The lap dulcimer is also known as the "mountain" dulcimer or "Appalachian" dulcimer because of its popularity in the mountains of West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina. It's name is borrowed from the ancient hammered dulcimer and is certainly appropriate since the word is derived from the ancient root word "dulce", meaning "sweet".
The lap dulcimer a three or four stringed instrument related to earlier European instruments, particularly the German "scheitholt", which migrated to America with the early European immigrants.
The distinctive sound of the dulcimer is derived from its "drone" strings which produce a sound reminiscent of the bagpipes. It is played by plucking or strumming the strings with the right hand while playing the melody (or chords) on the fret board with the left hand. The instrument offers a wide range of playing styles and various modal tunings (dorian, ionian, aeolian, mixolydian). Before the guitar became popular in the early 20th century, the lap dulcimer was the instrument of choice for accompanying folk songs and ballads in the southern Appalachian mountains, and it continues to be a defining influence in that region's music.
Timmy plays a dulcimer made by Tad Wright. You can inquire about Tad's instruments by contacting Timmy.