Best Hammered Dulcimer Review – Top Rated Models with Buying Guide
If you’re looking for the best hammered dulcimer out there, you have come to the right place. Fortunately for you, we have taken the time to analyze and check the quality of the products that are considered good or are very popular, and we have found which of them are worth purchasing. As a result, we have come to the conclusion that the MasterWorks “Pioneer Package” 15-14 is the dulcimer that you should really consider. The main reason to buy this is the fact that it offers a sound that is rarely found in a dulcimer meant for mass production. Maybe this is due to one of its other qualities – the fact that it is handmade and crafted by experienced luthiers. Furthermore, the wood it is made of is of high quality and it is also handpicked. If you are unable to find this hammered dulcimer for sale, you might consider having a look at the Sala Persian Professional Dulcimer.
Our Top Choice
One of the best aspects of this instrument is the quality of the sound it can provide. This is a dulcimer made by professional luthiers with lots of experience, and as a result, the design and craftsmanship are impressive. It has 15/14 courses and that makes it great for beginners, but it can also be used by more experienced players.
It does have a limited playing range and professional players will find that frustrating.
You won’t find many other packages capable of giving the beginning musician all he or she needs to start playing the hammered dulcimer.
You can see how much effort has been put into creating a quality instrument, and the craftsmanship is exceptional. The beautiful design will make it a piece of attraction for everyone. You can start playing it right after you get it out of the bag and it also comes with all the accessories needed to make it work.
The instrument doesn’t come with any type of instructions on how to use or set up.
Giving the feel of an old Persian dulcimer, this model will be excellent for those looking for an ancient sound and a professional design.
Also To Consider
This instrument comes with everything you need to start playing fast. One of the best things about this dulcimer is the fact that the strings are of great quality, and you also get a set of spare strings if you need them. Getting awesome music out of it doesn’t require much effort and the instrument sounds wonderful.
It comes without being in tune, and if you’re a beginner you will need to learn how to tune it fast.
Made of resistant and beautiful materials, this instrument will perform admirably for a long time. You just need to learn how to tune it first.
7 Best Hammered Dulcimers (Reviews) in 2020
We went on a quest to find the greatest hammered dulcimer there is and we found many reviews about the most popular ones. We took into account what the people who purchased these dulcimers had to say about them, but also what experts thought about these instruments. Let’s find out below what our top picks are.
- 1. Master Works Pioneer Package 15-14 Hammered Dulcimer
- 2. Persian Professional Sadeghi Goldar Santoor Santur Dulcimer
- 3. Persian Santoor Santur Dulcimer with Hard Case
- 4. Master Works Sapelli Pioneer Package 15-14 Hammer Dulcimer
- 5. Hammered Dulcimer 10/9 Rosewood
- 6. Ekberi Persian Quality Santoor Dulcimer
- 7. Masterworks Pioneer Package Hammer Dulcimer
- Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
1. Master Works Pioneer Package 15-14 Hammered Dulcimer
This is a masterfully hand-crafted instrument that looks stunning and is also sturdy. It comes with plenty of features and it looks like a work-of-art created for you. The wood it is made of is of premium quality and is handpicked and transformed into a hammered dulcimer by professional luthiers.
The company is proud of its experience of more than 30 years in making these instruments. This specific model is created for beginners and those who are at the start of learning the instrument. Made of quality hardwood, the bridges are strong and beautiful. The endrails are made of beautiful-looking ash, and Harrison rose has been chosen for the inlay.
15-14 means that the dulcimer comes with 15 treble courses and 14 bass ones. Because it is made for beginners, this instrument will help you create melodious sounds with ease. The instrument also comes with a tuning wrench, a case to safely store and transport it, an electric tuner and an x-brace stand.
With the help of the booklet that comes with it, you will be able to learn how to play it faster, and you will also learn how to mechanical parts of the instrument work.
For an instrument meant for beginners, it offers a lot of functionality.
The sound is a high-quality one and you won’t feel like the instrument is a toy-like dulcimer.
This dulcimer is created by talented luthiers that have a lot of experience in designing and making such instruments, and that is why the result is excellent craftsmanship.
It’s a simple instrument to use and play, and setting it up takes little to no time.
This is one of the most suitable dulcimers for beginners thanks to its 15-14 size.
It looks great and that means you will feel great when playing it. People who are visiting you and see it will be intrigued by its design.
There is a lot of attention put into the selection of the wood so that the end result is a sturdy and good-looking one.
Professionals will find this dulcimer’s range to be limited, especially for complex pieces of hammered dulcimer music.Click to see the price on Amazon!
2. Persian Professional Sadeghi Goldar Santoor Santur Dulcimer
The uniqueness of this instrument is provided by its ancient look and designs. It looks and feels like an instrument specially crafted for you, coming with a lot of details. Those who designed this instrument were inspired by the traditional look of Santoors.
Like the ancient Santoors, this dulcimer also comes with a trapeze-like shape, and it gives the feel of that old instrument. It comes with 72 strings, and when they are played they give out a beautiful harmonizing sound.
It is made of carefully handpicked walnut wood, and it is handcrafted by skilled dulcimer makers. You can see that they put a lot of attention into making this instrument, as the dulcimer is full of delicate decorations that will catch your eye. It looks stunning but it is also a functional instrument that can be used by professional players or young students that are still trying to learn.
You get everything you need with this instrument, including extra strings, two hammers, a tuning wrench to keep it in check, and a hammered dulcimer case to store it and carry it with you. Due to the careful craftsmanship, the sound is also a good one.
Due to its features and the number of strings it has it is a great choice for both beginners and professional players.
The makers put plenty of effort into the design of this dulcimer, and that can be observed. It has a beautiful design that will attract the eyes of everyone.
It’s ready to play out of the bag and it comes with many accessories that will make your playing time easier.
The instrument is made of quality handpicked wood and that makes it durable.
This dulcimer is great for those looking for a model with a classic look, as it resembles the ancient Santoors.
Maintaining it will require a lot of work and unfortunately, finding a person to help you repair it can be so difficult, as it is a rare instrument.
It doesn’t come with any instructions on how to use it or any booklet that teaches you to play the instrument.Buy from Amazon.com for ($399)
3. Persian Santoor Santur Dulcimer with Hard Case
Those looking for a rugged instrument will find this dulcimer a pleasing one in that regard. It doesn’t only look strong, but it also has a nice-looking design. The dulcimer has great sound quality, and a sophisticated finishing to catch the eye.
You won’t need to worry that the instrument won’t pass the test of time as it is made of high-quality walnut wood. This is a resistant and tough material. Another great advantage of this wood is the fact that it is light, so unlike other models on the market that are on the heavier side, this one will only weigh 10 pounds.
This means that you will be able to move it around with ease and that is what makes it a great instrument for those players that travel a lot. To help you with that it comes with a hard case that will protect it against damage. You also get some extra strings so that you don’t have to buy new ones in case the old ones break.
The hammered dulcimer kit is good for beginners as it also contains a tuner that will help you keep the instrument in check. Those who crafted this instrument put a lot of patience and attention into making it.
It comes with plenty of accessories, so if you need anything, you know you can find it in the package.
The strings are of great quality and you also get some spare ones, so although the initial ones will last you a long time, you will also have the possibility to change them if you have to.
It gives out a beautiful sound and you don’t need to put in much effort to get the strings going.
Due to the quality walnut wood that the dulcimer is made of, you’re sure to have an instrument that will last for a while. Furthermore, the wood is capable of sustaining intense play for a prolonged time.
This is one of the best-looking instruments that you can find for this price.
It doesn’t come with an instructions booklet, and people complained that it arrives un-tuned. That can be disastrous for a beginner that doesn’t know how to tune it.Buy from Amazon.com for ($349)
4. Master Works Sapelli Pioneer Package 15-14 Hammer Dulcimer
With more than 30 years of experience in making hammered instruments, MasterWorks delivers some great models, including this beautiful one. This dulcimer is made to help beginners get to know the instrument, but it can also be used by those a bit more experienced. The wood used in making it is a high-quality one, and its color is exceptional.
The endrails are made of Ashwood, while the bridges are crafted using Exotic hardwood, and the inlays are made of Harrison Rosewood. The instrument’s soundboard is made of Sapelli with a vertical grain pattern, and the result is a nice-looking design with a cranberry-red color.
Although an instrument for beginners, the manufacturers say that this one approaches the sound quality of a full-sized MasterWorks model. The wood it is made of makes it incredibly sturdy, and it also confers it a stunning look. Each piece of wood that it is made of is handpicked and eventually transformed into the end product by professional luthiers that make it by hand.
It has 15 treble and 14 bass courses, and they are made for beginners to be able to play them with ease. With this instrument, you also get all the necessary items to start playing.
This is an instrument made for beginners and that can be observed, as it is easy to play.
Setting this dulcimer up and playing it takes little to no time. You can just get it out of the package and start playing.
It has been crafted by talented luthiers, and the result is a quality one, thanks to the experience of those who created it.
The choice of materials for the instrument is a great one, and while the hardwood gives it the sturdiness needed, the red Sapelli soundboard looks exquisite.
This dulcimer sounds great, and although it’s made for beginners it won’t sound like a toy.
The fact that it looks great will make you play it more and with more pleasure. It also means those that see it will appreciate it better.
It isn’t a great choice for professional players, who might feel that the range it offers is too limited for them.Buy from Amazon.com for ($799)
5. Hammered Dulcimer 10/9 Rosewood
What makes this instrument stand out compared to other models is the excellent finish that it has and its sophisticated design. Furthermore, the body is made of high-quality Sheesham, so you know the build is a strong and beautiful one. This type of wood, also known as Indian rosewood is durable and will pass the test of time.
One of the interesting aspects of this instrument is the special opening that is placed on it, and this hole in the body acts as a handle that you can use to carry the instrument. This makes it very practical to transport, and as a result, great for those that need to take it from their homes to class and back home.
But it’s not all about the looks and design with this model. It is also capable of producing beautiful sounds. Beginners looking for something that allows them to create great music with ease will be pleased with this dulcimer. You also receive a pair of hammers that are made to match the design of the instrument and their pads are made of leather.
This is a 10/9 model and that means you will have 10 courses that are treble, and 9 of them that are bass.
The design is eye-catching, especially thanks to the granulated wood on the soundboard. The hardware, however, adds a lot of flair to the overall look.
You can see the attention that has been put into the details of this instrument, and as a result, the finishing is excellent.
Constructed from high-quality materials, the dulcimer will look great and it will do a good job for years to come.
For such an instrument aimed at beginners, the sound quality is exceptional.
The fact that it comes with a hole in the side for carrying purposes will help those musicians that travel a lot.
The fact that it only has 10/9 courses means that the playing range is limited and that makes this instrument only suitable for beginners looking to experiment. Those who want to play a more expansive range need a bigger dulcimer.Buy from Amazon.com for ($415.2)
6. Ekberi Persian Quality Santoor Dulcimer
If you’re looking for a product that will help you both practice your skills and perform in front of live audiences, this hammered dulcimer from Ekberi represents a good choice. It is made of quality materials, including a walnut wood body, and brass and steel strings that won’t break easily. The tuning is to the G-scale and there are six sets of strings tuned to “semi flats”.
If you want to re-tune them according to your liking, various online tutorials provide step-by-step instructions on how to do so, even if you’re a newbie.
The product weighs approximately 7 pounds, and, thanks to its robust body, it is easy to transport and store whenever you’re not using it. The santoor is also delivered with a full set of accessories, including a protective hard case and a tuner but, since the case is slightly bigger than the instrument, you’ll still need to carefully handle the dulcimer.
The product delivers great quality for its price and represents a wonderful unit to learn to play this instrument or improve your technique.
It is delivered with a useful set of accessories, including hammers, two types of wire to replace the broken ones, and a tuner. You’ll also receive a protective case to keep the santoor away from scratches, dust, dirt, debris, and potential shocks.
The body is made of quality cherry wood and is treated with a solid varnish protective coat to prevent damage caused by the elements.
The hammers are also of good quality and feel sturdy in your hands.
Keep in mind that this santoor or hammered dulcimer doesn’t come with instructions on how to assemble it or to tune it, which means you’re on your own. If you’re a newbie in the field, even watching instructional videos on YouTube might be frustrating and will take you at least one hour to tune the instrument.Buy from Amazon.com for ($299)
7. Masterworks Pioneer Package Hammer Dulcimer
Considered as a great instrument for both beginners and intermediate players, this hammered dulcimer from Masterworks is a popular model in its field.
It features Harrison Rose inlays and exotic hardwood bridges (made of brown Brazilian ebony), which make the instrument not only to look great but to also sound exceptional. It approaches the tone quality of a regular full-sized 16-15 Masterworks.
Apart from the instrument, the package also includes a lightweight case to protect it from scratches, shocks, and harsh weather conditions, student hammers, a sit-down X-brace stand, an electronic tuner, and a booklet that will help you easily tune the instrument.
All these accessories combined will ensure you improve your skills and you have everything you need to create outstanding music with the help of this dulcimer.
Moreover, the item is lightweight and easy to transport and deposit whenever you’re not using it.
The craftsmanship of this instrument is exquisite and you can see that it was made following the highest quality and sound standards so that all people will have a positive experience playing it.
It is designed for both professionals and amateurs and, due to its affordability, it has become a popular learning instrument amongst fans.
The hammers are made of quality materials that won’t break or chip easily and they feel sturdy in your hands, allowing you to play the dulcimer as soft or hard as you want to achieve the desired sounds.
The product is delivered with a full set of useful accessories, including a protective case with carrying handles to ensure safe transportation and storage when you’re not using it.
If you’re not familiar with this type of instrument, even with the informative booklet on how to tune the dulcimer, it will be a struggle to learn your way around it.Buy from Amazon.com for ($799)
Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
Whether you’re looking for a cheap hammered dulcimer, or you want an instrument that will be with you for many years, you need to pay attention to details when it comes to choosing one. The quality of the wood used and the craftsmanship is essential if you want to find a good model, but the finishing is important too.
One of the most important aspects to look at when choosing a dulcimer is how well it can be played. There are plenty of models that look great but ultimately won’t help you get the sound you want. To make sure you avoid that you have to look at some aspects. The soundboard is something to carefully analyze, as it has to be straight, and it needs to has no cracks.
Furthermore, the tuning pins will have an important role in the quality of the instrument. You need to ensure that they aren’t stuck in place and that they can actually be adjusted to change the pitch of the strings.
These pins also need to be capable of keeping the strings in tune. You don’t want to constantly get the wrench out and adjust your instrument for every piece of music you play. If the dulcimer requires you to keep it in check every few minutes you will get tired of it fast. These are the most important things to consider, as these require the most massive fixes and investments.
If you’re looking for an older affordable hammered dulcimer, you can sometimes find a good one, but they are usually hard to tune or have a small issue. Better buy a dulcimer from a renowned manufacturer.
The type of soundboard
Dulcimers have different types of soundboards, and experts say there are subtle differences between the sound of each of them, so you will have to consider them both. The strings sit across the soundboard and the bridges rest on it, so this piece of the dulcimer is important in transferring the vibrations.
As a result, the soundboard influences the overall sound. The first type of soundboard is the floating one, where the piece sits on top of the box, and if you remove the strings, it can be lifted, that’s why it’s called floating.
On the other hand, there is a fixed soundboard that can’t be removed or lifted from the instrument. The difference between the two is that the floating models have a shorter sustain time. That influences your style – if you want fast tunes and more clarity, you will probably want a floating soundboard. But if you’re looking for prolonged sustain, the fixed soundboard works better.
Ultimately, no matter the model you choose, you need to ensure that the build is a good one. For that, you first need quality wood. There are different types of wood used in making dulcimers, but what’s important to note is that it has to be solid wood in order to sound full. Solid wood will improve the tonality over time, instead of making the instrument sound worse.
Of course, the laminated models are less expensive, but if you’re looking for something to play for many years, they aren’t recommended. Furthermore, the wood influences the tone of the instrument, and a piece of plywood doesn’t give the tone most musicians are looking for.
The type of wood that the hammered dulcimer instrument is made of will decide the tonality. The soundboard can be made of one material, while the sides and internal bracing made of others. You can get a warm, muddy, or dark tone, or you can find instruments made of lighter wood that will sound thinner, clearer and richer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is it hard to learn the hammered dulcimer?
Given that a hammered dulcimer has more strings than a regular instrument in its category, including guitars, violins or ukuleles, you might think that learning to play it will be difficult.
The difficulty level depends on a series of factors, including the user’s previous experience with similar instruments, his or her ability to learn new things, and others. It will take a while before you’ll learn the exact placement of the strings but previous practice with a piano or a drum set will be useful.
That being said, we recommend you look for a professional to teach you the basics of a hammered dulcimer and how to tune it correctly. Once you’ve learned the key-elements, you can study on your own or watch online tutorials on how to properly hit the strings with the hammers and how the sounds are created.
If you’re lucky enough, your local musical instrument store will have a person who can teach you more about the instrument and help you decide whether or not it is the right choice for you.
Q: What is the hammered dulcimer made of?
The hammered dulcimer is also known as a dulcimer or a tympanon and represents a percussion-stringed instrument.
You can find dozens of variations of this instrument almost everywhere around the globe, especially in parts of Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe. Countries like Turkey, Iran, China, Korea, Romania or Poland have introduced their variations of the instrument in their national folklore, creating unique music for centuries.
The product comes in different sizes, depending on the number of strings crossing each of the bridges. For instance, a 16/15 instrument features 16 strings crossing the treble bridge and 15 crossing the bass bridge.
The body of the hammered dulcimer is usually made of solid wood, while the strings are mainly synthetic. There is also a set of small mallets or hammers that come with the device to help you play it. These hammers are also made of wood, preferably oak, walnut, maple or cherry.
Q: What is the difference between a dulcimer and a hammered dulcimer?
Although both instruments consist of strings stretched horizontally across a rectangular box, usually made of wood, there is a difference between the classic dulcimer and the hammered version when it comes to how they are played.
While the strings of the dulcimer are plucked with the fingers, the hammered dulcimers feature a set of small mallets, also called hammers, used to touch the strings and create sounds. Technically, both instruments are from the same family and feature similar constructions, with the earliest record in the history dating back from almost 3,000 years ago, in Syria.
According to the Kansas Historical Society, it wasn’t until the early 19th century that the dulcimer was brought to the United States, easily becoming part of the music created during that time, especially in the folk genre. However, by the end of the century, it decreased in popularity, being replaced by other more portable string instruments such as the guitar.