Make a Ray Jacobs Rocky Mountain Dulcimer

Here's a clear, step-by-step process for building a simple, beautiful 3-stringed instrument from scrap wood, cardboard, and a few dollars worth of hardware; it will sound absolutely wonderful. Ray Jacobs made his first guitar when he was about 15. During 20 years of teaching 4th grade in Eureka, MT, he developed this simple, easy-to-play, 3-stringed instrument that the kids could assemble and finish by themselves. Compiled and written by a teaching artist, so that more people can make their own music, more easily and more beautifully!

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Ray taught 4th grade for 20 years in Eureka MT and gave all his students the chance to make their own instruments — as well as giving them a V-8 engine (on the classroom floor) to take apart and put back together. He came up with this wonderful instrument design so that anyone could have beautiful music w/out having to pay lots for fancy wooden boxes. I met him at a primitives skills gathering a few years ago and fell in love with him and Shirley (they arrived in a home-made RV on a Toyota pickup body), as well as the instrument. Ray invents (or repairs, or just makes) about an instrument a month, and shares more than he sells. I thought some of this gift should go into a book, so last year, on a train trip back east, my family and I stopped off to visit and make a dulcimer. I also took notes and pix and put together this little how-to so Ray’s gift might have a bit wider range. I did the book on Createspace and sell it cheap, but the pdf is available free; there’s a blog about it here. However you choose to get it, please share it as widely as possible, especially to folks who will keep the gift moving. Be assured that it’s much easier to learn than a guitar. You can hear Ray and Shirley playing on youtube here. (There are also a couple of documentary videos you can find by searching on their names and “expressing montana”.)

Kiko Denzer
Publication Date:
January 2013
Hand Print Press
full color paperback, 8-1/2 x 11 inches
page count:


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