Standard American Hammered Dulcimer Dampers
Simple and straight forward is what we are about, and our damper system is a perfect example. Just durable, functional, uncomplicated, and unobtrusive. The mechanism is simple. The only adjustment necessary would be the length of the pedal cord if you put it on a different stand. This system will work on almost any stand, and is easy and quick to set up.
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 on to 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 drilling four holes completely through the dulcimer for the pedal cords to pass through. These aren’t noticeable because they are below the damper bar. It also involves screwing the springs to the face of the hammered dulcimer. The installation is permanent.
Pricing: $299 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 and to my mind are much easier to use and understand.
These dampers have a lot of advantages. They are more 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 more easily controllable. Standard American Dampers are either on or off, but the RA dampers have a whole range of damping in between which is easy to access by how hard you press the pedal. They are also quiet for playing plugged in to an amp. They are also 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. They are also 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. And they 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: $450 installed. Contact us to order