Playing The Piano Dulcimer. Free! This beginning instruction book explains how the Piano Dulcimer works, guides players new to this chromatic hammer dulcimer, and includes some repertoire from simple folk tunes to dance tunes, classical, ragtime, and even blues! For more on Piano Dulcimers see Dusty Strings and the DS PD40 just below.
DUSTY STRINGS HAMMER DULCIMERS
Dusty Strings dulcimers are highly recommended for high quality, affordability, 5 year warrantee, and unmatched wide selection of models. Some are described below. For current Dusty Strings prices, pictures, tuning charts, & more go to: www.dustystrings.com.
DS prefix indicates Dusty Strings products. The 300, 500, & 600 series dulcimers and the PD 40 Piano Dulcimer are designed by Sam Rizzetta in collaboration with Dusty Strings. Mahogany is listed as the soundboard wood for many DS models, however some are now made with sapele, a similar wood with especially beautiful tone and appearance.
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! All other models are traditional 5th interval dulcimers, which are the most common and best for diatonic folk music.
DS PD40. Mahogany; 2 bass bridges extend range to 3.5 octaves! It is supplied ready for pedal operated dampers which are available pre-installed or as a do-it-yourself kit.
Dusty Strings dulcimers with traditional 5th interval tuning:
DS Overture. 16-15; 3+ octaves; laminated birch. The 16-15 size, pioneered by Sam in the 1970s, quickly became the preferred configuration for most players. Today even most beginners prefer to start with the 16-15 size and musical range.
DS D45. Popular 16-15 size; 3+ octaves; mahogany, some chromatics. Based on Rizzetta's innovative tunings of the 1970s which provide more range and chromatic notes. Dampers optional.
DS D300. 9-13-12; very portable size with chromatics, plus added bass on innovative 3rd bridge; 3+ octaves; mahogany. Clear, bright tone.
DS D550. 8-16-15; like a Rizzetta Standard with mahogany top. Popular all-around dulcimer. Dampers optional.
DS D570. NEW! 2-8-16-15-8; like the D550 but Super Bass courses are playable on both left and right! See info sheet below. This is the ultimate 16-15 size dulcimer, and it opens entirely new performance possibilities! Dampers optional.
DS D600. 8-19-18; like a Rizzetta ER with mahogany top; 4+ octaves; big dulcimer, big sound. The bass tone will amaze you. Dampers optional. Because of the size, a Tri-Stander is the recommended and safest stand.
DS D650. 11-19-18; D600 with extended bass range; 4.5 octaves; big dulcimer, big sound. Dampers optional. Use Tri-Stander.
DS D670.NEW! 2-9-19-18-9; Like the D650 but Super Bass courses playable on left and right; the ultimate large dulcimer. Dampers optional. Use Tri-Stander.
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. $395. Legs only; $225. Brackets only; $180. FlatStander option available for less inclined, flatter playing angle. Same prices. TriStander legs now have flip locks, or lever-action locks. They require much less force and hand strength, plus they lock tighter. The flip locks are also adjustable and replaceable. I love them!
Pedal Operated Damper Systems. For PD40, D45, D500, D550, D600, D650, D570, D670; available installed or as a kit to install yourself. For, Rizzetta Compact, Rizzetta Standard, Rizzetta ER; check with Nicholas Blanton.
For hammers please see the Hammers page.
RIZZETTA HAMMER DULCIMERS
Sam is now building experimental instruments only. The regular Rizzetta designed models listed here are available 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 dulcimers are the result of Sam’s 50 years of experience and experiments, plus a long time collaboration with Nicholas Blanton. Some of Sam's many innovations include: bridge markers for dulcimers, chromatic notes, and bracing features for improved tone. And there are always new developments. The "third-bridge" extra low bass "Super Bass" courses, a Rizzetta innovation, can now be played on both the left and right sides of the dulcimer. When dampers are added, they also work with the Super Bass notes. Sample tuning charts are pictured below. Variable density bridges are another innovation. They provide smoothly balanced tone and sustain control from low bass to high treble. The high notes are sweet and bell-like while the lower notes have a full-throated clarity and richness. And a new arched back design feature makes for dulcimers that are both stronger and much lighter in weight.
You can read about Sam's latest experimental light weight dulcimers and see photos on the Hammer Dulcimers, Ultra Light page. You can hear carbon dulcimers on the CD Dulcimer Fandango. See the Recordings page or: Hear sound clips; buy at: Rizzetta at CD Baby.