Standard American Dampers
“Simplify, simplify”… Thoreau. “The simple solution is almost always the best”… Sam Rizzetta. These are the most responsive, quietest, and best standard dampers on the market, and it is because they are simple and straight forward. They are adjustable and can be removed and reinstalled if necessary. They are set just off the strings to limit travel. The strings that pull the damper bars down to the strings are thin Kevlar cord that passes through a tube in the body and over a UHMW bearing to make them noiseless even under amplification. These dampers are not just on or off, but have a range of damping in between that you control by the amount of pressure you put on the pedal.
Dampers are great! I am not an expert but have found them useful for controlling sustain, muting so I don’t disturb others while I practice, various rhythmic effects, setting a definite division between phrases, and they are great for workshops. You can keep noodling away while the teacher is talking, and they won’t get mad at you. I like them!
This system can be retrofitted onto any Songbird hammered dulcimer, no matter how old. We have to do it ourselves because the setup is tricky. Each system is custom-built for the dulcimer it will go on, and made of woods to compliment the scheme of that instrument. It involves installing 8 threaded inserts in the top of the dulcimer to hold the springs and installing the string tube and UHMW bearing. The best standard dampers made!
Pricing: $399 Installed. Contact us to order
Reverse Action (piano style) Dampers
Standard American Dampers, like the ones above, and the ones everybody else installs on their dulcimer are off the strings until you depress the pedal to bring the damper bar down onto the strings. These dampers work opposite, they are held down on the strings by a strong spring until you depress the pedal to lift them off. Hence the name Reverse Action Dampers (RA). They work much like the sustain pedal on a piano.
These dampers have a lot of advantages. They are very intuitive to use. When you want to go fast in the car, you press down on the accelerator pedal. Same here, when you want to hear the sustain, you press down. They are also easily controllable. The RA dampers have a whole range of damping in between on and off which is easy to access by controlling the pedal. They are also quiet for playing plugged in to an amp. They are easily removed if you want to work on your dulcimer or just play it acoustically without bothering with the pedal. Then they are easily reinstalled in just a few seconds. And they are adjustable. Plus, the pedal doesn’t need to be directly under your dulcimer but can be moved to a more comfortable location or to create room for other things down there like effects pedals. T are quick to set up, and will work with almost any stand. You can easily play standing or seated.
We can not install these on all of our hammered dulcimers, only the various Finch, Phoebe, Warbler, Whippoorwill or Wood Thrush models old or new. Also, since we don’t know how they are constructed on the inside, we can’t install these on hammered dulcimers by others.
The very best dampers available!
Pricing: $600 installed. Contact us to order