If was to buy sheet music what would I get Violin. I would like to play some modern songs like the Beatles, Kansas, maybe Led Zepplin. You know shake the world up. I know someone  who plays Rock n roll on his accordion. I have really  only been seriously playing the psaltery for a few days and have learned all the xmas songs that my grandbaby and I plan on playing at her school and church this season. I have already purchased  2 other psalteries a xylophone and a autoharp to see what kind of combo will go together. Yes my plate will be full teaching her and myself to play all maybe grandma will jump in. I do have a lot  of questions still I have noticed some luthiers have one guage of wire and some have several gauges. Does that matter?? That's also why I purchased two other Psalteries  so I can string them all differently to see whats better. would really like to talk to someone who knows these answers so not have to go thru all that work and time  it took me 8 hrs to restring my first psaltery since I have little feeling in my fingers. That's  one reason I chose the psaltery  since I didn't need fingers  to play.  any help will be greatly appreaciated.

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Comment by Janine Allen on September 21, 2016 at 9:45pm

When I started, I found that the  easy electronic keyboard books by Hal Leonard were very helpful,  they have classics, Elvis , gospel, folk and many others.  I also recommend Donna Missigman's book.  She's not currently teaching but her book is excellent & only $15 shipped.  Lots of good techniques covered in there.

Comment by Brenda Mangan on August 30, 2016 at 3:16pm

Oh, yes, beware of jamming with dulcimers! Just kidding, sort of, I have nothing personal against dulcimers but they will want to stay in G or D, as they have to tune to a key and stay there.

But as your little group will be psalteries, autoharp and xylophone, you CAN play in any key you wish. So it becomes a matter of what you want. I tend to want to respect the composer and play in the original key. But that's just me.

You may want to try looking under auto harp music. Try here 


they have the cord for the autoharp and the music for the tune.

Another trick is to simply Google images of the song you are looking for (ie, Deck the Halls sheet music) and find one that has the cords on it, too, for your auroharp. 

So, glean what you can from this, and find what will work best for you and your group.

Happy bowing, 


Comment by SUE C WHEELER on August 29, 2016 at 8:18pm

David, listen to Brenda, not me! But I had to smile when I read your post. The first few pieces of music I bought were fiddle tunes, and surprised I was to see all those sharps and flats! And though the key of C might be easiest, you won't want to play only in that key, soon everything will seem boringly the same. And if you chose tunes in C when jamming with dulcimers, they won't like you very much--I found that out by personal experience, too! But don't let my comments sadden or confuse you, please.

Comment by Brenda Mangan on August 29, 2016 at 5:05pm

I have to confess, I like the "dark side" and the first reason I was drawn to a psaltery was its dark side. 

There is no "best" key for a psaltery. It can handle any key, the thing is whether YOU let the sharps and flats bother you. I play with 2 bows and simply use my left hand, the one on the "dark side" to play the sharps and flats. The other thing is to do drills up and down the chromatic scales using one bow crossing over from side to side til you can do it smoothly. Do not fear the dark side. 

Also, watch (not just listen to, but watch) some youtube videos. Gregg Schneeman, Nozomi Nose, Celeste Ray, to name a few. And on the vidoes page here on Psaltery Strings, watch to see how people are playing. (I have a few decent vidoes, too)

So any music in the range of your psaltery will work.

Good Luck to you. 

Comment by David Hamilton on August 29, 2016 at 1:42pm

I was only going with violin cuz I read somewhere it said violin . what key is best for a psaltery? Like I said I'm new to this I have been adjusting to the music. I have already purchased the music book on this website and  books from one of the luthiers on here.

Comment by SUE C WHEELER on August 29, 2016 at 1:35pm

I would add a caution that, though violin music sounds like a logical choice, it often is written in keys that are challenging for us psalterists. Like three sharps or three flats or more. Unless you love your "dark side," beware! Dulcimer music is usually key G or D (1-2sharps), which I like better!

Comment by SUE C WHEELER on August 29, 2016 at 7:11am

I have found lots of music on Musicnotes.com, though much of it isn't free. Check out lead sheets and Easy Piano.

Surprisingly, Flute Tunes  is also a good place, as well as a few others I suggest here:





Have fun!

Comment by Brenda Mangan on August 28, 2016 at 9:47pm

Sheet music for violin will usually work. Many sheet music web sites let you look at the first page so you should be able to tell if it is in the range of your psaltery. So that is really the main thing, that it is in the range of your psaltery. I have also used flute music, but sometimes flutes get too high. 

As to what gauge wires. Part of it is to do with how tightly you must wind the wire to tune to the note. Too small a gauge for a particular note will pop the wire when you try to tune it.

Then there are wound wires, for the deeper sounding baritone psalteries. Mine is not so I'm not really the one to address this. But it doesn't seem to me that you can not just put wound strings on any psaltery because that would require a more heftily built instrument. Meaning wound wires require more strength of the instrument.

Also, even though a musical instrument shop likely won't know what a psaltery is, they will know how to restring one, if you want to pay to save your fingers. 

So, hope that helps, and maybe someone else will hop on here and tell you more.

Happy Bowing


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