Goergen, of Sioux City, didn't grow up playing a musical instrument, but when he heard a dulcimer played in a park in San Diego, Calif. it caught his interest.
He began researching the hammered dulcimer, which he learned is about 2,000 years old and was played heavily in the Middle Ages.
Then in 1985, he constructed three hammered dulcimers. That first one had problems with bracing and the second with sound quality, Goergen said.
"When I built the third one, it sounded pretty good but it looked homemade," he said.
He took a couple lessons to learn to play, but most of his skills were self-taught, Goergen said.
"I taught myself enough to read music in one Saturday night," he said.
"I'm trying to train my ears for sound," Goergen said.
As he practiced Wednesday striking the wire strings with wooden "hammers," Goergen explained the hammers come in different sizes, can be homemade or commercial and each have a padded side and a hard side.
"I've even seen them (dulcimers) played with toothbrushes," he said.
Holding the hammers loosely, one in each hand, and striking the wires of his hammered dulcimer Goergen produced sounds similar to that of a harp.
"The more strings, the louder it (the music) is," Goergen said. "The less strings the sweeter it is."
There are 68 wires that can withstand up to 40 pounds on his dulcimer, but the commercially purchased instrument weighs just 23 pounds, he said.
"The mobility of it makes it still popular," Goergen said. But "it's pretty new around here."
The dulcimer is considered the forerunner to the piano and in the Middle Ages musicians played old church modes, which were fixed arrangements, on the dulcimer, Goergen said.
"I play folk music," he said. "It's basically a folk instrument."
Although he has played his hammered dulcimer in churches and retirement homes and even at a funeral, Goergen said he has not performed professionally.
"I'm just an amateur level (player)," Goergen said. "I have a problem with stage fright."
That means he might not play on stage at the country and bluegrass music festival, but he will "probably look around for somebody to play with," he said.