play dulcimer with three separate strings. Many dulcimer players use a doubled top string and a single middle and bass string.
I have assumed that the doubled top string probably came about to give the melody more volume against the drones when playing in the traditional style.
As dulcimer playing evolved and melody and chords were played using all three strings I think the doubled top string remained as a vestige of the traditional style. If playing the melody solely on the top string I think the doubled string makes sense.
I prefer the ease of action and evenness of sound from string to string that three separate strings provides.
I have heard many players do wonderful things with four separate strings.
And six strings (three courses of 2 strings) is always fun.
Any opinions? What do you prefer?
As an instrument maker I offer all string arrangements.