Photo of 27 Dusty Strings manufacturing staff and two dogs

About Us

Our Approach to Customer Service

We are a small company of people who place a great deal of importance on our customer interactions. We think you are entitled to talk to a real, live, friendly person when you call us, and we care about understanding your particular situation and helping you to the best of our abilities. Basically, we try to treat our customers the way we would hope to be treated ourselves.

There is no question too silly or insignificant to ask. We love to talk about musical instruments and will do our best to help you in any way we can. If we don't know the answer, we will be honest about it rather than making something up. Often we can refer you to someone else who might have more information.

If you are thinking of buying a harp or hammered dulcimer, or you're just curious about them, we are happy to answer any questions you may have. If you don't even know what questions to ask, we can offer guidance. We believe in helping you find the instrument that will make you happiest, which means that we will not try to talk you into the most expensive model, and we won't push you to buy a Dusty Strings instrument if ours don't seem to fit what you're looking for. We are a team-based organization and we like working cooperatively, and we pass that attitude on when working with our customers.

Above all, we are sympathetic people who are in this business because we love music and want to share it with you. We are proud of our longstanding reputation for ethical business practices, and we strive to uphold this reputation by continuing to make high-quality instruments and by taking care of our customers.

Silly photo of Dusty Strings staff eating donuts

Our Approach to Instrument Building

Experience

We've been in business since 1979 and our harps and dulcimers have brought joy and pleasure to many people. Even though we've built over 19,000 dulcimers and 17,000 harps, we know there is always room for improvement and are continually working to make our instruments even better.

Consistency

Our high degree of consistency from instrument to instrument helps people know that when they've played and liked a particular harp or hammered dulcimer we've made, they can order that model for themselves with confidence. Even though each piece of wood has its own individual characteristics, the general quality of sound and construction will be the same. The only differences in the performance of our models are those that result from small, cumulative design improvements over time.

We focus on quality and consistency, using CADD (computer aided design and drafting) techniques to design our instruments and to produce precision jigs and fixtures. We use computer numerical controlled (CNC) routers, which are the ultimate tools for accuracy and repeatability, to help make the jigs and some of the instrument parts. Together with our craftspeople's attention to detail and their skillful use of a host of woodworking tools, this use of technology ensures that the parts we make fit tightly and exactly every time.

Design Improvements

Our design process involves careful analysis of proposed tonal and structural changes. We build a series of prototypes, compare those to the current standard, solicit feedback from players, and make only those changes that are a clear improvement. In this way, we can keep a firm handle on the direction in which we're going while we continue to make small improvements in tone and structure. Over time, these changes add up to better instruments.

Blending the benefits of technology with the traditional woodworking techniques and tools of the craft of luthiery, we create timeless high-quality musical instruments in a modern manufacturing environment.

Guitars, ukuleles and more at the Dusty Strings retail store and school

Our Other Identity

The harp and hammered dulcimer workshop is only one half of the Dusty Strings identity. We also have a wonderful music store and school that has been an important part of Seattle's music community since 1982. The store carries all of our harp and dulcimer models, as well as a huge variety of other acoustic and electric instruments, and offers a whole range of music lessons and classes. If you live in Seattle or are passing through, we highly recommend a visit! 

Learn more about the store...