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 pefect 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.
The tuning scheme we use on our Chromatic Series instruments is a variation on the traditional fifth-interval tuning. The chromatic notes either replace duplicated notes or are added by means of new bridges. Players accustomed to the traditional fifth-interval scheme usually have little difficulty adapting to this style of chromatic tuning.
A chromatic instrument allows for a somewhat wider range of musical styles, including classical, ragtime, blues, jazz and certain styles of ethnic music.
The D650 is the ultimate chromatic hammered dulcimer. Built on the same body as the D600, it extends the range downward to 4½ octaves while maintaining the fully chromatic range of 3½ octaves. With the standard tuning of the D650, the lowest seven courses of the supberbass bridge mirror the lowest seven courses of the bass bridge, but an octave lower. Just think of the possibilities for accurate low bass accompaniment!
Another big benefit of the D650 is that you have some options for re-tuning if your arrangement requires an accidental note other than what is available with the standard tuning. Raising or lowering a note by a half step is no problem, giving you great flexibility for tuning and arranging.
C600 case available separately.
Chromatic hammered dulcimers may be the best choice for those whose musical interests require lots of sharps and flats. Dusty Strings Chromatic Series dulcimers are highly regarded, sophisticated, professional-caliber instruments. This does not mean you have to be a professional to play one. Anyone whose budget and desire permits will thoroughly enjoy owning one of these models. Time-tested and road-worthy, the Chromatic Series dulcimers have a sound quality that is unrivaled, singing with articulate clarity and power at any volume level.
The tuning scheme is a variation of traditional 5th-interval tuning. The chromatic notes either replace duplicated notes or are added via extra bridges. A player accustomed to the traditional tuning will find it easy to adapt to this versatile tuning. With the chromatic capability, musical styles such as classical, ragtime, bluegrass, jazz and rock can be more thoroughly explored on the hammered dulcimer.
Designed in collaboration with Sam Rizzetta, a highly respected designer, builder and player of hammered dulcimers since the 1960s, they have his signature asymmetrical design, which places the treble bridge perpendicular to the frame rails for ease of playing. The internal bracing system is more elaborate and sophisticated than our other models and, combined with the all solid wood construction, gives our chromatic dulcimers a resonance, clarity and depth of tone that is unrivaled. Dampers are a popular option for controlling and finessing the inherent sustain, especially in the bass range.
The single sound hole is decorated with a hand-carved maple leaf insert, a signature feature of our chromatic line. Contrasting solid-wood binding and delicate multi-layered veneers called purfling add a professional finish detail to the soundboard.
Rich curly maple trim gives a warm and dramatic look.
Dress up your soundhole with the sparkle of abalone inlay
Add a lovely band of abalone inlay around the soundboard.
A black soundboard adds an elegant touch.
Control sustain and add tonal variety with a set of dampers.
The D650 has 4½ octaves of range; the lowest note is the A two octaves and a bit below middle C. It is set up in a 19/18 configuration, meaning there are 19 courses of strings on the treble bridge and 18 courses on the bass bridge. A super-bass bridge on the left provides the lower octave.
The overall range is A1 to E6; the chromatic range is B2 to E6.
Superscript numbers indicate octaves (C4 is middle C).
Dots indicate marked courses.
All strings have loop ends.
PB = phosphor bronze.
PBW = phosphor bronze wound.
SSW = stainless steel wound.
Unspecified strings are plain steel wire.
Wire gauges are shown in inches.
"The D650 is fantastic, and I'm pretty much in love with it... The low end is everything I've been pining for, in terms of hammered dulcimer tone... Also, impressively for a newly built dulcimer, the tuning stability has been commendable. One road trip home and a weather change aside, it's barely needed to be touched."
Matt Olsen (Yachats, Oregon)