Back in the late 50's and early 60's, my dad started building and playing Appalachian (mountain) dulcimers. Being the teacher and playful maker he is, he soon wrote a pamphlet on the subject that he shared with his students and anyone who wrote to ask about it.
Here's a copy of his 1962 (second edition) pamphlet, "The Mountain Dulcimer, how to make and play it (after a fashion)", which he has generously given me permission to post here for public consumption.
This pamphlet is the basis for the 1965 Folk Legacy book & album of the same title, but there are many differences between the two.
I had a nice long chat with Caroline Paton (of Folk Legacy Records) and she has generously given permission for me to publicly share a PDF of the Folk Legacy book, "The Mountain Dulcimer - How to Make it and Play it (after a fashion).". This is a significantly revised and lengthened version of the pamphlet, with a wonderful companion recording.
The CD is still available from Folk Legacy's website at:
The books, CDs, and original LPs are also pretty easy to find on eBay and Amazon.
The pamphlet focuses on the 3-string dulcimer and has quite a few more specific measurements than the book. The book mostly covers the 4-string dulcimer, but discusses a number of variations.
Enjoy and share with the blessings of Howie, Ann, Caroline and myself. I just love the way he encourages experimentation and presents the topics in such a clear and light-hearted fashion, it should appeal to most anyone with a creative streak, even if you never plan to actually make, or play, your own dulcimer.
I recommend both!
And yes, I finally decided to try building one for myself. Here's what mine looks like so far