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Guide to Hammered Dulcimers

Hammered Dulcimer : What is it?

Hammered Dulcimers

A hammered dulcimer is a string instrument made with a sounding board in a unique trapezoid shape. It has diatonically-tuned strings overlapping each bridge. The string sets (courses) are tuned as one. It is played by striking it by a mallet held in each hand.

The hammered dulcimer is believed to have originated in Iran over 2,000 years ago. It is a popular instrument in East Anglia, Wales, Middle East, Northumbria, Thailand, and China. It is also used in playing folk music in America, Bavaria, and Austria.
 

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Types of Hammered Dulcimers

Hammered DulcimersHammered Dulcimers

Kinds of Hammered Dulcimers include the following:

American hammered dulcimer

  • The American hammered dulcimer has a body made of solid rosewood.
  • Its soundboard is made of veneer plywood in mahogany. It is supported by rods for improved strength and tone.
  • It consists of 46 strings and 11 right and 12 left courses.
  • It is played in two octaves.
  • It has a movable bridge.
  • It comes with a hard storage case.

Persian hammered dulcimer

  • A Persian hammered dulcimer has a body made of carved rosewood.
  • Its consists of 72 strings and nine left and right courses.
  • It is played in three octaves.
  • It has a movable bridge.
  • It is made in Pakistan.
  • It can come with a hard storage case.

Arched hammered dulcimer

  • An arched hammered dulcimer has an innovative arched body for sustained tuning.
  • Its frame and pinblocks are made of rock maple, while the outer rails are made of walnut.
  • It s unique construction gives it improved volume and tonal balance.
  • It consists of 11 bass double strung and 12 treble double strung courses.
  • It can be played in the keys F, C, G, D, and A.
  • A higher-end model can have six additional notes, giving it a total of 47 notes.

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Choosing Hammered Dulcimers (Buying tips)

Skill level: If you are a beginner, choose an inexpensive hammered dulcimer made of walnut or rock maple to practice on. You can upgrade to a higher-quality, rosewood hammered dulcimer as you get better at playing.

Number of string courses:
Choose a standard 12/11 hammered dulcimer if you are a beginner. As you get better, you can move on to a 15/14 hammered dulcimer with an extra bottom and top notes.

Quality: For quality and accuracy, choose a ready-made hammered dulcimer over a one that comes in a kit that you have to build yourself.

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