Hammer Dulcimer-£350

An 9+8 hammer dulcimer in fifths tuning, made in the 1980s by a cabinet maker named Nirvan (a.k.a Ivor Lewis) and being sold on behalf of the East Anglian Traditional Music Trust (more history at the bottom of the page).

It is a well made thing and sounds lovely. The tuning system (see photos) is not one I’m familiar with, but having played around with it a bit, it seems to make sense and feels like quite an easy one to get one’s head around.

There are 4 strings per course, all currently in place. Some of the end pins had started to be pulled into the timber by the tension of the strings, causing them to pop out completely in some cases. I have set some back in using epoxy resin, others that wouldn’t hold have been replaced by brass screws (with the heads removed). These are all currently holding well but I cannot guarantee that they will stay that way forever.

I have essentially gone for a pragmatic and economic approach to get this up and running, so the repairs to the end pins are not the prettiest work I have ever done.

Comes in a fitted wooden case with a pair of wooden hammers and a tuning hammer.


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From the EATMT

“It was made at Medina Rajneesh, a commune that existed in the early 1980s near Herringswell, by a master carpenter named Nirvan (a.k.a. Ivor Lewis). It would have been inthe period 1982-1984. He had never made a musical instrument before and no one knows why he chose to make that one. Nirvan died in 2006 and it’s unlikely that there is any other source of information available.”