Wednesday, December 26, 2018

New Finch Model Solid Top Hammered Dulcimers!

This is the 17/16/8 Chromatic version of the new Finch model we have been working on for most of the past year.  Both this and the 16/15 version are now available and ready to go.  We are very proud of them! Here is a link to a video of this one being played, please check it out. This is the sound!

The problem with solid wood is it expands or contracts across the grain with changes in humidity in the environment. This puts a lot of stress on an instrument with a wide top like a hammered dulcimer, and can result in all kinds of problems like cracks, warps, and not staying in tune. But the top of the new Finch model is composed of 7 individual narrow boards connected by tight fitting tongue and groove joints. The joints are not glued which allows each individual board to expand or contract as it needs with changes in humidity without putting stress on the overall instrument. This results in a much happier, more stable instrument. It works great! We have thoroughly tested them in all situations, and believe that this is how solid top hammered dulcimers should be built. 

Credit, where credit is due, this is not my idea, it was given to me, here is how it happened. My aunt passed away in early February and we needed to go to the funeral in Des Moines 150 miles away. Since it was scheduled for 8:00 AM we had to go the day before and stay overnight. We wound up in a really bad motel. The bed was just awful and I wasn't sleeping well. I dreamed this dulcimer. It was vivid and went on all night, by morning I had it all worked out. I woke up and told Melanie about it and she knew right away things would change. This was not something I had been mulling over, or was even concerned about, it came right out of the blue. I know it came from outside me and was given to me for whatever reason. Since I am a believer, I think it came from above and am just humbly grateful.  

This has bee fun! It took most of the summer to work it out, and I almost gave up several times but the final design turned out exactly like the dream with tongue and groove joints milled on the edges of the boards. We tried 8 different woods. They all worked, but Walnut is the best. All the sound holes need to be in the back, cutting a sound hole in the top would compromise the structure. Top is solid Walnut, the frame is Hard Maple, bridges are Cherry, the binding is Curly Maple, and the back is birch ply for durability. 

Prices: 17/16/8 Finch Chromatic $724.00 plus shipping.  Finch Chromatic Complete Outfit $850.00 plus shipping.  16/15 Finch $624.00 plus shipping.  16/15 Finch Complete Outfit $750.00 plus shipping.  Take these anywhere, they will require no special care or environment to be in.  Trip to Death Valley? No problem. Going to the Amazon? Take it along, it will take it in stride and just sound and play great. Anybody going to Antarctica? We'd like to send one along.

Chris Foss 563-571-5296

Thursday, November 15, 2018

First Ever Christmas Sale! Free Shipping on Phoebe Chromatic Natural Complete Packages thru Dec. 31st.

Free Shipping, an $35 savings now through December 31st!  If you have cabin fever and have been thinking of getting a hammered dulcimer, now is the time!  The free shipping offer applies to anywhere in the 48 contiguous US states.  Anywhere else, contact us for a shipping quote.  We only charge what it costs us to ship to you, and will still deduct the $35.00 savings from your shipping cost.

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

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

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

This offer is for Natural 16/15 Phoebe Complete outfit ordered by December 31st, 2018.   The retail is $599.00, and 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

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Electric Hammered Dulcimer

We have been working on this for a year, and it is now ready!  All electric hammered dulcimer with second generation sensors in the side rods.  The dampers are Cimbalom style.  They are ON until you depress the pedal to lift them OFF the strings.  Much more sensitive and intuitive than the regular American type hammered dulcimer dampers.

Check out the video!

There is a world of beautiful sounds out there to explore that can only be made by a hammered dulcimer.  The key of course is what you run the dulcimer through, and your understanding.  In the video, I am using a Marshall tube amp on only the clean channel along with several guitar effects, but you can do this other ways.  A modeling amp with all the effects built in would work great as would an all in one multi effects processor and a basic amp.  All this and more can also be done in the computer with no amp or effects.  Many basic amps also have the most useful effects built in, reverb, chorus and delay are in many amps, so you plug the preamp straight in to the amp and have much of this.

We are ready to start selling these, starting at $1500.00 for dulcimer plus case, hammers, tuning wrench and tuning diagram.  If you don't already have a good mono preamp, we can also supply you with the LR Baggs Paracoustic DI that I highly recommend.  This dulcimer is Cherry and Maple, but we can do them in most any wood.  If you are interested or have any questions whatever, our email is, or just give us a call.  563-571-5296

Chris Foss

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

June/ July 2018 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 applies to both Complete Packages, and Just Dulcimer options.  Anywhere outside the 48 states, we will take $35.00 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