Hourglass design:
This one has an adjustable free standing bridge.  More open fretboard makes it a little louder, and you have a simple way to adjust strings for height and length.
Shenandoah Model, and information about using a capo
Add a pickup to an acoustic instrument.  I have not done this too much lately because of my electric designs.
Pineapple Shape Dulcimers

Box Acoustic Dulcimer

Solid Body Electric - A very versatile  instrument for playing lead or chords.  I prefer them with three strings. I only build them with the adjustable bridge now. The pickup I use here has become my favorite, but it only comes in black.

This compares a single coil and humbucker pickup.  I can still get this longer single coil if you want.  I can get the humbucker in black or gold.

Box Electric

This was a  special order.

This shows the various body styles I use to build dulcimers. 


The hourglass is common.  36" long, 8" wide.  Scale length 27.5" or 25.5" 


The pineapple shape is a modification of a teardrop shape.  It has a larger volume with more soundboard surface.  It takes a little less time to build than the hourglass.  The length can vary, with scale length of 27.5" or 25.5".


The box acoustic is a simple design to build and uses less wood, with no waste.  It still has good volume.  Total length is 34".  Scale length is 25.5".  The box size is 17.5" long and 8" wide.  I can also make one with a 23" VSL, for a total length of 31".


The solid body electric is simple and functional.  It makes almost no noise without an amp.

The most common length is 32" with a 5.5" width and 25.5" scale.  You can go longer or shorter with 27.5" or 23" scale.  The base price is for red cedar or poplar.  Other wood will cost a little more.


The box electric adds volume and tone controls.  Because of the box it can be played without plugging in.  It is loud enough for practice.   It can be played like a guitar or as a lap dulcimer.  The length is 33.5", width 6", with a 25.5" scale.

Base Prices

        Hourglass          Pineapple          Box Acoustic          Solid Body Electric          Box Electric

           $ 280                 $ 240                    $210                          $ 210                           $ 230

For More Information

I make a lot of videos.  browse some on the left for instruments of interest.  The pictures section includes many instruments I have made.  If instruments are ready to sell they are in the "Web Store" section.  When they are sold I leave some there to show detailed information about them.  Some have videos that are not shown on the left.

Custom Orders

Things to think about:

Wood options for the Sound Board and Back:  I  purchase most of these pieces as 1/8" thick pieces, ready to use.  I keep some things in stock, but if I have to order what you want, that will add to the order time and sometimes the price.  For ideas about the wood you like, look in the Photo Gallery of dulcimers I have made.  Some of the wood I have used is no longer available.   New ideas will be considered if I can get the wood. 

 Fretboard:  I make most from a solid piece. There will be options depending on available stock. 
Sides and end pieces:  These are made from boards I keep in stock:  Red cedar, walnut, cherry, maple, poplar, or ash. 
Tuners:  Chrome, gold, or black.
Frets:  Nickel or gold.  I usually use gold.  They are a harder metal and look special.
Strings:  4 strings or 3.  Some people who play in a DAd tuning only use 3 strings. 
Fret markers:  The price includes wood dots at frets 3, 5, 7,10, and 12.  Also at 14, unless you add a 13.5 fret.   I have dots made of walnut, padauk, or maple.
Sound holes:  You can request special cutouts, but keep them simple and small.  I prefer sound holes in the fret board.  I can also add wood burned graphics.  See examples in the picture area.
Strap Buttons:  chrome, gold or black.
Internal Pickup:  If you want a pickup, I can build a conventional fretboard, and put a piezo under the bridge.  Add $40. 
Right handed or Left handed?

Wood Finish and Instrument Care

For the final sanding I use a 600 grit sandpaper.  Thin wood used for acoustic instruments are normally free of imperfections.  Solid body electric instruments are finished with a planer, and then less sanding.  The planer sometimes leaves gouges in the wood, especially around knots.  Sometimes these are too deep to be totally gone after sanding.  Red cedar has been very popular, but because of knots, you will usually find some of these pits.  After sanding I use Danish Oil for a finish.  The oil soaks into the wood, and cures within the wood.  It does not make a built up finish.  If you ever scuff the wood, or just want to brighten the finish after a few years, you can do as much sanding as needed.  If there are no problems, but you want to brighten the finish, just use the 600. With a paper towel or soft cloth wipe the oil on the surface.  After a minute or less wipe it off with a clean paper towel or rag.  Let it dry overnight.  This will leave I tiny amount on the surface that should make it look as good as new.

Dulcimer Cases

I do not sell enough instruments to have my own line of cases, and I have too many sizes and shapes, so I like soft cases.  If you search the web for dulcimer cases, you will find several options.  I have found that gun cases are less expensive and work very well.  I try to keep a few in stock.  I add a little bit to what I pay for them, and ship them free along with an instrument.  This will add $20 to $30, depending on the instrument.  If you want to get one yourself, but are not sure about sizes, please ask, and I will send information.

Fretboard Length, Tuning, and Strings

The most common key for dulcimers is D, but they can be tuned to any key you like.  If your strings are meant for key of D, you can probably go up to E, or down to C, but if you change more than that, you should change your strings.  If a string is too loose, it will not sound good, and intonation will be wrong for all of the notes except the open string.  If you have to get a string too tight, it may break, and strings that are too tight are harder on fingers, and harder to play.


If you are experienced, and play every day, you may want your strings tighter than a beginner with soft fingertips.  I have made up this guide for strings that should work for various string lengths and tunings in key of D or G.  If you want to learn more about string sizes or try a special combination. take a look at this website:  http://wahiduddin.net/calc/calc_guitar_string.htm


27.5" VSL:  Base string is D below middle C:       DAa - .024, .014, .013     DAd - .024, .014, .011

                   Baritone, base string is G below D:   GDd - .036, .022, .022     GDg - .036, .022, .016  

25.5" VSL:  Base string is D below middle C:       DAa - .024, .014, .014     DAd - .024, .014, .011

                   Base string is G below middle C:      GDd - .018, .012, .012     GDg - .018, .012, .010

23" VSL:     Base string is D below middle C:       DAa - .028, .016, .016     DAd - .028, .016, .012

                   Base string is G below middle C:       GDd - .020, .013, .013    GDg - .020, .013, .010

19.5" VSL:  Base string is D above middle C:       DAa - .016, .010, .010     DAd - does not work        

Setting a Free Standing Bridge

You may be concerned that if you move a free standing bridge it will be hard to put back in place.  It is not hard to do.  Using a tape measure, start from the nut, and set it in the expected spot (ex. 25.5"). Usually the correct spot is 1/8" longer than the VSL. Tune the string.  Play the note at fret 7.  This should be the same note, an octave higher.
If the note is sharp, move the bridge farther from the nut.  If the note is flat, move the bridge closer to the nut.  Re-tune the string, and try again.  Make very small adjustments.

Solid body electrics have an adjustable bridge, so  you can change each string.  Use a phillips screwdriver to shorten or lengthen the string.  Use the allen wrench to raise or lower a string.