Updates: We have just migrated our website and have some details to clean up, so please pardon the mess! We’d also like to ask for your patience if we are slower than usual to respond to orders, emails, and phone calls. We are still dealing with the challenges of operating a manufacturing business safely during COVID, and we are working with limited staff capacity. Thank you!
The hardwood hammers we make in our shop are meticulously shaped and finished in pairs, guaranteeing an even, well-balanced weight and feel. All our hammers are 9 inches long.
While each dulcimer comes with a pair of hammers (indicated below), there are many other hammer choices that can give you more versatility and a range of tonal options. Everyone eventually develops their own favorites, but it's nice to have an arsenal of hammers at your disposal for different moods and playing situations.
When choosing hammers, a good starting point is to pair up the length of the striking surface with the string spacing of the dulcimer for the most accurate playing. Hammers #1, 2, 5, 6 and 8 have a slightly shorter striking surface that works well with the slightly narrower string spacing of our Prelude, Apprentice, Overture, D10, D45 and PD40 models. Hammers #3, 4, 7 and 9 have a slightly longer striking surface that matches the wider spacing of our Chromatic Series dulcimers.
More than anything else, the striking surface material is what will determine the sound. The choices we offer are hardwood (for a louder, bell-like tone, which is often used in outdoor or ensemble playing where you need to be loud), suede leather (for a softer, warmer tone, often used for indoor solo playing), kangaroo leather (for a sound somewhere between wood and suede), and felt (for a very soft, mellow tone, reminiscent of a gently-played piano).
Weight and stiffness are subtle factors that can influence the sound and performance of a pair of hammers. In the double-sided hammers, #5, 6 and 8 have a smaller head size, are lighter, and have a narrower, more flexible handle, thus producing a lighter sound. #7 and #9 have a larger head size and a wider, less flexible handle, which transfers more energy to the strings for a generally more powerful sound.
All of this gives you a sense as to why most players end up with a collection of different hammers!
Our Chromatic Series dulcimers come with large double-sided hammers (#7), the D10, D45 and PD40 come with double-sided oval hammers (#5), and the Prelude, Apprentice and Overture come with single-sided wood hammers (#1).