Style 1 Dampers
This is an example of one of my large instruments fitted with my unique rotating damper system. This system is pedal operated pulling down via Kevlar line the two rotating flappers. The flappers are made of wood and stainless steel tubing. The dampers sit no higher than the bridges so that the system can fit in your existing case if you are retro-fitting. Dampers are for those of you who are looking for a different more percussive tone color. Though they add another dimension to your tonal palette they also add a fair amount of weight, force you have to carry around a pedal and makes changing strings difficult. If you are interested in finding out how a dampered instrument sounds, listen and watch a video of Tom Mackenzie playing his 3/16/18/9 with dampers. This link will whisk you away to You Tube.
I recommend if you purchase dampers you also go with the Tri or Flat-Stander dulcimer stand as this system offers the best support for dampers(see below). The dampers will work with a good wooden adjustable stand but a scissors style stand just won't provide enough support.
This style of dampers adds $400 to the cost of the instrument. I recommend you get this style if you are purchasing one of my larger dulcimers or any of the Linear Chromatics. You may choose any wood you like for the damper assembly. Dampers can be added to your instrument at a later date but the instrument would have to be returned to my shop which increases the cost.
The photos below are of my damper pedal showing the line with the attached hook which pulls down on a loop connecting both dampers. There is an adjustment post which allows you to wind the string around it or unwind it to adjust the length of the pull down. This pedal is used for both styles of dampers. Simple but it works.
The stainless steel tube with a wooden flapper rotates in the two pillow blocks. The flapper is pulled down by a pedal attached to the dampers through Kevlar line. The necessary loop of line between the two dampers is continuous if you are using a Tri or Flat Stander but if you use another type of stand, you will have to deal with a split loop which means that the loop is created by hooking one end to a loop on the other. This enables you to thread the line through the adjustable stand to establish the loop. This loop is what is pulled down on by the line coming from the pedal. The return spring is an internal (inside the tube) torsion spring.The loop between the two dampers is not adjustable. The length of the line coming from the pedal is.
Style 2 Hammered Dulcimer Dampers - A Less Expensive Alternative
This version of my dampers uses bent springs. I've started to install them on my smaller instruments with success. They aren't as robust as Style 1 but work fine for the 3/16/15/8, 15/14s or 16/15s or any of my smaller dulcimers. The installed set above is on a 3/16/15/8. The wooden bar can be the wood of your choice The mechanism for pulling the dampers down remains the same with a single loop and the same pedal as used on my more sophiscated dampers.
These dampers installed would be $275.
If you'd like to purchase just the springs and hardware, go here.
The above photo is what the hammered dulcimer would look like from the back with the tri-stander brackets attached. This particular instrument also has dampers. You can see the string coming out from both sides of the instrument forming a loop for pull down of the flappers.