THIS IS SONGBIRD'S TOP-OF-THE-LINE HAMMERED DULCIMER! The Finch Pro is the flagship of Songbird's Multiple Section Soundboard solid top hammered dulcimer models. The top consists of 7 individual boards connected by tight fitting tongue and groove joints which are not glued. This allows the wood to shrink or swell as needed with changes in humidity and makes for a much happier, more stable instrument. All the sound holes are in the back on these dulcimers, there are 6 all together. Cutting a hole in the top would sacrifice the strength of the joints.
The top of the Finch Chromatic Pro is solid Genuine Mahogany (not Sapele) which is wonderful stuff! It makes for a sound that is big, rich and open. There are other mahoganies used by some other builders as a substitute, but they are not the same as Genuine Mahogany.
The sides of the Finch Chromatic Pro are Curly Maple. The bindings are Wenge, a dark, almost purple wood from Africa, and the bridges are made to match. There is a 3 layer purling line around the inside of the bindings to help frame the lovely mahogany top. Overall color scheme is a harmonious red. The top will eventually darken to a rich dark red. The back is laminated Birch for strength.
Not only is this dulcimer beautiful, it is also durable. Take it anywhere and don’t worry about it. It will probably still be in tune when you get there. Dry conditions? No problem. Serious humidity? Takes it in stride. Not having to keep your dulcimer humidified in winter, or struggle with wild swings of tuning as weather changes. Remarkably stable! Also fairly light at 16 pounds. 42” long by 19 inches wide. Fully Chromatic over 3 octaves, and more than a 4 octave range.
OPTIONAL LAMINATED BRIDGES
According to Chris Foss, the biggest culprit to dulcimers going out of tune is the bridges shrinking and swelling with changes in the humidity of the environment. Wood shrinks or swells across the grain which in the case of the bridges is the height. Any change in the height of course changes the tension of the strings, and the dulcimer goes out of tune. This is the point behind lamination. Plywood is built up of layers of wood glued together with grain directions at 90 degrees to the layer above and below. This effectively stops wood movement, and the thinner the laminations, and the more plies, the better.
As an option, Songbird makes bridges with a core of birch plywood and solid walnut on the outside. You can see the ply core, but it isn’t objectionable. The ply core limits the shrinkage or swelling of the bridge, and really helps with tuning stability. While they don't completely eliminate the problem of dulcimers going out of tune, they really help.