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Songbird Dulcimers

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A Muscatine couple refers to this musical instrument as a piano with a manual transmission. Chris Foss and his wife Melanie make hammer dulcimers. Their business is named Songbird Dulcimers.

Chris refers to his woodwork shop as the command center. It's there where he uses a drill press and a variety of other tools  to make the instrument.

Chris has made about nine thousand dulcimers since 1992. Each model is named after a songbird. The couple goes through the North American Songbirds Book to choose the names.

One dulcimer is named Phoebe. Another is the Warbler.

Melanie Foss strings the instruments. She weaves the stainless steel stringing. It takes Melanie about forty five minutes to complete that work.

She describes the hammer dulcimer as one of the fastest, liveliest instruments on the planet. It also can be very soft and soothing.

The couple uses cherry wood and hard maple and gets most of their wood from a business in Iowa City.

Different hammers make for different sounds.

Chris and Melanie sell to dulcimer lovers all over the world, including people living in Iceland, Cub, Brazil, France, Japan and of course the United States.

The couple takes pride in their craftsmanship, hoping each dulcimer will bring joy and many years of making beautiful music to the people who buy them.   

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