Handmade stick dulcimers and other stringed instruments

Vashon, Washington · 23 Sales


Handmade stick dulcimers and other stringed instruments

Vashon, Washington 23 Sales On Etsy since 2016

5 out of 5 stars

Announcement   I'm gearing up for a booth at the Vashon Farmer's Market - more info soon!


Last updated on Jul 9, 2018

I'm gearing up for a booth at the Vashon Farmer's Market - more info soon!

Joe Schonbok

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Joe Schonbok


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Just finished my first production "Mini" - check it out in action on YouTube:
These two Strumbolinas will be raffled off to benefit underprivileged kids at the Chautauqua Music Festival on August 6th on Vashon Island - see for details!
Just in - drawstring bags now ship with every instrument!
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I make Strumbolina stick dulcimers so everybody can feel the joy of creating music.

I've played musical instruments for a long time. I started with the trombone in elementary school, struggled with motivation to practice and eventually stopped playing. As an adult I found the banjo and ukulele and fell in love with music and I want my daughter to grow up knowing how to play a stringed instrument. After trying many different instruments, I found stick dulcimers and became so much of a fan that I learned how to make them and built a classroom set for my daughter's school. Now I want everybody to have one! They will make you smile!!

What is a “Strumbolina” stick dulcimer? It is a three-stringed instrument you play like a guitar or ukulele but it is fretted and tuned like an Appalachian Dulcimer. It is tuned to a single key. I usually tune to G (GDG). That is the top and bottom strings are a “G” note, one octave apart, and the middle string is a D. Since it is a single-key instrument, all of the notes sound good together. No stress, all fun!

I had a music teacher who explained music to me. Music, he said, is made of two things: notes and timing. Of those two, timing - by far - is the most important. The Strumbolina lets you focus on timing and rhythm by making the notes “just work”. Because of the way it is constructed, it only has notes from the key of G. That means that pretty much no matter which notes you strum, they will sound good. No worry - just play!

Playing a Strumbolina is like Planet Reebok - there are no rules. Give it a strum. Use your left index finger and press down on the lower string - the littlest one. That’s the 3rd string. Strum some more. Move your finger around. It’s all good - you’re playing a tune! I don’t know what tune it is, maybe you don’t either. It doesn’t matter - you’re doing it and it sounds great! Keep going, have fun!

Check out my YouTube channel for tutorials and songs!

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  • Joe Schonbok


    Joe lives with his wife and daughter on beautiful Vashon Island, Washington. Joe has enjoyed wood working all his life, using tools inherited from his grandfather, father, and friends. Joe loves music too and would love to make a Strumbolina for you!

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Last updated on Jun 16, 2016
Frequently asked questions

How do I tune my instrument?

You can easily get the strumbolina in tune with itself. Press the big, top string just behind the 4th fret. Tune the middle string until it sounds just like that. Then press the middle string behind the 3rd fret. Tune the little bottom string until it sounds just like that.


If I need to a "true" note, then I use "gStrings" on my android phone. For an iPhone or iPad, Guitar Tuna offers a free version.

Most of my stick dulcimers sound best in the key of G - the biggest string tune to G3 (196 Hz). The middle string is D4 (293.7 Hz), and the smallest string is G4 (392 Hz).