Build A Hammered Dulcimer By Philip Mason: Philip Mason’s guide outlines steps to craft a hammered dulcimer: select wood, shape soundboard and sides, attach bridges, string courses, and fine-tune for tone. Seek detailed plans for best results.

The Beauty of the Hammered Dulcimer

The dulcimer’s unique sound and intricate design make it a cherished instrument across cultures. Building one yourself allows you to connect with its essence on a deeper level.

Build A Hammered Dulcimer By Philip Mason
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The hammered dulcimer produces a captivating blend of melodic and percussive sounds, making it a versatile and engaging instrument. Its history can be traced back to ancient times, with variations found in various cultures worldwide. By building one yourself, you gain a profound appreciation for its craftsmanship and the magic it brings to music.

Gathering Your Tools and Materials

Before you start crafting, you’ll need to assemble the right tools and source quality materials that resonate with the dulcimer’s heritage.

To embark on this project, you’ll need tools like a saw, chisels, clamps, and a tuning wrench. Seek out high-quality wood, such as spruce or maple, for the soundboard, bridges, and sides. Consider the size and dimensions you want for your dulcimer, as they influence the instrument’s sound and playability.

Crafting the Soundboard and Pin Blocks

The soundboard is a crucial element, impacting the dulcimer’s tonal quality. Philip Mason’s guidance ensures that your soundboard and pin blocks are expertly fashioned.

The soundboard is the heart of the dulcimer, and crafting it involves careful selection and preparation of wood. Philip Mason‘s techniques guide you through shaping and bracing the soundboard to achieve optimal resonance. The pin blocks, responsible for holding the tuning pins, are also meticulously constructed to ensure stability and accurate tuning.

Stringing and Tuning Your Dulcimer

Stringing and tuning can be intricate processes. Understanding Philip Mason’s methods empowers you to achieve balanced and harmonious tones.

Stringing a hammered dulcimer requires precision. Following Philip Mason’s guidance, you’ll learn the proper gauges and types of strings to use. The tuning process involves adjusting tension using tuning pins, allowing you to create a range of pitches. This step is essential for achieving the desired musical scale and ensuring the dulcimer’s overall playability.

Incorporating the Bridges and Dampers

Bridges and dampers play a crucial role in controlling the sound of the hammered dulcimer. Philip Mason’s insights ensure their optimal placement and functionality.

Bridges are positioned on the soundboard to divide the strings into different pitches. Philip Mason’s techniques guide you through accurate placement, contributing to a balanced sound across the instrument. Dampers, which control sustain and resonance, are also carefully integrated to enhance the versatility of your dulcimer’s sound.

Finishing Touches: Decorations and Aesthetics

Elevate your dulcimer’s visual appeal with decorative elements inspired by tradition. Philip Mason’s approach combines aesthetics with functionality. Decorations on a hammered dulcimer serve both artistic and practical purposes.

Build A Hammered Dulcimer By Philip Mason
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Intricate designs not only enhance the instrument’s appearance but can also aid in identifying different pitch regions. Following Philip Mason’s guidance, you can incorporate traditional patterns or create your own, adding a personal touch to your creation.

Fine-Tuning and Testing the Dulcimer

Before you unveil your masterpiece, thorough testing and fine-tuning are necessary. Philip Mason’s expertise ensures that your dulcimer sounds as enchanting as it looks.

After assembly, meticulously testing and adjusting the dulcimer is vital. Philip Mason’s instructions guide you through this process, helping you identify any inconsistencies in sound or playability. Fine-tuning involves making subtle adjustments to achieve the desired tone and responsiveness across all the strings.

What are the notes on a hammered dulcimer?

The hammered dulcimer’s notes are arranged in a diatonic scale, spanning multiple octaves. This arrangement allows for rich and melodious sounds. It is a versatile instrument found in various musical traditions worldwide, from folk to classical.

Who invented hammered dulcimer?

The exact inventor of the hammered dulcimer is unclear due to its ancient origins, but it has been traced back over a millennium, with diverse variations emerging in different cultures. Its design evolved across civilizations, culminating in the modern form we recognize today.

How many strings are on a hammered dulcimer?

A hammered dulcimer typically boasts a range of 3 to 5 octaves, resulting in around 60 to 100 strings. These strings are struck with mallets, enabling the player to produce a wide array of tones by varying the force and point of impact.

Build A Hammered Dulcimer By Philip Mason
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What is the difference between hammered dulcimer and Santoor?

The hammered dulcimer and the Santoor share resemblances, both being stringed percussion instruments. However, they differ in origin, structure, playing technique, and sound. The hammered dulcimer employs mallets, while the Santoor’s strings are struck with light wooden hammers. The Santoor hails from the Middle East and South Asia, while the hammered dulcimer has more diverse origins and global variations.


Can I build a hammered dulcimer as a beginner?

While building a hammered dulcimer requires some woodworking skills, Philip Mason’s comprehensive guidance makes it accessible even for beginners with a passion for crafting and music.

What tools are essential for building a hammered dulcimer?

Tools like saws, chisels, clamps, and a tuning wrench are crucial. Philip Mason’s instructions will guide you through their usage for successful dulcimer construction.

How long does it take to build a hammered dulcimer?

The time required can vary based on your woodworking experience and the intricacy of your design. On average, it may take several weeks to a few months to complete the process under Philip Mason’s guidance.


Building a hammered dulcimer with Philip Mason’s expert guidance is a rewarding endeavor that connects you with the instrument’s history and craftsmanship. From sourcing materials to fine-tuning, this journey offers both artistic satisfaction and the joy of creating music on an instrument you’ve crafted with your own hands. So, if the dulcimer’s melodic allure has captured your heart, follow the steps outlined in this guide to bring your musical masterpiece to life.