I have a friend who is interested in installing a set of dampers on a 1987
vintage Dusty Strings D-300. Dusty Strings has changed their designs since they
made this instrument, and the dampers for their new D-300 are not compatible,
it seems. Also, the new D-300 (which I have) is bigger on the inside yet
smaller on the outside (shades of Dr. Who).
I am aware that Rick Fogel makes a damper kit that is designed to be able to
accommodate many different makes and models of HD. Before I advocate that my
friend goes this route, however, I have a few questions:
- 1) Have any of you tried Rick Fogel's damper kit? If so, do you have any
suggestions for installing it?
- 2) Since this vintage D-300 has Rizzetta style internal bracing--consisting
of several wooden braces going from one pin block to the other and in parallel
to the 2 fence rails--how would one locate where to drill the control string
holes for the dampers without drilling through one of these braces? Also, how
would you figure out where the pin blocks are located so that you don't drill
I'm guessing that locating and drilling these holes may be the hardest part of
the installation, since one would need to drill 8 holes (4 per side) through
the sound board and the back, and have them line up pretty accurately. The
element I am most concerned about is that the only visual access there is to
viewing (and measuring) the location of the braces is through the little slits
on the fence rails that are directly beneath the sound board, and these slits
are probably only about 1/4" wide. It would be difficult, I think, to squeeze a
tape measure (or other measuring device) through these slits to get an accurate
measurement of where the braces are located.
Just out of curiosity, would a stud finder work in locating the braces? It
would greatly simplify this task if it could be used. The sort of Rizzetta
style bracing in this vintage D-300 seems to me to be a bit reminiscent of the
set up of studs in a wall.
- 3) Is there anything else to be aware of before embarking on installing such
a damper kit project?
In case you're interested, below is a link to Rick Fogel's damper kit info on
his website. The kit info and a photo are located towards the bottom of the
page, following the different models of hammered dulcimer that he makes. You
can click on the photo to enlarge it:
- 4) Since my friend has been playing piano for 70 years, he's rather used to
the style of damping that you can activate in a piano which, if I understand it
correctly, is "on" until you disengage it by depressing a pedal. Typical
hammered dulcimer dampers are set up in the opposite manner: they are "off"
until you depress the pedal to engage them. I know that pianos also have a
separate damper for each note, but I think that's a bit beyond what we might be
able to come up with for my friend. :)
Has anyone ever tried to set up a set of dampers on HD that are "on" until you
depress the pedal which would turn them "off"? My friend is not altogether in
love with the amount of sustain that is typical of hammered dulcimers.
Thanks for any ideas or suggestions you may have!
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