The bowed dulcimer sounds like a cello or a viola, but with its own characteristic reedy timbre. It is held upright between the knees with the neck resting against the player's shoulder, and bowed like a cello. Of all bowed instruments, the bowed dulcimer is the most comfortable to hold and play.
The dulcimer pictured has four steel strings, western red cedar soundboard, ebony fretboard, and gold planetary tuners. The highest string is farther away from the player, the opposite of the lap dulcimer. This arrangement is the traditional way of stringing a bowed instrument, such as the violin or cello.