- 3½ octaves
- fully chromatic
- piano dulcimer tuning
- solid sapele soundboard and back
The piano dulcimer represents a great new concept in the dulcimer world - an affordable and simple way to bring the unique sound of the dulcimer into any keyboard player's realm, whether it's in a church, band, soundtrack, composer's studio, at home or around the campfire. Invented by long-time hammered dulcimer designer and builder Sam Rizzetta and based on the piano keyboard, it's a compact, fully chromatic instrument.
The tuning pattern uses half-step intervals across the bridge. Each course of strings crosses two markers on the top of the bridge, with white markers designating the naturals, or C major scale, and black markers designating the sharps and flats, just like on a piano. To play a C scale, just follow the white markers up the instrument. The sharps and flats are where a keyboard player would expect to find them - next to the naturals. Once you learn the pattern for any scale, it's easy to change keys, since all the scales follow the same pattern or a mirror pattern.
Solid wood construction, 3½ fully chromatic octaves, a convenient size, a deep, rich tone, and an attractive price all come together in the PD40 piano dulcimer. An innovative feature is that the dulcimer is "damper ready," meaning that dampers can be installed when the instrument is ordered, or easily installed by the player at any time. Dampers provide sustain control and greatly increase the versatility of the instrument.
PD40: $1245 (includes gooseneck tuning wrench, double-sided oval hammers and owner's guidebook)
PD40 Damper Package: $1695 (includes above accessories, plus C45 case and dampers installed)
|Black Soundboard (binding must also be ordered)
Binding and Purfling
Padded carrying case
|Variety of stand and leg choices|
The PD40 has three bridges arranged in the piano dulcimer format. It is fully chromatic for its 3½ octave range, with bridge cap markers that mimic the pattern of white and black keys on the piano. The overall range is G2 to D6.
Tuning and Strings
Superscript numbers indicate octaves (C4 is middle C). Dots indicate marked courses. PB = phosphor bronze. PBW = phosphor bronze wound. Unspecified strings are plain steel. * indicates a single-string course. Wire gauges are shown in inches.
- Bottom rail: 42 inches
- Top rail: 19½ inches
- Height: 17¾ inches
- Thickness: 4 inches
- Weight: approx. 14 pounds
- Soundboard and back: solid sapele
- Pinblocks and rails: eastern hard maple
- Bridges and soundhole inserts: eastern hard maple
"The PD40 is very intuitive for pianists. The only hard part is getting used to the fact that some degrees of the scale are on the same string, only across the bridge. Other that that, it is immediately understandable. Because you must cross the bridge so often, you have to work out hammer patterns, but that is essentially the same as working out fingering on the piano. You cannot find a teacher, but if you are a pianist, you do not need one, just practice playing songs you know, and you will improve automatically. I am more than satisfied with this instrument. If you are a pianist, especially if you are a pop or jazz pianist, THIS IS THE DULCIMER TO BUY!"
-Mack Garner (Maryville, TN)