townsend tennessee

The Sweet Sound of Mountain Dulcimer Music

mountain dulcimer pickin porch
Being treated to mountain dulcimer music under a crisp, starlit evening was the highlight of our September, 2004 trip to eastern Tennessee.

On the backside of little dulcimer shop in Townsend Tennessee was the setting for a wonderful evening of music, relaxation and fun. It was a great way to end our September vacation in Tennessee.

While driving between the cabin we stayed in, Townsend, Pigeon Forge and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park we kept passing his little dulcimer shop in Townsend. Finally we decide to stop in and have a look.

Just to let you know, we know nothing about dulcimers, except that they look sort of like a strange guitar. As soon as we walked in the Wood-N-Strings dulcimer shop we knew we were in for a treat.

Within five minutes we were sitting down getting a mountain dulcimer lesson. By the way, we found out they are actually quite easy to play. We felt slightly intimidated about playing something we knew nothing about but we really enjoyed it.

The nice lady that was showing us around and giving lessons then showed us a hammered dulcimer. All I can say is...Wow, what a cool instrument, with a great sound. The hammered dulcimer is played with small hammers, the same size as those of a piano, striking the strings producing a sweet sustained sound.

After our tour of the Wood-N-Strings shop we were invited to come back that evening to listen to some live mountain dulcimer music put on by the owner Mike Clemmer and musical guests Wood, Wind & Wire.

mountain dulcimer pickin porch
What a great evening...

We arrived late and didn't bring a thing to sit on, but to our surprise there were 2 seats left that were handed to us by the lady who showed us around the dulcimer shop. I guess we were supposed to be there.

The setting was pure Tennessee satisfaction - The wind was blowing in the trees, the evening was cool, the creek behind the stage was rolling, the stars were out and the music was exhilarating.

Mike Clemmer, the owner of Wood-N-Strings is living his dream.

His wife Connie asked him some years ago, "If you had a blank check, what would you want to do?" After talking, thinking and praying, Mike decided he wanted to have his own shop and build handcrafted mountain dulcimers.

So he just did it!

Using his extensive musical knowledge and his experience of repairing and trading of different instruments, he opened his shop. Mike had years of experience repairing violins and guitars and worked with a friend who was behind on building his dulcimers. So, it was just a natural for Mike to start his own shop.

Now that's the way to live your dream come true. Congratulations Mike for doing what you want to do for a living!

Come by the Wood-N-Strings dulcimer shop in Townsend Tennessee located at 7645 Lamar Alexander Pkwy. and listen to authentic mountain dulcimer music on the Pickin' Porch every Saturday at 7 PM.

You can also come by the shop anytime to look around, find out how dulcimers are handcrafted, order a custom dulcimer, and maybe get your first dulcimer lesson.

You can give Mike and Connie Clemmer a call at 865-448-6647, stop by their shop in Townsend Tennessee or visit their web site at