Dusty Strings dulcimers are known for their tuning stability, and this has always been a top priority for us. We've made design choices in style of construction, sizing of structural parts and types of wood to achieve a consistency that means you don't have to spend 15 or 20 minutes tuning every time you sit down to play. Your dulcimer will be easier to deal with and, barring environmental changes, should stay pleasant to play for a couple of weeks or more.
A significant factor in playability is the spacing between courses of strings. The tighter the spacing, the more accurately you must play. The wider the spacing, though, the bigger the instrument. There is a balance to find between ease of playing and portability.
We've chosen 1-1/16" as our standard spacing, and have found that this is comfortable for beginning to advanced players. Our Chromatic Series dulcimers have 1-3/16" spacing to promote clean, accurate playing on potentially more complex pieces, which is especially useful in performance and recording situations. We also like the deep resonant tone that a larger soundbox will produce.
Adapting to a different string spacing is a fairly quick process. Once your body becomes accustomed to a new spacing, there is really no issue moving back and forth between old and new.
Our bridges are of one-piece construction with individual course pedestals to aid in accurate playing. There are white and black bridge caps on the pedestals to serve as note location markers. Made of a dense low-friction material called Delrin, these bridge caps also help to ensure smooth, accurate tuning and sustain control.
All Dusty Strings dulcimers have a convenient handle port cut into the back to make it easier to grasp and carry the dulcimer with one hand.
Each of our dulcimers has a threaded insert in the back, which is designed to accept a single playing leg. We make legs in two lengths, and those are one option for propping the dulcimer up to a playable angle. See Stands & Legs for more information.