about this. We want to make this section about basic music reading and playing. The problem is time....  I hear you loud and clear though and will be making a New Years resolution to get that going.

I would love to hear more about your music ministry!

Comment by Michael Anderson on November 23, 2011 at 8:14pm

Hello everyone

I have a collection of instuments and one of these days I told myself I would learn how to play them. Recently a new friend of mine that I met through a mens group expressed a desire to do some kind of music ministry so I figured it was time to do more than sing. I basically found this group while searching info regarding the mountain dulcimer. Before this the only information I had was what I had on a cassette from Unicorn Strings (shows how long I have owned my bp lol). I love the idea of it being a melody instrument where if you know a melody you can pretty much play it. So I am looking to learn more about how to actually play.


Comment by Donna Austin on August 14, 2011 at 12:12pm

Advice, advice, advice!

Love to read how a tip or idea can help someone - and always helps me too.



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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