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 Rick Long on April 15, 2011 at 12:58pm

Those are great tips, Terry.  Here's a link to Audacity -

It's a free download and you can do quite a bit with it.  The best is for learning tunes is just like Terry said.  Open any music file into it and then you can change it to your liking.  Probably the best is to be able to change the pitch of the whole song.  Say it is recorded in B flat, which is easy to sing in, but you might want to change it to C for your psaltery.  Just a few mouse clicks and it will change it to that key, or any other key you desire.  You can also change the tempo without affecting the pitch.  This way you can slow it down for learning. Then as Terry said, just play it over and over, playing along till you learn it.  Once you have it adjusted to your liking you can import it into Windows and then convert it to an mp3 with another free program.

It's a great tool for learning, and especially for starting to memorize tunes.  Your right, it is kind of like jamming with others, but you have a little more control for your learning process.

There are also some programs, you can buy, that will take that mp3 and convert it to a musical score, for those that do read music.  Here's one that I have -   There's a free trial of it available.

Comment by Terry Butler on April 15, 2011 at 11:38am

Another great source for songs is YouTube.  Save a bunch in your favorites and play along with those.  Dulcimer songs are great if you have a psaltery tuned to D as most dulcimer songs seem to be in that key.  If you have favorite songs - search for those and try out several to see if one is in the right key.    


Comment by Terry Butler on April 15, 2011 at 11:31am
I started with numbered books for my first psaltery (11 strings).  I memorized the numbers on quite a few songs.  Good for starters but BORING.  Soon I started saving songs in Windows Media player from off of my CDs, websites, free mp3s and such, of songs I liked.  Tried playing psaltery to some and found I could with a few of those.  Later Rick told me about Audacity and that songs could be made to switch keys so I could play along with other tunes.  COOL TIP!  So I made up a playlist of songs that I COULD play along to.  Now THAT was FUN!  I played when my husband was at work so it didn't matter how many mistakes I made at first.  I just played for fun and tried to get creative sometimes.  Amazing how many songs you can learn that way.  :)  After learning a bunch of songs quite well, I just switched from playing melody and tried to add harmony to the same songs without playing melody since that was on the songs anyway.  Even though I now practice mostly without those tunes, I still love going back to those just for fun.  Feels like jamming with other players without fear of messing up.  :)
Comment by Rick Long on April 15, 2011 at 11:02am
These pstudents are very well behaved, but too quiet.  Time to start sharing and learn :-)
Comment by Donna Malus on April 13, 2011 at 9:54am

This thread will probably be very helpful for beginners!

Comment by Ronda Mullins on April 12, 2011 at 1:17pm

Thanks for the invite - I know I'm going to enjoy being a part of this group.

Comment by glen scratchley on April 9, 2011 at 7:59pm

relatively new player (~1 year); only one BP, a MasterWorks; and brand new to this psgroup

I also play hammered dulcimer, guitar, autoharp, a little mandolin, and I'm a singer.

Comment by Tish Westman on April 4, 2011 at 9:01pm
I will be playing along with 40+ other Bowed Psaltery players.  They are coming from all walks of life from Oceanographer to Biker,  homemaker to Doctor.  All levels of players on baritones to high soprano.  I wish more of you could come but maybe next year.  Hope your wrist starts to feel better soon....
Comment by Terry Butler on April 4, 2011 at 9:19am
I started out by gathering all the tunes I wanted to play on psaltery.  Some worked right away - in the same key my psaltery was tuned to.  I just played those best songs over and over in Windows Media Player and each time I could play a few more notes along with the tunes.  Messed up most times but each time I'd do a little better.  Eventually it just started working and I was playing by ear and getting most of the notes right.  No music sheets - just lots of repetition.  Once I had a lot of tunes learned, then I just switched to playing just harmony along to the same tunes and learning which notes sounded best.
Comment by Tish Westman on April 4, 2011 at 6:47am

I have tried several different tuners through the years and I always come back to the Korg CA-30.  I like it's quick and accurate response.  We offer a clip attachment that clips on any pin that allows you to tune in a loud environment without interruption.  I have tried the "guitar" types that clip onto the end but I don't like the screen or the response even on my banjo. Whatever works for you is what you need to use.  Just make sure you TUNE!!!


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Amplified Psaltery with Cello Strings built by Rick Long

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Members who build bowed psalteries for sale

Spring Creek Psalteries - Sharon & Terry Kirby


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to see his work visit

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Members that teach Bowed Psaltery

Paul G.Sykes - MS  

Located in Hattiesburg
Contact Paul at

or call him at



Gregg Schneeman - California
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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

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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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