Skip to main content

Fingerstyle Dulcimer: First Steps and Beyond

Picture of Nina Zanetti

Nina Zanetti

Dates: June 7, 9 & 11
(Three 90-minute sessions)
Time: 7:00pm EST
Online via Zoom 
Cost: $150


Instructor: Nina Zanetti

Suitable for skill level III (Lower Intermediate) and up.

About the Class

This class will focus exclusively on learning to play fingerstyle mountain dulcimer. We will  assume no prior knowledge of how to fingerpick, and therefore will begin with a step-by-step approach to the basics. Later in the week, we will work on how to make fingerstyle playing sound musical, and we will explore some special applications of the fingerpicking technique.  Specific topics will include:

“How to”: role of right-hand technique in creating various arpeggiated chord patterns; role of the left hand in playing chord transitions; consideration of different approaches to fingerpicking; coping with fingerstyle tab.
Refining your sound: how to bring out the melody notes and create smooth melodic lines;  how to incorporate dynamics and phrasing into your playing; how to produce a mellow, full sound.
Introduction to Fingerstyle arranging: How to create a fingerstyle arrangement from tab that was arranged for strumming or simple chord-melody style.

This class will be appropriate for LEVEL III (lower intermediate) and LEVEL IV (upper intermediate) players with no prior experience in fingerstyle playing.   Players of more advanced levels who have limited experience in fingerpicking may also find it helpful;  but do be aware that a considerable part of the class will focus on presenting  the basics of fingerstyle technique.

Materials will include both “etudes” (practice exercises) for mastering the technique , as well as lovely tunes for gaining experience and expertise in applying what we’ve learned. Repertoire will include Celtic airs, lullabies, and other gentle types of music. Tablature will generally be aimed for the lower intermediate level, so that we can focus on the technique and on playing musically and expressively; somewhat more challenging tab may be introduced as the week progresses, to illustrate the potential of fingerstyle playing.

In order to be able to enjoy and learn from this class, participants need solid intermediate-level skills, including the ability to read tablature and fluency in  playing 2- and 3-finger chords and in chord-melody style playing.

Tuning: will be primarily DAD, with occasional excursions into DGD, DAC, and possibly DAA.

String setup:  3 strings (preferably only one melody string).

Other instrument-related needs: your instrument will need a 6.5 fret and, if possible, a reasonably wide fingerboard; please bring a  capo; fingerpicks are  not required (I will be teaching bare-finger style of finger-picking.

Office of Web Services