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NOTE: As of January 2021, the Apprentice has been discontinued.

  • 2½ octaves
  • laminated Finland birch soundboard and back
  • traditional 5th-interval tuning
  • 12/11 configuration
  • also available as a package with case and playing legs

The Apprentice is the perfect setup for a beginning hammered dulcimer player. Built with a laminated Finland birch soundboard and finished in a striking black, the Apprentice is exceptionally sturdy and stable and offers a sweet, balanced sound. The 2½ octave, 12/11 arrangement corresponds to all the well-known instructional materials. The Prelude model is the same instrument, but with clear finish.

The Apprentice comes with the basics to get someone started playing: single-sided wooden hammers, a T-handle tuning wrench, note indicator strips and the Hammered Dulcimer Owner's Guidebook. Additional options include a case for protection and transportation, and choices of playing legs or folding stands for supporting the instrument.

Apprentice (Discontinued): $545 (includes T-handle tuning wrench, regular single-sided wood hammers, note guide strips, owner's guidebook)

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Burgundy-colored padded soft case for hammered dulcimer

Padded carrying case

Price: $175

Hammered dulcimer support options include this folding wooden stand Variety of stand and leg choices

Tuning & Specifications


The Prelude, Apprentice and D10 have 2½ octaves of range; the lowest note is the G below middle C. There are 12 courses of strings on the treble bridge and 11 courses on the bass bridge. This configuration is often referred to as 12/11. Easily available keys are G, D, C and F, along with their relative minors. There are a variety of chromatic notes available in each key.

Tuning and Strings

String chart for Prelude, Apprentice or D10 hammered dulcimerSuperscript numbers indicate octaves (C4 is middle C). Dots indicate marked courses. All strings are plain steel with loop ends, and the wire gauges are shown in inches.

Click here for downloadable string charts and string ordering information.


  • Hammered dulcimer diagram with top and bottom rails labeledBottom rail: 38½ inches
  • Top rail: 20 inches
  • Height: 15 inches
  • Thickness: 3¼ inches
  • Weight: approx. 13 pounds


  • Soundboard and back: laminated Finland birch
  • Pinblocks and rails: Eastern hard maple
  • Bridges and soundhole inserts: maple

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Reviews & Testimonials

1 Review(s)

  • Donnell
    Dec 7, 2018
    Recently my Wife had a rare low percentile re-injury to a small shoulder bone following right shoulder replacement which rendered her guitar playing years
    somewhat moot. After careful physical therapy she increased range of motion to the
    point that she said she "someday" wanted to learn the dulcimer.
    Well...searching the web I found Dusty Strings. From the moment of my first
    conversation with them, I knew I had found sympatico kin folk. They clarified the
    range of options and the necessary accessories, and, most importantly, fulfilled my
    desire for my wife to have her first surprise dulcimer in time for this Christmas! The
    staff kept me apprised every step of the way as if They too were a part of this family secret plan.
    The tangible Team approach at Dusty Springs and all promises kept has been the best experience in new" musical territory you could possibly wish for. The mystical
    Celtic sound of multi-stringed instruments made me a 12 string guitar player years ago. Dusty Strings IS the real deal because your instrument will be made by real musicians who understand sonic beauty and hand crafted integrity. It does not get better than this, even for a "newbie" like myself to this world of strung delights.

An early impression of a new instrument...

"I love my hammered dulcimer. My 12-year-old twins are having a blast, the first day too! I got to play it at 3 am. Thank you!"

-Ellen M. Howse (Millersville, Maryland)

...and a later comment from the same customer:

"I teach music at a nursery school, children ages 2-5. Once I became more proficient, I brought the dulcimer in to play for the children. They enjoyed hearing me play but REALLY enjoyed actually playing themselves... My son Christopher grabbed the hammers this morning and played his favorite song before running to the bus stop."

-Ellen M. Howse (Millersville, Maryland)

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