The mountain or "lap" dulcimer is a traditional diatonic musical instrument of Scandinavian origins having 3-6 strings most commonly tuned in fifth intervals. The ease of play and variety of design have made it popular and affordable to people of all ages who have been charmed by the strains of traditional ballads and melodies. Once it is tuned correctly, it can't be played wrong!

Orleans Dulcimers are traditional in design and are made of a variety of native hardwoods including cherry, curly/birdseye maple, birch and walnut. Other woods available include rosewood for the bodies and softwood tops of redwood, cedar, Sitka and Adirondack red spruce.

A most common tuning for the mountain dulcimer is in fifths. The most common key is D with the strings tuned D-A-D. The easiest technique for tuning is to tighten the wound bass string to D, or a relative note close to that, play that string on the 4th fret for the note A, tune the middle string to that A, play that middle string on the 3rd fret for D again, and tune the two melody strings in unison to that D. Once the instrument is in tune, and sounds in tune, playing is a matter of practice and careful listening. Instruction books and CDs are available in the Orleans Dulcimers store.

Orleans Dulcimers are priced from $235 for the most affordable model, a traditional hourglass shaped cherry "heart" with a softwood top and adjustable ukelele pegs; $250-$575 for the amplified "Classic," walnut/curly maple and spruce, fiddlehead scroll, 5-Star banjo tuning pegs and a variety of mother-of-pearl /abalone inlays; to $900-$1500 for a "Concert" dulcimer uniquely designed for concert volume and tone of curly maple, Adirondack red spruce, with custom m-o-p/abalone inlays, amplification, and hardshell carrying case. Shatten amplifer tranducers are available by request.

Custom inlay, colored dyes, and fret and scroll work are available as well as a variety of other musical instrument design extras. All dulcimers include a custom sewn carrying bag.


Currently Playing:
Soldier's Joy
from my Everyone Can Play The Fretted Dulcimer music CD.