Buy the D550 for iPad on the iTunes App Store
Experience playing the full, lush tones of a Dusty Strings D550 chromatic hammered dulcimer right on your 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 app supports both Audiobus and Apple Inter-App Audio so can be used as an instrument for recording in GarageBand and other multitracking apps.
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 (on the 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 on the upper left area to toggle the note names on/off.
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 on the upper left area 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.
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.
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.
"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
Live demonstration of both "Trapezoid" and the D550 app on an iPad Air and iPad Pro
Shows how the apps sound just using the speakers on the iPad
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 app
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: