Since I never heard of a “Woodrow”, I looked it up. Is it the instrument made by Dan in Old Fort, NC? My reply is based on this assumption - please forgive me if I'm wrong!
If that is the instrument, it is a dulcimer “hybrid”. Strung like a dulcimer, tuned like a dulcimer, fretted and chorded like a dulcimer - just held like a guitar, instead of on the lap like real dulcimers. It is sort of a “mini dulcimer” with less than half of the frets, played upright (there is a LOT missing on this from a real dulcimer).
With my understanding of the Toneway method, you might get some use from the books utilizing the basic chords (¼/5), but you have to first know those chords on your instrument. I assume your instrument is tuned to the standard dulcimer 'D' tuning, meaning you can only play in the key of 'D' (until you learn a lot more). You can strum the basic 'D' chord progressions in the songs in the books, but not be instructed as to how to play THIS instrument.
Dulcimer books may be more serviceable. You might want to check out the many dulcimer groups in Alabama at this link (copy this and paste it into your browser):
I am also unfamiliar with the “Woodrow Guitar”. My internet search turned up the dulcimer hybrid that Gwen references, but also instruments that are clearly ukulele's. If yours is like the ukulele, the Toneway Method is designed to include it.
I am guessing yours is more like the instrument Gwen talks about - if so very cool instrument!
Toneway is great for helping you learn which chords to play, when to change chords, etc by ear and so much more. A Woodrow is very much like a strumstick and you can go to Bob MvNally's website for instruction more specific to your instrument. Toneway is great for learning the chord progressions to the many wonderful songs in their books and on their website. The books are great because sooner or later you will want to try another instrument.
Ladies, you are exactly right. After I posted, my research found that, just as Gwen says, the Woodrow is a dulcimer built on a frame like a small guitar or ukulele. The sound has a banjo twang and, like a dulcimer, can be played with a “drone” with the melody on the double strings. I know several folks that play and the sound is really great.
I am interested in the Toneway method because it makes sense and looks like fun. If I never play a note, the songbooks are an amazing collection of Old-Time music.
I want to learn just enough to take part and Gwen's post has the same info that took me hours to find online.
Thanks so much for your interest and help.
Glad your instrument has been identified! If you like the banjo sound, this “invention” (yes, it is like the “strumstick”, another dulcimer hybrid “invention”) has a banjo twang because the body is a solid plank of wood strung up.
There is no hollow soundboard as in most acoustic instruments, including dulcimers, where the sound actually comes from and is amplified from. A solid pank of wood with no acoustic chamber has nowhere for sound energy to bounce around to produce 'vibrations', so has more the plinky-plink sound of a banjo.
A friend of mine makes banjo-dulcimers (yes, one more hybrid!) on a solid plank of wood. I don't care for the flat 'plank' sound, so MY banjo-dulcimer (made by another friend) has a hollow sound board, where the air vibrates in the soundboard and comes out through a soundhole in the back (like an open-backed banjo).
Here is what it sounds like:
Get your three 'D' chords down (D/G/A = 0-0-2, 0-1-3, 1-0-1), then you can play most any D tune. To play in other keys, learn to retune or see if a dulcimer capo fits the neck of your instrument.
Good luck with it!