Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Christmas Sale! FREE SHIPPING on16/15 Phoebe Complete Outfit! Now Through Dec. 31

This offer is for Natural 16/15 Phoebe Complete outfit ordered in November or December 2017.  The regular shipping charge is $35.00.  So the total will be $599.00, no tax, no shipping charge.

You can get the particulars on all of our models on the web site,

The total is $599.00 for the outfit with free shipping to anywhere in the 48 continental United States.  To take advantage of this deal, you can place your order on our web site, or you can call us with your order and a credit card number.  Or you can call us or email with your order then put a check in the mail, or I can email you a paypal invoice.  Whichever seems best to you.  

The 16/15 Phoebe is of course the best entry level hammered dulcimer made.  Not only does it sound wonderful (clear as a bell is one of the comments we have heard), but it is durable and with legendary tuning stability.  The link above goes to one being demonstrated, so you can clearly hear how it sounds.

The complete outfit includes everything one should need to learn and play the hammered dulcimer; the instrument, case, the stand of your choice (whether to play seated or standing), good double face hammers, T- handle tuning wrench, Chromatic electronic tuner, and Mel Bay's You Can Teach Yourself Hammered Dulcimer book/ online video.  

If you have any questions at all don't hesitate to email or call.   My cell is 563-571-5296, and Melanie's is 563-260-7877.  The email address is

Chris Foss

Electrified Dulcimers

I have always believed that the right way to amplify a hammered dulcimer is with a microphone.  This will still be true in many cases, but in situations like church bands with high sound pressures from electric guitars, drums, etc, it is difficult to get enough volume to be heard without feedback.  I have been working on how to properly amplify a hammered dulcimer with installed pickups and have it worked out.  The above photo is of my totally electric test bed dulcimer.  This is an early photo, and shows a couple Schatten pickups clamped on.  Since then I have worked out how to make a better set of pickups, and where to install them, both on the above dulcimer and inside normal acoustic dulcimers.  The key is don't put them on the top or back.  There will be at least two sweet spots somewhere on the rail set that will produce good warm acoustic sound with little feedback.  They sound just great and at high volumes!  Plus, now that we have an electric signal, it can be modified in many ways for cool new sounds never before heard.  The wonderful world of guitar effects pedals is wide open to us!  Exploring what can be done is so much fun!  I intend to make a video on this when I get some time.

We are ready to start installing pickup systems in dulcimers.  In new dulcimers where we can install the system as we are building them, the charge will be $75.00.  There will be two pickups wired to a stereo jack.  We have found that this type pickup works best if the signals from each is preamped separately.  The best preamp is the Schatten Mini Pre 2 which has internal gain adjustment and two separate gain knobs one for each pickup.  You can set the output of each pickup for best balance and sound.  We are a dealer for Schatten, and can supply you with the preamp plus a 3' stereo patch cord for $100.00.  The output jack on the preamp is mono, so just a standard guitar cord from there into an amp or into the house sound system.  The pre amp doesn't have any tone controls, but the sound coming from the dulcimer is good enough that it doesn't need it.  It is warm and rich as is.  The amp or house sound will have enough tone control if the sound needs changing a little.

We can also retrofit pickup systems into any Songbird dulcimer, so if you want to ship us your dulcimer, we can do it for $150.00 plus return shipping.  It will involve making an access port in the back of the dulcimer which will be then covered with an inlaid screw on access plate.  So a new hole in your dulcimer, but covered so it doesn't change the resonance.  The jack will be on the far left of the lower rail, out of your way for playing.

If you are thinking about a small amp for electric playing, I recommend an acoustic guitar amp.  They produce the widest range of frequencies and have more headroom so they won't distort (unless you want them to).  You will want to make sure your amp has a LINE OUT jack on it for connecting to house sound.  Also, if you want to play around with effects pedals (too much fun) the amp should have an effects loop (2 jacks, effects send and return).

We will eventually make a page for the web site with all this and buy now buttons, etc., but until then, if you are interested you'll have to contact us directly.  email  Phone 563-571-5296

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Phoebe Chromatic Natural Complete Package Sale! $640.00 plus free shipping EXTENDED through October

This will be our best sale of the year!  Normal price is $699.00 plus $25.00 shipping, so it is a savings of $84.00!  As long as your dulcimer is ordered between now and October 31 this will be the price.

The Phoebe Chromatic is our best workhorse dulcimer.  Good enough that you may never want to upgrade to something else.  Even though I could play any dulcimer that  I want, it is usually a Phoebe Chromatic that I choose.  There are no dulcimers that are better, only fancier, more highly decorated, or built of more costly woods.  Fully chromatic over 3 octaves, durable, stable, sounds great, you can't buy a dulcimer with this much functionality anywhere else for twice this price.  So if you've been thinking about a good hammered dulcimer for yourself or for a loved one, now is the time!

To take advantage of the sale, you can just go to the Phoebe Chromatic page on the web site and buy it there, I have the site all set for the correct price.  Or you can email us with your order and I can email you a paypal invoice, Or you can call us with your order and a credit card number, Or you can call or email and then put a check in the mail, whichever seems best to you.

If you have any questions whatever, feel free to contact us either by phone or email.  The web site is  email is  My phone is 563-571-5296, and Melanie's is 563-260-7877

Chris Foss

Monday, February 1, 2016

February 2017 Special! FREE SHIPPING on any Chickadee Complete Package!!

This is our 13/12 Chickadee.  The Chickadee is designed so you can have a really good smaller instrument that will do everything it is supposed to reliably, sound good as well, but not need a second mortgage to afford.  The above link is of it in action so you can clearly hear how it sounds and see it played.  It is durable enough that it should last into the next century, and small and light enough to easily carry around.  I took one to our local old time fiddle tunes jam which is loud, and it held its own very well. I am the leader, so need to be heard, and it was no problem.  The beautiful clear sound carried well in the tough environment.  I didn't feel restricted by it in any way, and could play every tune we do. Good dulcimer.

The free shipping applies to anywhere in the 48 contiguous United States, and to either of our Chickadee models; 13/12 Chickadee or 14/13/8 Chickadee Chromatic.  Also free shipping only applies to complete outfits.  Anywhere outside the 48 states, we will take $39.00 off the shipping

You can get the particulars on all of our models on our web site,

Several ways to take advantage of this sale:
You can email us your order, or call, then put a check in the mail to us. Our address is:
Songbird Dulcimers
803 Whicher St.
Muscatine, IA 52761
Or you can call us on the phone with your order and a credit card number,
Or you can email us your order and I can email you a Paypal invoice,
Or you can go ahead and make the purchase on the web site.  The web site will charge you the full price plus shipping and I will then issue you a rebate for the February Special savings.

Specifications: Laminated Birch top and back, Cherry top and bottom rails, Hard Maple pin blocks and Walnut bridges.  It is 38 inches long, 15 3/4 inches wide, and will weigh about 12 pounds.

The Chickadee and one of our scissor stands fit perfectly in the case for our larger dulcimers with a 1" pad to separate them.  So the complete package is the dulcimer, the large case, stand of your choice, double face hammers,  tuning wrench, chromatic electronic tuner, and Mel Bay's You Can Teach Yourself Hammered Dulcimer book/ online video.

If you have any questions at all, please call.  My cell is 563-571-5296, and Melanie's is 563-260-7877.  Our email address is 

Thanks!  Chris Foss