Dusty Strings Harp and Hammered Dulcimer Makers logo(206) 634-1656

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Trapezoid-shaped stringed instrument in reddish brown sapele wood with 16 horizontal strings across a left-hand bridge and 15 across a right-hand bridge
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D45

Overview

  • 3 octaves
  • solid sapele soundboard and back
  • traditional 5th-interval tuning
  • 16/15 configuration
  • also available as a package with a case and dampers

The D45 provides the dulcimer enthusiast with three octaves of sparkling, clean and balanced sound in a 16 treble and 15 bass course 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 that increases the versatility of the instrument. Made entirely of solid wood, this dulcimer has a deep bass that blends beautifully with its clear, even treble.

The D45 was designed to be fitted with dampers, which are a sustain control device that allow 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 easily added later by the player.

Combining a rich, full sound, versatility and solid-wood elegance in a mid-sized and mid-priced instrument, the D45 will be a delight for any dulcimer player, from beginning to advanced.

Includes gooseneck tuning wrench, double-sided oval hammers, and note guide strips.

D45
:
$
1455.00
D45 Damper Package (with C45 case and dampers installed)
:
$
2035.00

Please note that your dulcimer will not look exactly like the photos you see here. Because wood is a natural material, and the color and grain vary from tree to tree, each instrument we build is unique.

We make an effort to keep photos up to date as far as general design goes, but videos could show older versions.

The Chromatic Series

Dusty Strings Chromatic Series dulcimers are professional-caliber instruments and are widely regarded as being among the finest hammered dulcimers available. However, this does not mean you have to be a professional to play one! As a beginner, you might be amazed at how quickly you make progress on an instrument that sounds fantastic and is well-made and satisfying to play. Regardless of your experience level, we think you’ll find the sophisticated tone and detailed craftsmanship of the Chromatic Series dulcimers to be well worth the investment.

The tuning scheme is a variation of traditional 5th-interval tuning, where the chromatic notes either replace duplicated notes or are added via extra bridges. We’ve found that it’s no different for a beginner to learn on one of our chromatic instruments than it is to learn on a more basic traditional instrument. More advanced players who are accustomed to traditional tuning will find it easy to adapt and will be delighted by the increased versatility of having access to all the sharps and flats. The chromatic capability opens the doors to musical styles such as classical, ragtime, bluegrass, jazz and rock.

Designed in collaboration with Sam Rizzetta, a highly respected inventor, builder and player of hammered dulcimers since the 1960s, these instruments have his signature asymmetrical design, which places the treble bridge perpendicular to the strings 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.

For the ultimate expressive instrument, we highly recommend the optional damper system. Dampers allow the player to stop the strings from ringing by pressing on a foot pedal, and can be used very effectively to support even more nuanced playing, complex arrangements and interesting voicings. The Chromatic Series dulcimers are now being built with pre-drilled and capped damper installation holes, which will streamline the installation of a damper system whenever it is desired.

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.

Tuning & Specifications

Range

The D45 has three octaves of range, and 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 - a configuration 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.

Tuning and Strings

String chart for a D45 hammered dulcimer

Superscript numbers indicate octaves (C4 is middle C). Dots indicate marked courses. PB = phosphor bronze. PBW = phosphor bronze wound. Unspecified strings are plain steel. Wire gauges are shown in inches.

Click here for downloadable string charts and string ordering information.

Dimensions

Hammered dulcimer diagram with top and bottom rails labeled
  • Bottom rail: 42 inches
  • Top rail: 19½ inches
  • Height: 17¾ inches
  • Thickness: 4 inches
  • Weight: approx. 15 pounds

Woods

  • Soundboard and back:solid sapele
  • Pinblocks and rails: Eastern hard maple
  • Bridges and soundhole inserts: Eastern hard maple
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