I bought an Appalachian dulcimer yesterday. It’s beautifully made by Peter Cox of Waubaushene, Ontario. The top is a slab of old pine that was originally a rafter in an old farmhouse.
Despite its initial unusual appearance (played on the lap, modal frets, four strings – two of which are in unison – tuned ddAD), it’s extremely hard to make an unpleasant noise with one. Part of its charm is that it’s very quiet (so only those nearby are annoyed – and since Catherine‘s away …), but you can also pick out simple tunes easily. Less than a day after getting it, I’d picked out a recognizable version Speed of Things, my favourite-ever Robyn Hitchcock song.