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Building a Hammered Dulcimer

I don't offer plans for any of my dulcimers. Below are just some of the businesses or organizations who do. You can also start by building a kit.  Many of the books listed may be out of print but usually with a little effort, you should be able to find either a reprint or PDF.  Let me know if you are aware of any other important resources.


The Guild of American Luthiers is a nonprofit educational membership organization whose purpose is to facilitate learning about lutherie: the art, craft, and science of stringed musical instrument construction and repair. Since 1972, we’ve been the foremost source of information for makers, repairers, and restorers of all kinds of string instruments. 

They are a source for plans and an incredible amount of information on instrument building etc

Smithsonian Institution

Free information from the Smithsonian is yours for the asking. Write to
the Smithsonian Institution, Public Inquiry Mail Service, Washington DC
20560,Smithsonian Institution (1-800-678-2675) and ask for the leaflet below.

Making a Hammer Dulcimer, by Sam Rizzetta
Leaflet 72-5, PIMS/AH20-8/81B

It is now available on the web here. 

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The Hammered Dulcimer, by Howie Mitchell

Not so much a how-to-build-it book, it's more one man's journey through instrument building by experimentation. What I liked most about this book is Mitchell's documentation of his successful and unsuccessful results.  You are going to have to do some searching to find this.

How to Build a Hammered Dulcimer, by Philip Mason

Revised in 1992 from the original text of 1975, the 30 page booklet is thorough enough to answer all questions that come up, but if any are left, the author gives his address for corresponding. It consists of line drawings and an easy-to-read text, and Mason offers two plans from which to choose, giving resources for all materials. Softbound. Features two sets of plans, an "old-timey" rectangular shape, and the more familiar trapezoid. Both are 12/11.

It's only 31 pages long but has a lot of information on the physics and aesthetics of hammered dulcimer construction and playing.While it won't tell you what woods to use in a construction project it will give you a theoretical foundation of what can go right and wrong in creating musical tones on a hammered instrument.

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I can provide you tuning wrenches, tuning and hitch pins, piano wire, acetal rod and extra long wound strings.  Visit my Accessories page for links to those items.

Schaff Piano Supply

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Source for tuning wrenches, tuning and hitch pins and music wire in quantity (Wholesale only)

For more quantity of wire and wound strings.  This is the wire I use.

A source for Phosphor Bronze wire

They sell plans, kits, pins and other supplies. ​They also have a free piece of software located in their library which will help you determine string tensions and gauges.

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