Repairs & Maintenance
If your Dusty Strings harp or hammered dulcimer needs maintenance (restringing or regulation, for example) or a repair procedure, we can help! We’re a small company with a sympathetic team, and we’re invested in listening to your concerns and providing the best advice we can on how to proceed in your particular situation.
Here are the most important things to know in advance:
- We are experts in the field of Dusty Strings harps and hammered dulcimers, but we don’t have the capacity to work on instruments by other builders.
- If you are trying to reach our repair shop in Fremont, Seattle about repairing an instrument that you purchased there, please follow this link for more information.
- Repairs often take a few weeks to turn around, and sometimes longer. Our small size means that our repair experts are busy building new harps and dulcimers on a daily basis, and it can take time to work a repair into our schedule. We’ll do everything we can to get your instrument back to you promptly, and we appreciate your patience
- We do our best to provide rough estimates remotely, so that you can decide how and if you’d like to proceed. The more information you can give us ahead of time, the more help we can be, and the best way to get going is the form further down this page!
- Once we are able to see and evaluate your instrument in person, we’ll be able to give you a formal estimate of the scope and associated costs for your repair, and you can decide whether you’d like to go forward or not. Even in-person estimates sometimes need to be revised once we dig in to the repair, so we’ll stay in contact with you about anything new we find.
- We’ve answered some of the frequently-asked questions in more detail at the bottom of the page. We especially recommend reviewing the info on shipping costs and logistics if you are outside of the Seattle area.
The best way to start a repair inquiry is to use the form below. Fill in as much information as you have available, click submit, and our repair team will get back to you shortly. The more information you provide in the form, the better we will be able to assist you. For clarity in your descriptions, please refer to the labeled photos below when identifying the parts of your instrument.
Submit a Repair Inquiry
How long does it take to get an estimate? For standard maintenance procedures, we can usually get back to you within a few days. For more involved repairs, it can sometimes take a few more or a week to prepare the estimate. Depending on the procedure in question, we’ll meet with different specialists on our staff to determine the best approach.
How soon can you start work on my instrument? That depends on the complexity of the repair and on how full our schedule currently is. It's not unusual for us to have a bit of a waiting list.
Can you do “x” procedure while I wait? Generally, we prefer to have an instrument here for at least two weeks in order to fit the work into our schedule and to give us a little wiggle room for the unexpected. If you have special circumstances, let us know and we’ll see what we can do!
Are you open on the weekends? Our hours are 9:00 to 5:00 Monday through Friday. If you absolutely cannot arrange to get your instrument here during those hours, give us a call and we’ll discuss alternate avenues.
Shipping costs and logistics
How much does shipping cost? If you aren’t close enough to drop your instrument off in person, shipping it to us can be a bit of a hurdle. Within the contiguous United States, shipping costs can range (very roughly) from $100 to $250 for hammered dulcimers, and $150 to $500 for harps. If you don’t have a box, we highly recommend trying to source one locally or make your own. We do have shipping boxes we can sell, but the boxes themselves can range from $50 to $100, and it costs just as much to ship you an empty box as it does to ship one with an instrument inside. (The shipping companies charge by size.)
There is the possibility that your box could be damaged on the way here. If we do not think it is safe to return the instrument to you in the original box, we will need to charge you for a new box for the return journey.
How do I ship my instrument? If you’re arranging your own shipping, almost all of our instruments can be sent with UPS, and you can go online to find out the costs, or go to a UPS store. Our 36-string harps are too big for UPS and must be sent by freight. YRC is an example of a freight company that does LTL (individual carton) shipping.
If you would like our help arranging shipping, we’re happy to do that. In order to give you an accurate shipping quote, we’ll need to know your full address as well as the weight and dimensions of the box with the instrument packed inside.
What about international shipping? International shipments are more expensive and more complicated, and may require you to deal with customs clearance or hire a customs broker. We can talk to you more about this if it applies to you. When possible, we’ll try to suggest local repair options and avoid the need for shipping!
Will this be covered under the warranty? Our warranty applies to the original owner. The warranty period ranges from 2 to 5 years, depending on the model, and it covers defects in manufacturing or materials. It does not cover general wear or maintenance, and it does not cover damage caused by environmental conditions or use. Shipping costs are the responsibility of the instrument owner. Until we inspect the instrument in person, we can’t say for sure whether the warranty will apply, but we will tell you ahead of time if we think it’s likely or not. We know that may be a key factor in your decision to ship the instrument here or have it repaired locally.
Where can I find the details of your warranty? The full text of the warranty can be found here.
Will my instrument be in tune when I get it back? As standard practice, we tune each instrument when we’re finished with a procedure. However, if we’ve replaced the strings, they will still be stretching and will require frequent tuning for a week or two. Don’t expect to play it in a recital the day you get it back!