How Did Rich Mullins Learn To Play The Hammered Dulcimer: Rich Mullins learned to play the hammered dulcimer through self-teaching, experimentation, and a deep passion for music. He honed his skills and developed a unique style through countless hours of practice.

Early Encounters with Music

Rich Mullins’ musical journey began at an early age, deeply influenced by his family’s love for music. Growing up in a small town in Indiana, he was exposed to various instruments and genres of music. As a child, he started playing the piano, which laid the foundation for his musical aptitude. However, it was not until later that he discovered the hammered dulcimer.

Rich Mullins Learn To Play The Hammered Dulcimer
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The Discovery of the Hammered Dulcimer

While attending college at Cincinnati Bible College, Rich Mullins stumbled upon a hammered dulcimer in a music store. Instantly captivated by its ethereal sound and unique construction, he was drawn to this enchanting instrument. Intrigued by its possibilities, Mullins purchased his first hammered dulcimer and began his exploration of its intricacies.

Self-Taught Journey

Rich Mullins embarked on a self-taught journey to master the hammered dulcimer. With little formal instruction available at the time, he relied on his innate musical talent and a deep passion for learning. Spending countless hours experimenting with the instrument, he honed his skills and developed his own unique style of playing. Mullins’ ability to blend traditional dulcimer techniques with contemporary musical sensibilities became his signature sound.

Influences and Inspirations

Throughout his musical career, Rich Mullins drew inspiration from various sources that contributed to his growth as a hammered dulcimer player. He sought inspiration from both traditional folk music and contemporary Christian artists. Mullins’ musical influences ranged from the Irish and Scottish folk traditions to the works of renowned dulcimer players such as Maggie Sansone and Dan Landrum. By incorporating elements from these diverse influences, Mullins forged a distinctive style that set him apart from his contemporaries.

Rich Mullins Learn To Play The Hammered Dulcimer
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Impact on Music and Legacy

Rich Mullins’ proficiency on the hammered dulcimer greatly impacted the contemporary Christian music scene. His inclusion of the instrument in his performances and recordings brought the hammered dulcimer into the spotlight, introducing it to a broader audience.

Mullins’ passion and talent inspired countless aspiring musicians to explore the dulcimer and incorporate it into their own music. Even after his untimely passing, his legacy as a dulcimer virtuoso lives on, inspiring a new generation of musicians to embrace this unique instrument.

What hammered dulcimer did Rich Mullins use?

Rich Mullins was known to use a Master Works Hammered Dulcimer during his musical career. The specific model that Mullins played has not been extensively documented, but Master Works is a respected brand that produces high-quality dulcimers known for their exceptional sound and craftsmanship.

How do you learn to play the dulcimer?

Learning to play the dulcimer typically involves a combination of resources and approaches. Beginners can start by finding instructional books, online tutorials, or enrolling in classes or workshops.

Learning the basics of reading sheet music, understanding dulcimer tablature, and practicing finger placement and strumming techniques are fundamental aspects of the learning process. Regular practice, patience, and a willingness to experiment and explore different musical styles will aid in developing proficiency.

How easy is it to learn the hammered dulcimer?

Learning the hammered dulcimer can vary in difficulty depending on the individual’s musical background, dedication, and natural aptitude. The instrument requires coordination between both hands to strike the strings with hammers, creating melodic patterns.

Rich Mullins Learn To Play The Hammered Dulcimer
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Although it may seem complex at first, with consistent practice and guidance, individuals can develop a solid foundation and progress in their skills. The dulcimer’s diatonic nature and repeating patterns can aid in learning, making it accessible to enthusiastic beginners.

Where did the hammered dulcimer come from?

The hammered dulcimer has a rich history spanning many centuries and cultures. Its origins can be traced back to the Middle East, Persia (modern-day Iran), and parts of Central Asia. It gradually spread throughout Europe during the medieval period, becoming a popular instrument in countries such as Hungary, Romania, and Germany.

Over time, it found its way to other regions, including North America, where it has become an integral part of folk and traditional music in various communities. The hammered dulcimer’s versatility and enchanting sound continue to captivate musicians and audiences around the world.


Did Rich Mullins receive any formal training for playing the hammered dulcimer?

No, Rich Mullins was primarily self-taught when it came to playing the hammered dulcimer. He embraced the instrument with a deep passion and learned through experimentation and practice.

What made Rich Mullins’ style of playing the hammered dulcimer unique?

Rich Mullins blended traditional dulcimer techniques with contemporary musical sensibilities, creating a distinctive style that resonated with his audience. His ability to infuse his own emotions and interpretations into the instrument’s melodies set him apart from other dulcimer players of his time.

Did Rich Mullins incorporate the hammered dulcimer in his recordings and live performances

Absolutely. Rich Mullins frequently showcased the hammered dulcimer in both his recordings and live performances. The instrument became an integral part of his music, adding a distinctive and captivating element to his compositions.


Rich Mullins’ journey of learning to play the hammered dulcimer exemplifies the power of passion, dedication, and self-exploration in the realm of music. With little formal training available, he relied on his innate talent and unwavering commitment to master the instrument.

Mullins’ unique style and influential presence helped elevate the hammered dulcimer from obscurity to prominence, leaving an enduring legacy for future generations of musicians to follow. Through his music, Rich Mullins continues to inspire and captivate audiences, ensuring that his dulcimer prowess remains a cherished part of his musical legacy.