Instruments & Dulcimer Plans

Rick Fogel: A Performer-Luthier

In order to create the best music, we need both a musical instrument and a performer with soul. The soul of a musical instrument is that quality of intangible essence that has been put there by the builder, and the soul of the performer is brought to life when that player can play from their heart. To create an instrument with soul requires a builder that can add their passion and experience during the building process so that it merits the player falling in love with it. The builder needs an intelligent design, the inclination to make each instrument as good or better than the last one, the skill to execute it, and the patience to make sure everything is correct before it is used in a performance. Live music has a spontaneity, excitement, and interaction with the audience that recorded music cannot capture. In an analogous way it is the same with an individual builder of musical instruments, that he or she can create in a moment of inspiration or excitement a better instrument than would be created in an assembly-line situation.

My philosophy of instrument building is that it is not just the care and details of fine craftsmanship that are important in building an exceptional instrument; the builder must be acquainted with performing. As a performer-builder, I strive to integrate ideas learned in performance into the designing and building process because I believe that these significant details are the difference between an adequate instrument and an extraordinary instrument.

Instrument Ordering Instructions

Each instrument is made to order with quarter-sawn spruce or mahogany top, mahogany bottom, laminated maple piano pinblocks, rosewood or maple bridges, and mahogany or custom trim. Each includes custom fit wood case, complete damper system (except the soprano), hammers, extra wire, tuning wrench and custom chip carving. The average wait time for the construction of an instrument is six months. Please contact me to discuss amplification options. When ordering an instrument please send a 20% deposit. The balance will be due when the instrument is completed, prior to shipment. Instruments are shipped in a returnable wood, shipping crate. International shipping charges will be added on.

click on image for larger photo.

5 Octave Hammer Dulcimer

This is my favorite, most versatile Dulcimer and the one I play the most.  Tuning diagram

Configuration: 19 treble / 18 bass / 6 super-bass
Range: D2 to C7, Fully chromatic from B2 to G6
Dimensions: 48.5" x 23.25" x 3.75"; 1.125" string spacing
Weight: 26 pounds

$3900 plus $120 shipping and $400 for a crate (full refund with return of crate)
A $780 deposit will be charged.


4 Octave Hammer Dulcimer

The 4-octave Hammer Dulcimer has three low courses less than the 5-octave on both the treble and bass bridges. This one is popular with those that want a lighter and smaller Dulcimer. Tuning diagram

Configuration: 16 treble / 15 bass / 5 super-bass
Range: C3 to C7 Fully chromatic from C3 to G6
Dimensions: 44" x 20" x 3.5"; 1.125" string spacing
Weight: 22 pounds

$3500 plus $120 shipping and $400 for a crate (full refund with return of crate)
A $700 deposit will be charged.


Bass Dulcimer

This instrument has every note one octave lower than the 5-Octave. This is a wonderful instrument for accompaniment or to play slow pieces with lots of expression. To hear a sample listen to Morrison‘s Jig on The Divine Dulcimer or December 8 and Minuet in F Minor on Gollywog‘s Gymnopedia.

Configuration: 19 treble / 18 bass / 7 super-bass
Range: C1 to E5; Fully chromatic B1 to D5
Dimensions: 53" x 23" x 4.5"; 1.125" string spacing
Weight: 31 pounds

$4400 plus $130 shipping
A $880 deposit will be charged.


Soprano Dulcimer

The Soprano Dulcimer is very portable. It is an excellent traveling companion and can actually be played on your lap while flying. The soprano has a clear, bright tone that is pleasantly full and it is capable of ample volume. It has the same hammering patterns as the 4-O and 5-O. It has a flush fitting in the back to accept a camera tripod. Tuning diagram.
Listen to the soprano on December 8 on Gollywog‘s Gymnopedia.

Configuration: 13 treble / 12 bass
Range: G4 to E7; Fully chromatic E5 to D7
Dimensions: 28.5" x 14.5" x 3.25"; 1" string spacing
Weight: 9.5 pounds

$2100 plus $80 shipping
A $420 deposit will be charged.


4 Octave Hammer Dulcimer Plans

Complete, full size plans for my 4-Octave Hammer Dulcimer with dampers. It comes with step by step instructions, a 20 minuet DVD video showing many of the steps as I do them, and technical support by phone or email. I can also supply pinblocks, bridges, and hardware for an additional fee. The $200 for the plans is for the first dulcimer you build, and then please send me $50 for each additional dulcimer built from these plans. I think it is fair to ask less then 2% for supplying you with the all important dimensions and steps for building an additional dulcimer worth at least $3400.

$200 plus $20 shipping


Dulicmer Damper Kit

Complete, custom damper kit to fit most Hammer Dulcimers (not just Whamdiddle). The kit includes damper bars and springs, felt, pedal and string, screws, wood inserts, cap nuts and bolts, and technical support by phone or email. You need to supply drill and drill bits, Allen and crescent wrench, glue, and razor blade. I will need to consult with you on the dimensions of your dulcimer.

$200 plus $20 shipping


I have 12/11 Hammer Dulcimers available while supplies last. I have discontinued this design but I still have pieces left for kits.

  • Plywood top and bottom kit: $180
  • Mahogany bottom with spruce or mahogany top: $280
  • Shipping: $40

Please contact me at for availability if you are interested.

Contact Rick Fogel at 206.910.8259 or by email at
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