I live in the Vale of Pewsey in Wiltshire and have been playing and building dulcimers since the early 1980’s and was fed up with lugging about 10kg of dulcimer and stand, having to arrive at sessions at least 30 mins early to get a spot that is not in the car park as the dulcimer is just so big. So after some research, a few prototypes and an amount of sweat and tears I am making a range of good sounding yet light and easily transportable dulcimers and stands.
Size really is not everything, small and light is good! Ask you physiotherapist!
I use carbon fibre on the internal components of the instrument to reduce weight yet maintain the required strength. The Carbon fibre is not plainly visible so we maintain the lovely handmade wooden appearance of the instrument.
I am also making Hammered Mbira’s. These are a fusion of the Mbira or thumb piano and the Hammered Dulcimer, origionally designed by Don Maclane of Portland USA. They have the same layout as a hammered dulcimer so the cross over is really easy. Also, they sound really cool!
12 Rod Mbira with a Paduk soundboard
They are great for travelling with, they do not require tuning and the small 12 Rod ones I make can fit in a laptop bag and therefore can be taken as hand luggage when flying. You will set all the metal detectors off and probably have to play a tune to prove its not something dreadful!
I played the 12 Rod Maple Mbira for the soundtrack of the audio play my wife directed recently.