Hammer Dulcimers

Rizzetta Standard on twisted dogwood legs.

RIZZETTA HAMMER DULCIMERS Description / Price List: 2015

On this page:

– Electronic Tuners For Hammer Dulcimer, a review
– Dusty Strings Hammer Dulcimers
– Accessories
– Rizzetta Hammer Dulcimers

See the Profile page for some photos of Rizzetta dulcimers & historical info. Additional info on Rizzetta designs can be found at Dusty Strings and at Nicholas Blanton Instruments.

Electronic Tuners For Hammer Dulcimer. There are a lot of strings on a hammer dulcimer and modern electronic tuners make the job of tuning much easier. Here are reviews and recommendations for what works best.


Dusty Strings dulcimers are highly recommended for their high quality, good prices, excellent warrantee, and unmatched large selection of models from basic to sophisticated. Selected models are described below. For pictures, tuning charts, accessories, replacement strings, & more go to: www.dustystrings.com.

DS prefix indicates Dusty Strings products. The 300, 500, & 600 series dulcimers, along with the PD 40 Piano Dulcimer, are designed by Sam Rizzetta in collaboration with Dusty Strings. They sound and look great, are easy to tune and play, hold tuning well, are durable and trouble free, and provide very good price value. Five year warranty.

Piano Dulcimers , like the PD 40, were invented by Sam Rizzetta. They are chromatic with a half-step interval across the treble bridge instead of the diatonic scales of 5th interval dulcimers. Notes are marked black & white like the piano keyboard. Piano dulcimers are easy to understand, and they play in all keys! Other models are traditional 5th interval dulcimers, which are easy to play for diatonic folk music.

DS PD40. The beauty & tone of mahogany; 2 bass bridges extend range to 3.5 octaves! $975. Case; $135. Prefitted for adding pedal operated dampers! Damper kit & installation instructions; $295. Installed; $345.

DS Prelude. Full size, 12-11; 2.5 octaves; laminated birch; economical starter dulcimer. $460. Use D10 case.

DS D10. 12-11 like Prelude but solid mahogany; louder tone. $660. Chipboard case; $85. Padded case; $120.

DS Overture. 16-15; 3 octaves+; D45 size but without the chromatics; laminated birch. $575. Case; $135.

DS D45. Popular 16-15 size; 3 octaves+; mahogany, some chromatics; damper ready; lovely tone & looks; highly recommended. $975. Case; $135.

DS D300. 9-12-11; very portable size; 3 octaves+; chromatics; solid mahogany. $2045. Case; $315.

DS D550. 8-16-15; like Rizzetta Standard but mahogany top. Excellent all-around dulcimer. $2345. Case; $345.

DS D600. 8-19-18 like Rizzetta ER but mahogany top. $2945. Case; $435. Recommend Tri-Stander.

DS D650. D600 with extended bass range. $3145.


DS Tri-Stander. Strong, light, portable stand system. Legs mount to dulcimer and telescope to adjust height/tilt, sit or stand. Legs unscrew, collapse for ultimate portability. Safest for large & valuable dulcimers. $325. Legs only; $213. Brackets only; $140. FlatStander option available for flatter playing angle.

DS Folding Stands. Convenient, portable. Sit-down stand; $115. Stand-up stand; $125.

Pedal Operated Damper Systems. For PD40 or D45. Installed $345. Kit to install it yourself; $295. For D500, D550, D600, D650, Rizzetta Compact, Rizzetta Standard, Rizzetta ER; Installed $495.

For hammers please go to the Hammers page.


Sam is now building experimental instruments only. The regular Rizzetta designed models listed here are available only from Nicholas Blanton. Contact Nicholas for details, current prices, availability and backlog: Nicholas Blanton Instruments. Nick and Sam have collaborated for a long time and Nick’s craftsmanship is highly regarded. From time to time Sam will have one-of-a-kind experimental and used dulcimers available, and they will be listed at the bottom of this page.

These instruments are the result of Sam’s 45 years of experience and experiments, plus a long time collaboration with Nicholas Blanton. Options for Rizzetta dulcimers now include: “tuned braces” for enhanced tone and power, resin-sealed interiors and soundboards for best tuning stability and resistance to humidity changes, and carbon fiber backs for lighter weight, greater strength, and enhanced tonal clarity, power, and musicality. There are also some new features. The “third-bridge” extra low bass “Super Bass” courses, a Rizzetta innovation for American dulcimers, can now be played on both the left and right sides of the dulcimer, which expands the usefulness of these low bass notes. And those Super Bass notes can be dampened along with all other strings when dampers are added. Sample tuning charts are pictured below. Variable density bridges are another innovation. They provide smoothly balanced tone and sustain from the highest treble notes to the lowest bass. The high treble notes are sweet and bell-like while the lower notes have a full-throated richness.

You can read about my experimental carbon fiber dulcimers and see photos on the Carbon Fiber Instruments page. You can hear them on my latest CD Dulcimer Fandango. See the Recordings page or: Hear sound clips; buy at: Rizzetta at CD Baby.  

Listed prices are approximate; please check with Nicholas Blanton for current pricing.

Mini. 4-13-12; 3 octaves+; ultra portable; 33″x14″x4″; 9 lbs.; great sound; small size; light weight; a serious dulcimer for travel. $1500. Discontinued; we might make one occasionally.

Compact. 8-16-15; Similar to Standard but very portable size & weight; 39″x17″x4″; 14 lbs. Loud, rich tone in a compact size. A favorite of players & performers who want to travel easily & sound good. With carbon fiber back; $3105. All wood; $2895. Available without the 3rd bridge as an ultralight 16-15; 10lbs., carbon back; about $3100. Will fit in Dusty Strings C45 case; $135. The C45 case is a little oversize; for a form fitting case contact www.coonhollowcanvas.com.

Standard. 8-16-15; almost 4 octaves; 3 octaves chromatic; 45″x20″x5″; 19 lbs.; 16 lbs. with carbon back; rich and powerful tone; redwood top; mosaic inlay; hardwood sides; great all-around dulcimer in a popular size. Approximate prices: carbon chassis, $3200; all wood, $2900. Case, $345.

Extended Range (ER). 8-19-18; very large, ultimate 5th interval dulcimer; over 4 octaves; 3-1/2 octaves chromatic; 1.1″ string course spacing; 48″x22″x5″; 19 lbs. with carbon back; amazingly rich tone & lush bass. Note, this is lighter and more portable than my early ERs. With carbon fiber back and chassis, about $4200. Case; $435.

Piano Dulcimer 3.7. 6-16-6; 3 octaves + 7 half steps; 45″x20″x5″; easiest chromatic system, see PD info above; like PD40 but larger; more powerful tone. About $3200.

Rizzetta Extended Range Dulcimer, redwood soundboard with mosaic inlay, carbon back.

The sample tuning chart below is for an ultralight carbon fiber Extended Range dulcimer. Note that more notes can be added to the third bridge courses on heavier dulcimers. For more on carbon fiber hammer dulcimers see the Carbon Fiber Instruments page.


The sample tuning chart below is for an ultralight Compact model dulcimer. Note that more “third-bridge” courses can be added to heavier dulcimers. For more on carbon fiber dulcimers see the Carbon Fiber Instruments page.



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