Rick Long
  • Male
  • Clinton, TN
  • United States
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New Psaltery Builder

Started Jun 29, 2021 0 Replies

My nephew began as my new apprentice in March of this year.  He had spent the last sixteen years in Japan as an English teacher.  His name is Matthew Balaam Long and is my brother's son.  I have been…Continue

800+ Members

Started May 3, 2015 0 Replies

Congratulations Donna Malus!!  Over 800 members here now.  That would be quite a crowd, if we were all in one place at a time.Continue

Tuner App for Android Phones

Started this discussion. Last reply by Rick Long Jan 28, 2013. 1 Reply

I discovered this great free chromatic tuner app this morning. …Continue


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Rick Long posted a discussion

New Psaltery Builder

My nephew began as my new apprentice in March of this year.  He had spent the last sixteen years in Japan as an English teacher.  His name is Matthew Balaam Long and is my brother's son.  I have been slowing down my production in preparation for retirement, or what I call "semi-retirement".  For years I had been wanting to pass on my knowledge of building and playing bowed psalteries.  Matthew was always my first choice in my family, but I thought that he was settled into staying in Japan.  All…See More
Jun 29, 2021

Profile Information

Do you own a bowed psaltery?
How did you discover the bowed psaltery?
At a craft fair around 1980
Who built your bowed psaltery?
Some that I made. I also have one made by George Kelischek, and another by Walter Nelson.
Do you perform with the bowed psaltery?
Yes, but very limited.
Do you build bowed psalteries for sale?
Do you teach the bowed psaltery?

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Rick Long's Blog

Black Bog Oak Psaltery Build

Posted on January 31, 2013 at 2:00pm 10 Comments

I recently had a great experience building a new tenor psaltery. The great thing about it was,  I had the opportunity to work with some extremely rare wood. I was asked to build the psaltery using some 2000 year old black bog oak found in Mississippi.

I had only heard of bog oak from hearing the news of the log found in the UK last year. You can see the pictures of it being excavated from the farmland on this web site…


Theoretical or Empirical?

Posted on December 2, 2012 at 4:20pm 3 Comments

I didn’t know what empirical meant, when someone mentioned that it describes how I have always worked and designed the psalteries I build. I was happy to find out it meant to experiment and observe to arrive at a solution. A name for my madness.

It was interesting to read Richard’s post on String Theory 101 that was posted the other day. It’s great to share knowledge, especially on this great forum, and I do want to learn all that I can. I wanted to add my thoughts and relate how I…


Bowed Psaltery Cousin?

Posted on January 30, 2012 at 10:30am 2 Comments

The other day,  a friend of mine pulled a small instrument out of a bag and asked if I had ever seen one.  This is what he had -

I about fell on the floor, I thought it was the oldest bowed psaltery I had ever seen, the missing link!  No kind of markings, other than the numbers and note names along the edges.  It's really small, about 14 inches long.  It's…


What is this Cove Lake deal all about?

Posted on November 22, 2011 at 7:00pm 1 Comment

This past weekend I hosted an invitational bowed psaltery gathering here in East Tennessee at Cove Lake State Park.  I had a couple of motives for doing this and the way it was done.

I have long thought I would like to see another bowed psaltery gathering, there too few right now.  I only know of The Lucas's Down Home Psaltery Festival and the Westman's Bowed Psaltery Symphony.  One of my motives was to invite several folks I know, who are as keen on the bowed psaltery as I am, to see…


Comment Wall (26 comments)

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At 4:41am on February 3, 2013, Janet Brooks said…

Wish we had the 'Like' buttons here- I 'Like' your idea for the Bowed Psaltery Gathering! 

At 4:39am on February 3, 2013, Janet Brooks said…

I used your photo of this incredible Bowed Psaltery as my ID photo- but it insisted on cropping it... Those Bows are just so beautiful! I had to choose to keep them vs. losing the peak of the elegant Psaltery form.

At 4:37am on February 3, 2013, Janet Brooks said…

Thanks! I was so swamped and lost a couple of days with a shoulder messing up that I was late applying- then found it so hard to wait to be accepted! 

At 10:02am on October 25, 2012, Gwen Lafone said…

Thanks Rick, I am still practicing, and I remember something you said last weekend about when playing by yourself and learning you tend to play slower and at your own idea of the music, trying to change this, but for some reason, I love the sound of the music at a much slower pace, any ideas to help me besides, lol, to just keep practicing?  It was such an honor to meet you and all my new friends at the Gathering, thanks again for hosting!

At 2:50pm on March 9, 2012, marlene steger said…

Hi Rick,

I am a new member who is learning to play on a 9 N. I have seen some of your youtube performances and love the sound of your instruments.( Louellen from Marion , Illinois is in my class and just purchased a tenor from you). My husband and I are making a trip to Asheville N.C. on March 13. We would love to come by to visit your workshop (if you will be around then).  I would love to continue learning on a larger psaltery,  with deep rich tone. I have tried to get onto your website but the server is always down. Hope to hear from you soon!

At 9:12am on January 27, 2012, Andrew Nolan said…

...lol lol not just yet....but working on it. Still working on Greensleeves lol and thanks alot for the time....and by the way bought a metronome....it more of an antique than anything else....but for the price ($20) well worth it. Now....the question...do I spend the time learning how to calibrate it or spend the time memorizing Edelweiss?  Just kidding..... Hoping to hear from you again soon....not just to learn more but I enjoy the company. Talk to ya soon.

At 12:37pm on January 12, 2012, Joanne Bois said…

Rick, I would like to get a Bowed Psaltery. I haven't made up my mind where yet as I am in the research stage. I live in New Brunswick, so there isn't any around.It was the same for my Mountain Dulcimers.  I have checked. I am just learning to play the Mountain Dulcumer. It's been only three weeks, but it's coming along.I like to play DAA. I am looking for a BP in a Tenor. I like the lower sounding notes and I find Soprano  would be too high of tone for me. I just joined this site and have found it very helpful so far. Haven't found anyone on chat, but that is OK. Tim Smith mentioned that you built him a BP with the notes all on one side like the MD. Would it be easier to play an instrument built this way instead of with the notes on both sides? I do not read music and therefore, I am using tabs with the fret notes.


At 9:30am on November 23, 2011, Donna Switzer said…

We had a great time at the Festival.  I want to stay longer next time!!!!   I love those mountains and the music around that area.  I enjoyed playing my psaltery with my new found friends as well.   It was very beautiful music with everyone contributing their part.   It is interesting what kind of sound you can get with a room full of psalteries.   VERY interesting, and beautiful.   I might get converted from my fiddle, so watch out FIDDLE.



At 10:13pm on July 14, 2011, Honey Smith Walls said…
Oh yeah, that special bow you made for my arthritic hands is really amazing and allows me to play so much longer.  I can't thank you enough for restoring my music when my body gave out!
At 10:09pm on July 14, 2011, Honey Smith Walls said…
Please don't give up on me Rick!!!  I'm still planning to come to your Ringing Strings Psalt Fest!!!!  And yes... I'll be bringin that righteous Baritone and the Psalt Stand!  Hope all is well with you and yours.  I'm trying to get my retirement act together... Imagine that in this day and age of Debt! Pollitics aside, I'll still have to give a bunch of performances to be able to afford the trip... either that or my husband is gonna put me under a street lamp with a cup in my hand!  Can't wait to see you and all the other musicians.  Tons of Love,  Honey

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

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Clergy's Lamentation




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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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