The ToneWay® Project: helping people play music


I just received the learn to play book today. Although it is a great book on string instruments, I was very disappointed not to see anything on the Dulcimer as that is what I was looking for. Will you be adding any info on this instrument?



Nothing planned for that yet. However, if you learn the Toneway process, you can apply that intuitive understanding to any string instrument, and frankly, any instrument.

Beg, borrow, or buy? a ukulele or guitar and do the “Get Started” section of the book, and the tutorial. The uke would be best… only 4 strings.

The dulcimer is like a open tuned three string ukulele (or any instrument really). So, after you finish the “Get Started” part, do the ukulele's open tuning section.


Look for a book called You Can Teach Yourself Dulcimer. It helped me.


Hi Millie,
I have a few thoughts, though they might not apply to your situation, apologies, if not! Are you looking to learn to play (Mountain?) (Hammered?) Dulcimer as a beginner? If you own a mountain dulcimer, it is an unusual instrument different from guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, in that those instruments are 'chromatic' and a dulcimer is 'diatonic'.

Dulcimer is not a standard bluegrass instrument, though one COULD play bluegrass songs on it. Our tunings, fret patterns, chords, etc. are different. Dulcimer players have their own 'community', and you might best be served by plugging in to that community. You may already be involved and looking to expand into more of the bluegrass/early country genre.

Of course, you are so close to Wautauga County, hotbed of many great early dulcimer players and builders like the Proffitts, Presnells, and others. We used to have the largest dulcimer festival at Appalachian State University, so close to you. I always drove right through Pineola to get there! There are several festival/workshops in North Carolina (and a great one in North Georgia) if you are looking to learn, that accommodate beginning to advanced players. Many vendors and faculty with dulcimer-specific books sell at the Festivals.

Do you know Bill and Jewel McGee at The Dulcimer
Shop in Blowing Rock (Main St.) (828) 295-3616? Great people and they could help point you in the right direction up in your area. You could also contact me through my website at and I could maybe assist you in finding helpful resources.



For the second year in a row, Songs of the Appalachians music camp was held at Mayland Community College in July of this year. Both beginning and intermediate (mountain) dulcimer classes were offered. I'm not suggesting that you wait to learn until next year, but if you're in Pinola the week after Independence Day, I recommend it.
We learned a few songs from “Mountain Music for Everyone” in the Intermediate class.
In addition, there is a dulcimer circle that meets weekly in Roan Mountain, TN, probably 45 minutes from you.

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