The Swan

The Swan is a Concert Series hourglass of exceptional elegance and physical beauty.

Its prototype was designed as a birthday present for Lorraine Lee Hammond. Built on the same mold as the Concert Grand, it is somewhat less deep in the rib. It is usually formulated from tonewoods chosen to give it a somewhat brighter voice than the Concert Grand. The Swan is a truly distinguished instrument, and is by far the most popular model in the Concert Series. It comes fully equipped for performance, studio, or just plain enjoyment.

Swan Dulcimer SoundholeSwan soundhole. The swan is the personal totem of Lorraine. This one is executed with miniature routers and files, from a pattern developed by Katherine Denison.

Loon Dulcimer SoundholeAn interesting outcome of showing the Swan soundhole has been a few requests that other totem animals be interpreted as soundholes. We have attempted to accommodate these requests, as long as they can be designed successfully as pleasing soundhole shapes (not always a straight-forward process!). Here, for instance, are the Loon, the Wolf and the Snake, recent creations for clients. (The Loon pattern has been adopted for the Dulcimer Building class the the Northeastern Dulcimer Symposium, where I teach the Dulcimer Building class.) Both these are renderings of designs by Katherine Denison.

Mountian Dulcimer TailTop purfling. Inlaid into the top, handmade furfling. Purfling is a traditional top decoration, but has a function too. It modifies the top's coupling to the top of the ribs, creating a kind of hinge so that the top vibrates more freely. The purfling is handmade at Bear Meadow, using commercial dyed pearwood veneer and very thin spruce or redwood veneer that we make from scrap.


As in the Concert Grand, the Swan is features string pins of ebony inlayed with abalone, and an ebony string bridle. These pins allow you to use either ball-end or loop-end strings. They also define the correct saddle break angle for the strings (part of the secret of clear tone in stringed instruments).

Appalachian Dulcimers PegheadPeghead motif. The Swan peghead has a vein carved into its center-line, with just a hint of recurve in the return to the outer edge of the scroll, giving a subtle romantic sensuality to the carving.

Duclimer BackHere is a view of a typical Swan back, showing the details of the placement of the three small feet. These feet hold the instrument up off the surface when you play on a table-top, allowing better sound transfer. The feet are offset so they don't land on the top of your thigh during normal lap playing. Note that the figure of the wood will vary from instrument to instrument. We select only the finest woods, some with figure, some without, and the final choice is a function of voice quality, as determined by the match achieved with a specific topwood piece.

Please understand that if you have a preference in figure or other matters regarding the materials, it will be taken into account. But the voice and the luthier's aesthetics will govern the final choice of all materials.


To listen to the Swan go to the Music Selections Page.


  • Overall length: 41"
  • Overall height: 3-1/2"
  • Height of rib: 2"
  • width at minor bout: 6"
  • width at major bout: 7-3/4"
  • width at waist: 4"
  • Fretboard length (nut to tailpiece): 34-1/4"
  • Vibrating string length: 27-5/8" (customizable to 26" or 26-7/8")

Choose tuning machines:

Equipment options:

See the Ordering Page for ordering details.
See the Price List for price details.

Click to see larger view