The ToneWay® Project: helping people play music


I have a “Woodrow” 4 string. Can the music and lessons at ToneWay be used and played on this?

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Toneway is great for helping you learn which chords to play, when to change chords, etc by ear and so much more. A Woodrow is very much like a strumstick and you can go to Bob MvNally's website for instruction more specific to your instrument. Toneway is great for learning the chord progressions to the many wonderful songs in their books and on their website. The books are great because sooner or later you will want to try another instrument.


Ladies, you are exactly right. After I posted, my research found that, just as Gwen says, the Woodrow is a dulcimer built on a frame like a small guitar or ukulele. The sound has a banjo twang and, like a dulcimer, can be played with a “drone” with the melody on the double strings. I know several folks that play and the sound is really great.

I am interested in the Toneway method because it makes sense and looks like fun. If I never play a note, the songbooks are an amazing collection of Old-Time music.

I want to learn just enough to take part and Gwen's post has the same info that took me hours to find online.

Thanks so much for your interest and help.


Glad your instrument has been identified! If you like the banjo sound, this “invention” (yes, it is like the “strumstick”, another dulcimer hybrid “invention”) has a banjo twang because the body is a solid plank of wood strung up.

There is no hollow soundboard as in most acoustic instruments, including dulcimers, where the sound actually comes from and is amplified from. A solid pank of wood with no acoustic chamber has nowhere for sound energy to bounce around to produce 'vibrations', so has more the plinky-plink sound of a banjo.

A friend of mine makes banjo-dulcimers (yes, one more hybrid!) on a solid plank of wood. I don't care for the flat 'plank' sound, so MY banjo-dulcimer (made by another friend) has a hollow sound board, where the air vibrates in the soundboard and comes out through a soundhole in the back (like an open-backed banjo).

Here is what it sounds like:

Get your three 'D' chords down (D/G/A = 0-0-2, 0-1-3, 1-0-1), then you can play most any D tune. To play in other keys, learn to retune or see if a dulcimer capo fits the neck of your instrument.
Good luck with it!


Gwen, absolutely beautiful - mesmerizing. If I could play like that I wouldn't do anything else. Thanks for the help and I'll be watching and listening.


Our girls bought us a Woodrow for Christmas. It has metal strings and needs a pick – which is really new to me. We have the smallest model. I tune it to either D or A tuning. Depending on where you strum you get a different sound. I can do a simple song and I play chords rather than picking. I prefer to play ukulele, baritone, or guitar so I don't need a pick.

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