Terry Butler's Blog (8)

Favorite bows.

I've tried quite a few kinds of bows including violin bows. My favorites are the light weight ones that Rick Long makes and I must have 5 or six sets including 2 double connected bows. Synthetic is OK but can be rather worthless in high humidity.  Was playing outside on a rainy day under a trailer awning and couldn't get any sound with those!  Like no rosin at all no sound.  Dark horsehair seems to grab the strings best in situations like that.  Tend to prefer the horsehair now since then.…


Added by Terry Butler on April 30, 2015 at 9:34pm — 4 Comments

Embracing the Dark Side - Reluctantly.

Well, I now have a C tenor for travel purposes.  Not easy taking the big baritone places just to have a C.  My C and D tenors can use the same stand which is great.    I've used rub-on letters to   label my notes along the right side and then used lower case letters to label the sharps along the left.  I have a chart now that shows the different notes in each key so am practicing scales in all the different keys.  Also playing shorter songs like "Amazing Grace" in the different keys.  It…


Added by Terry Butler on July 11, 2012 at 3:56pm — 3 Comments

The Instrument of Ten Strings - the BATTLEHARP a.k.a. Oak Lyre.

Psalm 144:9 KJV says: " I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee." I had the psaltery and now I have the instrument of 10 strings too. How cool is that!   I bought mine on ebay - finding it under the "psaltery" search.  I found it was tuned similarly to my 11 string psaltery.  The strings are…


Added by Terry Butler on March 14, 2012 at 8:30am — No Comments

Mini bows

I find myself double bowing more and more and finally got to thinking that shorter bows might make double bowing on fast songs easier.  Sometimes the two bows would want to tangle a bit.  So, I asked Rick Long if he'd make me 2 - 11" bows with horsehair and tension sliders.  For my small hands they work GREAT and I absolutely LOVE them but Rick said when he tried them his hands cramped up quite quickly.   Anyway,  last week I had him make me a…


Added by Terry Butler on January 18, 2012 at 10:27pm — 2 Comments

Volume Question.

I play psaltery with a group of dulcimer players.  In practice I hear fine but in some of the nursing homes the acoustics are terrible.  If I get between the violins and a louder dulcimer I can't hear my own instrument and if one of them is off key I sometimes hear myself as too sharp compared to flat notes.  SO.... is there a device I can attach to my instrument with earphones that I can hear my own instrument louder to just me?  That would be SO helpful!  I can't use my amp so wondering if…


Added by Terry Butler on October 20, 2011 at 9:17pm — 2 Comments

A nice discovery.

This morning I played in Sunday School and morning service at church.  First time using my Roland micro cube (at church).  I decided to try NOT using the sound system at church and see if the micro cube would carry.  Good sized auditorium.  It seats up to 500 easily.  Turned out the sound not only carried well but even the folks in the back were commenting the sound was perfect!  Not bad for such a small portable amp.  I had the volume on full and the gain on half.  I like the sound of BRIT… Continue

Added by Terry Butler on June 19, 2011 at 12:30pm — 1 Comment

Getting braver with every psaltery.

A couple of weeks ago I won a 30 string no name psaltery on ebay.  I'm giving my 24 string folkcraft to my 9.5 yr. old granddaughter and needed one I could tune to D.  Having 6 extra strings was a plus.  The psaltery was strange though - no notches on top of the pins for the strings to rest in - the strings just were balanced across the top!  Also the black dots were all in the wrong places.  Must have been someone's first attempt at making a psaltery or something.  Anyway, I added the notches,… Continue

Added by Terry Butler on May 30, 2011 at 11:49pm — No Comments

External pick-up.

I recently discovered a very cool external pick-up that works great with my 24 string psaltery.  Haven't tried it on my little one but may get a pickup for that as well.  http://cgi.ebay.com/JJBELECTRONICS-EXT-100-External-Acoustic-Guitar-Pickup-/220718736124?pt=Guitar_Accessories&hash=item3363dca2fc#ht_9673wt_902  It's on ebay…


Added by Terry Butler on April 21, 2011 at 3:00pm — No Comments

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 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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