Other Instruments with Diatonic Fretboards

I’m curious about what other dulcimer players and builders think about the whole range of dulcimer-like diatonic instruments that you basically strap on and play underneath like a guitar. There are some interesting new instruments that have gotten on my radar recently:



…and of course the well-known McNally Strumsticks, which have been around for a LONG time:


…and then the Olympia Dulcimer Company with their “walkabout” dulcimers (I have a bit of a problem with these very mandolin-like instruments being called dulcimers, but then, I’ve heard they sound great, so what the hey?):


Speaking for myself, since I still play the guitar, mandolin, and uke, I generally go to them for a play-underneath experience, though I ‘m not so sure I like the idea of having missing frets! I think I’m so used to the full chromatic range of fretting on these instruments. Everyone is different though, and these kinds of preferences are what makes life interesting.

What do you think about these “play-under” diatonic instruments? Do you think guitar players would be more likely to play one of these than learn the dulcimer in the traditional over-the-top lap style….if they were looking for something unique and folky?

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