Buy on the iTunes App Store
Buy on the iTunes App Store
Experience playing the full, lush tones of a Dusty Strings D550 chromatic hammered dulcimer right on your iPhone or iPad!
Written by an experienced Hammered Dulcimer player, this virtual dulcimer sounds and plays like the real thing!
The D550 is one of the popular Chromatic Series models made by Dusty Strings, builders of hammered dulcimers in Seattle, WA since 1979.
This model features standard fifth-interval hammered dulcimer tuning, plus an extended bass range (down to G2) and some additional chromatic notes to enable playing in any key.
The overall range is 3.75 octaves, with a fully chromatic range of 3.5 octaves.
The iPhone version has a 16/15 configuration with the full G3 - E6 range available when played via MIDI.
The "Dusty Strings D550 Dulcimer" iPad-only app supports both Audiobus and Apple Inter-App Audio (via Audiobus) so can be used as an instrument for recording in GarageBand and other multitracking apps.
The apps also may be used as a MIDI instrument with MIDI player apps or piano keyboards connected via a hardware MIDI interface.
When controlled via MIDI, the apps supports velocity sensitivity from the incoming notes.
To play, just touch the strings next to the black and white bridge markers. The Treble bridge (in the middle) has playable notes on either side, which are a fifth interval apart.
The Bass bridge (on the right) can be played to the left of the markers, and the Superbass bridge (iPad "Dusty Strings D550 Dulcimer" app only, on the far left) has the lowest notes, playable to the right of the markers.
Toggle between a bright, clear ringing tone using hard hammers and a gentler, more piano tone using soft hammers by touching the image of the hammer in the upper left corner.
To get repeated note "drag roll" effects, drag quickly horizontally across the strings. The drag roll sensitivity can be set on the settings screen. The higher the sensitivity, the shorter distance you need to move your finger to get the effect.
Touch the ABC button to toggle the note names on/off.
On the "Dusty Strings D550 Dulcimer" iPad app, touch the iPad icon on the playing area controls to toggle between "Full" and "Treble/Bass Bridge Only" style instruments.
"Full" provides the full D550 instrument including the Superbass bridge.
"Treble/Bass-Only" focuses on the treble and bass bridges and provides the maximum string spacing for easier play on smaller screens like the iPad Mini.
Touch the mixer icon to show the controls screen where you can adjust the balance and pan for the bass and treble bridges, enable or disable the drag rolls, as well as set the sensitivity for how far you need to drag to get the roll effect.
For the iPad versions, on the control screen you may use the "Soft Hammer Filter" control to choose between equalization of the soft hammer sounds for best sound through the iPad speaker or through headphones. The "iPad" setting optimizes the soft hammer equalization for playback through the iPad speaker. The "Headphones" setting optimizes the soft hammer sound equalization for headphones or for use when connected to an amplifier through the headphone jack. The "Headphones" setting allows the full fidelity of the lowest sound to pass through for best quality.
From the controls screen you can also visit the Dusty Strings website to learn more about their amazing hand-crafted instruments.
Touch the "Shhh" icon on the upper right corner to quiet all the strings.
Set the MIDI channel using the "MIDI Channel" slider.
To truly experience the full stereo spread of the instrument, plug in a set of headphones or amplified speakers. If plugged in, switch the "Soft Hammer Filter" setting to "Headphones" for the fullest possibly sound when playing with the soft hammers.
The app may be used as a MIDI sound module for use with CoreMIDI-enabled MIDI file player apps or controlled from an external MIDI keyboard using a hardware MIDI interface.
When played via MIDI the app has the full 3.75 octave chromatic range of the real D550 from G2 to E6.
Select the MIDI channel on the controls page.
When used via MIDI, the app responds to MIDI note-on (with velocity), note-off, and volume change messages on the selected MIDI channel.
The right treble bridge volume and panning is used for all MIDI sounds and will respond to MIDI volume messages.
To use with a MIDI file player app, such as "Sweet MIDI Player", first launch the dulcimer app, then your MIDI file player app. In MIDI file player settings you will find this app listed as either "Dusty Strings D550" or "Dusty Strings 16/15" in their list of available CoreMIDI sound modules.
On the controls screen, be sure to set the MIDI channel of this app to match the output MIDI channel of the MIDI player track you wish to play.
"Coilsfield House" first with hard hammers, then with soft hammers
Demonstrates the extended range on the "Superbass" bridge
"Planxty Eleanor Plunkett"
Comprehensive Video Review by Katie Moritz
2013 National Hammer Dulcimer Champion
Jamming with Patti Amelotte on a Real D550 at NAMM 2016
She's playing the actual instrument used for the graphics and samples in the apps
Using Styluses from the 99-Cent Only Store as Hammers
Sam Rizzetta, one of the world's masters in the design and building of hammered dulcimers,
has come up with an innovative design for conductive hammers to use with my apps.
Click the image below to download his design as a .PDF file.
"Treble/Bass-Only" Mode, Playing Using the Sam Rizzetta Carbon Fiber Hammers
Main Screen - Full Instrument Mode
Main Screen - Treble/Bass-Only Instrument Mode
Touch the "?" to Show/Hide the Note Names
Touch the "i" to Show the Controls
Ray Mooers, President of Dusty Strings, and guitarist Rob Bulkley having some tunes
At NAMM 2016 - Real D550 and the app on an iPad Pro
This is the actual instrument used for the graphics and samples in the app
Touch the image below to visit Dusty Strings and learn all about their amazing handmade handmade instruments:
Here are some great websites where you can find free instruction and more information on learning to play the hammered dulcimer: