NOTE: Instrument in picture is with brown stain option added.
Chris Foss - maker of Songbird hammered dulcimers - says the 16/15 Phoebe is the best sounding, most reliable, full size entry level hammered dulcimer on the market today. The top and back are of a high tech laminated material called Baltic Birch which is made in Russia. It is 7 thin plys of solid Birch with almost no voids, and is ultra durable and stiff.... perfect for the application. There are few other panels in the world that would work under the tremendous string tension of a hammered dulcimer, and most of them are unreasonably priced.
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.
Customers not in the 48 states:BEFORE YOU ORDER, you must get shipping rates for your order by emailing me at Jess@DickinsonDulcimer.com. This applies, even for items shipped free in the 48 US states. (sorry!)