Classic Rock Songs to Learn on the Stick Dulcimer
Before we get started, a disclaimer: this is by no means a comprehensive list of the best songs of all time. Whether or not any of the following widely popular songs qualify as such a high honor will be up to you to decide. That being said, there is a multitude of songs and artists that have proven the test of time (well, so far at least) so it can be quite the task to dwindle such an expansive amount of music into a quick, learnable list. But that’s exactly what we attempted to do here!
These songs represent some of the most popular, most requested songs that are also quite learnable no matter your level of playing. So here is a selection of classic rock songs to learn on the Seagull Merlin stick dulcimer.
First up is this classic American rock song by the late Tom Petty. “Free Fallin’” is one of those quintessential “first songs” to learn on the guitar, or of course in our case, the dulcimer guitar. With just three simple chords, Petty crafted this iconic song that’s been covered by some of the best (including this version by John Mayer).
Start by learning the super-easy 1-finger version. Then once you got it down, use this Free Fallin’ practice video to play along. And whether you claim to be a singer or not, how can you not belt this chorus? So be free and enjoy learning this one.
One of the most covered songs of all time is simply titled “Hallelujah.” Written by Leonard Cohen, this timeless song was made popular by Jeff Buckley but recorded by countless other iconic artists and featured in many movies… ya know, like the animated masterpiece Shrek. Joking aside, this is a beautiful song and one you should definitely learn to play.
Follow this Hallelujah tutorial video to walk through all the chords, then how to play with one finger, and then how to play it using more complex chords for a further challenge. To help, use the "Hallelujah" Dulcimer TAB Guitar Chord Guide for reference.
It’s about time for us to rock out a bit, and how better than with this classic rock hit by Journey. Even though it’s always been a wildly beloved song from the 80s, it had an odd resurgence about ten years ago when a satirical tv show about a show choir covered it a capella on a little love-hate show called Glee. Despite that, it’s still a pretty kick-butt song. (For a super cool reimagined take on the song, check out the Postmodern Jukebox cover.)
This ”Don’t Stop Believin’” lesson video will teach you the easier 1-Finger version, but the “Don’t Stop Believin’” chord guide includes multi-finger shapes as well. Now’s your chance to play along with a cellist to one of the most classic of classic rock tunes! Hold on to that feeeeeelin’!
We can’t not include a song by the little band from Liverpool. I mean, who doesn't love the Beatles? (If it's you, please don't tell anyone). With such a huge collection of hits, it’s difficult to narrow down which songs from their repertoire to teach, but here’s “Drive My Car” written by Paul McCartney with lyrical contributions from John Lennon. (By the way–have you watched the new Beatles documentary Get Back on Disney+ yet? You should!)
This song was first released on the British version of the 1965 album Rubber Soul and really is a fun one. Watch the “Drive My Car” lesson video, but get ready for a bit of a left turn in this one (poor car driving reference) with one of the chords.
Want a deeper Beatles cut? You can also learn The Beatles - "Ob La Di". This song is bouncy and happy sounding right out of the gate. This one can be played with 1-Finger (like most), but I'll show you how to do it both ways. Download the Free Dulcimer Chord Guide for "Ob La Di, Ob La Da" to assist you.
So what else do you want to learn on the Seagull Merlin? You gotta let us know! In the meantime, if you’re interested in some current songs, check out these stick dulcimer pop tunes.