If you’ve just bought yourself a dulcimer, odds are you’re more than ready to get good at it, but where do you start? Instructional books and DVDs are one of the best ways to familiarize yourself with a new instrument. A good lesson plan will give you the directions you need to be on your way to becoming a pro.

In the age of the internet, there’s a multitude of information out there on every instrument, including the dulcimer. Rather than sifting through this digital mountain of data, it’s best to find a book or film that will tell you all you need to know.

So, what do you need to look for when selecting the best product for your needs? Let’s find out.

What to Look for in an Instructional Dulcimer Book or DVD

  • Beginner Friendly: Chances are, if you’re seeking a guide book or DVD for this instrument, you’re quite new to it. It’s important to find a book that starts with the very basics and gets you familiar with your new dulcimer.
  • Educational: A music-learning experience is a lot more valuable if you’re gaining some knowledge about the history of the instrument along with knowledge on how to play it. Knowing about the history of your dulcimer is a good way to stay interested in it.
  • Specific Song Instructions: General information on an instrument is fine, but what’s the point of reading about it if you don’t have some songs to show for your studies? Find a book or DVD that teaches you to play some songs in addition to giving you information about the mechanics of the dulcimer.
  • Conversational Tone: Textbooks are boring and technical books aren’t for everyone. Finding a user-friendly book or DVD that anyone can understand is key to digesting the musical knowledge. Find an author or teacher that teaches in a style that you don’t have to struggle to absorb.
  • An Accredited Author or Teacher: It’s important to make sure the information you’re receiving comes from someone who knows what they’re talking about. Make sure if you’re learning to play the dulcimer, it’s from someone who knows what they’re talking about.

The Best Dulcimer Method Yet

You don’t want to be overloaded with information when you’re new to a topic. The Best Dulcimer Method Yet starts with the very basics. The book is light on theory and easy to digest.

Simple enough for a child, yet in no way boring, this book will get you started with basic dulcimer songs in C.

Customer Reviews

This is a great introduction to dulcimer playing as done in the traditional American folk style, before the “folk revival” of the 1960’s. Most of the tunes are in C major, with the dulcimer tuned to CGG.

I bought this book and have been using it for over 2 weeks and it is great. A lot of variety of music. It provides standard notation, Fingering for 1-5-5 tunings and Chords.

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First Lessons Dulcimer

This book is great for beginners but isn’t overly simple. The First Lessons Dulcimer starts with instructions for the basic DAD tuning of the dulcimer and comes with audio downloads as well.

It’s easy to get bored with text instructions, so an audio supplement to your learning is a valuable addition.

Customer Reviews

Bought 4 other dulcimer books in attempt to teach myself to play from scratch with very little music background. This is by far the best.

Book is great! Easy to follow directions and was very helpful in learning how to play the dulcimer. Would definitely recommend to anyone who desires to learn the dulcimer.

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The Dulcimer Book

Not only does this book teach you how to play the instrument, but you’ll also learn how to tune it in multiple variations. The Dulcimer Book was written by the acclaimed “mother of the dulcimer” Jean Ritchie.

This book gives the entire background of this fascinating instrument. It focuses more on history than specific instructions, so this book would be better as a supplement to another instruction book, but you will still learn some things.

Customer Reviews

I bought my copy in the late 70s, and still rely on it constantly. This is THE best dulcimer book to get, as a first book and as one you’ll return to again and again.

You have to be in love with dulcimers to love this book and that’s me.

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Dulcimer Chord Chart

This book comes with a chart for each tuning and gives a detailed display of the notes along the fret board. For this reason, the Dulcimer Chord Chart is suitable for visual learners.

If you want to take your learning beyond just memorizing notes, this book will teach you all you need to know for improvising tunes on the dulcimer. It’s quite a short book, but thorough and great for beginners or people who want to improve their existing musical abilities.

Customer Reviews

As soon as I opened this I realized this was precisely what I need for jamming. I can find chords that work with my short little fingers so I can play in any key.

I am learning to play the Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer. This cord chart is a wonderful help in learning to do chords on the dulcimer using guitar tabs.

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Learning Mountain Dulcimer

This DVD is a great way to supplement your book learning. Learning Mountain Dulcimer will teach you songs while encouraging you to memorize what you’re learning.

Some people are visual learners who benefit more from watching an instructor play, so if you’re one of those people, this DVD is what you will need to effectively learn the instrument.

You will be taking instruction from a very talented player, and each instruction feels like a personal music lesson. The teacher’s personable approach to lessons is relatable and suitable for complete beginners.

Customer Reviews

This DVD is a ‘must have’ addition to the ‘how to play’ books. If you want to do more than just play the notes on the melody strings and strum the drones, this dvd will show you how.

This DVD is useful to the student who learns best by watching the instructor, rather than using a book with dulcimer tablature with a companion CD. The close-up camera angles of David’s playing demonstrations are very good.

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Dirt Simple Mountain Dulcimer

A great beginner’s book, Dirt Simple Mountain Dulcimer comes with a CD to give you a more thorough learning experience. The audio will talk you through each lesson and offer you different strumming choices to keep your studies interesting.

This provides instructions for playing alone or along with others. The audio instructions also provide singing for those of you interested in learning how to play and sing at the same time.

Customer Reviews

This is great book for beginners and the companion CD makes it seem like you have your own instructor right beside you. It starts from the very beginning learning skills like tuning, strumming, finding notes, and playing notes on the mountain dulcimer.

Only about six or seven pages of common knowledge instruction. No included CD, must go online to hear audio. Worth $5 maximum.

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Playing The Mountain Dulcimer Made Easy

This book provides songs in both DAD and DAA tunings. Playing The Mountain Dulcimer Made Easy is suitable for people just starting on their dulcimer journey, and the tabs are easy to read and follow along with.

Whether you are looking to receive an introduction to the dulcimer or looking to improve your existing knowledge of the instrument, you will find something of value in this guidebook. It comes with an audio CD as well.

Customer Reviews

As a beginner mountain dulcimer player, I found this book to be very user friendly. Nice song selections. I have no complaints.

This book is very easy to follow and really helped me learn to play the Dulcimer the drone method. I love the songs being in DAD and in DAA tuning. Great selection of hymns.

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Mel Bay Dulcimer Chord Book

This book will provide you with all you need to know about basic dulcimer theory. The Mel Bay Dulcimer Chord Book is small in size making it easy to bring along with you to your dulcimer classes or jams with your musician friends.

This product is more suitable for people who prefer to play notes rather than tabs, but beginners shouldn’t have much trouble following along.

Customer Reviews

This is a great little book and is quite useful and easy to understand. There is a bit about basic music theory and dulcimer theory in the first part that was really informative.

Fingering diagrams and alternates for each chord in every remotely common tuning. Understandable even for those like myself with weak formal music background. Highly recommend this handy tool.

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Mel Bay You Can Teach Yourself Dulcimer

This book is unique because it provides music for duets, just in case you have a friend who is also interested in this instrument. The Mel Bay You Can Teach Yourself Dulcimer guidebook provides lessons and specific fingering instructions for people who wish to grow their talent in a versatile fashion.

The easy-to-read format of this book makes it a good fit for someone just starting out, and communicates the importance of following fingering patterns.

Customer Reviews

After thumbing through “Larkin’s Dulcimer Book” and “The Magic Dulcimer” and “You Can Teach Yourself Dulcimer,” I selected the latter. This books’ lessons, exercises, and songs gradually add to the student’s skills.

This is the best of three books that I purchased to learn the Dulcimer. It is well written and organized. I’m in the middle of learning, but this book appears to take you from the beginning to an intermediate stage.

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Mel Bay’s Favorite Old-Time American Songs for Dulcimer

Mel Bay’s Favorite Old-Time American Songs for Dulcimer book has a lot of song choices, meaning that anyone should be able to find something that suits their unique tastes.

The guidebook explores a variety of tunings and provides songs in both tablature and traditional musical notes.

While many books focus on one specific genre, this one has a variety of styles. Impress your friends by learning classic songs, or inventing your own based on the knowledge you gain from this book.

Customer Reviews of this dulcimer book

This book has a large compilation of songs, in a variety of tunings. I’m a beginning dulcimer player and there are lots of good beginner songs to choose farm.

I consider myself to be a non-musical person. On a whim I purchased a Dulcimer. I don’t read music. Tablature has allowed me to become acquainted with this magical instrument and actually play some songs that I remember from my childhood in the 50’s.

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Basic Dulcimer Chord Chart

There are five different tunings for the dulcimer, which sounds a bit intimidating. The Basic Dulcimer Chord Chart takes the work out of this by giving you easy-to-read instructions on how to navigate each tuning.

Playing chords on the dulcimer is a bit more challenging than other stringed instruments, so this book is a great place to start learning the ropes. This chord chart is a necessary addition to anyone’s dulcimer lesson plan.

Customer Reviews of this dulcimer book


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Getting Started With Mountain Dulcimer

This is a short DVD; only 16 minutes long. Getting Started With Mountain Dulcimer will teach you how to tune your instrument, play in multiple tunings, and even replace your strings.

This provides both standard music notes and tabs depending on your learning style. The instructions in this DVD encourage you to memorize what you learn, so you won’t have to rely on books or sheet music forever.

Whether you’re new to the instrument or a more experienced player, this film will provide you with something of value to add to your repertoire.

Customer Reviews of this dulcimer book

Although this short DVD is only 16 minutes long, I gladly give it 5-stars. It covers a lot of territory in those 16 minutes such as the parts of the dulcimer, replacing strings, tuning strings, the keyboard and fret positions and instruction in playing six tunes.

Bing Dutch has made learning the Dulcimer easy and enjoyable. Highly recommend for the first time player.

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Caught up on your daily dulcimer reading? Excellent. Check out these other dulcimer goodies, including the best dulcimer standsbest tuners for dulcimersbest dulcimer caposbest dulcimer strings and the best cases for dulcimers.