dusty strings PD40 chromatic piano-style hammered dulcimer
dusty strings PD40 hammered dulcimer bridge
upper right corner of dusty strings PD40 hammered dulcimer
Tuning pins on dusty strings PD40 hammered dulcimer
handle hole in back of dusty strings PD40 hammered dulcimer


  • 3½ octaves, fully chromatic
  • Solid sapele soundboard and back
  • Piano dulcimer tuning

diagram-piano-dulcimer-tuning.jpgThe 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 is in a church, a band, a recording or 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 is 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. White marks the naturals or C scale, and black marks the sharps and flats - just like on a piano. To play a C scale, just follow the white markers up the instrument. 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. The sharps and flats are where you'd expect to find them, next to the naturals.

Solid wood construction, 3 ½ fully chromatic octaves, convenient size, a deep, rich tone, and an attractive price all come together on the PD40 piano dulcimer. An innovative feature of the PD40 is that the instrument is "damper ready," which means that dampers can be easily installed by the player at any time. They can also be installed by Dusty Strings at the time the instrument is ordered. Dampers greatly increase the versatility of the instrument and provide the ultimate in sustain control.

C45 case available separately.

Price: $1095 Includes double-sided oval hammers, gooseneck tuning wrench and owner's guidebook.

Complete Hammered Dulcimer Price List

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Shipping Information


Dress up your dulcimer with decorative binding and purfling

Price: $205


A black soundboard adds an elegant touch. (Binding must also be ordered.)

Price: $100


Add tonal variety with a set of dampers.

Price: $345

Tuning, range and strings

The PD40 has three bridges arranged in the piano dulcimer format. Fully chromatic for its 3½ octave range, with bridge cap markers that mimic the pattern of white and black notes on the piano. The overall range is G2 to D6.

string-chart-small-PD40.jpgSuperscript numbers indicate octaves (C4 is middle C).

White and black boxes indicate white and black bridge markers.

All strings have loop ends.

PB = phosphor bronze.

PBW = phosphor bronze wound.

Unspecified strings are plain steel wire.

Wire gauges are shown in inches.

* Single string courses

Downloadable string/tuning chart

String ordering information


  • Soundboard and back: solid sapele
  • Pinblocks, bridges and soundhole inserts: Eastern hard maple
  • Rails: sapele


  • Bottom rail: 42½ inches
  • Top rail: 21 inches
  • Height: 17 inches
  • Thickness: 3½ inches
  • Weight: 14 pounds

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"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)   

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