All Blog Posts (114)

Musical Friends

Having friends to play music with is a gift.

Some of us are lucky enough to live in an area rich with music, some of us may be in such an area and not know it and of course some of us might just be out of…


Added by Donna Malus on October 26, 2010 at 1:30pm — No Comments

Home again

Good to be back home, but I sure have enjoyed the last few weeks. Several craft demos and dulcimer festivals later, I am tired, but happy.

The festivals are great fun with loads of music and meeting old and new friends. I learned a lot of new tunes that I can add to my list. I gave a short workshop at the last festival on bowing technique. This seems to be where most folks struggle. I think most that attended went away with some idea of how to improve on that. I notice that…


Added by Rick Long on May 11, 2010 at 8:47am — No Comments

Live from the First Annual Bowed Psaltery Symphony

I'm here in beautiful West VIriginia at Tamarack. The practice began this morning and we've taken a break for lunch. What a fun morning trying on a few of the songs we're scheduled to perform on Sunday. It's wonderful to be surrounded by people who love music and the bowed psaltery, very good energy in the group!

We have beginners to advanced players and we're working well together, it's comfortable and there are lots and lots of smiling faces.

Tamarack itself is a beautiful…


Added by Donna Malus on April 16, 2010 at 12:03pm — 4 Comments

Update for the 1st Annual Bowed Psaltery Symphony 2010

Just a reminder about the Symphony:

April 16 - 18, 2010


Information and free sheet music for songs to be played available on our website, download free even if not participating.

All workshops and events at Tamarack are free to attend and to…


Added by Tish Westman on April 3, 2010 at 9:57am — 2 Comments

Dona Benkert, my music teacher! (with the guitar)

Here is a link to a video of my music teacher and Psaltery Strings member, Dona Benkert, at the Folk-Lore Center run by Dona and her husband Dan.

Please take note of the adorable American Eskimo, Biscuit the Wonder Dog! She is a music critic for sure!

Thanks for all your patience and laughter during lessons Dona !!!…


Added by Donna Malus on March 9, 2010 at 7:30pm — 1 Comment

Thanks Suzanne...

I haven't checked this site in ages but your request this morning got me here. I also hope it works later today so I will get out the is getting dusty from not being used. I just got busy.....

Added by Sonja Richards on March 9, 2010 at 11:20am — No Comments

First Festival of the Year

First for me that is. Just returned home last night from the Southern Strings dulcimer festival in Hattiesburg, MS, over a thousand miles on that old bus we travel in. First time for me to visit Mississippi, even though I have lived in the South all my life. I guess I just don't get out much.

This festival is a great one. I had a wonderful time and felt right at home. Everyone very friendly and helpful. They even had a member of their club stationed at the campground…


Added by Rick Long on March 2, 2010 at 12:56pm — 5 Comments

The 1st Annual Bowed Psaltery Symphony

There are a lot of wonderful festivals and folk music events in this country (except where I live) but from my perspective, never enough and there will probably never be too many. Tish and Greg Westman are adding another one this year and hoping to make it an annual event.

The 1st Annual Bowed Psaltery Symphony will take place at Tamarack in Beckley, West Va. on April 16,17 and 18. If you're not familiar with Tamarack, here's a blurb from their web site and a link for more info:…


Added by Donna Malus on February 21, 2010 at 7:22pm — 4 Comments

unidentified psaltery

Hi y'all, and greetings from not so sunny Florida.I just purchased a very nice BP and I'm trying to identify the maker. I tried the google approach to no avail. Perhapes someone in our BP community has heard, or is familiar with the company or builder(s) The information inside the sound hole is as follows:

Diamond Design

Richard Wilson

Denise Wilson

July 1991

Manitou, Michigan


The psaltery is 24 string and in excellent (but…


Added by Ed Tillman on February 18, 2010 at 7:19pm — No Comments

Another Snowy Day to Spend in the Shop

Well, we woke up to another snowy morning. Canceled a doctor appointment and settled in for a work day. I have been busy getting things ready to travel on our first music related trip for the year. I'll be headed to Hattiesburg, MS next week for the Southern Strings Dulcimer Festival. I've never been before, but have heard good things about the festival and the folks that run it. Looking forward to a great time and itching to join in on lots of…


Added by Rick Long on February 16, 2010 at 11:58am — 1 Comment

Are we psaltrists, psalterists or psalterers or what????

I was sending Richard a message today and I used the term psaltrist. At that point it dawned on me that I had no idea how a psaltery player would be referred to other than as a "psaltery player". and other searches found nothing for psaltrist, psalterist, psalterer or psaltress. There were a couple casual references using psaltrist and psalterer, but nothing that leads me to believe there is a specific suffix used for…


Added by Donna Malus on February 8, 2010 at 6:28pm — 9 Comments

A Day in the Shop

I'm spending the day in the workshop. Got the heaters going and it's about 60 degrees in here. A good place to be when it looks like this outside.

It's been a while since my little workshop looked like this.

I've been putting the strings on a few psalteries after building and finishing the bridges. Experimenting with piezo pickups. I've got my amplifier plugged in and sitting on my router table. I'm testing with different… Continue

Added by Rick Long on February 1, 2010 at 10:30am — 5 Comments

Drill Press Repaired

Well the trip to Lowe's was successful yesterday. I had to settle for a bolt that was the same thread I needed and then grind the head off of it. There weren't any set screws in the size I had to have. I ground the head off and cut a slot for a flat screwdriver. Gladly it worked and I was able to remember where all those parts went to put it back together. That drill press is one of the tools in my shop that I can't do without for very long.

They say there is a snow storm moving in… Continue

Added by Rick Long on January 29, 2010 at 1:57pm — 2 Comments

First Blog Post

I hadn't considered a blog until I noticed that Donna had added the option. First off, big thanks to Donna for starting, moderating, and maintaining Psaltery Strings. I see it is growing everyday and can see it easily being "the" place to come to if you already love bowed psalteries or want to find out about them.

I have been a psaltery fanatic since the early 80's and it hasn't worn off yet. There's just something special about playing an instrument that has a mysterious background.… Continue

Added by Rick Long on January 28, 2010 at 11:30am — 1 Comment

Monthly Archives













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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