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"The Blackberry"

1113 Blackberry Left.JPG

     "The Blackberry" is a 4.5 octave (3.5 Chromatic) Extended Chromatic Navigator model Hammered Dulcimer.  This instrument features completely new designs of Rosettes and Corner Scrolls combined with a thematically matching custom stained soundboard.

Standard Features:

     This new instrument includes a Tuning and String Gauge Chart, Star Tip “T” Handle Tuning Wrench, Battery Powered Digital Chromatic Tuner, Hammers, and String Polishing Cake.


     The sealed bid auction on "The Blackberry" is now closed.

     If you have any questions about this or any other JRS Hammered Dulcimers, please do not hesitate to ask us! You may contact Jerry at 828-301-1622, or by email at

Upper Left Blackberry Corner Scroll.JPG
New Blackberry Corner Scroll Designs

     These new designs were created by Zachary, inspired by the blackberry bushes at his in-laws' Pick-Your-Own Berry farm in PA, Yellow Hill Farm.

Upper Right Blackberry Corner Scroll.JPG

They were made from numerous pictures of individual compound blackberry leaves, each of which had to have the background removed, converted to grayscale, and edited in a way to make it compatible with the laser and accentuate the texture of the veining of the leaf. Each one then had to be outlined for accurate cutting and to distinguish it from it's neighbors before it was brought into the design. He could then resize and orient the leaves to produce as natural and organic an arrangement as he could while working within the rather unusual constraints of the corners of an asymmetrical hammered dulcimer. All extraneous cut lines were removed. The leaves' images were then re-edited to enhance the three-dimensional effect and provide greater depth.

Lower Left Blackberry Corner Scroll.JPG
Lower Right Blackberry Corner Scroll.JPG
New Blackberry Rosette Design
Lower Left Blackberry Rosette.JPG

     These rosettes were also based on the blackberry images, but with more artistic license taken to arrange one compound leaf into an overlapping symmetrical design. Five leaves were chosen to reflect the five-petal arrangement God chose to design blackberry flowers with.

Upper Right Blackberry Rosette.JPG

     The odd-number of leaves also provided the opportunity to invert one rosette to add more variation to the overall aesthetic while retaining the uniformity of the same design in each soundhole.

     We have inlaid a ring of abalone around the outer edge of each rosette to add a beautiful, iridescent gleam.

Asymmetrical Body Design with
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2/19/19/9 Bridge Configuration

     Covering 4.5 octaves of range, the JRS Extended Chromatic Navigator has 3.5 octaves that are fully chromatic, with every half-step of the octave available. We use a 1-inch course spacing, keeping every note within reach even with 19 courses on each of the Treble & Bass Bridges. The 2-course Chromatic Bridge at the top left and the two highest courses on the Treble & Bass provide the missing chromatic notes in the high end of the scale, while the 9-course Super Bass Bridge provides some of the missing low chromatic notes and opens another diatonic octave of deeper bass range.

     The Asymmetrical Body Design allows the Treble Bridge to be vertical and the Bass Bridge to reside much nearer to the Treble so you don't have to reach as far across the "valley".

Right-Side Super Bass Bridge

     Placing the Super Bass Bridge on the far right continues the natural progression of the hammered dulcimer from the highest notes in the upper left to the deepest notes in the lower right. This makes the most sense and feels the most natural to us, so it is the standard layout we provide.

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Tapered Pinblocks with Double & Triple Spline Finger Joints

     All of our Hammered Dulcimers feature tapered Pinblocks. This singular aspect of Song of the Wood Dulcimers results in a more massive Bass Chamber for warmer and more complex low tones.

     Due to the tapering of the Pinblock and Tonal Chamber, the Top Rail has Double Spline Finger Joints while the Bottom Rail utilizes Triple Spline Joints.

     Finger Joints are more difficult to construct than the Butt Joints traditionally incorporated in Hammered Dulcimer construction, but we feel increased strength of the joint is worth the effort in light of the vast stresses the instrument is under. Those forces only increase the more strings an instrument has, and our Extended Chromatic Navigator possesses 89 strings, resulting in well over 3000 lbs of tension pulling the Pinblocks toward each other.

Bi-Directionally Pre-Arched Soundboard

     We pre-arch our dulcimer soundboards in two directions to create a slightly domed top. This increases the strength of the soundboard and helps it to resist the dipping over time that is a not uncommon issue among older hammer dulcimers. This is an innovation Jerry implemented early in his building career and remains a feature of our instruments decades later.

Structurally Engineered Soundboard Struts &  Custom Fit Lateral Bracing

     We radically overhauled our Dulcimers' internal structure in 2022. The result is a far stronger structure supporting the soundboard with only a minimal increase in weight. As an added bonus, we think that our Dulcimers sound better than ever before.

     The Lateral Braces in this dulcimer are precisely cut to fit the height of its frame. The new design we are using creates substantially stiffer braces that resist the pressure of the string tension trying to bow the body of the instrument.

Solid Tulip Poplar Back

     As part of our premium solid wood construction we use Tulip Poplar to form the back of our Hammered Dulcimers, rather than using a plywood back. Tulip Poplar is often used to build drawers because of it's stability so it won't swell and stick. The same dimensional stability applies to the backs of our instruments.

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