1. FOR SALESOLD: Prototype “Vio” Hurdy Gurdy €2700 + P&P from Germany

    This is the twin of my current personal instrument, originally built four years ago but finished recently. The video was taken after only one day of setting up and breaking in, so it’s a bit scratchy, and intended to give an impression of the raw sound of the instrument (both acoustic and from the two internal pickups), ready for you to tame (or not, if you prefer!)

    The instrument has three chanters (currently G, d and g), two drones (currently C and G) and two trompettes, also C and G. The C drone and trompette are fitted with capos, raising the pitch by one tone. The chanter bridge height is adjustable.

    The instrument is fitted with two passive internal pickups, one on the soundboard below the bridge giving a good overall sound, and one on the chanter bridge itself, giving a very focused chanter sound (almost no trompette!). The sounds from both pickups can be heard in the video. There is one jack for each pickup, enabling you to mix them or apply separate effects externally.

    The whole body is made from flamed maple, the keys and other small details are ebony, with screwed wooden tangents. The instrument is a prototype, and therefore has some minor cosmetic and design flaws; otherwise it is a fine, working instrument at a special prototype price.

    I’ve already had some interest in the instrument and am waiting until Monday for a potential buyer to get back to me, other than that it’s first-come-first served. Any questions, etc. comment/message/email me barnaby@waterpigs.co.uk2016-10-18 this instrument is now sold to Isarnos in the UK — looking forward to hearing what they do with it! I’m currently building more instruments, drop me an email if you’re interested.

  2. A morning of post-travel sleep left me with enough energy to help secure the last of the twelve fruit trees at the mill, and make little name signs for all the varieties.

    Thanks to the new door and my dehumidifier, the workshop is finally down to 54% air humidity, suitable for instrument building. We also had many good discussions with some lovely visitors about them potentially moving here, and the future of the project. Tomorrow some pigs will arrive to help us plough the garden, and while I was away a pair of barn owls moved into one of the dead poplar trunks by the gate. Generally everything’s looking up…

  3. Put a new set of strings on my guitar (built in 2011!) and it sounds goood. Now I just have to learn to play it, finally.

  4. Spent this morning doing maintenance work on this very old hurdy gurdy with a very interesting history, which I shall be writing more about soon:

  5. Spent this morning meeting a very interesting old hurdy gurdy owned by some very interesting people. Tomorrow we’re off to find a lathe with which to fix it.

  6. Much as I miss building hurdy gurdies, using my current one for 1.5 years now is teaching me a huge amount about what to better next time. Dragging it around Europe in a rucksack was an excellent stress test, and the various repairs I’ve had to do (and continue to have to do) over the last few months highlights areas I need to put more thought into in the future.

    For example, the aluminium axle with setscrew arrangement is inadequate due to it coming loose over a period of 6 months, the trompette disengager I made was much too fragile, the strap knobs need to be glued into a solid, well-attached internal block making contact to two planes, ditto for the bridge-end string holders — having them pull up against binding (which the instrument would be better off without anyway) is inadequate. Additionally, an adjustable melody string bridge is a no-brainer, and building custom capos is almost certainly unnecessary and produces worse results than just using harp capos.

    Edit: having said all of that, it’s still a good-sounding, stable, very playable instrument.

  7. And my hurdy gurdy is fixed! Huge thanks to Brooks Hood for letting me use his workshop space — top guy, highly recommended for guitar repair work if you’re in Reykjavík.

  8. Last night’s @hakkavelin mutilation repair work worked perfectly! I now have a rather nice sounding electro-acoustic hurdy gurdy.

    Next steps: wire up the internal microphone, put a plate over the hole in the back, fit the raspberry pi and power supply.

  9. Project for Chateau d’Ars (and maybe Halsway) in 2014: fit gurdy with wheel speed measuring device, record traces of different peoples’ trompette styles.

  10. Feedback Loops

    The larger the gap between one major feedback loop and the next largest of any given stage of an activity, the more assumptions must be made about that stage.

    Example: planing a hurdy gurdy top to thickness.

    Tasks, feedback loops in order of duration (timings are approximate from memory):

    • Every millimetre of planed wood, ≈150ms audible and physical feedback
    • Every ≈1cm of planed wood, ≈500ms visual feedback loop seeing the shavings protrude from the plane (or not, which is equally valuable)
    • Every ≈10cm of planed wood, ≈3s visual+physical+audible feedback loop of one complete shaving detaching
    • Every ≈20cm of planed wood, ≈5s visual feedback loop seeing freshly planed surface, erosion of pencil marks
    • Pause every ≈10 plane strokes, ≈20s physical feedback loop picking up the top and flexing
    • Pause every ≈20 plane strokes, ≈1 minute precision visual feedback from re-measuring the thickness of the top with a caliper

    The gaps between feedback loops become larger as the durations become larger, as do the assumptions which are made about the task at each level until the next feedback loop arrives. I suspect that experience level also affects both the value gained from each feedback loop, increasing the actor’s knowledge of the system and increasing the amount of time which can safely be left (i.e. the amount of assumption which is safe) before more feedback is required.

    Two observations: the existence of vastly longer feedback loops of experience accumulating which affect the shape of existing loops, and that the smallest feedback loops are broadcast by the environment (audible feedback, physical resistance) but longer ones require active participation (testing the system).

  11. Walked along a nice bit of beach-ish area near my flat. Realised that whilst I’m fairly experienced at creating UIs where the creation of sound is the end result (musical instruments), I’ve never really given much thought to the use of sound in other UIs.

    The house lights across the bay twinkle a lot — perhaps because of the heat. It’s cold outside here, but inside all the buildings is really toasty, thanks to ubiquitous geothermal power.

  12. Good grief, I should have known that in the week before I go to , and I’m packing up my workshop, I’d get loads of emails about work :/ Politely turning them all down and suggesting alternatives until I get back.