Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Piano Dulcimer (IW#070)

This is by far the hardest thing I have built in a while.  The new owner said that he wanted a "walking stick dulcimer."  I had never heard of such a thing, so I did what any self-respecting researcher does int eh 21st centruy:  I googled it. Turns out it is a cane that is also a mountain lap dulcimer, which is a slightly weird combo.  So there are a series of problems that presented themselves:  structure is important, sound quality is important, and size is important.

It took a lot of monkeying around, and in the end it does not sound as good as I would like.  I was so worried about the structural thing that I sacrificed quality of sound.  It still makes a sound, but it is not as bright as I had hoped it would be.  Live and learn, I suppose.  There was some maple in the piano, so the bulk of the cane is made of that, with some mahogany running down the middle to add visual interest.  The maple had some flame to it, which is quite attractive.

Again, I do not play dulcimer, so forgive the clumsiness with the instrument.  I am pretty proud of this one, actually.


  1. Zeke:

    Phenominal idea for a dual use instrument. I like it and I have a dulcimer. I am not much more than a beginner in knowing the chord structures. The diatonic tuning makes it hard to get a bad sound when fingerpicking. I like the metal string sound. I have seen many YT videos and the lap or mountain dulcimer is played in a very eloquent way. Jeff

  2. The craftsmanship in this instrument is remarkable. And yeah, that flamed maple looks sweet!