The Dusty Blog

Thumbnail for Hammered Dulcimer: Tuning the Treble Bridge
Posted by Dusty - May 22, 2015, 1:15 PM
Help! I can't get both sides of the treble bridge in tune! Everyone who plays the hammered dulcimer will at some point or other come across some variation of this problem. There are simply too many strings on the darned thing for tuning to be smooth and easy every time, and it can be quite frustrating when you can get one side or the other of the treble bridge in tune, but not both sides at the same time. The good news is that (assuming your hammered dulcimer is structurally sound) you can most likely solve the problem yourself!
Thumbnail for Does a black soundboard make it easier to play the hammered dulcimer?
Posted by Dusty - Apr 29, 2015, 3:01 PM
We get asked this question a lot, most often by people who are new to the hammered dulcimer. They are understandably concerned with getting the combination of options that will make it easiest to learn this new instrument, and the choice of black vs. natural finish on the soundboard seems like a big one.
Thumbnail for Stephen Peterson's Harp Story
Posted by Dusty - Mar 30, 2015, 3:55 PM
It's easy to get caught up in the daily business of making, selling and supporting our harps and hammered dulcimers, but every once in a while a customer tells us a story that reminds us of why we are really doing this. Time after time, we hear about the ways in which music has enriched the lives of both players and listeners, and often about a particular experience that inspired someone to learn the harp or hammered dulcimer. Here is one such story, told by Stephen Peterson of Arlington, VA.
Thumbnail for Sanitizing Harps in Therapy Settings
Posted by Dusty - Mar 11, 2015, 11:28 AM
One hurdle that therapy harpists sometimes run into is the need to disinfect their harp. Depending on the situation, there may be specific protocols that have to be followed, and harpists are understandably worried about what this means for their instrument. So to help ease those fears, we did an experiment with sterile alcohol swabs from our first aid cabinet (70% isopropyl alcohol on a cotton pad) to test the effect on the finish we use.
Thumbnail for Dusty Pedal Harp Pickup Video Demonstration
Posted by Dusty - Feb 20, 2015, 6:20 PM
This video demonstrates the sound of the Dusty Strings P30 Pedal Harp Pickup in a Lyon and Healy. Video and demonstration by Katie Buckley, principal harpist in the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra.
Posted by Christy Mooers - Feb 10, 2015, 6:30 PM
I have recently become aware of a startling piece of information, which is that you don't need to play guitar or piano to be a singer-songwriter. In fact, I'm pretty sure that harp is the new guitar. To back up this bold statement (and perhaps to inspire you to try it yourself), I present you with an assortment of videos of harpists singing and playing their original songs.
Thumbnail for Spring Fling Hammered Dulcimer Rendezvous
Posted by Dusty - Feb 5, 2015, 12:00 PM
Whether you're new to the hammered dulcimer and not quite sure how to start, or you haven't played in a while and could use a dose of inspiration, or you play all the time and can think of nothing better than to hang out and jam with other dulcimer players for a weekend, the Spring Fling (Hammered Dulcimer) Rendezvous could be exactly what you need! Head to Sandy, Oregon and join dozens of Northwest dulcimer players (and a few from farther afield) for a weekend of workshops, jam sessions, family-style dinners and general dulcimeraderie.
Thumbnail for Harp Column Feature on Dusty Strings
Posted by Dusty - Feb 2, 2015, 6:45 PM
We'd like to thank the Harp Column for featuring Dusty Strings in the most recent issue of their magazine. Ray and Sue (Dusty owners and founders) were honored to be asked for an interview and to be pictured on the front cover of such an illustrious publication!
Thumbnail for Interview with Hammered Dulcimer Champion Karen Alley
Posted by Dusty - Jan 26, 2015, 1:16 PM
Meet Karen Alley - multi-instrumentalist, Ph.D. student and 2014 National Hammered Dulcimer Champion! She has very kindly taken a break from her glaciology studies in Boulder, CO to answer some questions about hammered dulcimer playing, the Winfield competition and her new solo album, Sunlit Strings, which was recorded on a Dusty Strings D650.
Thumbnail for When does wood choice in harps matter?
Posted by Dusty - Jan 19, 2015, 6:40 PM
So you’re reaching the end of your quest for the perfect harp. You’ve considered the number of strings you want, the size of the harp, pedals vs. levers and so on, and you’ve finally found the right model for you. But one last decision remains: which wood will you choose? Perhaps your eyes prefer a certain color, but is there anything to consider besides visual appeal? The answer is yes… sometimes.