Home of hammered dulcimer makers Chris & Melanie Foss of Muscatine, Iowa.
While playing around on a hammer dulcimer made from a kit belonging to his brother-in-law, Russell Cook’s imagination was stirred. One day, while driving a school bus, he spotted an old junk piano sitting under a big oak tree. With permission from the owners, Russell took what he needed to build his first dulcimer in the spring of 1979. Teaching himself to play, he participated in several dulcimer festivals and competitions with his handmade instrument. Continuing to experiment, Russell even sold some of his dulcimers enabling him to buy tools and supplies for future instruments. Entering the Southern Regional Dulcimer Competition in 1981, Russell won first place. A few months later, he became National Champion.
Since we began building in 1978, we’ve continued to improve our instrument designs, exchanged ideas with other builders and players, and worked hard to make Dusty Strings instruments among the finest available.
Ranked as the most influential dulcimer player of the last decade by readers of Dulcimer Player News, Rick Thum has made his mark on every aspect of the hammered dulcimer world. Rick is perhaps best known from his latest album, “Front Porch Waltz,” and his festival performances, which have regularly earned him the “most popular performer” title at the largest national dulcimer festival. He brings a combination of passion and friendly accessibility to his teaching that makes his workshops and master classes favorites at festivals across the country, and has tapped this teaching experience to produce the best-selling instructional CD series for hammered dulcimer, the “Original Song of the Month Club”. Rick is also the designer of the highly-regarded line of hammered dulcimers bearing his name. Yet for all his time in the studio, onstage, in the classroom, and in the luthier’s shop, Rick is most at home at a late-night jam session, where you might even find him playing an instrument other than the dulcimer from time to time.