The Appalachian dulcimer is an American folk instrument that is very simple to play after some practice. It was originated in the Appalachian mountain regions to create wonderful compositions. Understanding the right technique to play the dulcimer will lead you to play harmonious and beautiful music.


Playing the Appalachian dulcimer is very similar to a guitar. This is a guide on learning to play an Appalachian dulcimer for beginners:


  • Understand the parts and features of the Appalachian dulcimer. The dulcimer has strings like a guitar, but the shape of its body is similar to an hourglass. The strings may vary in number, from the least being three to four, depending on the size of the instrument.


  • Tune the dulcimer to create sound music. Tuning can be done with a DAA or DAD in 10 different combinations. Use a guitar tuner so that you can tighten the strings to create a D tune in the first string.


  • You also have to tighten the second string with the tuner to register it to A. The same process should be carried out for the last string to form a DAA.


  • Pick your favourite pick for the dulcimer by testing different ones. Then choose a strumming pattern between the out-strum and in-strum.


  • Place your fingers on the fret just as you would on a guitar. Place the music sheet in front of yourself to see the notes you will play. Play the dulcimer with your pick flowing over the strings.