Dampers provide sustain control for the hammered dulcimer, as well as a range of different tonal effects. A dulcimer without dampers is like a piano with the sustain pedal held down - everything rings. Fitting a dulcimer with dampers allows you to stop the ringing by pressing a foot pedal to lower felt-covered bars onto the strings. Dusty Strings dampers are particularly responsive, allowing the player to hold the pedal down for a muted, marimba-like tone, or use light, quick taps to clear sustain between chord changes and to accentuate phrasing, giving tunes a sophisticated, articulate sound. Once experienced, people tell us they'd never go back to playing without dampers.
Low-profile damper bars, made of hardwood with custom-fit felts, are mounted on the dulcimer using U-shaped return springs. Durable, stretch-free cords running through the soundbox connect to the included pedal. An ingenious spooling device in the pedal easily adjusts the cord length to fit any height of stand. The whole setup fits inside our instrument cases and weighs about 2 pounds. For more details, see our Damper Use Instructions
Our D45 and PD40 models are pre-drilled for dampers, and we offer a do-it-yourself damper kit for those models, or we can install them for you as part of your instrument order. We can install dampers here in our shop on any of our newer Chromatic Series models, but there is enough custom fitting required that we don't offer a kit for field installation. Unfortunately, we cannot put dampers on older chromatic instruments (D500 and D550 before serial #13169 and D300 before serial #13378), or on our 12/11 or Overture models.
The D45 and PD40 damper bars are a simpler design than the Chromatic Series damper bars, which have some extra detailing around the edges. The D570 and D670 dampers have a wider bar on the right in order to accommodate the right-hand super bass bridge on those models.
Dampers installed on D45 or PD40: $395
Dampers installed on a D300, D500, D550, D600 or D650: $545
Dampers installed on a D570 or D670: $745
Click photos to enlarge.
Dampers on D650
Dampers on a D670
Dampers on D45
D45 & PD40 dampers
Chromatic Series dampers
D570 & D670 right-hand damper bar
Damper system from the back
Damper pedal (included)