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. Check their respective pages on the web site, 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 been 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.  I posted a photo essay of how and why these dulcimers are built on the Notes From The Shop blog on our web site.

Prices: 17/16/8 Finch Chromatic $825.00 plus shipping.  Finch Chromatic Complete Outfit $950.00 plus shipping.  16/15 Finch $674.00 plus shipping.  16/15 Finch Complete Outfit $799.00 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, 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