hammer dulcimer pro and cons on Brands

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Re: hammer dulcimer pro and cons on Brands

Postby Don O. » Sun Mar 25, 2012 12:19 pm

I find it interesting that some posters on this thread don't like "too much sustain" and others dislike laminate soundboards because they have "very little sustain". If that's true, seems like the original poster might actually like a laminate soundboard, if it keeps the sustain down.

The Rick Thum student line was sold some time ago and the same dulcimers are now being made under the name "Jake's Cabin". I am a multi instrumentalist looking for a hammered dulcimer last year my criteria was very specific. I wanted a combination of small size, easy transportability (I sometimes carry several instruments with me to gigs) and maximum versatility (as many courses as possible). 12/11 dulcimers didn't have quite the range to satisfy me. What i settled on was a Jake's Cabin Traveller, which is a Rick Thum design. It is a 14/13 in a package the same size as a 12/11. It has almost the range of a 15/14, even going down to D in the base. The ingenious design allows for this by making the 3 lowest bass courses single strings. They make it 2 ways, one laminate top and the other solid Spanish cedar. I opted for the solid top and I have to say it has a ton of sustain! So whoever said that Rick Thum dulcimers don't have much sustain, I don't understand that. I play Irish sometimes, and it's actually too much sustain. I keep it down by using leather hammers, that helps keep it down. But if you want tons of sustain and bright sound in a small package at a modest price I don't think you could do any better.
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Re: hammer dulcimer pro and cons on Brands

Postby musicoutreach » Sun Mar 25, 2012 7:03 pm

I love the Dusty Strings HDs. Mine aren't recently made and I love the sound. Some things to consider: The D600 (the BIG one), has a better string spacing (larger) and you can play more cleanly. And the treble bridge is straight up and down - which for me makes it more comfortable to play. The downside is its size and weight - very heavy to haul around. The D35 is very nice and much more portable - but the string spacing is shorter and I find I have to pay more attention not to make mistakes. The treble bridge is slanted like most HDs and I find it a bit awkward sometimes. But it is much lighter and easier to haul around. The best thing in my mind is that the Dusty Strings really do stay in tune for a long time. I know one person who has a brand I won't mention - and she says she has to tune hers almost every day (YIKES). If at all possible, play one before you buy it - it can be a pricey mistake if you don't like it. Also, the hammers can make a difference - play with both a hard side and then one with felt. Good luck!

Susanne
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Re: hammer dulcimer pro and cons on Brands

Postby Steve Smith » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:19 am

musicoutreach wrote:I know one person who has a brand I won't mention - and she says she has to tune hers almost every day (YIKES).

I was at a music festival, once, helping a non-dulcimer booth set up. A fairly well-known hammered dulcimer builder was across the way setting up his booth and I went to check them out, as I hadn't yet seen one of his in person. I was surprised that his instruments were almost twice as expensive as most I'd seen. He commented that they were worth it, because his could go for weeks or even months without needing retuning. And then he proceeded to set up his sale instruments, each of them horribly out of tune!!!
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Re: hammer dulcimer pro and cons on Brands

Postby Rahere » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:41 pm

Yes, but you carry any instrument a couple of hundred miles in the back of a truck and the engine vibration will shake the tuning loose.
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Re: hammer dulcimer pro and cons on Brands

Postby halfpint » Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:15 am

Steve Smith wrote:
musicoutreach wrote: And then he proceeded to set up his sale instruments, each of them horribly out of tune!!!

Did he leave them out of tune? I've been to stores that don't have their instruments tuned, and it makes it hard to choose. I've had to tune two of my daughters harps when I purchased them - although one was from an individual. I've also been to festivals where the lap dulcimers were tuned but not the hammered dulcimers in some of the booths.

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Re: hammer dulcimer pro and cons on Brands

Postby inomini » Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:34 pm

I sometimes go to a nearby music store that have a good selection of hammered dulcimers made by well known builders. I go to try out hammers but the hammered dulcimers are never in tune. Years ago I went to a music store in another state and the owner said that she paid a person to tune their hammered dulcimers once a week. what a great idea.
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Re: hammer dulcimer pro and cons on Brands

Postby Kendra Ward » Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:53 pm

Congratulations on your new Cloud Nine Hammered Dulcimer! I am sure you will be very happy with it. :D

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