Dulcimer Guitars Review
Dulcimer guitars, or dulcitars, are a recent creation from Seagull Guitars that artfully blend the mountain dulcimer and a banjo, with a healthy dose of guitar in there for good measure.
They use a diatonic tuning, so it’s basically impossible to hit a wrong note, and they have a relaxing mellow sound. Perfect for kids, they are small, lightweight and incredibly easy to play. The dulcimer guitar is like a gateway fretted instrument: start with one of these and you’ll soon find that mandolins, guitars, banjos and more are all playable.
But do not be deceived, the Seagull Merlin dulcimer guitars are serious instruments capable of producing some incredible sounds. Serious musicians have picked these things up all over and you can already hear them being used on recordings.
So let’s have a look at three of them.
This is the typical Merlin dulcimer guitar from Seagull Guitars. It has a rock maple body and a spruce top. The dulcimer guitar has 4 strings: a bass, a middle, and 2 sympathetic melody strings that resonate together.
The body and neck are as long as a banjo but thinner, more like a tenor guitar. For the musician on the road, the Merlin is a great choice: it will fit in hand luggage so you don’t have to take a risk putting it in a plane hold where it might get smashed.
The rock maple body gives the instrument a lot of pop and projection, and the spruce top gives it a more guitar-y sound than a banjo or dulcimer.
A Merlin is incredibly easy to pick up and play. Using a diatonic scale, each fret corresponds to a note in a scale (depending on your tuning), so you can’t hit a bad note.
You can pick one of these Canadian-made instruments for an affordable price.
Very similar to spruce top, except with a gorgeous mahogany top, this Merlin has a smoother, deeper sound than its spruce. Chord work and strumming sound incredible, with a sound not far from a dulcimer but with a bit of the twang of a banjo in there.
With the same price as the spruce topped Merlin, you only have to choose between the brighter tones of the spruce or the softer, warmer sound of the mahogany. It looks fantastic.
All the Merlins have traditional-style tuning pegs like a dulcimer. They work very well and offer good accuracy.
These things are a joy to play, anyone from beginner to expert will find they can get a convincing tune out of it in minutes flat.
This dulcimer guitar from Seagull has a scale designed to be used in G tuning (usually DGD). It has a slightly different scale length and a subtly different quality to the sound.
With a gorgeous mahogany top and rock maple neck and body, the G Mountain Merlin is a warm but powerful sounding instrument. It looks amazing too, with a pleasing contrast between the neck and body.
Like all the Merlins, it has a through-neck and a string pass through design that maximizes resonance. It is surprising how loud these little things can be. They all have Graphtech tusq bridges, so they will be durable and sound as good as possible.
The G Mountain can be picked up for attractive price, the same as the other three.
The Merlin range from Seagull is a remarkable collection of instruments. They take the best from banjos, tenor guitars, mandolins, and dulcimers and make something entirely new. If you are going to be on the road, they will make a perfect companion for fireside singalongs. For teachers, they make a great tool to have to accompany students. Learners can become familiar with strumming and picking without a lot of the frustration of a guitar or banjo.
Merlins are a lot of fun, why not try one out?