Dulcimer/new to dulcimer

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Question
I purchased a new dulcimer.  The action seems to be hard, I have a hard time pushing the strings down to make a chord.  My son who plays guitar said perhaps the bridge has to be lowered or  perhaps get softer strings?  Is that a possibility?  If it is softer strings, what kinds of strings should I get? Thanks for your advice.

Answer
Well, Linda, your son is right -- if a bridge/tuning nut or both are too high, you will get the problem you're facing -- conversely, if it's too low,you'll get buzzing on your strings and be unable to play a clear note. You need to take your dulcimer to a decent luthier to have them adjust what is called the "action" or the height of the strings. I do suggest you don't try this yourself, since it is something that requires a bit of skill. As to strings, I don't think that they are your problem, but I use plain steel guitar strings, .012s for the top two, a .014 for the middle and a .023 Elixir bronze wound for the bass, and that works for me. Some dulcimers play/sound better with lighter strings, some with heavier. It's all a matter of trying out which works for you and gives you the best tone/action. By the way, if you'd like to hear me playing, check out my facebook page, John Blosser, or check out www.duckslammer.com. I put my entire CD on there. Also, on YouTube, I have a few pieces posted under John Blosser Dulcimer

Good luck with your dulcimer.....Hope this answer helps

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John Blosser

Expertise

All questions pertaining to the playing of mountain dulcimer, acquisition of dulcimers, books, CDs, etc., how to play, how to learn, WHY to play, where to get a good dulcimer, what books are most helpful to beginners, etc.

Experience

Teacher/performer: French Creek (Pa.) dulcimer symposium Teacher/performer: Sunshine State Music Camp, 2000 Teacher/Performer -- NGFDA Fall Festival, 2000 Performer - various venues for the past l0 years. Current Florida dulcimer champion, 2000.

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