Hammered dulcimers

  • Participant
    kryptoleadonium on #252256

    Not sure this topic belongs under harps, but here goes.

    I very recently learned of a folk music store in Denver. Went to their website and lo and behold, they sell Master Works hammered dulcimers. The prices seem fixed; Amazon carries the lowest-priced model and if one factors in the 8.31% Denver tax (ahem), the price is close to what the store had. At $800 for the lowest-priced model, they ain’t cheap.

    I looked on Amazon and they have a Roosbeck hammered dulcimer, which I didn’t see on the Roosbeck website. I read a review or two here of Roosbeck harps–they weren’t raves.

    A friend in another state had a hammered dulcimer, but it was out of tune and I didn’t dare try to tune it. I need one like I need another hole in the head, but can anyone tell me about good brands, brands to avoid, etc.? Thanks.

    Participant
    harpist123 on #252257

    I play the harp AND I have a hammered dulcimer! I chose to learn it because I just wanted an instrument that I could work with patterns and rhythms on, and in a different way than the harp is played with regards to patterns. Also, I didn’t want another stringed instrument that utilized my fingertips. So I bought a Dusty Strings D45 16/15 hammered dulcimer. I bought it new from the Denver Folklore shop. I originally rented a Masterworks 16/15 hammered dulcimer from them first, to see if I could actually get into it, for a few months and was able to put the money in rent toward the new dulcimer, plus receive a nice discount on my new dulcimer because I shopped with them 🙂 Very nice people, and nice shop. Not sure if this is the shop you are referring to. I wonder if you play the harp as well? In any case, I learned the basics from someone who had a wonderful Masterworks hammered dulcimer. I like them both. Each has its own sound, both lovely. My D45 is tuned in 5ths, not chromatically. Best of luck to you.

    Participant
    kryptoleadonium on #252258

    Thanks for the reply, Yes, I play harp–perhaps “I know where a few things are on it” would be closer to the truth. I’d like a full cimbalom, but will content myself with a dulcimer. Some day soon, I plan to rent the MW instrument and see how I like it.

    Participant
    randal on #252259

    I’d like a cimbalom too. I prefer the big, floating top, 3-strings/course instruments (I have 2 of them). I’ve had many others over the years.

    What I like about the instrument is its big, resonant timbre and play irish airs and tunes. I played HD for many years until I was able to obtain a wire harp.

    I do not like the instrument in ensembles, but rather solo or duet where the resonances are an attribute instead of a detriment.

    Participant
    kryptoleadonium on #252260

    I hadn’t thought about ensembles. Long ago, I considered renting a HD, but the rental contract was so long and full of “You breathe on it, you buy it” type stuff that I walked out of the store empty-handed. I then forgot about the HD until I saw the aforementioned friend’s instrument.

    Who in Denverland rents/sells them? Just Denver Folklore? I’ve wondered about the whole Denver pro scene, as in where Colorado Symphony players get their instros serviced. None of the music shops I know (Kolacny, CIOMIT, and Flesher-Hinton) would handle pro instruments, I’m guessing.

    Participant
    randal on #252261

    I first saw one played up in Estes Park in 1983 – knew I’d have to get one and a local ft Collins store had a dusty on the shelf – was trying to sell for $200. Of course i immediately bought it and set about arranging Carolan tunes on it transposing from pattuck ball, Derek bell, etc.

    Participant
    randal on #252262

    Sheesh, where’s the ‘edit button?

    Of course patrick not pattuck

    Participant
    kryptoleadonium on #252263

    It might be pronounced Pattuck in the Auld Sod.

    Forgot about Ft. Collins (and even Boulder). Then again, if I’m going to haul all the way to FC, might as well hit my coffee place in Cheyenne…

    Participant
    Biagio on #252265

    If you’re interested in the hammered dulcimer, and it has a fascinating history, you might start with what Dusty Strings has to say in their beginner’s guide. People have been making and playing them for several centuries in one form or another.

    They are a bit more difficult to make from scratch as compared to a harp, but if you buy a ready made kit, very simple. Musicmakers sells a 17/16 kit at a very reasonable price.

    Participant
    randal on #252266

    If you watch craigslist there’s often a HD for sale in the area – typically a masterworks or dusty as these constitute the bulk of entry-level instruments. There’s one up in bozeman currently. And of course there’s ebay. Also Elderly Instruments in Lansing, MI often has a used one for sale – often Webster; one just sold two weeks ago. Michigan has a HD tradition and there are some good builders up there.

    Masterworks is known for a long sustain – which is often undesirable in a HD. Some folks like it.

    If you like the sound of cimbalom you may want to look for a bigger HD with a “floating” top (as opposed to a “fixed,” glued top).

    Participant
    kryptoleadonium on #252282

    Yeah, my Triplett harp has a long sustain…As for the Masterworks, I didn’t have anything to compare it against. Not sure I’d want a dry sound. Luckily, there’s no hurry, so I can check out alternatives.

    Participant
    Participant
    randal on #252363

    Ah well I guess it doesn’t allow the link – HD on craigslist Denver

    Participant
    kryptoleadonium on #252364

    The link works, thanks. I’ll see whether I can get some info on the make and model.

    Participant
    Molly K on #252395

    Just to throw another contender into the ring, my dulcimer is a 16/15 made by Songbird and I quite love it. It’s a quality instrument. They sell for around $500 new, but you can sometimes find a used one in some facebook groups.

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