This is by far the most common tuning scheme used for the hammered dulcimer. It is called "fifth-interval" because the treble bridge is positioned such that the note on the left side of the bridge is a perfect fifth above the note on the right. Similarly, each note on the right side of the treble bridge is a fifth interval higher than the adjacent note below it on the bass bridge.
The instrument is tuned in major scale sequences, so you can easily play in different major keys by moving to different scale groupings on the instrument. The scales available on most dulcimers with the traditional tuning are D, G, C, F, A, and their relative minors.
This fifth-interval style of tuning works very well with traditional fiddle tunes, old-time, bluegrass and dance music. People also enjoy playing original and improvisational music and arrangements of hymns, popular and classical music.
These numbers refer to the courses of strings on each bridge, and are an indication of the size and range of the instrument. For example, 12/11 means the dulcimer has 12 courses of strings on the treble bridge and 11 on the bass bridge. 3/16/15 indicates that in addition to 16 courses on the treble bridge and 15 on the bass bridge, there is an additional "superbass" bridge on the left-hand side with 3 courses of strings. The superbass bridge has notes that go lower than the bass bridge.
The D45 provides the dulcimer enthusiast with three octaves of sparkling, clean and balanced sound in a 16 treble/15 bass course playing configuration. As an extra enhancement, we've inserted three upper chromatic notes to extend the chromatic range to more than two octaves, a very useful feature. Made entirely of solid woods, this dulcimer has a deep bass that blends beautifully with its clear, even treble.
The D45 was designed to be fitted with dampers. This sustain control device creates a wide range of tonal effects, from the rich and complex natural voice of the undamped strings to a wonderful, wholly muted marimba-like tone with no sustain. The dampers on the D45 can be installed when the instrument is built, or very easily added later by the player.
The D45 offers rich, full sound, overall versatility, and solid-wood elegance, all in a mid-priced, mid-sized instrument. It is a delight for any dulcimer player - from beginning to advanced - to own and play.
Dress up your dulcimer with decorative binding and purfling
Add a band of abalone inlay around the soundboard. (Binding must also be ordered.)
A black soundboard adds an elegant touch. (Binding must also be ordered.)
Add tonal variety with a set of dampers.
The D45 sports three octaves of range; the lowest note is the D below middle C. There are 16 courses of strings on the treble bridge and 15 courses on the bass bridge. This configuration is often referred to as "16/15". Easily available keys are G, D, C, F and A, along with their relative minors. There are a variety of chromatic notes available in each key.
A special feature of the D45 is three extra chromatic notes (D#5, G#5 and Bb5) which have been added to replace notes which are duplicated in the normal tuning pattern.
Superscript numbers indicate octaves (C4 is middle C).
Dots indicate marked courses.
All strings have loop ends.
PB = phosphor bronze.
PBW = phosphor bronze wound.
Unspecified strings are plain steel wire.
Wire gauges are shown in inches.
These testimonials are about the D35, predecessor to the D45:
"I just bought a D-35 from Prussia Valley in southern Ohio. I LOVE this instrument and want to compliment you on it. I play a lot of different instruments - guitar, mandolin, and piano to name a few but I am now obsessed with this one. I can't believe how beautiful it sounds. I'm just sorry I waited this many years to buy one and am glad I decided on one of yours. Prussia Valley sells a lot of makers but yours was by far the best sounding. You'll easily get 'free advertisement' from me in this area. Thanks again for making such a fine instrument."
-Geoff Walker (Springfield, Ohio)
"Stays in tune... beautiful wood & workmanship. I love it... I've finally got my dream instrument!"
-Sandy Sage (Wautoma, Wisconsin)
"This is a fine instrument. This one makes #2 that I've bought from the Dusty Strings line. Very happy with the quality."
-Jodi Adams (Tomball, Texas)
"It has a beautiful sound and is beautiful to look at! Great craftsmanship!"
-Karen Sterhkopf (DePere, Wisconsin)